Thursday, July 3, 2014

Our Little Marriage is Growing Up

The last few weeks have been nice and full of living summer while running out of time to write about summer. But days like to today make me a hard stop to remember and reflect. Four years ago I got to become this guy's wife.


And while I love to reminisce and browse through the photos, I can't help but notice that we're starting to see those dancing eyes and giddy smiles as a bit young and naive. Not any less authentic, but we are starting to use those words If you only knew...


The longer Nate and I are married, the more it feels like a marriage has a lot in common with a new little one. Our baby marriage with it's sparkler love is cute to look at and full of anecdotes. But it still included a fair amount of upheaval and confusion, and it tookseveral months to figure out how to sleep through the night. (Because there's a boy in my bed!)

As we move from our early twenties into our later twenties, our little marriage has grown from a wobbly toddler into an inquisitive preschooler. We don't fall nearly as often as we used to, and we're finding our groove while growing into who we are as a couple and soaking up all the knowledge and insights we can muster.

Our marriage is just a touch older than this little miss.

Our Niece Lydia
I love the way an almost-four-year-old sees the world. She doesn't hesitate to show her awe and wonder, and her little mind constantly connects new ideas to the ones she already has figured out.

And that's where I feel like we are at the four-year mark. Still in awe of this mysterious thing called marriage, figuring things out but learning all the time. And hopefully all of you out there with grown-up marriages are at least a little amused as we grow.

They say it takes a village to raise a child, and I believe it's the same with a marriage. We had a village cheering us on four years ago when all we really knew is that we loved Jesus and loved each other. That cast of supporting characters has only increased as we dig into those big things like calling and purpose and what our marriage can do for the kingdom.


And even though these four years have peeled away much about what I thought I knew, they've also revealed a little peek at mammoth ideas. Commitment. Forgiveness. Selflessness. Perseverance. Grace.

As blurry as our future may be, I do know I can't wait to grow up with this man of mine. Happy anniversary, sweets.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Thursday Three: In Three Words

We're right in the thick of the craziness of May! And while we've been busy, it's also been a great few weeks. Here's a little peek at the last seven days.

1. Deep. We spent a long weekend in Minneapolis with two couples who just light up our lives. We celebrated Ryan graduating with his Master's Degree, and just generally spent time with each other. It was just about the perfect mix of relaxation, activity, intentionality, authenticity, laughter, and just enough conviction to keep spurring one another toward growth. I'm so thankful for the Six Strands!


2. Full. Full home, full schedule, full table...I tend to think life is pretty epic when fullness is a part of it. This week we hosted a friend for a few days, threw together a little get together on the fly, and spent a few extra hours at work for some fun, upcoming projects. I kind of love it.

3. Alone. While I love keeping life full, I'm also barely an extrovert. So after seeing some of my favorite people for four days in a row, my inner introvert demanded some attention over these last couple of days. Alone time + perfect spring weather = a rejuvenating end to the week.


Happy Thursday, everybody!

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Thursday Three: By the Numbers

1. 1393. Consecutive days Nate and I saw each other. We didn't set out to see each other every day, but we got a kick out if it, and I was sad to see our streak end this week.

2. 11.5. Time zones between Nate and me this week. I've been trying to wrap my head around the distance between us, but at some point my mind just short circuits. Even though I can't fully understand the technology that seems far closer to magic, I've had a blast eating my dinner and chatting with Nate while he's eating breakfast.

Hooray for Technology!
3. 3. Trips out of town I've taken while Nate's out of town. I've made a lot of progress over the years, but I don't sit still very well. Ha! This week I've tried to fill my time with a few outings to keep time moving a little easier. I loved visiting my nieces last weekend, but who wouldn't just love some squeezes from these little ones? I also was able to go to nearby town for some me-time, and tomorrow I will finally see in person a certain Dutch heritage festival that I've heard so much about over the last few years. Bring on the Dutch Letters and the poffertjes!

Nothing makes me smile like these smiles!
Happy Thursday, everyone! And hooray for the weekend!

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Thursday Three

Thursday Three is back! Last week didn't happen because...Easter. But we're back this week!

1. I love Easter. Yes, I put in some extra hours, and there's much to do at a church to get ready for the day, but it's the best reason in the world to celebrate. This year Easter was everything it should be: constant reminders of redeeming grace, relaxed time with family, singing "Up from the Grave He Arose," little ones in bright, new clothes, gorgeous weather that convinced me winter is actually gone, and these little treasures.

