The Center of Christmas

We are entering the busiest, most wonderful time of the year.

O Christmas Tree.. | The Center of Christmas | Living Room Christmas Look | The Center of Christmas | Kitchen Christmas Tree | The Center of Christmas |

But sometimes, it can be the most stressful time of the year…

…the most disappointing; the most hectic; the most frustrating; the most exhausting; the most daunting.

Living Room Christmas Nook | The Center of Christmas | Vintage Christmas Postcards and our Elf | The Center of Christmas |

So while I love decorating, spending time with family, and listening to Bing sing Christmas classics to me, I have to be careful to keep Christmas in focus.

Wedding Decor Christmas Touch | The Center of Christmas | Love's Gift to Me Last Year | The Center of Christmas | Memory Ornament | The Center of Christmas | NewlyWeddedWurl.Wordpress.comWedding Ornnament | The Center of Christmas |

It isn’t about the decorating (though I certainly have enjoyed my share).

Kitchen Christmas Island | The Center of Christmas | Christmas Kitchen Shelf | The Center of Christmas | Christmas Cocoa Bar | The Center of Christmas | Christmas-ized Shelf | The Center of Christmas |

It isn’t about the shopping, buying, and wrapping of presents (though I definitely enjoyed it).

Bulky Christmas Present | The Center of Christmas | Closer Look At Christmas Presents | The Center of Christmas | My Favorite Wrapped Gift | The Center of Christmas | More Presents | The Center of Christmas | Merry Christmas, My Love | The Center of Christmas |

It isn’t about the family dinners, the Christmas traditions, the exchanging of gifts (though I am looking forward to it and can’t wait for our loved ones to unwrap their presents).

The Stockings were hung.... on the Anchor? | The Center of Christmas | Around the Christmas Tree | The Center of Christmas |

It’s about a Baby. It’s about a master plan created by the Master of the universe.

$3 Complete Nativity Set | Thrifty Thursday |

It’s about a quiet arrival in a lowly stable; the announcement of the birth of the King of kings given in an open field, far outside the city, to humble shepherds. From man’s perspective, it didn’t seem like a fit coming for a Baby who fulfilled hundreds and hundreds of years of prophecy and who would change the world forever. But can you imagine how heaven rejoiced? God’s plan for fallen mankind’s redemption was coming into the final stretch. Jesus had come down to man. What reason to rejoice this Christmas!

Hallelujah! Christ was born for you and me. Love came down to earth to reconcile man to God. In a few short years, this Baby would grow to be the perfect Son of Man, to be crucified in my place- in your place- for our sin. He lived the life we could not live to pay a debt we could not pay; He died and conquered death to give us eternal life that we could never deserve. Hallelujah! What a Savior!

As we draw closer to Christmas, as schedules fill up and busyness ensues, I’m praying I keep the purpose of this holy holiday at the forefront of my mind.

It’s all about Christ. Remember in the Charlie Brown Christmas movie where Linus quotes Luke 2? He was right. That’s what Christmas is all about.

“And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Cæsar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed. (And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.) And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judæa, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:) To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child. And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered. And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn. And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men. And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us. And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger. And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child.”
Luke 2:1-17

Merry Christmas! Praying God’s blessings of peace, health, and most importantly, a closer walk with our Savior this season for you and your family.


The Forgotten Date Night

Yes, we are newlyweds.
Yes, it wasn’t so long ago that date nights and full date days were all we knew.
Yet, somehow, in the midst of crazy life, becoming homeowners, serving in a youth conference, and traveling lots to see family, we have forgotten what “date night” really was.

The Forgotten Date Night |

Last Friday we were working hard on removing the cement from our backyard patio (it has sunken deeply over time and is the cause for some leaking in our basement). What was thought to be a difficult project became even more so when we realized that there were not one but TWO layers of poured cement, several inches thick each, that we needed to break up and remove. We had been making decent progress on it throughout the week almost every night, in the hour of daylight daily we had once my love got home from work.

The Patio Before | The Forgotten Date Night |
Our patio before complete demolition
Working on the First Layer | The Forgotten Date Night |
Working on the First Layer of Cement
Down to the Last Layer of the Patio | The Forgotten Date Night |
Down to the Last Layer!

