Sunday, September 24, 2017

Currently {September 2017}


💮 Praising Him... that we have the $ to buy the 4 new tires + tire rods + alignment + air filter they say are necessary.  He is good!  That Dan & I got to experience an amazing anniversary adventure in Arizona about a week ago {+ we made it through our 1st year}!  God, You are awesome!

💮 Reading... {It's about time I got back into reading!} A Shepherd Looks at Psalm 23 by W. Phillip Keller

💮 Waiting... for my new job to start.  The teacher I was subbing for in music class returned, & now thankfully God has blessed me with another opening as a long term sub.  This time in 1st grade - & this time at {How do I put this?} a rougher school.  I'd be lying if I said I wasn't nervous; while my history is chock full of those kind of schools, I haven't been to one in a couple years or so.  I know I can do all things through Christ, & I'm gonna keep reminding myself of that truth + praising Him for employment.

💮 Eating... too many caramel apple Hostess cupcakes.  They are legitimately delicious, people.

💮 Watching... TLC's Long Lost Family.  Send all the tissues, please.

💮 Enjoying... my last couple days of freedom before I'm back to work, that it's officially fall {my fave}, & that Jesus loves me this I know.

💮 Excited for... married life year 2!  It honestly seems crazy to think that it is actually now year 2 we're experiencing!

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Little Letters // September 2017


Dear Arizona,

I won't soon forget you!  You were an amazing changing landscape & I'm so glad we got to see your sandy scrub/cactus-dotted deserts, lush green forests, deep-deep canyons, red rocks, & skinny slot canyons.  Not to mention, you were where we heralded in the beginning of our 2nd married year.

We love you!
Laura + Dan

✉ ⏩

Dear Arizona Coyote,

I am so glad we didn't hit you!  It took some fancy-fast thinking {ahem, swerving} on my husband's part + I think some miraculous intervention from above.  I think next time you should keep off the busy roads.

Sincerely,
Your Friend

P.S.: Stop chasing the road runner, please!

✉ ⏩

Dear Decorative Gold Arrow,

You almost got me in trouble!  But, I forgive you!  How could I not with your chicness?  I had no idea that putting you in my carry-on would result in some airport luggage security people searching + questioning + poking your faux tip. {Sorry!} Thankfully, they decided you weren't a threat & I could bring you on home.

XOXO,
Laura

✉ ⏩

Dear Crockpot,

You are amazing & one of the best/most-useful wedding gifts we received {thanks, sister}!  You make it look easy!  I love how you work it out for me & my frozen chicken & such while I am putting in a full day at school.  On arriving home, I turn that key & am greeted with the delicious aroma you created & it just makes me smile & feel all domestic all over!  You are a boss!

Sincerely,
Your Happy Owner

✉ ⏩

Dear Cacti,

You may be prickly in appearance, but I know inside you're all heart.  I won't forget your cute little selves dotting the desert landscape as we meandered/adventured through Arizona.  I am your fan!

Love,
An Admirer

✉ ⏩

Dear Husband,

Can you believe it's been one year?!  Can you believe we made it?  In some ways it seems short & in others it seems long.  What an adventure & I'm so ready for more!  You are my true love + best friend & I will forever be your biggest fan {after Jesus}.  You've got me for life, Dan!

Love,
Your Wife ❤ Laura

✉ ⏩

Dear Autumn,

I know you are getting close & I am getting excited!  Keep on coming.  I'm waiting for you!  You are my favorite!

XOXO,
Laura

P.S.: Bring pumpkins + fiery red/orange leaves + cooler weather + tall boots, please!

✉ ⏩

Dear Opera Music,

You are amazing!  You totally spellbound some of my kids last month - & it wasn't even some of the ones I'd suspect!  Of course, some snickered, but they were haters we will ignore - but those who truly heard you for what you were & sat still & hugged their knees up to their chest & looked sparkly-eyed, know your true beauty.  You captured them in a special way that I hope they will always remember & I hope they will seek you out more as they grow.  Thank you.

Sincerely,
The Music Teacher Sub

✉ ⏩

P.S.: Linking up!


Friday, September 22, 2017

DIY Vacation Memory Jar


What You Need:
a jar + lid
▲ small tokens from your trip that will fit in the jar
▲ a smallish favorite photo from your trip
▲ a decorative tag {or make your own} + twine or ribbon + Sharpie

Anybody else not really wanting to remember an amazing trip by bringing home a pack of picture playing cards or a collectible spoon?

