Looking ahead //

By December 31, 2014 Holidays

2014 was a really great and challenging year for us:

We started our own business in January, which the Lord has continually blessed

We celebrated our two year wedding anniversary and seven years of being together

We got pregnant and moved into a house!

It was a year of continued restoration between my mom and I and finding a church home after searching for years.

It was a year of growing in trusting the Lord for all things, especially finances. There were times both James and I wondered how we would pay the bills, and every time we questioned or doubted the season we were in with the business, the Lord was faithful to provide another client for James.

There were a lot of changes and challenges and through them all we’ve both grown stronger together as a couple and as individuals.

As great and full as 2014 was, I am so looking forward to the New Year! 2015 has some really monumental life happenings and I could not be more excited for them all:

January is my Golden Birthday; 26 on the 26th! It also marks the 1 year anniversary of our business, which is just so amazing.

March is the month where we get to finally meet our DAUGHTER!

In May my brother is getting married (even though I still look at him as my little 10 year old brother who will never grow up). And it’ll be my very first Mother’s day!

June will be James’ very first Father’s Day

July we will celebrate 3 years of marriage

October is James’ big 3-0. He was 21 when I met him and fell in love and it’s been an incredible journey to watch him grow from a boy to a man! It’ll also be 8 years since we started dating.

And who knows what will happen in between!

It’ll be another year of trusting the Lord for our business and taking on new challenges such as wedding photography, boudoir photography (which I’ll be doing as my own little side project), and hopefully a lot more family shoots as those are some of our favorites.

Blogging will be another part of our lives that I will be picking back up more consistently and writing about all the happenings in our neck of the woods. And, I’m hoping that for the new year, we’ll have a whole new look!

And the biggest part of all…transitioning to parenthood to a little treasure God has blessed us with. I know it’s not going to be easy and there will be a lot of hard days, but I know more than anything that it’s going to be the most rewarding thing we’ll ever do. I’ve already begun to pray grace over the next year…grace for each other, grace for Avonlea, grace for ourselves as we face new obstacles and a lot of unknowns, and lots of grace for myself as a new momma. Grace. The Lord knows we’ll need it!

As excited as I am for the things to come, I do want to finish 2014 well…with my husband, my baby bump, great friends, and some sparkling cider!

Happy New Year friends! May you be richly blessed as you wake up on the day of a new year, with a new mind set, a fresh start, some new goals, and a cup of tea (or your beverage of choice)!

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all about that babe, ’bout that babe //

By December 3, 2014 Family + Friends

Well, as most of you know already James and I are expecting our first little one come March. March 27th is the due date, but we’re curious to see if she arrives late (more like her daddy’s personality) or early (more like her mommy’s). I’m praying for the latter! Only because pregnancy is not my favorite and I’d like it to end sooner rather than later.

Oh yes, that’s right, we’re having a GIRL! Our little Avonlea Darling. James and I have known for a long time what we wanted to name our children, so landing on a boy name and girl name for the first baby was very simple. We just had to wait 20 weeks before finding out what we were having and that just about killed us…well more me than him!

I know there are a lot of friends and family that haven’t heard much about our journey, so I’ll kinda just start from the beginning and give an all-around update.


October of 2013 James made the statement that in exactly a year we could start trying for a baby. He’s known my heart’s desire is ultimately to be a stay at home, so after being together for so long, I was growing a little impatient and wanted to start a family NOW! He was patient with me and reminded me that if we waited till October, we would be closer to the year mark with our business (which is coming up in January!) and that was and is James’ ultimate desire…to be the sole bread winner for our family and see our business grow into a sustainable income.

July rolled around and James had a sudden change of heart. I will remember “the night” forever. TMI? Maybe just a little, ha. But really, I was so taken back when he asked if I was truly ready to start a family. Obviously the Lord knew we were ready too, cause that was all it took…one time. James knew that I was pregnant instantly, well…he had some intuition happening because for weeks he kept saying, “I just know you’re pregnant! and I know it’s a boy.”

Since I am a visual and factual person, I didn’t believe him…I wanted to know for a fact that I was pregnant. So, as soon as it was possible, I took a test. It was positive! I showed James and we cried tears of joy together! I remember sitting on his lap at his desk just staring at the pregnancy test, thinking, “Oh man! This is real life happening right now!”

