24 Things I’ve Learned in 24 Years

Almost three weeks ago now,  I turned 24! I celebrated with lunch with my friends at work, then leaving early to play my new guitar!

This was Brian’s birthday present to me. He’s a used Fender, and I love him. It’s like they say in Harry Potter – “The wand chooses the wizard,” but in this case, “The guitar choses the girl.” 

My birthday goal was to learn to play “Happy Birthday” before the end of the day, and I succeeded! But boy, I forgot how much it hurts to play until your fingers get calluses. 

Brian also took me out to dinner, and I received a host of birthday wishes and gifts from my family. 
Last year for my 23rd, I made a list of 23 things I’d learned in 23 years. Hopefully, now that I’m a year older, I’ve learned at least one more. 
1. You will never “arrive.” The dream job won’t always be dreamy, new experiences will get old, and when you achieve what you think will make you happy, you find that there’s something you missed. 
2. That’s why you have to choose contentment now.
3. You control you. 
4. You have a lot to learn.
5. Life is too short to not wear glitter shoes.
6. Most of the time, things are not as bad as they seem. 
7. You have to chill out. Seriously. 
8. Confidence is two-thirds of the battle. 
9. Vision will win. 
10. Lead by the force of good ideas. 
11. People will follow those who inspire them. No one wants to follow someone who only complains about the problem.
12. There’s no substitute for genuinely caring about people.
13. Growth and change are hard,  and painful. Especially in marriage, when sometimes it feels like you’re growing in different directions. You’re changing at different rates, and this is ok. 
14. You will make it.
15. If having a puppy prepares you for children, you have a long way to go. 
16. Doing the right thing can be really, really hard. And lonely.
17. God’s design for marriage and family is more beautiful and so much bigger than you ever understood before. 
18. Sometimes, every day is an act of courage. 
19. Keep fighting for what you believe in.
20. You care too much. Don’t stop. 
21. If you don’t time to enjoy right now, in a year or two, you’ll look back and wish you had. 
22. There is no 80’s movie montage, and suddenly you feel brave. You have to just do it in spite of the fear.
23. You are braver than you think. 
24. You are stronger than you know. 

What’s something you’ve learned over the last year? Share it with us in the comments!

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Pink, Prints, and Paperman

Along with several others around the blogosphere, I swapped mugs filled with goodies with another blogger for Valentine’s Day! It was so fun to pick out a mug for Omega of Selby Lane. I wanted to wait until Valentine’s Day to open the package she sent me, but after a stressful day, I changed my mind in hopes of finding some chocolate. What I found was even better!

Omega made the drawstring pouch, lanyard, and rings for me!

I’ve already worn the rings several times to work. They add a fun and funky touch to my red and khaki.

You really should check out Omega’s Etsy shop, Selby Lane. Just look at these amazing prints and colors!

Thank you for such a wonderful Valentine’s Day gift Omega! And thank you Caroline and Alissa for hosting such a fun mug swap!

And now, here’s a Valentine-gram for all my readers whom I love so well – a sweet Disney short film known as Paperman. Enjoy!

Our Two Year Anniversary Weekend!

Brian and I are heading up to Scottsdale tonight to celebrate our two year anniversary!

We found a great deal on a very nice resort, and I’m looking forward to spending some time at their pool and hot tub this afternoon! Unfortunately, the restaurant that’s become our anniversary tradition closed down sometime during the past year, so we have to find a new place. I’ve been wanting to go to House of Tricks for some time, so I’m excited to try it out tonight.

Brian told his coworkers that we were celebrating our anniversary this weekend, and his boss came to him and said, “Remember how I said we’re pretty flexible with our hours around here? I expect you to be gone by lunch tomorrow!” How nice is that?! Have I mentioned how much I like Brian’s new job?

In the spirit of celebration, I thought I’d show a few pictures from our wedding, June 19th 2010!

Getting me ready was a team effort!

One of my favorite pictures!

My uncle officiated our wedding:

Formal on the outside, fun on the inside! Brian and I both love confetti cake, so that’s what we had! The cake topper was used in several of Brian’s family member’s weddings.

I love how happy Brian’s best man looks!

Send off time!

That’s all for today! Maybe next week I’ll show you the staged pictures of just Brian and me.

Brian and I were reminiscing about our first anniversary a few days ago, how we supposedly booked a “resort” but it ended up being a not very nice hotel, and I forgot my dress shoes, but we had a lovely dinner with complimentary dessert 🙂

So now, for all you married folks, share with us in the comments any special memories from your first or second anniversary! If you a really great story, I’ll feature it in a post on Newlywed’s Bliss!