Creating a memory jar lets you put a personal touch on things + showcase your actual memories/trip highlights + it's not from an overpriced gift shop.  Win-win!  While this makes for a perfect sand & rock holder for beach/camping trips, you can also fill your jar with various tickets, foreign currency, & small souvenirs from most any place you care to venture.  You can be all minimalist or maximalist on these - you get to decide.  I'm thinking several of these jars showcasing different trips would look great as a collection displayed on a shelf or mantle.  Hmmm, I think I may just sense a travel tradition starting here in our house...

Happy crafting {& traveling}!

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Honestly... {Year 1}


Can I be the honest girl here?  Year 1 was hard.

You know how some people say they lose themselves at some point on this daily journey that makes up a life?  Be it after a baby, mid-life crisis, job loss, what-have-you...  For me, it felt like this year.

After uprooting myself from my family & former life & surviving a wedding {which wasn't my best day ever, can I just say - it was my tough, I don't like myself, I'm too scared to keep moving, but I gotta day}, I found myself trying to make things work + feel special & all magic-like, like I want my life to be.  But, it's been so much harder than I ever expected.  After 6+ years of living completely solo in my little cozy one bedroom apartment, in my little twin bed, with my very own bathroom, & doorbell {well, not on my bathroom door, but ya know}, & my own schedule where I do what I want when I want, I discovered something...  I liked it that way, & this new life is going to be a major adjustment like none other.  I wanted to be the best wife ever.  I still want that, but to quote an older Francesca Battistelli song, "perfection is my enemy."

I wanted that "perfect" so bad some days, I pushed myself down & wore myself thin.  I wanted {okay, still want} to please, maybe out of fear that if I didn't that I wouldn't truly be loved anymore.  If I didn't bend myself out of shape & over extend & choose whatever he wanted & always be the loser when a loser/winner was needed, that the real me wouldn't be enough to be loved just for me.

Then there was the separation from my family, friends, & pretty much everything  I held dear besides my husband.  I made the choice.  I chose him over everything, & sometimes it hurt, & was lonely, & was sad, & made me feel like I was the one who truly sacrificed.

So, it's been rough, but you know what?  There has been beauty & sanctifying - for what better place to sanctify when all is overturned & life is new & crazy & I'm not recognizing me & my heart isn't being all pretty like I thought it was anymore, & all I've got is to cling to Him who knows my every hurt + counts every tear-fall?

Yep, God's got me where He wants me, & I'm going to stop kicking & be still, so He can work + display His glory in my little honest messy life.  This is it.  Thanks for reading.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Date Night Ideas // September 2017

💑 Find the nearest state or national park/monument & go explore it together.  Here's a money saving tip: many public libraries offer a free state park pass you can check out for your particular state, which can save you on any parking fees, etc.

💑 Cook/bake something yummy together.  Side note: you do not have to be culinary-ly inclined to do this.  Get together, try out a recipe, make a mess, clean it up, eat what you create, & have fun.

💑 Read a book together!

💑 Visit a card shop together & pick out different romantic cards for each other just 'cause.  You could totally save money here & show each other the cards instead of buying them {+ still get all the warm fuzzies}, or you could buy 1 or 2 for each other, & fill them out on your own later & give them sometime in the next few days as a semi-"surprise."

💑 Go bike riding.  Even if you don't have a bicycle, most cities have rental options.

💑 Go camping {even if it's just a tent in the backyard}.

P.S.: Sorry this is sooo late!

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

My Wedding Details

Inspiration...
Wedding Inspiration

Details...
💍color scheme: pinky corals & peaches of various shades
💍wedding invitations: these from Vistaprint {They fit perfectly with how Dan proposed at our special tree.}
💍venue: the field behind my new church {for the ceremony} + their indoor fellowship area {for the reception} {We were blessed to get both free of charge!}


💍guest book: a large piece of canvas wall art from Hobby Lobby {I'm so glad I chose this!  It now hangs in our home right before the door to our bedroom.}



💍wedding dress: eBay {Read the full story here!}



💍floral crown veil: me + a little help from my mom {She also lovingly embroidered 3 white butterflies to attach to my veil.}

💍flower girl dresses: eBay {Another bit of a gamble, but they were completely adorable + exactly what I wanted + only about $20 a pop!  We had two flower girls - one with the traditional flower basket & coral colored petals & one with a banner that read "here comes the bride."  My mom & I made the flower girl basket using satin fabric, some stuffing, & coral ribbon + a thrift store wicker basket!}




