T is for Thankful

On this dreary Wednesday night, there’s nothing more fitting than a good old fashioned Thank You post!

10 Things I’m Thankful For Today & Everyday:

  1. Good Old Green Car has been a trusty companion for the past several years. I’m thankful it’s still running and doesn’t have any of that modern technology like power locks or power windows.
  2. Franklin the Dog’s jumping to come home to. His ever wagging tail and excessive panting always put a smile on my face the minute I walk in the door.
  3. My Students – between the good and bad, easy and hard, empowering and draining, funny and serious, energizing and tiring – there is always something to be thankful for in who they are and what they are learning.
  4. Coffee – Need I say more? Coffee is always there for me when I need her most. She gives me a false sense of energy and a false sense of confidence, but it’s all I need on any sleepy-eyed morning.
  5. Snapchats full of bitmojis with friends who get me and the true authenticity that these tiny pictures share.
  6. Josh’s hugs. Comfort and safety and love all wrapped together.
  7. Morning Time Bible Reading – no matter how groggy I am or sleepily I scroll the my Bible app, I’m thankful for the power these words and the
  8. The gift of words. If you’ve read any of my other posts,  you know the ways that I’m learning to embrace words strung together for others to read.
  9. The power of reading – the escape it brings, the diversity it shows, and the freedom it gives me to imagine and believe.
  10. Laughter. Always laugh. Find something to laugh at. If nothing else, just laugh at yourself. It makes everything better.
  11. Choice. The opportunity to make a choice on my thoughts, feelings, and attitude. The opportunity to choose what I do and where I go, what my future could hold and the steps I might take to shape it.
  12. Connection. I wrote about my new word(s) for the new year, and this was one of them. Connecting means being present with the environment and people I’m in right here and right now. Focusing on connection – when I remember to – has changed so much for me in my day to day life. I need to remember that more!
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M is for Marriage

I wrote this list when Josh and I were engaged. We had been thinking, reading, and talking a lot about how to “prepare” for our marriage. After awhile of talking about something for so much, there’s nothing else to say and there comes a time where you just have to walk through it.

After almost two years have passed, I see that these ideas are more true than I realized at the time. Here they are:

Things I thought I learned about marriage before it even started, but are still true today:
  1. Getting married doesn’t mean you have arrived. *girl tells story about problems in dating* “And look at us now, we’re married! So it all worked out!!!” ………No. Getting married does not make you a success story and it does not mean that you have arrived. It’s just the beginning. Marriage isn’t a trophy you tote around to talk about your success and victory in dating. No.
  2. Your past sin is not going to ruin your marriage. Maybe this one has a caveat. It won’t ruin your marriage…unless you let it. If it hasn’t been dealt with and brought into the light, then yes. If there is unforgiveness, then yes. I get where the idea that it’s going to doom your marriage would come from. But, just because it existed, that doesn’t mean that your marriage will suffer. There is healing. There is redemption. Jesus didn’t command purity so that when we failed he could use our failure to withhold good from us in the future. He commanded purity because it is for our good.
  3. Getting married doesn’t mean you have to have it all together. I’ve had this idea of what I would be like and what my husband would be like when we got married. It included perfection, an absence of sin, unwavering understanding of each other, and unattainable levels of maturity. That’s not reality. Our problems won’t be solved just because we get married. It isn’t some magical fairy land where the world stops and all your problems go away. Life goes on and the world keeps moving.

On this Valentine’s Day, Josh and I spent time thinking about our marriage and what it means. It’s crazy that tomorrow we are are speaking to college students about marriage. I hesitated to sign onto this because I just feel so beginner. Our marriage is in its’ beginnings still, we are finding our footing, and we are learning a lot.

I hope that we never stop learning a lot.

Through it all, I’m thankful for the parallel of Christ and the Church and a husband and wife. I’m thankful that the redemption that is easily seen in marriage, and for the joy it is to journey in the ups and downs with my favorite friend, partner, and husband.

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I’m thankful for this guy and for everything that makes him who he is. Thanks for making me smile this hard every single day. This one’s for you, Josh. I love you so much.

D is for Dance

In the month of February, I’m challenging myself to write more (everyday), share more, and risk more. Welcome to my A to Z series based on whatever came to my mind first. 😉 Enjoy the ride! 

In college, Josh and I took ballroom dancing classes. As part of the class, we had to rotate partners with a bunch of strangers. It was really fun, for the most part. But, the times where we had to polka around in quick circles with a partner that had no idea what they were doing left us feeling jostled and dizzy.

The communication with your partner matters. Our instructors often talked about teamwork and communication between partners, learning to read the intent of your partner by paying attention to their movements and gestures.

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There are so many analogies to draw between partner dances and a real relationship, so why not?

Here are some ways I think dancing has helped us IRL (in real life…am I relevant yet???) :

  1. Pay attention. While dancing, you have to pay attention to what the other person is feeling, thinking, and doing. If you don’t pay attention to the little signals, you don’t really know what to do. I think the most important thing that Josh and I have learned throughout our relationship is that it’s important to pay attention to each other. In giving the other your full attention, you don’t miss the little things. The little things add up to the big things and it’s a really easy way to remind the other of their worth.
  2. Don’t place blame, just take it. Both of you. When you get confused while ballroom dancing, it’s easy for the leader to place blame on the follower that they weren’t following well. Likely, it’s tempting to for the follower to imply that the leader wasn’t being very clear. Both instances place blame and point out a void in the other. It’s not a bad thing to help each other in certain weak points. But, we’ve realized the importance of each acknowledging our own responsibility and then communicating what could have helped. Obviously, we’re far from perfect at this and probably blame each other more often than not. Oops. We’re working on it.
  3. Have fun! Dancing is more fun if you’re trying to have fun! If we’re trying to be cool and fancy and “good at it,” it’s really not that fun. I feel like that’s the same thing as a couple. If I’m trying to think about how cool we look as a couple, or how much we don’t fight, or make sure everyone knows how much we are in love and support each other, I am way more easily perturbed with things that don’t matter. And, in the end, I’m not really having much fun. I think one of the greatest gifts of a friendship or relationship like this is that life’s experiences can be more deeply enjoyed because you’re with the other. Do it even if you’re not good at it, and have fun with it anyway!

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