Excited about Progress | The Forgotten Date Night |

We were nearly finished with what we planned on removing before hauling it away the next morning when my love brought up this forgotten idea; maybe when we get finished and cleaned up we can go out on a date, you know, grab dinner and a movie or go window shopping?

I was taken by surprise. Here was my husband, after working a long day and coming home to a physically grueling house project, offering to take me out on the town. I could have hugged him right there, in the midst of our dirty, cement dusted gloves and clothes. It had been too long since we just went out for fun and not with a project, grocery list, or agenda in mind. We had just come off of a few stressful weeks and been working on a never-ending to-do list for the house. It had been a while since we had gone to a restaurant alone, as we had cut out going out to eat for the most part in attempt to cut back any possible gluten contamination for me. But tonight, for a special and over-due date night at a restaurant we had tried before, we made an exception.

About two-thirds rubble pile we had to haul off the next morning; it was a ton of cement!
About two-thirds rubble pile we had to haul off the next morning; it was a ton of cement!

We wrapped up the patio project, dressed up, and went out to eat to the one place our nearby city has that maintains a diverse gluten free menu that I have had no issues with on the few times we have gone. I enjoyed being able to sit and unwind together, have someone bring food to us, and just focus on each other and not on a task. It was quite the throwback to our dating days where walking the town and grabbing a bite was how we got to know each other and build memories. I fell in love with this man over our table conversations and walking adventures, and I continue to fall for him every day. As he told new stories about his childhood and of classes he didn’t pay attention to, I felt so blessed to be living my life with this man God has grown so much in the past year.

After dinner we window shopped at the outlet mall, discussing how much we were spending on Christmas gifts this year, who we were going to give what, and getting ideas from each other as to what the other wanted for Christmas. It was fun to begin feeling the Christmas spirit together as we heard Christmas music in every store, saw Christmas decorations, and chatted about giving gifts. The stresses from the week had melted away and we were simply enjoying each others’ company.

We drove around the city next, noting the dramatic difference now that the peak tourism times have passed. My love wanted to treat us with Starbucks so after reading reviews on their gluten free options, we each held a highly-discussed red cups in our hands, chatting and sipping on the way home.

Starbucks and Sweets
Starbucks and the sweets that awaited us at home.

Saturday morning brought early alarms, a 25 minute trip to Menard’s to rent a truck and load up our new tub/shower (and experience horrible customer service), trips to the landfill to unload all of the patio cement we unearthed, and a trip back to Menard’s to drop off the truck. By then it was 12:30 and we had no real plans. My love, being the amazing hubby that he is, offered to drive another hour to our capital city for a day of shopping and thrifting- another date day! We had a blast exploring new places and stores, and boy did we score big!

I fell in love with these chairs at the thrift store!
I fell in love with these chairs at the thrift store!

We found three huge thrift stores and a bunch of cool little shops we will check out next time we make it to the big city. At one particular store, I stood and stared at these chairs for ten minutes, trying to decide if I wanted to buy two or four of these awesome finds. For some reason I have fallen in love with the yellow/gold shade of the two chairs; I have been eyeing one like it at my thrift store back home, but didn’t want to pay $20 for it. It just so happened that these were only $7.99 each AND we could fit two of them in my hubby’s car. So…..

Thrift Store Scores | The Forgotten Date Night |

The gold chairs came home with us, along with the Christmas tins, gold bird, Thanksgiving towel, and bronze box. At the other big thrift store (that I could have spent an hour in) I picked up the little deer, the rooster that will be painted white (I mean, every kitchen needs a rooster, right?), the amazing plaid tablecloth, and five Christmas CDs that I have already listened to ten times over :).

Thrift Score Finds | The Forgotten Date Night |

Christmas CDs | The Forgotten Date Night |

It was an amazingly full day of both work and fun. I loved exploring all the new stores with the love of my life- and loved that he was willing to buy me a few things, even if they seemed silly. Most of all, though, I enjoyed spending time with my husband without other things and tasks clamoring for my attention. I think this past weekend reminded both of us that every once in a while we need to unplug, put the to-do list away, and just have a night of dating each other again. It definitely was needed and brought us closer together- and who doesn’t want that?

