comments on being married, month 6

i love that today is our six monthiversary. it feels like we've reached our first real milestone. 0.5 years! gotta love the sound of that...

(oh hi mom and dad. this doesn't sound impressive compared to your 35.5? well, we've got to start somewhere...catch you someday.)

question: how long are you married before you no longer qualify as newly weds? are we there yet? in ways we still feel like newly weds, but in ways it's hard to remember what it was like to not be married. the transition seemed so natural. i've heard from other couples that this is normal. 

newly weds or not, i noticed something recently: when i sat down to write the typical "bridal shower advice" card for a friend who is getting married, i discovered that while i had lots of great advice to pass on that we had been given when we got married, i also had some of my own--things i had learned during these past six months of marriage. i felt like i'd gone from a place of "i am married and know nothing about marriage!" to "i might know one or two things about marriage now. maybe not five things. but at least one or two."

here was some of the advice that stuck with us the most when we were getting married:

-"don't have arguments in bed/in your bedroom. if you have to settle it, get out of bed and go into another room and talk it out." (ian robinson) this is good. it's good to keep your room a safe and peaceful place. keep it somewhere for rest...and other things...and not a place of conflict. it makes a big difference when you both crawl into bed at night knowing that you can relax. and snuggle. 

-"put toothpaste on one another's brush each morning/night." (amber porter) it's a little act of service and humility. even if the warm and fuzzy feelings are lacking that day, serving one another (even in this little way) is a reminder of what marriage is suppose to be about.

-"save the romance. keep the bathroom door closed." (lindsay sauer) thank you lindsay. we are strict followers of the closed door policy. superb wisdom.

haha, i'm not sure why all the advice that revolves around the bedroom/bathroom has stuck with us the most. we received lots of other great advice too. kitchen and livingroom advice even. i just can't remember it right now.

ok, now here are one or two things that we have learned so far:

-these two things are important to learn early on: 
1. how to make decisions together 
2. how to quickly and lovingly resolve conflicts

the right way to do this probably looks different for every couple, so i won't say how you should do them. but, i will say, learn how to do them as soon as you can. pray through it together and use each opportunity as a chance to learn rather than an opportunity to fight to the end. sometimes all it takes is an, 

"ad, can we just be sweet now?" 

but usually, it will take a little bit more. just show grace as you figure out what this process looks like for you.

-learn when it is prudent to speak words of correction into one another's lives...and when it is prudent to just keep your mouth shut tightly up. ultimately, God changes hearts. God changes attitudes. God changes people. and He is way better at it than we are. so, if in doubt, shut up, and pray. first, for your own attitude. second, that God will lovingly speak correction into the areas of your spouse's life that He sees fit. save most of your words for building one another up. not for pointing out areas of weakness.

ok, so maybe three

-this is more for women but, if you want your husband to be a strong leader in your family, let him lead. don't say you want him to be a leader and then squelch his every opportunity by inserting your own will and opinion, at the expense of his. this doesn't mean you don't count. it just means, let him learn to lead. and trust that he'll do so with your best interest at heart. remember, he loves you! that's why he married you.

i basically believe all marriage advice can be summed up in this: dying to self. i've said that before, i know. on our third monthiversary i wrote this poem for adam and something in it rings truer and truer everyday--loving someone means stripping off our nature, putting on Christ's, and carrying our cross. and following him together. 

so, that's what i've got.

what has God been teaching you about marriage lately?

(photos by eric kelley photography)


journals and nuggets

from time to time, i've shared bits of the "spiritual autobiography" that i had to write third year of college. it's been awhile though.

here i shared q is for questions
here i shared c is for camp
here i shared b is for balloons
here i shared x,y, and z

today i'm going to share my "j" and "n" because they are things that i've been thinking about a lot lately. i'm always wanting to draw closer to God--and for those around me to as well. sometimes it feels like an insatiable desire; to get to know Him better. to understand His word better. to gain guidance and discernment from Him. but, sometimes it's hard. not because He can't relate to us or because He is uninterested in us, but because sometimes it's very hard to approach Him knowing that He is God, and trying to hang on to the fact that He is also personal and loves being in relationship with us.

these two letters illustrate little things about my relationship with God and my moments of seeking, discerning, and spilling my heart. 