For months and months James and I had been talking about having a home-birth with a midwife. Hospitals are not fun in any way, I don’t like the politics behind deliveries, I hate how quickly doctors are to give C-sections, and I certainly did not want to be tempted with any kind of medication. It took some convincing, but eventually James was on board enough for me to call a midwife and set up an interview.

5 weeks pregnant and there we were, talking to a midwife that we had heard great things about, in her house, asking her a lot questions (and I mean a lot), and hearing about what the journey would look like. James was able to voice some of his fears and ask the questions he had on his heart, which was really good for him. As soon as we got home from our appointment, we sat down and talked it through. As soon as James said he was comfortable with the whole home-birth thing, I emailed the midwife and things were all set.


Several weeks later, we had our first appointment where we got to see our little bean and hear its heartbeat! I was so darn giggly that I kept messing up the ultrasound! The joy that filled my heart to hear and actually SEE our baby was unexplainable! Every 4 weeks we had appointments where our midwife would weigh me, check my vitals, and listen to the heartbeat to make sure everything sounded healthy. James and I had agreed in the beginning that we were only going to get two ultrasounds done…the one to see our baby bean, and then to reveal the gender.

The first trimester was really hard for me. I was nauseous every single night, had weeks where I threw up every night, I was beyond exhausted, I caught a cold, I pretty much ate crackers, waffles, pasta, and drank ginger ale, and we basically didn’t have a life for three months. Working full time and being nauseous the rest of the time was really hard for me. It’s unlike my personality to not have energy and feel sick, so processing that was challenging and I felt like the lamest person ever.


Thankfully, seasons come to an end and the second trimester has proven to be a little bit better. I only threw up every once in a while (till about 18 weeks) and the nausea slowly started to pass. My belly started to really pop several weeks back, so I started rubbing coconut oil on me to help avoid stretch marks. I hate being oiled up…it makes me feel like a fat turkey, but I’ve learned (thanks to my sweet hubby) to just laugh about it.

At 20 weeks it was time to find out if we were having a boy or a girl! Since the beginning James said that he knew it was a boy and even though I was less vocal about it, based off dreams and visions I had, I was also convinced deep in my heart that we were going to have a boy.
We decided that we wanted to do a little something special just the two of us for the reveal, so we asked our midwife to write the gender down in a card, stick it in an envelope and hand it to us. We thought it would be fun to go out to dinner at the Olive Garden (where we met) and find out what our little bean was going to be.


We still got to see our baby’s face, feet, hands, spine, ribs, and little legs at our appointment, just no private parts! Again, seeing our baby with this crazy technology (even though it was the old school ultrasounds…no 3D or 4D for us) filled our hearts with so much joy! James exclaimed while looking at the pictures, “Our baby has a FACE!” and it will forever be a favorite moment of mine.

As soon as we got to dinner and ordered our drinks, we decided we couldn’t wait any longer. We both were dying to know! James opened the card; put it on the table where we both could see it, stuck the envelope on top of the words and revealed what our midwife wrote, one word at a time —

You are having
a Girl!”

Stunned. Shocked. Overwhelmed. Excited. You name it, we experienced it all within seconds! There were tears, giggles, staring at the card, thinking to ourselves “did she read the ultrasound right?” And then of course, we called all the parents and siblings to share in our joy and then texted close friends who were also anxiously awaiting the news.


I’ll be honest, the shock didn’t go away for about a week for me. I even texted our midwife a couple days after the reveal to ask if she was positive it was a girl. She said that she doesn’t usually give 100% with girls and most of the time recommends a 2nd ultrasound to verify, but in our case, she was 100% positive that we were having a little girl (she said our little one’s legs were wide open and kicking like crazy). That helped settle my heart a little and of course the words of a dear friend. My friend said that maybe the dreams and visions I had were confirmation that one day we’ll have a son. And I agree…one day I believe the Lord will give us a son, but right now, we get to enjoy raising a little girl.


