Wednesday, December 26, 2012

I'll be home for Christmas

Our elf sits like a man

Monogrammed bracelet for our anniversary! 

Downtown Ft. Wayne at Christmas

Uncle and nephew

To-go mugs..because we always lose them.

My christmas present!

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Look what GOD has done

One of my friends text me a few nights ago:
"Your first anniversary is in a week! How amazing, look what God 
 has done in just a year."

I can't believe it. 
I'm glad God doesn't count time as what is the most meaningful. 

People have been asking me whether I thought the first year was the hardest, and I'm unsure of how to answer them. 
We are positive we will have years that are more difficult in outward circumstances, but those years will be so blessed by our relying on God's grace. 

And I'm sure there will be years where we struggle more inwardly. But they can't seem to be measured by anything but how much grace He gives. That's all that's left to see. 

This year has been a whirlwind. 
There is so much I dont remember. 
Good stuff, bad stuff. 
It's a blur.
After a year, we're left with no points we can add up of how many months we got along well or how much we prayed together or what we did... 
All we have is this great shadow of Him over it all. 

We're humbled and we're thankful, and we're most certainly different, though I couldn't describe exactly how.

Every marriage looks different. What is difficult for us might not faze you. 

So, if you're a newlywed, enjoy the journey of figuring it out together. Don't be discouraged and don't look around at other people! 

To get really "practical, everyday life" with you, here's what "good" looks like for us:

- I feel tons of pressure to cook meals for my husband. Pressure I put on myself. Partly because I want to serve my husband, but mostly because of my pride. I want to exceed the expectations as "wife." Ya know, so I can hear the crowd's applause in my mind.
The truth is, Clarke is a better cook. He loves to cook. Most of the week he makes it home before me. So it just works for us that he does most of the cooking. Now that I've accepted this, I can enjoy it and have a grateful heart for him serving me that way.

- I'm the laundry girl. It's my thing. Don't try and fold it. Don't even look at my laundry.

P.S. These things are subject to change as we move through the seasons of this life.

- 99.999% of the time, we go to bed at the same time. Our weird schedules don't align for most hours of the day, so even that sleep-time is precious, quality time.

- I had to learn that my husband needs time to himself. Even if it's just for ten minutes. He studies better if he gets away from the house for awhile. Give him ten minutes (go ahead, give him an hour) of uninterrupted time with a book or his bible, and thank Jesus that He is your husband's first love. 

- My husband is funny all the time. All the time, people. I could be embarrassed or I could get over it and enjoy life. I got over it.

Last and least: we know how to argue. Oooh, can a conversation go from hilarious to ticked off in a jiffy. But Jesus is working on our hearts and we're for real submitting our wrong thoughts to Him. Oh, and these lips have spoken some horrible words to my husband. Awful. I would have to bleep them out on blogger. 

What I'm trying to say is...

I am fallen. We are depraved. But we don't have to stay in our junk. Our lives are now hidden in Christ. And He is painting a glorious picture with this marriage. 

I'm raising my glass (of water. bahaha) to however many more days or months or years God gives us this marriage. Lord, make your name famous. 

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Crazy people

It's almost Christmas.

Monday is our 1 year anniversary.

To celebrate, I give you...

A list:

1.) We are crazy people, over here. We like to wrestle, quote movies, and talk in silly voices. We're the bomb at fake arguing. Yes, we bought an elf on the shelf. No, we don't have children, we just thought it would be hilarious to hide him all over the house from each other.

2.) Are Christmas cards vain? This was our first year sending one and I feel kinda weird sending people a card that is saying, "Hey, look at all these pictures of me, don't I have nice hair?" Okay, not really. This card is about the gospel, baby. We chose it for the "and the hope of Christ alone." That killed my heart. He's our hope and every season is beautiful because he was born to live for us and die for us. That was the way the Father decided to bring Glory to Himself and it wrecks my heart over and over that He wants us for His glory.

Naptime Diaries Christmas Card

3.) The house is glowy right about now and I could keep it like that all year.

4.) My husband is being sneaky with gifts. I have to just tell someone, I've noticed the sneak! So, ya know, once those fabulous gifts come out of the box, YOU can vouch for me. I knew.