"j is for journaling; making memory books of God.  my mother has kept dozens of photo albums of my life, starting from the time i was born.  i love looking back through them because they are reminders to me of the things that have happened in my life and the people who where there.  this is the reason i have always journaled; so i can look back and remember the places i have been with God, the things that He has brought me through, and the fact that He was always there with me.  it reminds me how i got where i am today.  j is for journaling, and creating photo albums of my walk with God."

"n is for nuggets, kind of like chicken but even better.  the Bible to me is more than just encouragement and “feel-good” quotes.  i believe that it is God’s true words and that it has power in its pages.  but one thing i really appreciate about reading it, are the times that God has used it to give me very specific 'nuggets' of wisdom, guidance, or comfort.  He uses it to show me just how intimately He knows my circumstances, and how He wants to speak counsel into my life.  n is for nuggets, and the way they show me God’s intimacy."

do you journal your prayers? or even just your thoughts? in those moments are you ever overwhelmed by the way God can speak to you through His living word? the way He really can give you "nuggets" that speak into your circumstances and offer you comfort, encouragement, discipline, or wisdom? do you ever just be still and listen for Him?

everyone's relationships look different. so it is with people's relationships with God. this is just a little about mine. how about yours?


surprise vacation

yesterday i was talking on the phone to my mamma. i was sick and heading to the store to get some meds. we were talking about her trip to mexico next week for this awesome couple's wedding. i made some comment about how i wish i could go with her, especially now that i'm done with graduate school, waiting for graduation, and in limbo with the job situation. we hung up. and before i could get my dayquil and ricola in the basket, she and my dad had found seats on my mom's flights to and from tulum, mexico.

"happy graduation! we're so proud of you!"

meet, my parents.

they are they most generous people i know. and, they always find ways to celebrate our accomplishments and let us know they are proud of us. for example, buying me a ticket to go lay on the beach in mexico with my mamma. i don't think there is anything that my body and my mind would benefit more from right now. 

only downside, i had to ditch my plans with ad to spend the weekend in cville. cville, no i don't love mexico more than you. adam, no i don't love mexico more than you. i know you both understand. thanks for letting me have this vacation. and the nice tan that will accompany it. 

i don't know when i'll start my first job. and i don't know when i'll have time off next. but, i do know that this spontaneous little vacation that i'm taking is the perfect way to celebrate the end of my time at duke and re-energize for whatever is next! 

so on that note, any suggestions for good beach reading?


high five for friday.

and just like that is was friday again...

the weekend is here and once again we are hanging around durham. what a good feeling. you know who else is hanging around durham this weekend? uva athletics. both the baseball and women's lax teams are coming to town. which means i get to get my wahoowa on for three days in a row. i was starting to forget what i look like in orange. no longer.

but before i get ahead of myself and dive into the weekend, i will share my top 5 things from this week. i do this every friday with lauren. you can join us if you'd like. just click the button below. ok, here goes:


well, i submitted my masters thesis. so there's that...

i finished what might be my last semester of class ever. so there's that too...
(although i'm feeling mixed emotions about this.)

i had two girl nights in a row last weekend. quite a big deal for a married girl. or, at least for this married girl. saturday i attended my first ever wine and art party. i made a painting of some trees. then my sister pretended not to know what they were. at least i'm telling myself she was pretending. i thought they were pretty obviously trees. you can check out this post and tell me what you think. sunday, i met up with some other blogger-types at this great place in raleigh and we chatted, swapped experiences, and munched on yummy things. in fact lauren, the one i'm linking up with at this very moment, was one of the hosts. thanks lauren, kate, and carrie for the fun night!

i found this beauty of a bracelet and sent a request to the hubs that he surprise me with it as my graduation gift. this is the first time i've ever done this. we'll see what happens...

which color do you like the best out of these three? they are my favorites. i think! click here to see the rest of the colors. and by the way, they are uni-sex. would your man wear one?

my hometown was rated the number five "best small town in america" by the smithsonian magazine. 
their tag line was,
"take numerous art galleries. add sailboats and local wines. stir. enjoy."

little old gig harbor is finally getting the love it deserves. please, go read about why they picked it and give a little sigh for how darling of a place it is. can you see how ad and i could have fallen in love here? reading this article made me miss home. especially all the bits about sailboats. i need me some time on the water in a bad way. just wish we had a trip to the gig on our calendar!