{Our little petal thrower ran out of petals before she ran out of aisle & decided she needed to go back & pick up some she already threw!  It was the kind of charming funny moment I'll always cherish.}

💍cakes: Walmart {These were seriously deliciousness!  People were amazed they were Walmart cakes + they carried my tree theme with the birch bark edible image wrap around the middle of the cake!}




{My husband's Star Wars groom's cake was also from Walmart!  I added the edible silver stars myself.}


💍 flowers: me + Walmart {I actually did them myself the morning of the wedding by taking apart + rearranging a couple of fresh bouquets.  This was pretty stressful, but they turned out all right in the end + were super cheap.}



{The most special part of my bouquet was the attached locket with my beloved dad's picture.  From heaven he wasn't able to walk me down the aisle, but I wanted to honor his memory & keep it close.}



In 5 short days {I can't believe it}, Dan & I will celebrate our very first wedding anniversary!  In some ways, it seems like just yesterday...

Monday, September 4, 2017

Monthly Recap // August 2017

➴   ➶   ➴   ➶   ➴   ➶   ➴   ➶   ➴

Started the school year off {which begins way early in August here} with a long term sub job as a music teacher at the school I subbed at last year {I finish it up on 9/8}.  God is good!

Had fun at another game night with friends.

Experienced the solar eclipse together.  We were a bit disappointed, because where we were it was only a partial & didn't get dark at all {just strangely shady with eclipse-shaped shadows}, but we enjoyed seeing the view through our glasses, just the same!

Celebrated 11 months of marriage!  Almost to a year!  Say what?!

 Celebrated at another sweet couple's gender reveal party.  I know this long awaited baby is an answer to so many prayers.  Thank You, Jesus, for little Asher!  Can't wait to meet him!

Visited the doctor's office many times with continued problems/check-ups with Dan's eye.  Praising God that it is now well on the mend!  Thank You, Father!!!

Continued planning for our upcoming trip to Arizona!

 Had our last snow cone date of the summer.

Friday, September 1, 2017

Sweet September


I've been waiting for you & your cooler temps & crisper mornings.  You hold our anniversary - year 1, for us - on the 10th, & adventure as we head out west to celebrate under desert skies & amid cactus blooms.  Welcome sweet September - I cannot wait to experience you.

XOXO,
Laura

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Date Night Ideas // August 2017


💑 Go on a back-to-school shopping spree together & donate the items to an organization that collects for students in need.  Don't forget to spend time praying as a couple for the students + their teachers.

💑 Go out to a favorite eating place from your school/college days & over dinner share your favorite school memories... even the funny embarrassing ones you hope no one remembers!

💑 Watch the wonder of the Solar Eclipse together.  Maybe even plan a picnic for right before so you'll already be outdoors.  Be sure to take proper precautions to protect your eyes!

💑 Wander through a bookstore or library hand-in-hand & see what literature appeals to each of you.  Explore the place together.

💑 Play a trivia game together.  You could make it interesting by having something at stake for the winner &/or loser... like winner gets to choose next date or pick the ice cream place... or  loser gets to do the dishes or sit through the winner's favorite TV show...  Don't forget to be a good sport {win or lose}!

💑 Take a class together.  Whether it's a cooking class, an evening painting group, a pottery lesson, horse back riding, a sport, or whatever interests the both of you... get out & learn something new as a couple.

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Gifts // Vol. 16


981. walking + talking
989. saying "no" to things today, 'cause I can't do it all & have to make choices for what matters most - God, Dan, & us {in that order}
993. chicken cooking in the Crockpot & making the house smell yummy
994. how he came in to tell me he loved me during his game night
998. finding rocks
1,000. sending up that lantern into the night sky with a secret wish & a prayer
1,001. a hummingbird
1,008. how he told me I was his "amazing & wonderful" wife
1,010. more hummingbirds
1,012. butterflies on the trails

Friday, August 4, 2017

Little Letters // August 2017


Dear School,

How did you get here so fast?!  I'm going to be a music teacher for the 1st month of you - &, yes, I'm pretty jazzed about that!