5.) Spinach dip and sweet Hawaiian bread are so delicious together. They should be married. My netflix in bed goes great with spinach dip. 2nd favorite...right after hummus. Hey now, I just like to eat.

6.) An older man walked up to me in the walmart parking lot as I was putting the groceries in my car. He asked if he could take my cart and save me the trip. Geez, I was blessed.

7.) Go grab one of those sweet Christmas cards if you haven't already. Personally, I love seeing everyone's faces all over our house!

Saturday, October 13, 2012


 I love seeing my friends for the first time with no makeup.

 Really, that's part of the bonding.

 Greasy hair, no contacts, no makeup. I adore it.

So, here's what I look like at 10 p.m.  Let's be friends, okay?


Wednesday, October 10, 2012

No-work wednesday

 Because it's my day off...

Fall is my favorite for dressing.

And I want to look that cozy, today.

Monday, October 8, 2012

The Venti Vent

I have this struggle. 

It's a marriage killer.

It's one that looks like it will lift the cares off my shoulders, but instead I am left lacking. With more trouble than when I started.

I like to call it The Venti Vent. 

No, I don't mean letting out a struggle to some godly friends or the occasional mess I become in front of my husband when something serious happens and I don't know what to do.

We're skipping the tall and grande and heading straight to the venti

I will be going right along, taking things to the Lord and walking with Him and resting in his truth and grace. Then something will frustrate me and that one thing, like forgetting my purse, if not covered in God's word and right thinking about the situation, will turn my heart upside down.

And when partnered with the opportunity to tell someone about it...

The Venti Vent enters the picture.

I have two options:
Run from my desire and the momentary fix of full vent
Give into it. Let my mouth run free, speaking with my flesh.

Let me paint the picture...

9 months married.
Blessed with abundant riches of their savior.
Best friends. Jokes. Easygoing. 
A husband that provides, encourages, leads, laughs, and serves. 
Serves and never complains.
An adoring wife, along for the ride.


All at once there's that one frustrating thing
And she thinks if she just speaks it to him 
Then she'll feel better.
So she speaks those first words. 
And it doesn't feel better, yet.
And as if she's never played with this fire before
She takes those things she was previously looking at through the Lord's eyes
And starts burning them on The Venti Vent Fire.
The words keep flowing and flowing until every thing has been looked out and spoken about through her flesh.

The Vent is over. Every bit she had she threw on the fire.

She should feel free at this point, right?

She got it all out.

No, she feels empty.

She burnt up all the good things, too.

And that sweet husband, he's confused, too.

You got the flames flying so high, you burnt him.

And you got smoke in his eyes. And now he can't see clearly.

All those things you said, you really don't feel that badly about.

But the temptation of the vent was too strong.

How are you going to convince that husband about a different perspective?

You wonder why he seems to misunderstand you.

Well, the intesity of that full vent is memorable.

What about the intensity of your praise?

What about the Venti Truth?

Are those forgettable?

If I would have turned from those first words, never letting them come out. Then the fire would never have been built.

I could have used my energy to sing His words in my heart.
To speak them aloud. 
And then the only burning would have been my desire for the Lord.

How quickly can our words burn down our houses, ladies?

We spend years building it up by living God's truth.

When your lips are tempted to speak those first few words...
for your immediate desire to take the easy way out...
remember, it's a lie.
The easy way is easy for a minute
But when the vent is over
You will be left with more problems than when you started.
You will not be free. 
You will be discouraged.
Your husband will not feel closer to you, but more confused about what is truly going on.

 "A fool gives full vent to his spirit, but a wise man quietly holds it back." Proverbs 29:11

 "When words are many, transgression is not lacking,but whoever restrains his lips is prudent." Proverbs 10:19

The good news is that God's grace is bigger than The Venti Vent.

If you struggle with this, too, please join with me in crying out for the Lord's help.
I pray we will not settle for what seems natural, but that the Lord, in his merciful riches, will guide us in the spirit.

I pray we win the war with words. For our hearts. For our friends. For our husbands. For God's glory.

You're not alone in this war with our flesh.