So, that’s where I leave you friends. I’m 23 weeks along (24 on Friday), we’re blessed with a little girl, she and I are both super healthy, our spare room is filling up with hair bows and pink outfits, and James and I are both beyond thrilled that the Lord would give us the honor of raising, teaching, molding, guiding, disciplining, and more importantly, loving this little treasure.


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Love comes down //

By December 1, 2014 Holidays

Waiting is hard. I’m pregnant…I understand this to a whole new level these days.

But this season, this Christmas season is meant for waiting wonder: God gestates.

For nine long months, the Maker of everything hovers over the waters of the womb, divided his own cells and created new life. God waited to make his entrance. Mary gently rubs her growing belly. She waits. She prays. She stretches.

God stirs within. He moves her.

Just like our little Avonlea Darling stirs within me and moves my heart to patiently await her arrival.

Christmas can only come like Christ came: in the resting wait of gestation.
Like a mother longing for the holding of the Child.

In the Child-waiting — there is this counting of days.

A counting, an anticipating, a wondering of what’s to come.


And then — the thinking on the names of the Child.

His name: Messiah, Redeemer, Mighty God, Savior —  Bread of Life.

This waiting for Who will come from above and unexpectedly, right into our muddy lives, the babe covered with vernix and blood who will wash us clean.

These gestational waiting days of anticipating the Christ Child, these, they gloriously stretch us and this is the purpose of Advent – to grow us.

I understand Advent a lot better this year as I longingly wait to meet our little gal. I’ve dreamed of being a mommy since I was a little girl and it’s happening.

But right now, I wait. Expecting. Anticipating. Dreaming of her little face and praying over her daily.

I’m being stretched…in more than one way. Waiting and being patient is hard for me.


Yet –

Whenever Christmas begins to be a burden, it’s a sign that I’ve taken on something of the world and not of Christ. Any weight in Christmas has to be of this world. Christ came into this world as grace to lift all the weighty burdens.

Christ the Babe comes to us in Christmas as Christ the Savior comes to us on the Cross — seeking only our embrace.

The to-do list on the counter looks long. Buy this baby item, paint her room, register for this and that. Buy Christmas gifts for this family member and make this, that and the other for holiday parties.

What if I laid down efforts and expectations, perfectionism and performance?

What if I breathed deep and simply waited with arms and heart and eyes wide open?

What if Christmas was the season to let go of to-do lists adding up — and instead receive what’s coming down?

Love comes down.

Christmas, it isn’t a product to wrap but a Person to unfold into our lives. What can I say no to today — so I can say Yes to truly more of Him?

Christmas, it can’t be bought. It cannot be created. It cannot be made by hand. Christmas can only be found. Found in the person of Christ.

How can I slow today… slow in the midst of the holiday hustle… and simply do what Christmas is all about — finding more of Christ? How could this Christmas be about quietly, lovingly, looking for Christ?


It’s there in the stillness — His movements.

And in the stillness, and in the wait  — our hearts leap! Joy! His coming!

Love comes down.

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Adoption //

By November 14, 2014 Addiction + Healing
Sad Man Sitting In The Tunnel

So, it’s been a while… too long, we know. Life has been nuts with a lot of great changes; finding out we’re pregnant, moving, business, etc. and we weren’t quite ready for all of it. It’s been great walking through all of it but I’ll be the first to admit, I’ve dropped a few balls in the process and our blog was unfortunately among the list of casualties. I know we have plans for this and God has given us prophetic words and visions for this through not only ourselves but from other people around us. SO, all that said… I know there are other blogs coming that will update on all of that stuff I just mentioned BUT I wanted to take some time and write a blog about my experience last night while at Bethel’s Worship night at New Life Church.

When I first started believing there was a God and learned about this Jesus that gave his life for me, there was often mention of this idea of adoption. It all sounded good in theory and I know it talks about this idea in the Bible (Ephesians 1:5 and Romans 8:15) but it was always just something I thought I had just automatically by “accepting Jesus into my heart”. I think this is a lie we tend to believe as “Christians”… that we say a prayer and then we do our best to live a “good life” but we never really accept that there’s MORE.