Do you think that dating is still important, even in marriage? What are some of your go-to date night ideas? I would love to hear your thoughts in the comment section! Thank you for reading :).

Our Engagement Story

Today marks 10 months since the night of our engagement! I am so amazed at how very clearly I can remember and “see” the night play out in my mind. So I thought today would be a good day to tell about the most magical night of my life.

Our Engagement Sky | Our Engagement Story |

Our first date was December 28th, 2013. We hadn’t planned on walking around the whole city and chatting for four hours after getting something hot at a coffee shop, but that’s what happened. It was the first time we had ever spent time with the other- basically a blind date- but it was enough for me to walk away thinking This guy is really special. I hope I get to know him more! That was my first inkling that something might just happen between us. The more dates we had, the more I cherished his friendship, the more I slowly fell in love with this humorous, brilliant, hard-working man whose ideas and dreams inspired me to dream bigger myself.

We had known since May that we loved each other, and in July we shared our feelings of wanting to be in the others’ life long term- as in marriage. He even mentioned wanting to save up to “make a big purchase in December”; cuing me in on his expected timeline and hinting at a proposal. But that fall brought on a horrible bout of sickness for me as well as my love’s nearly 6 hour away move, making us question whether or not that future together would work out and when the timetable for that would actually be.

I had been keeping track of each of our dates since our first one, trying to record all the memories of our activities, locations, and feelings. That’s how I knew that December 28th, 2014 was exactly one year since our first date AND it was our 100th date. I pretty much knew he was going to propose that day- I mean, how could he pass up that kind of opportunity 🙂 ?- but I had no idea how, where, or when he would. We had decided to re-create our first date; stopping at a coffee shop and briskly walking the downtown area (it was sooooo much colder than it was on our first date!). We also wanted to catch the sunset together, as that had become something important throughout our relationship.

My handsome Love on our Engagement Day | Our Engagement Story |

We chatted in the coffee shop for a while, talking about our future together in detail. He even straight up asked, “If I proposed to you today, when do you think you would want to have the wedding?” That gave me some reassurance that today was our big day ;). As it got closer to sunset, we bundled up (though I refused to wear gloves, just so my fingers would be ready to accept a ring… which he caught on to 😉 ), leaving the warmth of the coffee shop and braving the cold December wind. We walked across the pedestrian bridge that had become a stop on so many of our dates and went to the top of a nearby parking garage to watch the sunset while getting some protection against the wind.

We both were so excited! | Our Engagement Story || Our Engagement Story | Our View from the Parking Garage | Our Engagement Story | Last selfie as just dating! | Our Engagement Story |

At this point, my heart was racing, as were my thoughts. When is he going to ask? Should I act somewhat surprised? What is he going to say? Where is it going to be? He better ask me today or I will be so disappointed. What if he doesn’t ask, so that I actually am surprised? How will I feel if he does that? He better just ask be tonight. But when?? I was able to stop the tirade of questions in my head enough to enjoy the moment with the love of my life, snap the last selfies of us “just dating” together, and brace myself for both the chill of going back outside and the rush of next few moments. We slowly walked back to the edge of the bridge. He stopped and hugged me.

This is it!!!! This is the moment!!! My heart was fluttering; as he held me close I could feel his heart racing. He pulled me back and held my hands. It seemed like a long few quiet moments before he said something about his life in our town started on this side of the bridge in college, crossing to the other side was where he met me, and our relationship has created special places on both sides (my body was surging with adrenaline as he was talking- thinking that the proposal would follow- so I am sorry, my love, but I don’t recall the exact words!). He then asked if I would walk with him to the other side. I gave him a kiss and a “yes” and we headed across.

Our Engagement Sky | Our Engagement Story | The Spot | Our Engagement Story |

We stopped a few more times to hug or catch the beauty of the sky as we crossed. A few times I thought he was waiting for others to walk by us so he could ask in private, but I was wrong. At this point, unfortunately, I was slightly disappointed. I thought the bridge was the perfect symbolic stop, the sunset behind us the perfect backdrop, the moment just right for him to propose. But I figured he had a better surprise in store so I held him tight and continued to walk.