E & A,


Friday, September 28, 2012

Chicken broth and man candles

This guy with perfect teeth actually  hangs out with me

I had to start this post with that. It just made your day, didn't it? You want to sing a song or grow a beard, dontcha?

At our house, we're weird and we love it.

I was seeing all of this unfold on wednesday at our community group, as I was dramatically giving the reasons why all our friends should come visit our house. I should have just shown them the picture above. Sold. Easy as pie.

Instead, it went something like this :

Think fast paced and jazzy

"At our house there will always be coffee and soup. A vat of soup. And I have this candle that smells like sexy man scent. Really, when I told the lady at Bath and Body works that it smelled like my husband, she told me she refers to that candle as the Sexy Man candle. I couldn't resist. You want to come to our house and smell it. You like chicken broth? I will make you chicken broth. And there are tons of warm blankies. Shoes, no shoes..we don't care! The men can smoke cigars and talk about theology around a firepit. Actually, if the ladies want to smoke cigars and talk about theology, that's good, too. Oh, and if you find something you like at my house, I just might give it to you. I don't cook very well, but I know how to bake some brownies." 

Here's the thing, all I really had to say was, "Clarke will be there." It's very handy having a likeable husband. The guy is not afraid to be funny, okay? He made up a song the other night about things that happened in each grade of school. He told two girls that santa wasn't real and their parents buy the gifts. Then, he took them beaded necklaces to apologize. That was just 1st grade, I believe. Ask him about telling the teacher he was allergic to bologna or the time he pierced his ear with a nail, in class, for $50.

My life will never be boring. And it will always be funny.

If you need a laugh, our door is always open.

E & A,

Thursday, September 27, 2012


Remember that good 'ol saying, "It's better to give than to receive." 

Yeah, that one.

Except, when it comes to grace, it's kind of like a vicious cycle. You have to receive it from the Lord to be able to understand giving it. And you need every bit of holy spirit help to give it. But when you give it, it reminds you how much it means for someone else to have to give even more grace to you.

It's better to give and receive.

A few situations this week have reminded me so much of the peace that grace brings...

On more than one occasion we have made plans with people and they've bailed last minute. Your flesh so badly wants to think the worst - to assume they don't care or value your time - but the gospel just overcame me in that very moment to say, "It's completely fine. We understand." And it was genuine. Because, folks, we do understand. In that moment, I thought of how much we have going on and how we want to make time for everyone and sometimes we have to call things off for our sanity. Now, don't get me wrong, I'm all about learning how to say no up front and making sure we stick to our word. But we are human...and our God is so gracious. And that very fact about him allows us to be gracious, too. Because we have Jesus.

Grace is sweet. In those small moments, it changes the whole game. It feels so good to give it your brothers and sisters, and to pray that they will want to genuinely give it back to you. 

Situation 2...

I'm in the grocery store and run into one of my friends. She's talking to me about serious stuff. My mind is just not there. I'm distracted by the people talking all around. No encouragement is coming to mind. My mind is coming up with all logical answers that would sound like I was being sarcastic. I had nothing. And she could tell, said something quick and walked away. 

Man, in the past (like a week ago, and I'm sure it will come up again) I would have worried myself crazy about that instance. I would have text her right afterward and apologized my heart out. I would have scrounged for every bit of encouragement and taken extreme, unnecessary measures to make sure she knew I was sorry and I cared. This time, I enjoyed the rest of my shopping trip. 

All those things we pep-talk ourselves with..the "I'm just human. I made a mistake. I'll rest in grace and just let her know that it was an off day," that stuff was actually in my spirit and not just my head. I didn't just think it; I lived it. 

Since then, I have talked to her. We're close friends, so she knows that I truly care and lift her up to the Lord. And one day doesn't change that truth.

Grace is like a refreshing drink of water. Okay, that sounds so cliche. I could backspace..hmmm...nah.

I pray I can actually enjoy grace more often. Not just talk about all of it's benefits, but live in them. 

Can I get an amen?

I swear I'll amen to myself and the Lord if I have to. 

E & A,



Thursday, August 16, 2012

Lucky #8

  8 months since the day..

 I went to breakfast with my best friends.