Mr. and Mrs: Valentine’s Day Recap

Sometimes Brian pretends he has plans to surprise me, when actually he’s just totally forgotten that the particular occasion is coming up. So, when I casually let it slip that I was excited to put up Valentine’s Day decorations, and he said, “Oh…when is that again?” two day’s before, I didn’t really believe him when he said he had “secret” plans for that day. I didn’t really  blame him, since he’d just lost his job a few days before. 
School monopolized my time leading up to Valentine’s Day, so I didn’t have time for the more elaborate decorations I wanted to make. I did make this easy banner, however, that I found on Pintrest from This Is Glamorous: 
Thread paper doilies onto thread or fishing twine, combine with Christmas lights, and done! It gives an simple elegance and romantic ambiance. 
Brian might have been bluffing, but on February 14th, I woke up to a very pleasant surprise: breakfast in bed! (cue applause!). Brian got up early and made stuffed cream cheese and apple French toast! He also bought us chocolates, and a rose for me! The French toast was so delicious, I couldn’t stop eating long enough to take a picture of it. Hence, the post-breakfast picture:
I also had a present for Brian. Well, actually it was more for both of us. I didn’t have time to make Brian a Valentine, but thanks to DaySpring, for Valentine’s Day we got to start using the long coveted Mr. & Mrs. – Gift Set!
The Mr. mug is missing in that picture, because it was already in use… 

It’s now Brian’s favorite mug. 
The mugs have sweet details, like the verse along the rim: 
And the heart at the bottom: 
We also received the Mr. & Mrs. – Coupon Book. I love these coupon books, they make great little gifts to brighten your spouse’s day. I also used them in Brian’s Christmas present banner last year. I especially love these coupons because they have scripture on the back of each one! 
Here’s a few of them:
I really like this one: 

Check out more reviews at (in)courage’s inspired deals page! 

In addition to the mugs and coupon book, DaySpring also has a Mr. & Mrs. – Mr. Love Notes – 32 Note Set:

Mr. & Mrs. Love Collection - Mr. Love Notes - 32 Note Set image

Mr. & Mrs. - Two in One Inspirational Journal image

Mr. & Mrs. Love Collection - Notes & Memo Pads Gift Set image

Or several combinations of the above. Check them all out here: Mr. & Mrs. Love Collection from DaySpring.

 I know it’s after Valentine’s Day, but if your husband has a birthday coming up, or if you have some weddings to attend this summer, these make great gifts. I think I’ve given the mugs to at least two couples, and both of them love them! 

And just because I want to show my lovely readers some love too, here’s a code for 15% off:

15% off on all gift purchases. Coupon code: 15OFFGIFTS

Happy belated Valentine’s Day!

Disclosure: I received these products from DaySpring free of charge, but my opinions are still my own! Also,  scroll to the bottom of my site to see my disclosure about affiliate links. It’s for a good cause! 

A penny for your thoughts? To leave a comment, click on “Links to this Post” below.

Love and Gifts

Today I’m combining the challenge from Newlywed’s Bliss with counting gifts.

Dear Brian,

1. Thank you for listening so sympathetically all week as I struggled with a research paper for school.
2. And thank you for telling me “I believe in you,” when I was ready to give up on it entirely on Friday night.
3. And that same night, I love that you brought me Starbucks, it definitely helped!
4. I love your willingness to fix dinner on nights when I’m busy. It lifts a huge load of stress off of my shoulders.
5. I love that you’re a very creative and adventurous cook, and you’re good at making something with whatever we have.
6. I love that you took the time Saturday afternoon to clean out the inside of the Ford. You knew it’s messy state had been bothering me, so I really appreciate that you took care of it! Thank you for taking good care of both of our vehicles.
7. I love that although you resist doing something outside of your comfort zone, afterwards you’re glad that you did.
8. I love the fact that you are so talented at grocery shopping. It’s such a blessing to me, because I really don’t enjoy doing it at all, and you can do it faster and better than I can any day.
9. I love that you’re seeking what God wants you to do with your life, and you want to serve Him more than just make money.
10. I love that you want to make a difference in the world by loving people.

A few excerpts from my gratitude journal…

593. A breakthrough idea for the gift guide. Keeping it on pintrest saved me hours of time!
594. Every one of my blog readers. You are a gift!
595. Brian’s work load has gotten lighter.
601. We had a great turn out for our first week of linking up at Newlywed’s Bliss. Reading your posts was a gift, and I hope writing them was a blessing to you.
604. Brian taking the dog to the park. So nice to have total quiet, and some of the dog’s energy used up.
607. An encouraging facebook message from my best friend.
608. A letter from our sponsor child in Honduras, Bessi, with a picture of herself. Tears on my part.
609. I smashed my fingers in a window, but after keeping ice on them for awhile, I was able to finish typing the aforementioned research paper. They’re only a tiny bit sore now, and I’m grateful that I didn’t have to type the paper with one hand.
610. Brian’s sister is coming to spend Thanksgiving weekend with us!