Engagement Sky | Our Engagement Story |

We got to the other side of the bridge and he stopped. I looked up and saw my dad standing a few yards away, with my mom and sister trying to motion him to hunch down. A quick glance to my left showed that his family was hunched down too, waiting for us to get to that spot at the top of the stairs. I started sobbing.

{I honestly did not think I would cry; I expected him to propose on our date, after all! But knowing that he had planned it so that those most important in our lives would be present to witness and record it made my heart melt. I couldn’t have imagined a more perfect way to start the beginning of our lives together as we knew it.}

Me Crying When I Saw OUr Family - Our Engagement Story

I hugged him tight and he hugged me. We were both emotional. It seemed like we spent an eternity in each others arms, holding on for all we were worth. Eventually, he ever so sweetly pushed me back to get down on one knee. His words were sweet and filled with love. I said yes to spending the rest of my life with the man I had completely fallen in love with. He pulled out the most gorgeous ring (he picked it out himself and completely surprised me- it suits me perfectly!) and placed it on my hand. We embraced, we kissed, and we were greeted with happy tears, hugs, and congratulations by all of our family. It felt unreal.

The Big Moment | Our Engagement Story | This is Love | Our Engagement Story | Celebration Kiss! | Our Engagement Story |

The Ring | OUr Engagement Story |

The next big surprise was in store. My love had let my family in on the secret and my mom and sister pulled off a marvelous engagement party with both our families present immediately following our moment on the bridge. It was wonderful for both sides to get to meet each other, uniting and celebrating over the fact that we were going to become one. We told them of our earlier conversation at the coffee shop (the one about when I would want the wedding), and gave our May 2015 date to them. Was it rushing? Perhaps. But we both so badly wanted to be together and not only seeing each other every/every other weekend. And looking back, the timing was perfect.

Engagement Story - Captured | Our Engagement Story |

It was a marvelous night. I never tried to imagine what our engagement would be like, as I wanted to be fully taken in the moment. I felt as if I were in a fairy tale. What a tremendous blessing to remember this day and realize that was just the start of our happily ever after!

I would love to read your story; feel free to link it in the comments below! Did you feel it was magical? Was it expected or a surprise? Thanks for reading!

Fall and 4: Celebrating Two Special Events

Happy First Day of Fall!

Fall is my favorite season for many reasons. The change in colors, cooler temperatures, layered clothing, bonfires and boots, sweaters and scarves, hot chocolate and hay rides; these are a few of my favorite things that come with the fall season. As I mentioned in this post, I am so excited that this season I get to decorate our apartment! I already showed you my Cats Pumpkin tutorial and how our porch now looks;

Festive Fall Front Porch Fun| Festive Fall: Pumpkin Cats Craft |

Well, yesterday I got to do my round of thrift stores and found a few fun fall items to decorate the inside of the apartment!

Thrift Store Fall Finds | Fall and Four: Celebrating Two Special Dates |

The owl napkin holder was $.75, ceramic pumpkin candy dish was $1.25, and the wonderfully full wreath was $2. I found the table cloth a week ago for a few dollars, so now we have a lovely autumn tablescape for our fall party next month!

Today is also a special day because it marks four months of marvelous marriage to my best friend and soul mate. It honestly seems like we have been married far longer, due to moving past our long distance relationship and considering all the adventures and traveling we have done together so far.

First Yard Work Together |

I have tried to celebrate and commemorate every month-iversary and every first together as newlyweds. This week, we did yard work together for the first time; but not just for any yard, the yard to our new house! We are still waiting for the bank’s processing to be complete, but we walked across town to see the house this Monday (it’s empty right now) and pulled all the weeds in the drive, sidewalk, and around the house, as well as picked up all the sticks. It was so special to get to do that and dream about our new life together! I think dreaming together is so important in a healthy marriage; so much so that I wrote a post about it (click the image to see!):

1 Marriage Tip to Grow You Closer

We won’t be able to celebrate too much today, since my love has a busy extended work day and we have church tonight. But I’m planning on making some double-chocolate peanut butter fudge with Reese’s crumbled on top (my hubby’s favorite). You can check out the recipe by clicking the image below– but WARNING- it’s an extremely rich desert: a very small ½ inch square will be more than enough to satisfy a sweet tooth!