here is one of my favorite pictures of home (source):

ok, well that's all i've got for this week. what were five good things about your week? i'd love to hear!


attitude problem

last year about this time, i posted about what makes a spot in the library,

a great spot in the library.

it was inspired by my favorite library spot at Duke from which i was working blogging at that moment. funny, i find myself here in that same spot today, working on yet another assignment that is making me want to pull my hair out. wait, no i'm actually blogging again instead of working. anyway, it's the last assignment between me and graduation. classes finished yesterday. i also officially finished my thesis last night. now, i have a 15 page research paper to hammer out before i can throw in the towel and call it good. and then play with my mamma starting monday night.

for whatever reason, i just can't get it on paper/screen. i'm stuck. mostly because of a major attitude problem; namely, i-just-don't-want-to.

and also the fact that my mind is preoccupied with thoughts of, 

"i need to go to the bathroom but i'm nervous to leave all my stuff. should i pack it all up just to walk ten feet down the hall? what if i lose my spot? maybe i'll leave my apple core here so that no one takes my spot."


"why did i not bring more snacks? how can i work all day on a coffee and an apple? where is the closest place to get snacks?"


"great, i'm that person who brings loud snacks, like apples, to the library. i can't exactly eat sandwiches."


"why do i always forget my ear buds? do you think all these people around me would mind if i started playing some explosions in the sky from my computer speakers?"


"why do i feel the need to minimize blogger every time someone walks by and pull up my research paper so that it looks like i'm working? it's not like they are handing out demerits for wasting time in the library."

i just don't think i'm cut out for this student-business anymore. 19 years of school, it's been real. but can we call it quits about now?

how do you get focused when you just can't seem to get focused? share some insight with a friend here! and for all you students--good luck finishing up too!



return of the girl time

since i got married, my girl time has been significantly reduced.

i'm ok with this because i think it's natural. and i love my time with adam.

but, every once in awhile, the girl time in my life hits a little spurt and i seem to have a lot of it at once. this weekend was an example. i had two girl nights in a row (see ya adam!) and we did very girly things. it kind of reminded me of how much i like being a girl. a good reminder considering the fact that since living with a man, i have adopted some of his, um...less-than-ladylike habits. can some other wives out there please tell me this is normal?


saturday night my small group had a wine and art party. we bought it off of living social. basically, we went to an art studio, we drank wine, we ate hors d'oeuvres, and we learned to paint. girlfriends out there: do this with your girlfriends! it is so much fun and it's a growing fad. meaning it probably exists in your city too. here are some photos from ours:

working on our masterpieces.
all the ladies with said masterpieces.
my final product. don't judge.

ok, and onto sunday night:

so, my awesome hairdresser kate has this great blog called the small things. her sister also blogs (lauren-from my friday posts). the two of them, along with another friend, planned a night for bloggers around the raleigh/durham area to come and meet and socialize and inspire one another. 

i'm telling you, not my thing. it was going to be like rush all over again. and anyway, i'm not a serious blogger like them. i don't have a "blog business card" to bring. that would require that my blog was a business. it's not. it's more like a family dinner table where lots random thoughts get dumped and everyone has to decide what to do with them. and when i'm really lucky, people respond with their thoughts too. 

but regardless, my friend allyson (the recipe ranger) convinced me to go with her. so, we went. i grabbed a coffee and a scoop of ice cream to hide behind. i needed something familiar to grasp onto. then, slowly by slowly, allyson and i eased our way through the crowd and mingled here and there with some really cool women. i never knew just how many people blogged, how many people read blogs, and how many different kinds of blogs there are. blogs about crafts, cooking, fashion, hair, beauty, parenting, interior design, food! was a bit overwhelming. and made me wonder,

"where does my blog fit in this mix?"

but, what i came away with was simply a renewed gratefulness that i have somewhere to think out loud. to practice my love of writing. and to interact with you readers. i can't be all things to all readers. but i can keep right on being among the hills

which works out well, because i love it here. 


never would i ever

so, wednesday I posted about things that i'd love to do before my life is over. after writing them and hearing some of the things on your lists, it got me thinking about the things that i would never ever do. at least not in this life! i hate that these things exist (does it make me less fun?), but i guess i'll admit that i have my limits. are there any things that you would absolutely never do? what are they? 