I absolutely love Bethel and what they’re all about. They have always been about bringing Heaven to earth… and they walk it out. When I was apart of the Rock of Roseville we would go up to Redding and go to Jesus Culture or just go up for a Sunday and they were always the most wild and crazy experiences. There were nights of pure laughter (the joy of the spirit or being drunk in the spirit), there were days of seeing angelic activity in the skies, there were nights of prophecy and things that were just unexplainable. There were smaller gatherings as well where our youth group had a retreat and Banning Liebscher came and spoke a prophetic word over me. All this to say, I love Bethel and some of my greatest experiences and encounters with God have been with Bethel so they hold a special place in my heart.

So yesterday, after being up until 1:30am with good friends, getting up with the wife at 6:30, heading to a lunch meeting with a friend and then doing a shoot in 5 degree weather… I was pretty beat. We had been holding out hope that we’d be able to go to the worship night, my mother had said that they might have a few extra tickets. Last minute surprise, we got to go. Of course, I was battling whether I wanted to go or not. I was tired, my stomach had been feeling upset all day and I felt like I could throw up at any point… but I decided to go… and am so thankful I made that decision.

Bethel started their set and we’re running through their playlist and worship was just awesome… duh. But then they did their thing that I love, they let the spirit take over. At one point the worship leader (a young African American male who could dance and sing the lights out) waved off the next song and just began to wait on God. Normal worship bands do this, but in my opinion they still rush through it and there’s still the set list they have to get through but this went off for a good 20-30 minutes before we got back to the song. Love. Anyway, during worship they paused and had said that God wanted to deposit something and in that moment God was already doing something in me. At that point God began to paint this image for me. There was a boy in a corner, cringing and hiding form the world. He was beaten and battered… dirt all over his face, cuts and bruises and was cowering and full of fear. Then he showed me His hand as he reached out to the boy and the boy refused His hand. God said to me “This is you and you think that you are unworthy to accept my hand. You think that you’ve done and been through too much to accept my hand… my adoption and love of you”. Of course this just broke me as I could see how all through my life He’s been there extending His hand, waiting for me to just accept it, to accept real adoption… to accept being a son.

There was a posture change as I began to accept His hand, in the natural and in the spiritual as well. As this transformation and posture change happened I felt God say “This is my son” and there’s just, nothing in the world like that. There have been father figures in and out of my life, some good… some bad but I’ve always searched for a place where I could come to and be accepted as I am and be made into more. This isn’t to say that the father figures I’ve had have failed or that it hasn’t available. I have resisted both physical fathers and God’s adoption all through my life. This was the first time I truly accepted that position and not resisted and it was something I’m still having trouble putting into words. Searching for this place to become more than I am, to become a son… resisting opportunities and thinking that I wasn’t good enough to find out… God thinks I am good enough. In fact, God desires me to be apart of His family SO MUCH so that He sent His son to death so that I could be apart of His family. Mind blown. We all know that God sent His son to die for our sins… but what does that really mean? We’re missing the boat if we’re content with just accepting that our sins are forgiven because of Jesus’ death on the cross.

If you haven’t had this kind of experience, seek it. The end. It will change your life. I know people say that and you sit there and go, yeah… right. Good for you. I know I did. I’d sit there and listen to people talk about being a son and being adopted like it was something I knew all about and what’s more is I thought that I just automatically had it. PHHAA. I was a fool. Don’t be a fool like me. Accepting God’s adoption of you, I think is the single most important thing you will ever do.

After I was born my father left, he wasn’t ready to be a father and walked away. When my mother got married the next time, it was to David Carton. At that point he had to adopt me so I could take on his last name. That wasn’t something I necessarily had a choice in as I was roughly 3 years old. This adoption was automatic, there was nothing required of me for it to happen. Looking at it now I think there was that expectation with God, that He would just come in and I would be adopted, the end. I’d get all the benefits of being a son and la te da. That’s not the case. It requires something of you. It requires you to get rid of who you were (in my case with my father it required me to give up my last name, my previous identity). This adoption process with God requires the same thing, you have to give up your identity and that’s a lot harder to do when you’re older and more set in the things you do. When you have a choice, you don’t always want to make that choice because that means giving up things you like to do, or so we think. Those choices and decisions make up who you are and you think by being adopted that you have to surrender all those things that you like to do… because you do. But it’s not as bad as you make it out to be in your head. It’s not this begrudging daily service where you have to die to yourself and live this miserable life for God. Sure, there are aspects to this that require you to die to yourself, but there’s so much more life that is given when you fully commit to this. When you take on this new identity as a son of the most high LIVING God, you don’t care anymore about those things that you “have to give up”, it’s a joy to not be apart of those things anymore… it’s not even a worry or care that you “can’t do those things”. You now get to be apart of a bigger story… and there’s no going back.