XOXO,
Teacher Girl

✉ ⏩

Dear Instagram,

I'm breaking up with you.  Yes, this is your dear John letter.  Sorry.  Even though we weren't really "official," you've still managed to make me feel low + compare my life to cutesy snapshots paired with snappy little clever captions + made me want to buy stuff I totally don't need {except maybe that off the shoulder dress (okay, who am I kidding)}... &, well, that's just not nice of you.  That's not how it's supposed to be.  We're through.

Sincerely,
Enoughs Enough

P.S.: I feel rather free!

✉ ⏩

Dear Arizona,

We are coming to see you next month & I am giddy to see the beautiful way God formed you.  It is going to be stellar!

Love,
The Soon-to-be Traveler #tothewestwego

✉ ⏩

Dear Husband,

You are doing so great keeping up your exercise routine + healthy choices!  I believe in you always!  You are my fave! 😍

Love,
Your Wife

✉ ⏩

Dear Jesus,

Help me be more like You.  I can't do it without You.

Love,
Your Daughter

✉ ⏩

Dear Tummy,

Why is it you want to eat all the Pop Tarts?

Yours Truly,
Me

P.S.: These is why I simply cannot buy you.

✉ ⏩

Dear Pop Tart People,

Why is the serving size 1 Pop Tart, yet you package them in pairs?  You know people can't resist & let 1 little lonely Pop Tart stay behind + the silver packaging isn't resealable, so there's the freshness debacle there, too.

Sincerely,
You Are Scrumptious & I am Perturbed

P.S.: Yes, this is why I cannot let you ride in my cart + come home in my bag!
P.P.S.: I do like you, though.

✉ ⏩

P.S.: Linking up!



Thursday, August 3, 2017

Monthly Recap // July 2017

➴   ➶   ➴   ➶   ➴   ➶   ➴   ➶   ➴

 Celebrated our 1st married 4th of July!  We walked around downtown + by the river & I grilled turkey hot dogs & prepared corn on the cob for lunch.  Dinner found us with even more 4th food + friends + fireworks.  To end our festivities, Dan & I released a patriotic paper lantern into the night sky & watched it until it became a tiny speck of light & then finally disappeared from view.

 Completed another morning summer hike on Pine Mtn.  This time we went 4.3 miles!

 Celebrated with our friends' at their baby shower / anniversary party!

 Started seriously planning an anniversary trip to Arizona!  We have both never been & can't wait to see God's beautiful creation out west!  We're planning for early this fall.

Swam a lot at our apt. pools. {And, side note, my little girl dream of being a mermaid lives on.}

 Celebrated national ice cream day by wearing a blouse with little ice cream cones/treats all over it & enjoying free gelato {&, of course, pizza} at Your Pie.

 Got a washing machine!  Yay!  No more quarters + apt. laundry mat for us!  We have a working dryer {thankfully}, but we've never had a working washer since we said, "I do," until now.

 Had my 8 year old nephew come & stay with us for a long weekend!  It was his longest stay away from his parents + Dan & I got to play parents.  We all had a blast {& it wore me out}!  We got snow cones, visited the Splash Pad downtown, the Columbus Museum, the National Infantry Museum, Oxbow Meadows, went to church, the new Lego store, swam, played the Wii, found lots of painted rocks + painted & hid some of our own, had a Nim's Island movie night-in, & made chocolate "dirt" pudding with gummy snails & worms!

 The very last day of July was the last day of my summer vacation as I'm back to subbing long term again {praising God for a month long position to start off the school year}.  We spent it exploring + taking pictures downtown & kissing on the rocks next to the roaring Columbus rapids of the Chattahoochee {with the Spanish moss in the trees overhead}. {What? 😍 We're married!} We ended with free fudge samples {Who knew there was such a thing as mint chocolate chip fudge?!  Yum!} & a scoop of Kilwins' ice cream.  Cake batter flavor for me, please.

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

The Whisper


There are these quiet moments, I remember long -
Wondering & waiting, as if for the perfect song
To come & spell-cast my weary soul
Back to what I know is true -
You are for me - &, I'm - for You. ❤

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

The Gifts in My Marriage


If there's something I've learned in dating, becoming engaged, being wed, & living out married life with my 2nd love {God is 1st}, it's this: everyone's story is different.  Sure, there are some similarities, but there's also loads of sweet uniqueness that make each person's love story their own.  It's so easy, especially for us women, to fall into the compare snare when we look at each other's lives... & the compare trap leads to discontent & envy &, in a word, sin.  I say all that to say, this post maybe written more for my love & I than for anyone else, but I wanted to chronicle the gifts in my marriage, so when the clouds come I don't lose sight of the sunshine we've got hidden right behind 'em, waiting for them to blow by.

