Five intentions for the next five years of marriage

15 September 2017

When I read this post from T.J. Mousetis last year, I immediately knew I wanted to do the same thing for our five year wedding anniversary. I love T.J.’s boldness and honesty in sharing that he thinks his marriage is awesome. I also love that he is so open and unashamed about the work that can be done within it. It doesn’t have to be one or the other. That’s not a message I hear often, but it’s one that fires me up.

One of the truest things that’s ever been said is that you can’t change anyone but yourself. If I want my marriage to be even more awesome on our ten year anniversary than it is now, that starts with me. To that end, I submit to you five things I want to work on in my next five years of marriage (I’ve already shared them in a card with John!):

1. Listen to the things he wants me to change, and actually do them. I am extremely guilty of glazing right over John voicing something he doesn’t like or wishes I would do differently, registering it as nagging, and letting it go in one ear and out the other with hardly a second thought. It’s often small things — a specific example that comes to mind is not leaving food in the sink disposal — but they matter enough to him to voice. I am committing to giving him the grace of a response (“yes, I will work on that”) and then ACTUALLY WORKING ON IT. My first thought is to start a new note in my phone so I can remember the things (baby steps!).
2. Maintain patience, kindness, and calm when faced with stressful situations. John and I are typically calm, level-headed people. (Our pediatrician even said to us, “Wow, you two seem very chill for first time parents” at June’s two week visit. Ha!) However, we have this strange but persistent habit of COMPLETELY falling apart when faced with certain stressful situations, including but not limited to missing a turn when driving and loud scenes that draw attention to us (ahem, toddler). I am committing to staying on the same team in these situations by controlling my tone of voice and not holding a grudge when things don’t go my way.
3. Respect and honor his food safety ways. Bear with me here, people. I know this might sound silly, but it is very, very real. On the spectrum of germaphobia, I am at one end (the eat things off the floor end) and John is at the other. Instead of teasing him, raising my eyebrows, or getting into arguments over whether food in the refrigerator can still be eaten (one of our most common causes of tiffs), I am committing to to respecting and honoring his preferences for how our kitchen is run without groaning or complaint.
4. Hug every day upon reentry. Simple enough :) We do this often, but I want it to be a rock-solid, never-fail, indelibly-printed-in-June’s-mind kind of thing. Home should be the best place to be, and a warm welcome goes a long way to making it so.
5. Grow in my relationship with God the Father, particularly through prayer. If I am constantly trying to be more like Jesus, my marriage will improve. If I want to be more like Jesus, I need to talk to him often and listen to him even more. This is already something I’m working on (and I’m sure it will be a lifelong pursuit until we meet face to face!) but it deserves a mention here, too.

Marriage is unique: in our case, it’s two imperfect people helping each other toward perfection. These things won’t happen overnight and they might not happen in five years, but I will try and try again (with joy and by the grace of God!) because I love my husband and I love my marriage.

Thank you for always being so encouraging, friends! It is a joy to share here. xo

P.S. Intention number six: take more photos of just the two of us?! I could not find a single one from this year without June in it…

Does your wedding look timeless?

12 September 2017

John and I are celebrating five years of marriage this week! (Our anniversary is on Friday!) I have some deeper thoughts coming your way soon, but today, I have a question for you: if you’re married, do your wedding photos look timeless?

I ask because I kind of keep waiting for mine to look dated, but at least to my eyes (and I do admit my eyes could be biased), they don’t. Maybe in another five years?

Maybe. Maybe not. After all, we made a lot of traditional choices: I wore a blusher veil. John wore a black tuxedo. I carried a white bouquet. My makeup was minimal. We were married in a chapel. Our centerpieces were in collected silver. We swayed on a black and white dance floor under a sailcloth tent, to the tunes of a big band.

formal groomsmen

Of course, there were other details that were more unexpected: we served donuts and cookies as our dessert. In lieu of favors, we made a donation to a pet adoption agency, and shared the news via watercolor portraits of our cats.

Each of those decisions, whether traditional or unique, was carefully considered, and chosen because it felt fitting for our story and relationship. Rooting our wedding in classic style was a way we honored the enduring legacy of marriage in our families. (Similarly, I love how our gold wedding bands link us to some of the treasured people in our lives with beautiful marriages — our parents, our grandparents — many of whom wear gold bands.)

Tanja Lippert

I’m pretty familiar with weddings these days, and from my viewpoint, we are certainly in a “classic moment” (having shifted out of the rustic, shabby chic “moment” that immediately preceded it!). Blame it on the Duchess or Father of the Bride (a millenial childhood staple!), but I hear people talking about wanting to have a classic, timeless wedding a LOT. No one wants to look back on their wedding photos and cringe. While I certainly don’t think it’s a bad thing to have a “classic” wedding (obviously!), I think choosing something simply because it’s classic, not because it’s meaningful to you, is a missed opportunity.

wedding vows

After all, when your kids look at your wedding photos in twenty years and laugh at your choices (because they will certainly find something to laugh at!), don’t you want to be able to tell them why you made those choices? Why they were meaningful to you, why you loved them at the time? And don’t you want a better reason than “because it was trendy”? (Even if, ironically, the trend is classic style?)