 They continued to set up the reception and do all the hard work, while keeping me away. True friendship,
 people, is letting your friend have alone time on her wedding day and telling her "no" she cannot help with

I melted all over my friends when they came to pick me up for our hair appointments. I like being the
sane one. The one that is calm and encouraging and brings extra deodorant and tampons and snacks,
just in case. But I'm so thankful God let them be that for me. They brought me coffee and grabbed anything and everything I "might" have needed. And they never once made me feel crazy. They let me sink into the
emotions and crazy, and they carried me.

Ralph Lauren dress. Yes, it was on me. And my hair was done. I looked like me. More like I was dressing up for a party than a wedding...and I liked that.

We prayed with our best friends. I can't describe it.

Our pastor spoke words we still remember.

I made a covenant.

I received the greatest gift - the opportunity to understand God's grace in a whole new way.

I remember the strangest of our friends, looking so beautiful in her dress with the accessory of a baby bump. friends having fun with the ginormous huge holy cow big sparklers in the darkness. Clarke being so hungry at the reception. I remember walking away into the quietness to sign our marriage license.

 I never felt more rushed through a sweet thing in my life.

 And then, we drove away.

 It seems so much longer than 8 months. In a good way. In a crazy, sanctifying, lots of change way.

 I wish I could get down on paper what the Lord has done to my heart through this man he allows me to
 run this race with.

 People like to tell us we're still babies when they hear how long we've been married. But I believe the Lord doesn't work everyone on the same time schedule. It's not about ages or years married, but about every day
needing God's grace. I will be a baby til the day I die. I'll need the Lord's grace upon grace for each new day, just as he apportioned it for me long before I was born.

Clarke, you have taught me more by what you do than what you could ever teach me in word. I know you do not lose sight of your first love, and our goal is to help each other run to our real home. Even when you're
not around, I remember to never be afraid, because our sweet Jesus is a warrior king and he is coming for us.

This marriage constantly reminds me of home. It's the most indescribable thing I've ever done. How do you find the words for Him?

I am humbled by His goodness to me. I deserve nothing good, yet have attained all truly good things through Him.

That's what the #8 means to me, guys. Jesus. 

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

The Tower of Babble

 It has been so long since I've written. Anything. Anywhere.

 I want to write it all out because there is so much that I see 
 and I want to always remember. I want to tell our story, so God 
 can use it however he wants.

 At the end of the day, when it's all said and done, our life is 
 crazy FULL. Full of mercy. grace. truth. our selfish ambition 
 and God's holy hand guiding us in his kingdom work. full of 
 responsibilities and blessing. full of work and full of play.
 Full of our messiness and Him getting all the glory for his 

 In these times, there is one thing I lack more than ever - the

 The words to explain and paint the picture. And he tells me,

 "Just because you don't have the words to describe what I'm 
  doing does not mean that what I'm doing matters any less. Your
  words are not my value. I am far above your words about me."

 I am so lucky to have a God whose word is ultimate. He needs me 
 for nothing and yet allows me to be part of His glory. 

 When I have no words, I have no need to worry. I have the "word." 

 John 1:14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we
 have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father,
 full of grace and truth.

 His word matters more than anything. 

 In my time of lacking my words - don't get me wrong, I 
 completely believe that God loves hearing us talk about him, 
 and gives us stories that speak to others hearts for his glory -
 I sit in His word. That I might know Jesus and his truth and 
 speak those words first.





Monday, April 23, 2012


I like to make lists. Of any kind. And I make my friends do this thing, called "Top Five."
It's basically of their list of their top five things from the day or week.

It's a sweet way to hear what's really on their hearts.

My top five:

1.) My husband cleaning out the bathtub (and the drain) so I can take a bath that actually makes me cleaner. For some reason, our bathtub would not stay clean, no matter how many times I scrubbed it. Clarke cleaned out the drain and discovered a big glob of dirtiness left from the last people who lived in our apartment before us. TMI, I know. Oh, but how great a clean tub is.

2.) Coffee dates with one of best friends. We will drive 40 minutes to get to a starbucks. Sounds a little extravagant. It's our special treat and the only coffee place that stays open late enough for us. The starbucks on fairfield in Fort Wayne is our favorite. We talk about Jesus' redemption of our lives, sing to old songs we hear playing, and I drink a nonfat-with-whip-white chocolate mocha (or an iced mocha) while she sips a cinnamon dolce latte. Her love for the Lord pours over on me. Precious 10 p.m. coffee time.

