Sunday, July 15, 2012

Married Life, Day #366*

*Yep! We got a bonus day! J

One year ago today, I said “I do” and began life with my love.

We have a wall in our home that is filled with wedding pictures. I like to refer to it as my happy wall. Every time I look at those pictures, I think back to our wedding day and it puts a smile on my face. We really couldn’t have asked for a more perfect day. Not because all the details were perfect; but because we were surrounded by the people we love and who love us. Our ceremony was beautiful. Our reception was a BLAST. I was literally bursting with joy, and the day just felt fun and stress-free. We truly enjoyed all of it, from start to finish.

I just have to say that I really love married life, and I am just so thankful for my sweet husband. I know we have only just begun our journey, but already it has been one that I feel blessed to travel with him daily. As many of you know, we chose the “rip-the-band aid-off-real-fast” method of starting life together: Mike quit his job, we got married, left our church family, moved to McKinney, and started the process of planting a church. As crazy as that sounds, the Lord has been gracious to us in this year of major life change. And I wouldn't change any of it.

Reflecting on the last year, there has been no shortage of things to learn. And I know I have years and years of things to learn. But I want to be mindful of what the Lord has done (and is doing) in our lives, so I want to try to reflect often on the things He is teaching me…

God’s timing is perfect. There have been countless times when the Lord has pointed this out to me. To think how much I struggled with being single in my early twenties, and how much I wanted to be married at the time…God certainly knows what He is doing. Obviously His timing is perfect in simply getting me to DFW to even meet Mike. But more than that, I think of how ridiculous I was and how there is no way I could have handled being married back then haha. I can’t tell you how often I have reflected on how “21-year-old Erin” vs. “27-year-old Erin” would have responded in a particular situation…I certainly see the Lord’s protection [for Mike] in that ;) But seriously, there are so many implications of the timing of when we got married, and more than anything it is a testimony to the Lord’s grace in our lives and how He has worked in my heart over the years.

Always suspect yourself first. Let me preface by saying: I am terrible at this. I like to be right. My sinful little heart is good at pointing the finger and setting up the facts in my brain to favor my side of things. We discussed this idea in our marriage mentoring, and it really hit home and has stuck with me. In a slightly irritating good, godly way. The Lord is using this simple phrase to teach me how to truly die to myself and serve Mike. The premise? When I am frustrated with him or I don’t agree with what he has said or done, my first step should be to suspect myself first. In other words, I need to check my own heart and pinpoint my own sin first. That could mean identifying my own fault in the current situation or merely reminding myself that I too am a hopeless sinner in need of patience, love, and grace. Because on the extremely rare occasion that I carry no portion of the blame in the present situation, I have the perfect opportunity to exhibit grace and love to my husband. Because 100% of the time, the situation will be reversed, and I would want him to be gracious and loving to me. This little thought in the back of my mind has been incredibly humbling, and I know it has saved us from many unnecessary and unwarranted comments/actions/arguments.

Seek out an older wiser couple. I cannot emphasize this enough. I mean it; seek the counsel of a couple who is further down the road from you (by at least 10 years). Your friends are helpful to an extent, but you really need someone who is past the honeymoon phase, someone who has “gotten down into the trenches” of their marriage. They are just smarter and way more savvy. Mike and I have been blessed to have the precious Stonehouses in our lives. It is such an encouragement to meet with them every month, and I always walk away comforted by the fact that I have a couple I can go to for anything related to marriage. Not because they have the perfect marriage; no one does. But because they love Jesus and each other. Because they are transparent and humble. Because they have allowed us the opportunity to peer into their marriage, ask questions, and pray with/for us.