Chocolate Peanut Butter Bars Recipe ~ crazy good... Easy to make. Addicting. Decadent. Rich. Almost like fudge, melt in your mouth. . .goodness.:

I am so unendingly thankful for how God has worked in my life through our marriage. Not only am I growing more mature in my own personality and mindset, but God is using marriage to grow me in my spiritual walk in ways I never imagined. I have so much more confidence in myself and my actions because my husband always builds me up with encouragement and love. I am so much less fearful of the future, because God has made Himself to be more real to be through the last few months and has provided me with a constant, caring companion. I have more of a servant’s heart and willingness to give because my love so readily gives to me and to those around me, even when it’s hard and he has every reason to pass up the chance.

Wedding Pictures | Fall and Four |

It’s hard to describe how I have grown so greatly as an individual once my life was joined to another in holy matrimony. I think popular culture today pushes that marriage ties you down and crushes your individuality, so don’t get married until your 30’s when you have a solid idea of who you are, or maybe don’t get married at all! But the reality is so far from that. I have never been more comfortable or more secure in who I am as a person than I am now. Marriage has matured me, deepened my understanding of myself and the world around me, and made speaking my mind much easier to those I don’t know as well because I have a greater confidence in my thoughts and opinions. Would I have grown in these ways if I hadn’t been married? Possibly, but definitely not as much as I have in the last four months.

Wedding Pictures | Fall and Four |

My whole world changed when I married my love. I had just graduated college the week before, I had quit my five year job, moved out from under my parents, said farewell to most of all my friends, and left my hometown and state to move somewhere I never would have seen myself before. I went from only seeing him every weekend at most with phone calls and skype calls in between to living with him full-time in a state where I knew no one else. I thought I would hate it, that I would be so lonely, that I would wish every day to be back home. Now, of course I miss my family greatly, and sometimes the familiarity of all those things, but newlywed life has been so much greater than I ever imagined. I love spending every lunch hour with my husband and greeting him after a long day of work. I love praying with him several times a day, cuddling with him on the couch, or going on spontaneous adventures. I love that we have a new network of friends at church, other young married couples to hang out with, and have lots of opportunities to serve beside each other in ministry.

Wedding Pictures | Fall and Four |

I am so tremendously thankful for our new life as one. I’m grateful to our God for growing both of us closer to Him and closer to each other in the past four months. I cannot wait to see what He does in the months and years to come!

How are you celebrating the first day of fall? Do you decorate for the season? What changed most for you when you got married? I would love to hear about it in the comments!


Monday Musings

I’ve been in a reflective mood for most of this Monday. My love and I had an amazing weekend of fun, exploring, thrifting, serving, and making memories.

Fall Fun | Monday Musings |

We started off Saturday with sleeping in way too late and with a rare breakfast of gluten free doughnuts. We hit the road with the hopes of hitting some antique stores in a distant town, but we gained so much more than that! Not only did we stop at some cute shops, but we found an awesome pioneer village museum, my love bought me some beautiful flowers for our front porch, and we actually found a corner café that had a huge gluten free menu! SCORE!

Fall Flowers | Monday Musings |

It was gorgeous fall weather- between the 50s and 60s- so we donned our semi-winter coats which made for cute pictures. Here is one of us at the pioneer village : )

Wedded Wurls | Monday Musings |

After our adventures, we decided to celebrate some good news from this week (to be shared soon!) with cokes and a round of mini-golf at our favorite course. By the end of the day, our trip had turned into over 7 hours of fun and some wonderful memories made.