3.) Helping my MIL paint her kitchen. She is a busy woman. And a strong woman. And I love helping her with anything. And she's also stinkin' funny, so it makes it a pretty easy choice.

4.) Selling just enough stuff in our garage sale to make just the right amount of money to pay a medical bill. Hallelujah!

5.) Look up the song, "Before the Throne of God Above." It blesses my heart.

What are your top 5??
bits of splendor monday

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Goodies for the middle of the week...

Seriously hope my kids look like that.

This is how I like to dress. Soft and comfy, but so sophisticated and ladylike.

Jesus, I love this song. Because my heart loves you and it is still prone to wander.

Glamorous. The heavenly creator put a deep hunger in me for colors and patterns and sweet designs.

What a beautiful wednesday!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Baby love!

Nephews are probably the best gift ever. Holla, ladies!!

Monday, April 16, 2012

let my newness dance all over my..oldness?

 What if I told you within like 3 weeks my husband made the decision that we were going to be part of a new community of believers?

What if I told you that 2 weeks before that I lost my job?

What if I told you that 2 weeks after that the community of believers moved to a new building, and started meeting together on Sunday at 5. 5 p.m. Not a.m.

What are you thinking right now?
I hope you're thinking, "Blessed."

I lost my job just in time to go on spring break with a bunch of middle school kids. My husband and I had the chance to hear their hearts and be in their world for a week. To some it sounds painful.

It was precious. Precious time. God lets us be part of His kingdom. He entrusts us with His word and lets us speak it to the hearts of His precious, precious people. You might not think so, but 6th-8th grade is sweet in all the ways God made them to be sweet. When they're ridiculous, you see sinners just like me. And when you look past that to what God sees in His chosen children, you see all the redemption God has or can pour out on their lives. Precious.

I lost my job just in time for my husband to get a raise. And for me to be at home more often. Precious.

I shut my mouth just in time for my husband to say, "This is where God wants us to go. We're going." Precious grace from Jesus.

We started going just in time to get to know a few and walk into a new place with them.

We gave our hearts to God's people in that community just in time to start having fellowship on Sunday nights. That means we get to spend Sunday morning together, preparing our hearts and cooking and cleaning. Together. Loving on this brand new marriage God has given us. And it is so precious.

22 and without a job is different.
New people are different.
5 o'clock on Sunday nights is different.
Preciously different.

Lord, let your newness in me dance all over my old self and my old situations. Let me see your precious ways.

bits of splendor monday

Friday, April 6, 2012

Good Friday.

Today, I am reminded of the Lord's death.

That it was GOOD for us.

Because He beat death. Because He has victory.

So I also remember that it is good for my old self to die.

The woman who is worthless, afraid, jealous, and bitter.

She no longer has to live there.

He put it to death for me.

He has victory.

I am alive with Him.

It is so easy on some days. To just let death reign in my life.

But if I am going to be with Him, there cannot be continuous death. The death happens with our sin, then we must live in life. Because our God cannot stay in death, neither can our new selves stay in death once we are covered in His righteousness.

He lives.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012


 Sunday afternoon, I had some sweet woman time with my friend, Laura. 

My husband had some sweet brother time on the golf course.

He called me on his way home and said he had a surprise. I thought he was going to bring me a fountain dew from the gas station...don't laugh, they really are a great surprise. 

Instead, he brought me this treasure:
Free table!

I couldn't believe how blessed I was.
I knew exactly what I wanted to do with it.
Well, not exactly, I only second-guessed myself a few times. Then we looked through 3,279 50 paint samples and finally decided on the perfect blue-green color. A color I found in an old Lucky magazine. It was actually a trenchcoat, but hey, isn't that how all the designers do it. 

The husband took me to Lowe's at 7:30 a.m. on Monday to get the paint and now I have this precious blessing that makes me smile every time I walk in my living room..

I'm pairing the bright turquoise with milk glass vases and my favorite coconut candle.

bits of splendor monday
Head over to Laura's blog and read up on some more sweet things!