Mike is my Mr. Perfect. Early in our dating relationship, my dad nicknamed Mike “Mr. Perfect.” Even had it programmed into his phone that way haha. Of course, it was born out of my twitter-pated stage of constantly gushing over how wonderful and magnificent and fabulous Mike was. [Insert my dad’s eye roll here] In my defense: I couldn’t help myself- he was and is pretty awesome. On more than one occasion, poor Mike has met a family member or parental friend with the phrase “Oh, so you’re Mr. Perfect!” Haha- sorry Babe. Anyway, I mention the silly nickname, not to enforce the idea that Mike is perfect, because of course he isn’t. But the tables haven’t been turned either, revealing some completely different person. Mike is 100% genuine, and he is my Mr. Perfect. Meaning the Lord gave me not only the husband I wanted, but exactly the husband that I needed. I know I have only scratched the surface of understanding the Lord’s provision in that, but even in this one year I have seen how much he is my compliment. Our individual strengths compliment each other's weaknesses, and Mike is the one who challenges and encourages me in ways that no one else can.

I am so thankful for this first year of marriage, and I look forward to many, many more to come. I love you, Babe! :)


Saturday, July 14, 2012

Married Life, Day #365


We decided to celebrate our anniversary a day early. We enjoyed a quiet dinner together, and it was fun to just be out on a date with my love :)

We had agreed that we were not going to get each other gifts, in anticipation of our trip to Colorado next month. And since I am a terrible gift giver, I confess that I was slightly relieved. Oh I tried to still come up with something clever despite our agreement, but to no avail. [I really wish I were kidding :( Gift-giving is not my strong point and always stresses me out. When I have good ideas, they never seem to work out for one reason or another, I can't afford it, etc. Sigh. My poor husband is doomed to a life of uneven gift-giving...]

But of course, ever the romantic and super thoughtful, my sweet husband had surprises waiting for me when we got home. Soon after we had been married, our freezer broke and we lost the top to our wedding cake. There was a lot going on at the time to contribute to emotional instability, but I cried {a lot} about the silly cake. The 1 year tradition of eating your wedding cake was not going to be one that we enjoyed...or so I thought.

This is what greeted me when we walked in the door:

My sweet husband had called our wedding cake lady to have another top made, same design and everything. Just so we could enjoy our tradition. He had his mom deliver and set up the cake while we were out at dinner. This time I cried again about cake, but because of how he had remembered how important it was to me.

It tasted so yummy!

And is if that wasn't enough of a fun surprise, (for our paper anniversary), he also had the letters we had written to each other on our wedding day framed. And he washed my feet, like he did when he asked me to marry him.

To say that I am blessed really doesn't even seem to do him justice. In the normal day-to-day things, I am constantly reminded of how truly lucky I am. And in sweet special moments like this, I just don't seem to have the right words for how loved and cared for and absolutely adored I feel. And I am just so thankful.

Babe, I have never once thought I deserved you, but I am so thankful that the Lord gave you to me to love. I pray that you feel honored and loved as much as I do today. I love you more than I could ever express in words, and I am so thankful to Jesus that we get to walk this life together. Happy 1 Year Anniversary!


Sunday, July 8, 2012

She Works Hard for the $$... hard for it honey.

So Donna Summer out of the's hard to believe that I have already been at my awesome new job for 4 months now. The other day, I was talking with my sweet co-worker and she was asking me how I was feeling about everything, now that I have had time to get settled in and hit my stride. And the one word that keeps coming to mind every single time I am asked that question: BLESSED. I still am overwhelmed by the amazing blessing this job has been. While the move certainly eased a lot of stress and burdensome travel, it has just proven to be a fountain of continued blessing from the Lord.

Of course, there is the blessing of simply having a job. I have faced unemployment (twice), and I know how difficult that road can be. I know many who are traveling it now. While those times were used by the Lord to grow me and make me more dependent on Him, I really hope I never have to walk that road again. So the fact that I have a decent paying job that provides benefits and allows me to take care of my family is HUGE. I don't want to ever take that for granted.

And then there is the obvious blessing of being less than 5 minutes from home. No traffic. Short commute. Normal hours. Much lower gas budget. Lunch dates with my husband. Convenience. It's simply fabulous.

Then there is the job itself. I am really enjoying my job. Four months ago, I was trying to make sure I remembered as many names as possible. Now, I am able to say hello to everyone in all the varying departments, and I feel like I have settled in to my place at the bank. It's a nice feeling. I really enjoy the people that I work with, and the variety of people I work with- from the executives, regional presidents, and board members, to the loan officers, branch managers, and tellers. I like being in a position where I can help people. It may not be huge, but I am able to help other key people in the bank do their jobs well. And I like that.