This…. this is what’s missing from the church today. We’re not acting in the bigger story because we’ve believed this lie that adoption is an automatic process. I accept Christ and now I’m a son. That’s not the case and there’s so much more to being apart of His family. In closing I would just like to encourage you to really look at this and what the case may be in your life. Have you been ACCEPTED his adoption of you or have you gone on thinking it was an automatic? Honestly, I hate when people try to do this at the end of a post. Challenge you in some way when they don’t know what you’ve walked through, they don’t know your story, who you are… like they think their challenge is somehow going to make a change in your life. Maybe that’s just something I need to work through but if that’s you… don’t brush this off like I do. Take it to heart.

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happy august! //

By August 1, 2014 Months + Seasons

it was last month almost to the day that i wrote this on our blog:

now it’s august and to be honest, august is my least favorite month of the year. there are no birthdays, no celebrations, no holidays, it’s just that weird month in-between summer and my favorite season, fall. i’m anxious to get through this month, so i can finally wear boots and sweaters, and drink hot tea and bake sweet treats, and get all my fall decor out, and snuggle with my husband without sweating! but…i will not rush this month. i will soak up the last days of summer, enjoy hiking, and making more summer memories. i will be content that it’s august. and who knows…maybe this august will be a really great month!

and just yesterday at work while opening mail with some of the ladies in my department, i said those exact words, “august is my least favorite month of the year.”

we don’t really have any grand plans for this month, so i’m hoping that the weeks go by smoothly, the weather stays as is (cooler and rainy), and life doesn’t speed up…because honestly, i really do want to enjoy this last month of summer. maybe the Lord has something really great and unexpected in store for us!

since it is the start of a new month, i have to do some updating on my july goals and set some new ones for august!

last month’s goals //

read 2 books – yeah well….i made it half way through vintage jesus, so it’s progress!

1 hour of no screen time a day – i did pretty good at this goal actually. most of the time for the hour of no screen time, i was cooking dinner, taking molly on a walk, doing laundry or other household chores. i was much better at being intentional about it though!

date night 1 night a week – 
i’d say we did okay with this goal. i think there were two weeks where we didn’t have an intentional date night, but we were at home together and sat at the dinner table and talked about life and that really was the heart behind this goal…intentional face-to-face, quality time.

workout 3 days a week – 
more like “exercise” said my husband. we went on walks with our pup in the park that is behind our house and i did stretching at night before bed. this is improvement! thanks to the health benefits at work, this month i will be getting a new pair of running shoes and then in the fall, i’ll get some workout equipment for home and be ready to get more physical (ha).

so all in all, i could’ve done better, but that’s ok…there is grace!

now, for august….

be intentional about reading // finish the book vintage jesus and be more intentional about reading the Bible. it’s not that i don’t read my Bible, it’s that i need to be more intentional about sitting down and spending quiet time with Jesus. and if i can start the book a loving life, that would be really great too!

paint the downstairs bathroom // it’s a small bathroom that would probably take me a weekend to paint, i just need to do it. the rest of the downstairs is painted and lovely, now the bathroom needs to be completed. a little paint, a couple decorations, and it’ll look brand new!

have a garage sale // i already talked to my mom about doing a garage sale together, so hopefully in the next couple weekends we can settle on a saturday and get all the junk in our basement sold!

i think these three goals are realistic for this month and i’ll also be keeping to the july goals as well.

also, i am going to take this month to memorize this scripture:
“and i remain confident of this; i will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.” psalm 27:13

i hope august ends up being a month of much blessing for you my friend, whatever season you are in, may you feel the presence of the Lord close to you throughout the next 4 weeks.


