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.

-a

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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!

-a

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gone campin’ //

By July 24, 2014 Travels + Adventures

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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.
-hillsong

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.

-a

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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

-a

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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.

-a

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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.

friends,
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.

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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!

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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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Lovely Wife //

By July 8, 2014 Marriage + Relationships, Months + Seasons
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As I sit here and think about how blessed I am to have such an amazing partner & best friend, I’m drawn back to the way she loves, how much she loves. I see the love in her that I know God has for us, for me…. relentless. Her relentless pursuit and love for me is something that I am still realizing every day, in all the little things she does. Her ferocity and fierceness has made a way for me to be able to come out of darkness and in to wholeness…. into my Father’s love & wholeness.

  How do I put into words a gratitude for all that you’ve done? I sit here in awe and adoration of who you are, how strong & courageous you are. I know you don’t always see it, but I do and I am incredibly thankful and humbled that God has blessed ME with your love that I am so undeserving of. So today as we look back at 2 years of marriage, I see your quiet strength, your unwavering faith and your love… and I am thankful, my heart is overwhelmed with gratitude and love for you. I love you and am so thankful I get to walk this life with such an amazing woman. You’re beautiful.

-Husband

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july goals…because i need some //

By July 1, 2014 Inspiration

at the beginning of every new year i sit down with a pad of paper and think about all the things i want to accomplish for that year. i think of big goals and small, silly and meaningful. however by the time march comes, i seem to lose track of those goals and then by the time december rolls around, i realize, “dang…i didn’t accomplish anything i wanted to!”

well, friends, i am here today to try and change that.

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i came across a really great blog through instagram called the tiny twig and every month hayley sets out to accomplish a few goals. whether it be reading a couple books, decorating a specific part of the house, or completing an art project, she writes down 3-5 goals and proceeds to complete them all in a matter of 30 days (or however many days there are for that month). what i love most is that she calls this monthly series, “goals with grace” meaning that if you don’t accomplish them, that’s perfectly okay! just try at ‘em again the next month.
i like this. and it’s something i can do!

i wanted to start at the beginning of the month with 4 goals that are realistic. that’s the key word right there, “realistic”.

so for the month of july, here are the goals i am setting out to complete:

1) read 2 books
specifically vintage jesus and a loving life. two books that were introduced to james and i by our dear friend chris.

2) 1 hour of no screen time a day
guys, i sit in front of a computer all day long and at the end of the day my eyes feel like they’re going to fall out of my head. i’m also slightly addicted to instagram and check it at least every hour. my eyes and brain need a daily break from the internet and so does my heart. this hour would be a great time to read. see…i already have a plan to kill two birds with one stone!

3) date night 1 night a week
if you didn’t know, james and i started a business in january and ever since then, money has been really tight. we have opted to stay home rather than go out and to not plan any vacations or dates cause we simply can’t afford it. but i’m seeing how not getting that quality time away with my husband is hindering to our relationship. he’s my best friend and we need to spend time together…out of the house. so, date nights might mean hiking with our pup, or going to a really cheap baseball game…but no matter what it is, i’m excited to just spend time with my man.

4) workout 3 days a week
i’m already laughing at this one. working out sounds SO great in my head, but it’s really not a priority to me. it’s time consuming and i don’t really like it, but it’s time to change that. i’ve been saying “it’s time” since january…but i really mean it this time. it might happen only once a week or maybe even just twice for the whole month, but i’m going to try my hardest!

next month, when i set out to accomplish more goals, i will do an update on how the month of july went. i’m hoping to have great news about all my goals, ha!

happy july 1st!
-a

The Tiny Twig

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my dad //

By June 20, 2014 Family + Friends

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yeah, i’m a little behind on the father’s day post, but that’s okay, right?

last sunday was father’s day. i love father’s day. probably because i have been blessed with one incredible man as my father…or as i like to call him…my dad.

ever since i was a little girl, i have been a daddy’s girl and throughout the years, our relationship has grown deeper than i could ever have imagined. he has been a steady rock through all seasons of life, full of grace, wisdom, unconditional love, and cheap jokes! yes, he drives me nuts at times, but don’t all parents do that?

one of my very favorite moments with my dad was about a month or two before i was to get married. james and i had moved all my stuff into the basement apartment we were going to live in and my dad was staying with friends while he was out here visiting for a weekend. one evening, dad came over to see our little space and talk about some wedding details. one of the things that we hadn’t discussed yet was the father-daughter dance. he asked me what song i had picked and i told him, “my girl by the temptations!” i had dreamed of that song being in my wedding ever since i had first seen the movie father of the bride (one of my favorites!). i love the way that movie depicts a father-daughter relationship; it makes me cry every time!

my dad responded with, “i’m not really good at dancing, should we practice?” so i grabbed my computer and turned the song on.

there in the quiet of the basement, my dad and i started dancing and it took everything in me to hold back tears. in that very short moment of time, i saw my relationship with my dad flash before my eyes…from when he taught me how to drive my pink barbie car around our neighborhood when i was 3, to showing me how to hit and catch baseballs, to staying up late with me teaching me math and economics, to teaching me how to change the tires on my car and how to shoot a gun. in my early adulthood, he showed me what grace was and how to love a person even though it felt as though they were pulling the rug out from underneath you. even when he didn’t know i was watching him, he showed me things about life and faith…like how every night before bed, while eating his bowl of cereal, he would read his Bible, or right after he wrote the tithe check on Sunday mornings, he would spend time praying over it that the Lord would use our money to help the local church and more importantly, others.
it hit me how amazing my dad was and how blessed i was to have a dad that cared so much for his daughter. he was getting ready to marry me off and entrusting another man with a lifetime of taking care of me. i don’t know what was going through his mind in that moment, but all i could think about what how thankful i was.

my dad.
a man of great faith, a faithful friend, a loving man who puts his kids above anyone on this earth, sacrificial, tender-hearted, and reliable.

i am so thankful to have him as my dad. forever.

dad, if you’re reading this day, know that i love you very much.

-a

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green littles //

By June 13, 2014 Inspiration

Gardening is no joke. I don’t even think I can call myself a ‘gardener’ because I have no idea what I’m doing – I just water little green things and hope they grow. As I water my plants in the mornings, I like to think of all the ways that gardening parallels real life. Here are a few random thoughts.

I pick the weeds and thin out the plants.
You are supposed to thin them out, which means killing some of its own little brother and sister plants that are crowding in. It seems in my life that there are seasons of refining where good and bad things get taken away and I am able to eventually grow more, but the ‘thinning’ is painful.

 It takes great patience.
Once seeds are planted, there are no signs of life for a couple weeks or even months. Things that I value are worth waiting for and working for. There is no instant gratification in walking out faith. In a world where impatience is the norm, I find myself being demanding and frustrated at even little things. I am thankful for a simple daily thing to teach me patience – the art of waiting.

 I don’t see what is going on underneath the surface.
The roots are the stabilizing factor of the plant and the deeper they go, the better the plant. Even though I can’t see the roots, they are there growing daily, from sun and water. Most of the time, what we see in others and even ourselves is not actually what is going on. It takes a lot of energy and humility to be fully known and to recognize the deep parts of myself and others.

 There is so much hope.
Though it seems small and insignificant, I find so much hope in little, green life springing up. I am surrounded by situations where there is much cause for despair, but really in Christ there is always hope!

 -a

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