Compared with my last job, there is zero stress. Seriously- I know that everyone has some element of stress that comes with their job, but I didn't realize how little stress a job could have. It's not that I don't work hard haha, because I do. But there is just a different level of energy and effort expended for the results achieved. The biggest tell-tale sign? I haven't had a migraine in 4 months. No joke.

And now all that extra energy and effort can be directed to the things that really matter to me: learning to be a good wife, building relationships with our neighbors, going deeper with the women in our home group, partnering with Mike in starting this church plant. Those things fill my heart, and I feel like I can now truly focus on them and on the life we are building here in McKinney. My prayer is that I don't waste a moment of it.

A big part of my role right now for this season in our lives is to earn an income. I praise Jesus with all that is within me that He has allowed me to complete that task at such an amazing place. To say that He has provided abundantly is a slight understatement :)


DIY Saturday

Yesterday was a non-hectic, relaxing day. We didn't have anywhere to be or anything pressing to do, so it was nice to sleep in, relax, and just enjoy working on some things that I never have time for!

I had a quiet morning home by myself since Mike went to go play basketball and have lunch with a friend. I did some much needed laundry, had a good long time in the Word, and then got to work on my crafty projects for the day.

The main project I worked on (and completed) yesterday was a welcome sign for our front door. I had wanted to make one for a while, but finally had the time to work on it. I am really pleased with how it turned out :)

Materials: 7- 4" square wood plaques, scrapbook paper, 1 3/4'' wood letters, acrylic paint, mod podge, ribbon
Tools: Staple gun, foam brushes
Total Project Cost: $20 (I didn't have any coupons this time)

Mike asked if it was for the fall...I guess the colors I picked don't exactly say "summer" haha. But that's ok. I love shades of green and brown, what can I say?

The rest of the day, we caught up on some shows and I worked on our honeymoon photo book. I haven't finished it yet, but since it's been almost a year since we were in Cancun, I figured I should get that one done. I will then be working on a "Our First Year" photo book. I will have to wait for another "free" saturday, and that may not be for awhile. For now, yesterday's day of rest was very much appreciated and enjoyed!


Monday, July 2, 2012

Take Me Out to the Ballgame!

My parents came into town this weekend (I know they were just in town, but with the wedding festivities, we really didn't get to spend much time together). So with my dad's vacation time, and with the combo celebration of Father's Day and my brother's birthday, they came up for a little more family time. 

Friday night we headed out to the Rangers game! This was my first game this season, and it was a good one. It actually wasn't too unbearably hot, and it was a good game.

Saturday we went to see a movie. This is how much I love my dad:

And that's all I am going to say about that. The rest of the weekend was filled with good food and lots of laughter. I am so blessed to have such a great and close family, and it has been really fun to share that with Mike. Definitely filled my heart this weekend to spend time with my family :)


{Photo A Day} :: June

I didn't quite get as many photos, but here are the ones I snapped in June...

So thankful for my mornings alone with God back...

My most favorite meal: Panera Mac-n-cheese & Strawberry Poppyseed and Chicken Salad. Yum.

The super cute monogrammed root beer float cups for Lindsay's wedding!

The sign this lovely lady made for Lindsay's reception photo booth.

There were so many cute & fun things at Lindsay's wedding- the root beer float servers wore these adorable hats.

Margaritas with my best friend. LOVE.

Day of relaxation with the family.

We discovered this hilarious game. Good times had by all.

I really adore our red door. Makes me smile when I come home.

This piece by Rex Ray hangs near my desk at work. 

I really like this antique clock outside my office in Heritage Square.

I have made a few trips on the outskirts of McKinney and the sunflowers are blooming everywhere.

Imperfect whole right side of my face was completely numb. Haha. Dental work.

At the Rangers Game!

This adorable girl turned 2 and had a super cute Elmo-themed birthday party!