If we are together, then there's always a goodnight kiss.

Prayer before we head out the door every weekday. {We didn't really sit down & plan this or really even discuss it prior, it just sorta became our thing.  We prayed for each other that 1st day, then the next, & next, & so on, until now it would feel strange if we didn't.  It's a humongous blessing in our marriage.}

Someone to study the Bible with.  I still have my personal Bible/prayer time daily, but it's so wonderful in the evenings to be able to come together as a couple & read His Word & talk to Him.

An adventure partner.  We both have hearts that crave adventure & we love to share in that together.

I get to live with my best friend.  For this girl whose never had a roommate & is an introvert for sure, I was anxious about sharing a dwelling with another human {I'd been living solo for about 6 years}!  There are challenges & adjustments, but in the end, I wouldn't want to live with anyone else.  He's my BFF, protector {he also wields a light saber with skill}, lover, & safe soul.

Someone to laugh with {& make those special inside jokes only the two of us get}.

Unexpected tokens of love in the forms of cards, flowers, & sometimes pink cookies.

Someone to run to greet at the end of his busy day.

Someone to call me beautiful always.

A hand to hold every place we venture.

A love who prays for me - & I for him, throughout our days.

A strong someone to keep me safe & loved.

My lover's lips to kiss again & again & for as long as we have breath.

Someone to cuddle in front of the TV with {+ kiss during the commercials}!

A man who opens the car door for me + clears away the dishes!

A partner to serve Christ with.

Someone to send all the heart eyes texts to. 😍

Arms to hold me + a lap to sit in.

Someone to know + keep my secrets {& vice-versa}.

A lover + partner + best friend for life!

I love you, Dan!  I know these are just a few of the gifts in our marriage.  You are my gift & I treasure you.

Monday, July 31, 2017

The Tough Stuff of Marriage


They don't tell you in all the glittery pastel-y cards you get by the boat load - you know the kind that speak of the magic & wonder & stardust & castles & true love bit of getting married.  They byway the true stuff & go for the fluff we all love.  Truth is, in my neck of the woods, marriage is hard.

I know we are all human {That's the problem, right?}, but when time & time again another Christian marriage crumbles in the spotlight, or in our small community of believers, it hits me where my fear is so strong.  I could end up hurt.  Another statistic, like the other couples we thought were unbreakable - the couples who vowed on their wedding days & wholeheartedly thought they meant it... until one or both of them didn't.

It's true, the enemy hates godly marriages.  It's scary in this messed up world to know you & your husband have targets on your back.  But, in actuality, all Christ followers have these targets, &, in turn, we all have all we need with Jesus as our strength & His holy Spirit as our power.  But, can I be honest, I'm still scared sometimes.  In all utter honesty, sometimes the fear of the possibility of my marriage failing & my heart being broken into bits freezes my soul & begs me to take the easy way out - end it now, when there's no children to be harmed, & no more chance of my own pain that could be down this unknown road.  Isn't that so wrong?  Isn't, even this, the very tactic of the enemy in my life?  That in the end, I cannot control what my husband does, or make him love me forever, or be his enough.  It terrifies me, this loss of control that I never really had in the 1st place.

God is in control.  Let me just repeat that to myself & breathe: God is in control & He is good.  That is all I know right now.  I don't know if my marriage will end happily ever after.  I only know I promised a good & faithful God that I would love this man with all I have for all our days.  And, I know the only way I can do it in this world where marriages are thrown out with yesterday's leftovers, is through Christ.  In Him, my husband & I, find our cord of 3 that cannot easily be broken {Ecclesiastes 4:12}.  Marriage is tough, but our heavenly Daddy is bigger than our biggest mess, & that is an abundance of hope that carries me through way better than any Hallmark card poetry ever could.

P.S.: Romans 8:28!

Friday, July 28, 2017

Trending: Cactus Home Finds {$20 & Under!}

Cactus Home Finds 1

While it might not be the best idea to cozy up to a plant covered in spikes, these cactus-inspired finds will definitely bless your home with a bit of comfy/chic desert style... nothing prickly about it - not even the price!

Cactus Home Finds 2

With Dan & I planning a trip to Arizona for the early fall, all things southwestern are calling to me!