Will you join me in giving thanks for your spouse this month? What gifts have you been blessed with TODAY?

A penny for your thoughts? To leave a comment, click on “Links to this Post” below.

Thankful for My Husband

I posted about it on facebook, but in case you haven’t heard, over on Newlywed’s Bliss tomorrow we are giving you an opportunity to give thanks, specifically for your spouse. We’re asking you to make a list of 10 things you love about them, once a week, during the month of November. Then, link up with us on Tuesdays. I hope you’ll join me over there, even if you don’t consider yourself “newly wed.”

Here’s my list, mainly of things that occurred just last week:

  1. You are more patient than I am, and you’re good at trouble shooting. I couldn’t have figured out how to set up this linky without you. 
  2. You do and say hilarious things in your sleep. Makes me laugh just thinking about it. 
  3. I love your laugh, the deep, belly laugh when something is REALLY funny and your face turns red and you gasp for breath. 
  4. I love that you always want me to come to bed at the same time you do.
  5. I love that you make me coffee every morning. It makes my day so much better!
  6. You agreed to forgo looking at cars on our date last Friday, and instead got wings and watched Lord of the Rings with me. It was epic, and I had a great time!
  7. You let me use you to hide behind during the scary parts during Lord of the Rings. 
  8. You are real and honest. 
  9. You take care of maintaining our yard, so I don’t have to worry about it. 
  10. Sometimes you read my blog. It really means a lot to me babe!

Will you join me in linking up your list tomorrow over here


I’m a little at loss for words. I am in awe of the way God uses people who are willing, who say yes to His call, who step out, and leave everything to pick up His cross and follow. 

Today, I’m not in Uganda, or anywhere special. But today, I can write a letter to my sponsor child in Honduras, and let her know that she is loved and prayed for. Today, I can start planning my Christmas shopping by finding organizations that take care of orphans and widows.

It seems so small, not even a sacrifice. But I know that I can’t see the far reaching results of the small things I do. If God chooses, He’ll make them into big things.

A Divine Romance

“Divine Romance” by Phil Wickham.

My beloved speaks and says to me: “Arise, my love, my beautiful one,
and come away,
for behold, the winter is past;
the rain is over and gone.
The flowers appear on the earth,
the time of singing has come,
and the voice of the turtledove
is heard in our land.
The fig tree ripens its figs,
and the vines are in blossom;
they give forth fragrance.
Arise, my love, my beautiful one,
and come away.
O my dove, in the clefts of the rock,
in the crannies of the cliff,
let me see your face,
let me hear your voice,
for your voice is sweet,
and your face is lovely.
-Song of Solomon 2:10-14

My Funny Valentine

I thought my head would explode.

Thursday I felt a little under the weather, but overnight it turned into monster sinus congestion.

I had to go to the church to print and fold the bulletins Friday morning. Let me tell you, when your nose is running like a geyser and your head hurts and your chest hurts and your everything hurts, folding 90 bulletins feels like 900!

I made it home, and crashed on the couch, forming a nice bunker of blankets, Kleenex, meds, snacks, and school books. Somehow I made it through the afternoon without taking a nap; I had assignments due and I had to keep plugging away through the cold medicine induced fog.

Now, when Brian was sick with bronchitis a week or so ago, I tucked him in on the couch, brought him water and snacks, cuddled with him, patted his head, and cooed soothingly. But Brian, he makes fun of me. And he won’t come within feet of the couch!

On his way home from work,  Brian bought me a thermometer. No temperature. Just misery.

Friday nights are our date nights, and it was his turn to plan our date. “I guess you don’t feel like going out, do you?” He asked dejectedly.

“No, not weally,” I snuffled. “What were we going to do?”

“I thought we could go buy the stuff you need for your sewing machine.”

My jaw dropped. Not go to Ultimate Electronics or play Scrabble? I was in awe of his sweetness.

Since I couldn’t go out, Brian wanted to pick up some wings from Fry’s deli for dinner. He agreed to pick up some other groceries too, so I made him a list. After boneless wings, milk, and coffee creamer, I added:

A good bedside manner

He didn’t notice until he was almost out the door. He stopped. “A good bedside manner? What aisle would that be in?”

“Ummm,” I giggled as I searched for a good comeback. He beat me to it.

“Feminine Care?” 

If laughter is the best medicine, I should be cured pretty quick!

I’ve heard this song twice recently, and I just love it!

Have a happy Valentine’s Day! Share THE love!