-i would never (didn't while I was at UVa) streak the lawn. Do you know about this tradition? Click here and scroll down to the section about "streaking the lawn." i really wish i had been cool/brave/free enough to do this, but i just never had it in me. i know a lot of people did it after long evenings of inebriating activities...maybe i just didn't participate in enough any of those activities to divert my inhibitions on this one...i am just not a streaker. i'll keep my clothes and undies, thank you.

-i would never sky dive. i used to think i wanted to do this because it sounded so hard core. but the more and more i think about it, the more and more i realize that i would hate it more than eating a tub of black licorice while rooting for north carolina. the amount of terror that i would experience would outweigh the high from doing it about 1000 to 1. paragliding, check. parasailing, sure why not. bungee jumping, it's a possibility. free falling from an airplane for 1000s of feet clinging to the hope my parachute will open correctly and prevent my death, nope. i will not do it sam i am.

-i would never eat a tub of black licorice. not even one piece actually.

-i would never root for carolina, duh.

-i would never go on reality tv. wait, unless ty wanted to come build me an awesome new house...while sending me and ad on a stellar vacation together.

-i would never pass up a free scoop of ice creamz.  

-i would never swim with sharks. at least, i don't think i would. it freaks me out enough to go stand next to the glass at the zoo with those huge sharks swimming right up to me. the way they stare at you out of the side of their heads...eek. maybe if the sharks were small, vegetarian, and friendly then i would. or if i could be in a cage. but chances are, it's not going to happen. they can have their space, and i'll stick to mine.

-i would try just about any food, but i would never eat horse. i had a friend in italy who was from the south (of italy, that is). and they eat horses there sometimes. i'm not judging, i'm just saying no. not for me.

-i would never pierce any body part besides my ears. one, i couldn't pull it off. two, ouch. and three, i just don't want to. on this note...

-i would never get a second tatoo. i love my tat. i mean, reeeaally love it. i got it on my 18th birthday with my best friend/sister in-law emily. my art teacher designed it, it's very subtle, and it's on my foot where i can easily cover it. never have i regretted it. never will i ever want another one. it's perfect and totally enough.
Photo by the sweet Meredith McKee!

gosh, as this list grows i feel lamer and lamer by the minute. i better quit before i lose all my cool beans. what are some things that you have resolved never to do? or are you open to just about anything?

happy new week my friends! remember,

"this is the day (week!) that the Lord has made. let's rejoice! and be glad!" (Psalm 118:24)


instead of a show

last night we saw switchfoot live.

have any of you ever seen them live?

ok, so i have to admit, i used to listen to them a lot. but, in the past few years i've spent a lot more time listening to jon foreman's solo stuff. very beautiful, very mellow, very powerful too! the concert last night reaffirmed my dream to see jon foreman perform solo because his voice is absolutely unreal live.


as we were driving home we popped some j.f. on the ipod and the four of us were singing along...when this song came on. all the sudden, i turned to adam and said, am i remembering this wrong or did we both start singing this last night in bed? 

haha, we had.

neither of us really knew why.

we'd just kinda started singing it and then went to sleep i guess. 

but it kinda makes sense because this is the kind of song that sticks in your mind a lot. i love jon because his songs are often straight out of scripture. and sometimes it's much harder to memorize scripture than a song. and i always want to have God's word hidden in my heart, on my mind. and this song, for whatever reason is, a lot. it talks about the way God hates it when our faith is all show, and no heart. when we claim to serve him, but neglect to show love to those he loves. how he hates it when we are hypocrites.

i guess,

it's the same complaint a lot of non-christians have about christians. 

bet they never knew that they were in such agreement with God on something. anyway, here are some of the lyrics. it's based on part of amos 5:

i hate all your show and pretense,
they hypocrisy of your praise
they hypocrisy of your festivals
i hate all your show

away with your noisy worship
away with your noisy hymns
i stomp on my ears when you're singing 'em
i hate all your show

instead, let their be a flood of justice
an endless procession of righteous living
instead let there be a flood of justice
instead of a show

your eyes are closed when you're praying
you sing right along with the band
you shine up your shoes for the services
there's blood on your hands

you turned your back on the homeless
and the ones that don't fit in your plan
quit playing religion games
there's blood on your hands.