Mini-Golf with my Love | Monday Musings | Waterfalls on the Course | Monday Musings |

This weekend we also started a little fall craft project. I’ll post a tutorial on it in the next few weeks, but here is a sneak peek of the supplies:

Crafting | Monday Musings |

Having such a fun-packed weekend reminded me of our dating days. Last year my love and I had to make the most of our weekends together. Most of last fall we were states away due to my love’s new job, so our time together was precious and taken advantage of! Our Saturdays would often be 12-14 hours of activities and adventures together before we would have to say goodnight or goodbye. Because we simple did so much stuff together- and because I’m a type-A, very organized personality- I cataloged each date with pictures and with a running note in my phone that listed the date, what we did, and how I felt about it all. This last Christmas I turned it all into a huge scrapbook and gave it to Anthony as our Adventure Book of sorts (I love the movie UP). I got it out today and teared up looking through all the memories. Last year at this time, my love and I had a 14 hour day together with antique shopping, lunch, corn maze and pumpkin patch, dinner, and festival with three free concerts.

Last Year Scrapbook | Monday Musings |

We have come a long way together, my love and I. I could not ask for a more devoted, loving, Christ-led husband, and I’ve spent some extra time this morning praising God for His gift of my best friend and soul mate. Even this weekend, he lovingly led me to do the right thing in filling an obligation at church, challenging me to have the right attitude about it when I really wanted to sit and pout. As I spoke about in my series What Marriage has Made Different, God is growing me in my spiritual walk through my marriage- something I didn’t really expect.

Praise and Thanksgiving | Monday Musings | notebook is my new Thankfulness Journal I talked about starting here! I am challenging myself to fill a full page each day, making myself elaborate on what I am thankful for and why! It really helped challenge my mood this morning and I would recommend it very highly!)

Overall, today could be described as a Monday spent musing; over this weekend, the past, our relationship growth, and over all I have to be thankful for. I don’t think I could start the week out much better than that!

How was your weekend? Are you experiencing a renewed vigor for adventure and making memories in this fall weather too? I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments!

A New Look At Love

Can I just talk about love for a little bit?

My husband shows me immense love every day, but sometimes it takes something out of the ordinary for me to realize that.

A New Look at Love |

Yesterday I had a horrible migraine. It hurt to even think. When I did manage to think, I was fantasizing about an elephant stepping on my head to crush out the pain- which is a little dramatic in retrospect, but hey, it’s how I felt. I didn’t even move from the couch once I stumbled out of the shower, except to cover my face with pillows because the living room was too bright. Now, usually, I have lunch all made and the table set when my love texts me that he’s coming home from work (such a blessing to spend his lunch break with him every day!). Obviously, yesterday was not one of those days. I didn’t even look at phone during that time so I didn’t know what time it was or when he was headed home.

As soon as he came in the door, my love put my care at the center of his focus. He brought me water, made me take medicine, gave me a massage, asked if I wanted him to call the chiropractor, and offered both heating and ice packs. He quickly ate lunch then came back to my side. He started a salt soak for me and brought it to my location on the couch so I wouldn’t have to move. He was going to end his work day early to come take care of me if I didn’t improve. He showed me such selfless love and did above and beyond what I needed him to.

The most striking part of the story to me is that I had treated this caring husband of mine really crappy the evening before.

I was indulging in selfish thinking, acting like that of a petulant pouting child, and shut down all the conversation my love tried to involve me in. By the end of the night I was in tears when I realized what I was doing and completely remorseful for my hurtful actions against him. Words couldn’t express how much I hated myself for acting like that, I couldn’t say “sorry” without it seeming quite lacking in meaning; I could not ask for forgiveness enough. All I did was cry and mumble and sob while he held me and let tears run their course. We ended the night on good terms, but I still felt miserable- this man is my best friend, soul mate, love, and husband! Why did I think it was okay to treat him so poorly and solely think of myself and what I felt like I wanted to do because part of me wasn’t happy?? Did I not just write about selfishness and defensiveness on this very blog?

And yet, he loved me. He did not return hurt for hurt or harm for harm. He did not hold my actions against me but showed me immense love and care that I wasn’t worthy of. He lived out the example of Christ and His love towards His messed up, selfish, disobedient, self-seeking sheep who always do the wrong thing and go their own way.

Marriage is a picture of Christ’s love to us, the Church. And every day, my husband’s love gives me a better understanding of that love.