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on change //

By July 29, 2014 Months + Seasons

i’ve never considered myself a lover of change. i have the same morning routine, i buy the same type of coffee drink at every new coffee shop i go to, and i watch the same movies over and over again because i like that i don’t have to pay attention to them, but i know exactly what is happening and when. some change i don’t mind at all like a fresh arrangement of my living room furniture, a new soap scent, or trying a new clothing style. but there are some changes that happen to us without our consent, without our knowing. it sneaks up and swipes out our feet, forcing us to adapt and modify our lives to a new perspective (albeit sometimes on our face), to move on, to survive. and sometimes, even then, outside of our own comfort and realm of choice, we find beauty and goodness where we never expected, in an evening walk, a generous gift, or the words of a friend. we learn something new about ourselves, about one another, about God. we grow.

the past several years have been nothing but change: a move to a new state, falling in love, my parents divorcing, my mom remarrying, new jobs every couple years, getting married, james going to counseling, starting a business, financial highs and lows. big life changes that, in certain moments, had me clinging so tightly to anything that was familiar that my knuckles turned purple. in those years, there were a lot of painful tears shed.

and still to this day, life is ever changing. there are a lot of work changes happening that aren’t my favorite, changes in our marriage, changes in my brother’s life, changes in my dad’s life. all good changes that i will expound on at a later time, but still changes…adjustments to the familiar.

as i’ve been thinking about all the changes happening lately, i’ve wondered what little nuggets i’ve learned and might pass on to someone else face-planted by change. the list below is mostly for me to remember, but i hope that it brings encouragement to your heart as well.

be honest // admit you’re hurting or disappointed about things not happening the way you anticipated. find a trusted friend and share your heart, ask for wisdom, for guidance. being honest about my hurts or fears always connects me to Jesus ever more sweetly and to other people who are in the same season of life. honesty helps me know that i’m not alone.

hope // “this hope we have as an anchor of the soul, a hope both secure and steadfast and one which enters within the veil, where Jesus has entered as a forerunner for us” (hebrews 6:19-20). these words are filled with life my friend. hope moves forward no matter the weight of the burden. no obstacle, no disaster can prevent hope.

grace and flexibility // when change involves working alongside of others, have grace and be flexible. people aren’t perfect and they’re going to disappoint. one of the ladies from our church has one of the best quotes and i try to remember it in moments where grace and flexibility are running low: “blessed are the flexible for they shall not be bent out of shape.” go write that one down.

laugh // laughing truly is the best medicine. try to find joy in the midst of chaos. whether that means watching a comedic movie or going out with friends – hang on to those hilarious moments that leave you on the floor in tears laughing and remember that life changes come and go; the season you’re in won’t be the season you live in forever!


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gone campin’ //

By July 24, 2014 Travels + Adventures



this past friday, james and i along with 4 other great friends and the sweetest babe, headed up to the mountains to spend a weekend away from our busy lives, basking in the glory of tall trees, wide fields, creeks, and great food over the campfire.
it was a much needed time away to turn the phones and computers off, take pictures, have conversation late into the night while being mesmerized by the campfire flames, and playing round after round of hand and foot while snuggled closely under a tarp to keep dry while it rained.

it had been years since james and i went camping and i had forgotten how much i loved it. yeah, using the bathroom behind a fallen tree isn’t my favorite, but being outside away from social media and work was so rejuvenating. i love creating new memories with friends out in the beautiful mountains of colorado. we live in such a beautiful state and so often i forgot how much i love living here until i escape the mundane and explore God’s creation.

i love those small moments of looking up into the sky and seeing all the stars at night that the lord put in place.

the skies lay low where You are,
on the earth You rest Your feet,
yet the hands that cradle the stars,
are the hands that bled for me.

i love waking up with chills, snuggling deep inside my red plaid sleeping bag as the sun rises and peeks through our tent.

the whole earth is filled with awe at your wonders;
where morning dawns, where evening fades,
you call forth songs of joy. psalm 65:8

i love hiking through the mountains that surround the campsite, exploring new areas, seeing how big our God is through his handiwork called earth.

the mountains are calling and i must go. – john muir

i’m thankful to have great friends who are up for camping adventures and who are a joy to be around. we had such a great time with all of you guys and hope we can go again real soon.