instead, let their be a flood of justice
an endless procession of righteous living
instead let there be a flood of justice
instead of a show...

give love to the ones who can't love at all
give hope to the ones who got no hope at all
stand up for the ones who can't stand at all

instead, let their be a flood of justice
an endless procession of righteous living
instead let there be a flood of justice
instead of a show

what do you think?

i think that the bridge says it all: give love to those who can't love. give hope to those with no hope. stand up for those who can't. this was the heart of Jesus' ministry and it should be the heart of our life too, if we love him. i mean, if we claim to follow a savior, we should probably...follow him. as in, do what he did. and this is what he did. 

just some food for thought on this lovely saturday morning.


hive-five for friday!

it's friday! or, as we they say in italy, 


ok, got my snobbish, i-miss-speaking-italian comment out so now we can move right along. (but doesn't everything sound a little bit better in italian? no? just me?)

oh, i'm just so happy it's friday i could sing. lot's of fun things went down this week which means there is much to be grateful for and much to share as i link up with lauren for high-five for venerdi friday! can you think of five good things from this week? if you can (and i bet you five bucks you can) you can link up too. it's fun! just click the button below for the how-to. 


while you are now thinking of yours, here are mine:

i spent last weekend in virginia! you know, how happy that made me. i spent most of it with my favorite sister and her husband. but i got to sneak over to my happy place, charlottesville(!), for easter service at portico church, which was beyond awesome. we met at the jpj arena and praised Jesus till we cried. literally. even my hubs was tearing up. look how many people came!

a pretty picnic by the water with: family and friends and bocce ball and inchworms and easter eggs and kayaks.

i gave up french fries for lent. and until wednesday i still hadn't had any. so i texted adam that we should get some chick-fil-a. i was seriously ready for some waffle fries (oh hey steph!). he didn't respond. i thought it was because he was offended by my suggestion, seeing as we never eat fast food. but actually, he was on the phone with his sister so he didn't see it. (keep reading)
meanwhile, he went through the drive through at chick-fil-a and brought me home some waffle fries!!!!! without ever seeing my text. he freaked out when he saw it while i was sitting there eating my fries. moral of the story: my husband can read my mind. cool! and yikes!
i gave, and passed, my masters thesis defense. this was huge! praise Jesus. that makes me a few papers away from being a master. ad and i joke that now we will be mr. and master nelson. bah! the day he calls me that...

tonight we are going to see switchfoot! it is our dream to see jon foreman in a solo concert. do you know any of his music? well, he's fabulous. check him out here. he is also the lead singer of switchfoot so we figured this would be the next best thing, for now. it's been too long since we saw some live tunes. so hooray for starting our weekend off on such a good note! (that pun was all for you ad).

ok, now you've had plenty of time to think of five things to be grateful for this week. what were they? i hope your weekends are full of fun and surprising little happys too.

love you readers so stinking much. thanks for coming.


would you ever...?

now that my thesis is behind me (minus a few last edits) and i am inching closer and closer to the end of my academic career (for now, at least) i have been thinking a lot about what is next. what type of position do i want to accept? what are my goals for my future. you know, 

what do i want to do with my life?

i can't tell you how many people have asked me this question lately. do i enjoy being asked this question? no comment. 

but it does get me thinking... 

all that thinking about what i want to do with my life has made me daydream a bit about what i want to do IN my life. like, before i die. do you have a bucket list? what kinds of things are on it? here are some of mine. would you ever do any of them?

in no particular order:

-go skinny dipping (preferably at night).
-get published.
-climb Kilimanjaro.
-be an auntie to some darling little (half) rwandan children.
-be a mamma (heavy on the "someday"). 
-dream in italian.
-visit new zealand and meet all of those kiwis adam adores. and their cute kiwi babies. and backpack around the south island with him.
-take a trip on a sailboat. already got my captain picked out.
-read this book and this book, by Ayn Rand.
-learn to scuba dive.
-own a porch with a porch swing. sit on that swing a lot.
-see this band play in their home country, iceland.
-live in Charlottesville again (starting tomorrow, if possible).
-teach high schoolers about global health and how much bigger the world is than they realize.
-live on the water, own a little sail boat (hobie cat?), and sail a lot with my hubs. (and pup?) 

what are some things you dream of doing? would you ever do any of these things? 

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