I am always amazed when I become even more amazed at this beautiful thing called marriage and the wonder of a man I married. Through marriage Christ is revealing more and more of my sinful nature and my need for Him. Through marriage I am better learning what it is like to love in the true sense of the word. Through marriage I am becoming more and more thankful for the blessings my God has graciously bestowed upon me, my husband, and our life together.

I am getting a new look at love as I live this newlywed life. And I stand in awe of what God is doing.

Has your perspective of love changed with marriage? Have you had a marital experience that made you think of Christ’s love for us? I would love to hear about it in the comments!

Summer Weekend Fun

We didn’t really have too many plans Saturday morning, other than sleeping in past our usual 5:30 alarm and maybe hitting up some garage sales. I’m slowly learning that the best days are often those that simply happen and are not completely planned.

Summer Fun as Newlyweds- and how communication is key to our marriage! |

We enjoyed a lazy morning with coffee and conversation before getting ready to hit the road, grab some cokes, and hopefully find some treasures.

The first sale we stopped at was surprisingly full of useful items! But the best part was the adventurous old gentleman with a super heavy accent who sat listening to Christian radio and talking about his love of tinkering and of playing music. It’s too bad we don’t have a house yet, for we could have stocked up on lots of tools and equipment for fixing up and maintaining a house and lawn! We did find a cute little foldable cart that I will use to haul groceries from the car back to the apartment.

Summer Fun as Newlyweds- and how communication is key to our marriage! |

On our way to a flea market we had been told about in the next county, we found another flea market- which consisted of many people selling their goods out of a dozen storage lockers (quite common up here!). We found an amazing piece of furniture that is in mint condition for only $10! We also got the vendors information so that we can go back in another month or so to look at more furniture and tools- yay!

When we finally reached our original destination (after stopping at some less-than-desirable sales), we were amazed at the sheer size of the outdoor market! It took about an hour to walk around and look at everything. From vintage, to collectables, to outdoorsmen stuffs, to farmer’s market produce, this market had something for everyone- and they have it every weekend! My favorite find from there was this amazing vintage scale that works perfectly and is in one of my favorite colors- for only $3!!

For under $20 we obtained all these fun, practical items, drove all over a new area, enjoyed some refreshments, and had an amazing adventure. But we weren’t done yet!

Flea Market Finds and Summer Fun |

After stopping home for lunch- and for air conditioning, it was hot outside to be treasure hunting!- we decided to try to find a farm someone recommended. After a little drive we arrived at this cute older couples’ blueberry U-Pick farm and picked to our hearts content (which ended up being cut short because it was in the hottest part of the day, but we still had fun : ). We picked 3.25 pounds for $5 and created some lasting memories!

Blueberry Picking: just part of our summer fun this weekend! |

My love likes them fresh and I like them frozen (I like most fruits frozen over fresh, to be honest); I soaked our gathered berries in vinegar and water, divided them up, and we’ve enjoyed munching on them all weekend : ).

Blueberries and Summer Fun |
Sunday we went to the church’s introduction classes, since it’s a requirement to be involved, had an amazing time of worship, challenged by the sermon, and stayed late for our kick-off meeting for our involvement in Vacation Bible School this week- our church calls it Kids Summer Outreach, which sounds pretty modern. I like it. In light of how busy we will be at church every night this week, we decided to just enjoy each other and take it easy for the afternoon. We mostly sat on the couch and chatted the hours away. It always surprises me how deep and eye-opening our conversations are as a couple! I guess sometimes I forget that we have only been married for 2 months and have only known each other for a year and a half- it seems like we’ve been married for a few years now! At the start of our premarital counseling, our pastor stressed how communication really had to be the foundation and the heart of our relationship. As days and weeks and months have gone by, my love and I are discovering just how true that is.

This month is going to be the busiest one we have had together yet. Communication is going to be key to keeping us close and connected, even as life throws distractions our way in abundance. I hope I stay strong in my commitment to take a few deep breaths and live in the moment; all the unexpected, fun, surprising, quiet moments of this weekend made my heart so happy and my joy to overflow. I praise God for all He has brought us through and all He continues to do in our life! We are living in such a wonderful w(u)rld.

Have you a few moments of fun- planned or unexpected- this summer? How do you handle the seasons of busyness in your marriage? I would love to hear about it in the comments!