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love and marriage //

By July 18, 2014 Marriage + Relationships

a few weeks ago, james and i were in our bedroom talking about life. i was laying on our bed in my pajamas, while james was walking around putting stuff away and messing around with our pup. in the middle of our conversation i looked at him and said, “is it weird to you that we’re married?” he chuckled and responded, “no! is it weird for you?” i laughed and explained that even though we had been married for (at the time) almost two years, it was still so weird to me that i was living in a house, with a man and a dog, laying in bed in my pajamas just chatting away about our future.

i don’t know if you have ever experienced this, but it hits me every so often that i am married forever to this man named james who i met one afternoon at the olive garden. i’ve imagined my whole life being a wife and it’s happening, right here, right now. some days it feels like i’m playing house, you know, putting on an apron, turning the record player on, and making dinner for my husband.

and i love it.

i love knowing that the lord knew exactly the right man for me. he knew that he wasn’t in california and that i wouldn’t meet my husband in church (like i always thought i would). he knew the personality and character of the man i needed to help challenge me and encourage me.

i love that we get to do everyday, messy, wonderful life together as a team; fighting for one another, cheering each other on, encouraging each other along the way. i love that we get to laugh with and at each other. i love that we’re each others best friend. i love that life with my husband is a journey, not a destination (thanks aerosmith). there isn’t a plateau to which i or any wife can stand on top of, raising her arms to the world exclaiming, “i made it! i reached my destination in my marriage!” there will always be something new to learn, there will always be more to gain, and there will always be plenty of opportunities for new experiences.

i knew that marriage was going to be hard at times, but what i didn’t understand was how good it was going to be until i started on this journey. in our society today, people are so quick to give marriage up for their own selfish desires, but yet i look around and see that when you run to satisfy your own wants, you miss out on growth opportunities and moments that push you to become a stronger spouse and ultimately a better person.

all the hardships we’ve had to walk through in dating, engagement, and marriage have all been worth it to look into james’ eyes and know deep down in my soul that this is the man i want to spend everyday with for the rest of my life.

marriage is so good. it’s worth every argument and frustration. remember to pray together lots and extend a lot of grace to each other.

“you come to love not by finding the perfect person, but by seeing an imperfect person perfectly.” -sam keen


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it’s a wednesday //

By July 16, 2014 Months + Seasons


it’s a rainy wednesday night and i’m sitting in the basement drinking chai tea with my husband listening to a spotify mix that is actually really great. it’s been a while since i’ve sat down to write out what’s been on my heart and mind as of late. i feel like i’ve had writer’s block and haven’t been able to formulate a really great post, even though there is a lot happening in life for the hubs and i. my mind is everywhere and nowhere at the same time, my thoughts are scattered, my emotions are up and down, the lord is doing work in both of us, revealing layers of life stuff we need to work through and grow in, yet, i still have no idea what to write about. actually, i have lots of ideas, but the energy to put my thoughts into written words has been missing.

i’ve had to work through a lot of fears lately…fears about our blog and the direction we feel called to take it. fears about not being a good enough writer. fears about not being creative enough to help my husband with our business. fears and scars with being back in a church with leadership that has taken time to invest in us. i didn’t realize how many painful memories i had stuffed down deep in my heart regarding the last church we were involved with until recently. funny how i hit this place in life where i felt like i had dealt with and uncovered things from my past and different fears but soon realized that there is even more healing for my spirit and soul. it’s not a fun journey, but i know in the long run this is going to be a valuable season.

i think all of the emotions i’m working through has caused me to subconsciously not want to write, mostly because being vulnerable about anything other than sex addiction is scary. weird, i know. i’ve become so used to writing about the addiction and sex that i’ve almost forgotten how to write about other happenings in life. lately i have become wrapped up in the thought that our blog is based solely on sex addiction, which it is and it’s not all at the same time. and i’ve come to this conclusion that if i write about anything other than sex addiction, no one will read our blog. don’t get me wrong, the addiction is a huge part of our story, but there are other parts to our story as well. because i started thinking that our blog has to be about marriage, sex, addiction, or porn only, i put writing on the back-burner. kinda silly when i think about it because in reality this is my small space in a big internet world for me to share my heart; the good, the bad, the fears, and the joys. and let’s be honest, i love writing…it’s how i process through things.

maybe i should have made this one of my july goals – to write more consistently about whatever is on my heart and what the lord is doing in life because frankly, he’s doing a lot! so in the case of me writing about something other than the addiction or sex, know that it’s cause there are lots of other things on my heart and mind!

that’s all i have for tonight…a modge podge of thoughts that probably don’t make sense to any one but me.