Wedding photos looking dated isn’t a bad thing — it just means you’re lucky enough to have celebrated several years of marriage! :)

Alright, getting off my soap box. Friends, I would LOVE to hear: If you’re married, do your photos look “timeless”? Is that something you were striving for when making decisions? If not, what dates them? Do you care?

P.S. I think it can’t be understated that photography makes a big difference in whether a wedding photo seems dated. A big reason why our photos seem timeless is Tanja’s crisp, clean, true color film wizardry. Certain posing styles and processing techniques could make any wedding appear dated!

P.P.S. The best kind of dated wedding photos.

The beauty of an imperfect home

8 September 2017

My recent post about my house contentment hack seemed to resonate with y’all, and I’m not surprised. A lot of us seem to struggle with feeling like our houses are less-than, instead of loving them for what they are: safe, warm, dry, comfy places to shelter our families. There’s a lot of wisdom in the comments of that post so I’d encourage you to go back and take a peek, but as a follow-up I wanted to share a story…

rainbow book shelf

Anagram Photo

Earlier this week, a friend called me up after reading my post. She and her husband stayed overnight with us for the first time this spring, and truthfully, I was a little nervous before their visit (and spent more time preparing and cleaning than usual!). She’s an impeccably thoughtful hostess and has a BEAUTIFUL home by any standard, and I wanted to make her feel welcome! (And, okay, look good while doing it…)

To my surprise, on the call she shared that their stay had come with an epiphany, that she left saying to her husband, that’s how I want our home to feel. The reason? Precisely because it WASN’T perfect. She specifically mentioned noticing pet fur on furniture, crumbs on the high chair, toys out on the rug. Not exactly what most of us want our homes to be known for (ha!), but there you have it. Instead of being embarrassed, I’m choosing to be honored that my thoroughly imperfect home gave her permission to loosen up a bit in hers.

The lessons here, as I see them:

1. Say the encouraging thing. Don’t just think they already know it. Everyone needs to be encouraged, and you’ll never regret saying something kind.
2. Your home, as crumb-filled or outdated or lacking as it may seem to you, could be exactly the soft landing — the permission-giving space — someone else needs. Never be afraid to invite someone in.

If you think about the homes you love the most, I would venture to guess you don’t love them because of their looks — you love them for the way you feel when you’re in them, the people inside them, and the memories you’ve made between their walls. I’m working to shift how I think about my own home, to value it for these things, and I thought it might be helpful for a few of you, too! xo

September 2017 goals

1 September 2017

My wish for August on the first day of the month was that it would be peaceful, unhurried, and with no surprise expenses (ha!). It wasn’t perfect, but compared to the rest of our summer, it was a breath of fresh air! (And the photo from our trip to Maine below is reminding me just how peaceful parts of it were!) We have a lot to look forward to in September, and I’m embracing the change in seasons with open arms.

What I read in July:
Lincoln in the Bardo (NOT my favorite read. I almost stopped midway through, but ended up persevering. Though critically acclaimed, it was a little too high-brow for me, plus the fact that it centered around a child dying hit too close to home for this mama.)
The Language of Flowers (A beautiful novel recommended by my friend Jess! Loved it!)
To Kill a Mockingbird (My favorite book of all time! It never gets old :))
— Books I’m reading throughout the year: The Power of a Praying Wife and The Lifegiving Home

Revisiting my goals for August:
Edit June in June (YES! See it here! So happy with how this turned out.)
Enjoy our Maine vacation with family (Yes! So grateful we were all together!)
Go on a date night sans June (We tried! We weren’t able to get a babysitter, so we had an official “at-home date night” instead, something we very rarely do. It was fun and felt special!)
Read To Kill a Mockingbird
Make an itinerary and reservations for our family weekend in Asheville, coming up in September (Done! I am so excited!)
Hold our grocery budget to $100 per week (This gets a half check. We actually did spend less than $100/week three out of four weeks, but with travel and trying a free box of HelloFresh and a few other things, we weren’t buying our normal slate of groceries on most trips. But, we did try a few new strategies, so I’m considering it a win!

September goals:
Write the Word every day (I’ve started Cultivate Gratitude now that they’re back in stock!)
— Eat a fruit or veggie at every meal (Yikes, is this an embarrassing goal?! Unfortunately, it is also necessary, as way too many breakfasts and lunches go by without either one. It’s inspired by my friend Callie, so at least I know I’m not alone!)
— Make a donation to Harvey relief through our charitable giving account. We never made our 2016 matching gift donation, and both felt moved this week to send that earmarked money to Texas.
— Bake apple cider scones for all of June’s teachers, past and present, on the first day of fall (a fun tradition we started last year!)
— Put Financial Peace University plans into motion at our church (we’re not teaching it, but spearheading it, in January!)
— Celebrate my parents well on our Asheville trip, as it’s sandwiched in between their 60th birthdays!
— Celebrate our fifth wedding anniversary!!!

If you have a favorite way to incorporate more fruits and veggies in your diet, please let me know in the comments!! And if you’ve posted your goals somewhere, I’d love to see a link for those, too :)

Affiliate links are used in this post!