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not goodbye, just see ya later //

By July 11, 2014 Family + Friends

i’ve been thinking about sitting down to write this post for weeks now, but i haven’t had the courage to do so. i knew that once i got started, i’d have a hard time seeing the screen through all the tears.

several weeks ago james and i got news that our dear friends tyler and kaci were moving away to tennessee. tyler got an amazing job offer and they would be moving very close to kaci’s family (which kaci has been wanting to be close to family for a while).

i honestly didn’t believe them when i found out. i thought it was a mean joke they were playing…but soon enough i realized it was true. the day i found out, i was at work and struggled to hold back tears the entire afternoon. as soon as i got home, i literally laid on our bedroom floor and wept….big, fat tears and kept telling james, “i don’t want our friends to move.”

you see, tyler and kaci have played a HUGE role in james and i’s lives the past 7 years. they have been there for both of us through every season of life, the good and the bad. kaci was the first girl friend i met after moving out here and i knew as soon as i met her that she would be a forever friend. she was the first one i called when i found porn on james’ computer, she was always one of the first to know when james and i would break up or get back together, she walked through my parents divorce with me, she stood by my side as one of my matrons of honor in our wedding, and she was the first one i called when i found out that james was talking to another woman after we got married.

kaci has been a voice of wisdom, strength, grace, and love throughout the years. she has prayed for and over me more times than i can count. she has welcomed me into their home late a night and sat on the couch with me as i cried my eyes out. tyler and kaci both have seen james and i argue and have guided us through a lot of the mountains we faced in our relationship. they have been faithful and consistent friends through every high and every low. they also make us laugh all.the.time!

to see them leave just tears us apart.

james and i are so thankful for you. we don’t want to see you go, but we know that the Lord has some amazing things in store for your family. we will never forget the incredible memories we have created with you over these past 7 years. some of our favorite memories are playing spades and eating food with you every sunday night when we were dating, going backpacking together (i’m still not ready to attempt backpacking again…thanks tyler!), worshipping with you guys in church, doing small groups and bible studies together, flying to tennessee to be apart of your guys’ wedding, staying the night with kaci while tyler would go away hunting, shopping with kaci on a weekly basis (how i miss the days of you telling me i don’t need anymore pajamas or sweats), dancing at weddings, my (autumn) 21st birthday (even though i don’t remember too much, haha), birthday celebrations, and rejoicing with you as you welcomed your daughters into this world. i could write on and on about everything we’ve done together, but you get the general idea…we’ve lived a lot of life together and we wouldn’t change it for the world.


thank you both for being examples to us of how to be consistent friends and how to love when it’s hard. thank you for standing with us through all the junk and for not leaving us when we made really bad choices. you two are so loyal, graceful, wise, hilarious friends that james and i have learned so much from. i don’t say this lightly, but you both are two of the best friends we could’ve asked for.

kaci – i wasn’t used to having close girlfriendships, but when you entered my life, it turned everything upside down (in the best way possible). you were one of the first girlfriends that i ever wholeheartedly trusted and because of your example of faithfulness and trustworthiness, i so desire to be that type of friend to others. thank you for opening my eyes to how amazing girlfriendships are and how to be steady through different seasons of life. life has been so different since james and i have gone to a different church and you’ve become a mom, but just knowing that you’re here in town for me to cry or laugh with at any time, is the most comforting thing. i may not be able to drive to your house anymore, but i will certainly be calling you. you are going to be missed more than i could ever say or write down in words and i truly do hope that the Lord brings you guys back to Colorado. i need my friend around when i have babies! thank you for your friendship, your wisdom, your hugs, and for making me laugh when no one else could. i am forever grateful for you!


we love you guys so much and those beautiful babies of yours! you better bet your bottom that we’ll be making a trip out to see you very soon.
j + a

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