All time favorite Easter candy...it just can't be helped.
2. I love how some of the best things in life can't be planned. This week we planned a midweek date to try out a downtown restaurant. We ended up walking through a road race celebration only to find that the restaurant was located directly at the race's starting line. We didn't plan that. We couldn't have planned that. We watched several thousand people start their one-mile race from our table, and on our walk back to the car, we watched a U.S. Silver Medalist win the men's championship race. Even though we are very much not runners, we were speechless. Unless laughing counts as speaking...then we had a lot to say.

Our faces on the car ride home. Hilarious!
3. I love big questions. Last night my high schoolers were asking some big questions. The ones that we don't have a feel-good answer for. The ones that I have legitimately say, "I don't know." I've always loved knowing the right answer. But I also love that my Jesus doesn't let me know everything. And I love watching my girls wrestle with their faith.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Thursday Three

I'm still working toward getting posts completed between Thursdays, but until then...here we go!

1. I love my job, but sometimes working at a church is hard. Admitting this in a public space feels strange, but that's been the kind of week it's been. It's an honor to help prepare everything for Easter, but like every job, it has its stressors. This week has had a few. Tonight I'm thinking about one of my favorite Easter lessons: Friday is brutal, and Saturday is dark, but Sunday always comes. Thank you, Jesus!

2. Vitamin D + a little sweat = Ahhhh... This week may have stressful, but spring is finally showing off! After work the sun was still shining, and the warm breeze cheered us on as we went for a little jog to clear our heads. How is it that I so easily forget how simple things can make the biggest difference? (Hitting up Chick-fil-A after the run was also a great way to celebrate the end of the week. Ha!)


3. My brothers are the best! It's National Sibling Day! I've sung their praises here before, but seriously, they're amazing. This week has reminded me of just how lucky I am to count both Nathan and Andrew among my best friends. While growing up they made sure to inform me of the many, many reasons I was lucky to be the youngest. They just didn't realize that the best part of being the baby is getting to call them my big brothers.

I tend to be laughing in all of our pictures together.
See what I mean?
That's all for this week, everyone! Have a great weekend.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Thursday Three

My brilliant friend Samantha has been writing her Thursday Three for quite a while as a way to share a little glimpse of her week and celebrate the imminent weekend without getting too bogged down by the Friday Five and the pressure to make every week look amazing. I think she's on to something pretty great here, so I asked if I could tag along. All that to say, here's my first Thursday Three! (Check out Samantha's writing, as well. You won't be disappointed.)

1. Hosting strangers is intriguing, and I love it. Last year Nate and I took this class, and it completely rocked our world. This year we volunteered on the Coordinating Team and hosted half a dozen class instructors over the last few months. Washing the sheets that often and keeping the house clean and tidy is sometimes less than convenient, but the conversations that come from sharing space are a special treasure. Plus, anyone comfortable to start messing with our decor after a few nights with us is pretty awesome in my opinion!

Best Fez is far more inspiration than the original message, don't you agree?
2. High schoolers have stolen my heart. I help lead a small group of junior girls, and as much as they drive me crazy, they also light up my life. Last weekend I had the privilege of being on a panel of women answering questions from high school girls. The vulnerability of both the students and the women on the panel once again stirred my passion for this generation. I can't wait to see what God has in store for these ladies!

3. My niece is the most honest and accurate person I know. Lydia got a good dose of dominant DNA from my side of the family, so the poor girl is destined for years of comparison to my childhood photos.

My cousin Aimee and I are showing off the best of 1990 on the left. Lydia's grin is on the right.
Lydia also inherited a lot of the way my brother and I think, as well. While she's more tactful than most adults I know, she's brutally honest. I talked with her on the phone today, and after we had gone through the many subjects relevant to a 3-year-old, she announced, "Dad, I'm tired from talking with Aunt Anne." Conversation over. But I totally agree, little one, small talk can be exhausting.

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

A Year of Inviting

A year ago I joined a group of dreamers...a word that still sounds so foreign to me. But we spent the year getting to know each other, sharing the wins and the setbacks, encouraging each other, and yes, dreaming.

In 2013 my dream focused on inviting others into our home and into our lives. Community is often messy and hard and inconvenient, but it's also refreshing, vital, and life-giving. And so we invite each other in.

2013 was a year of learning what this looked like for us. We did little things like sharing meals and throwing a few parties. A summer intern working at our church lived in our basement. Another friend stayed for a week while his family moved. We had friends stay in our home even though we were out of town. Our backyard filled up with people we love and people we hadn't yet met.

A year ago I didn't know who I would be inviting into our home, but I knew what I wanted our guests, our friends to find when they arrived. A place of comfort, of grace. A place of equal parts deep conversation and light-hearted merriment. A place of peaceful welcome.

A place that reflected our hearts.

My home is far from perfect, and my heart has so much room to grow. This year saw quite a few failures and forgotten goals, but the yeses we said in 2013 are producing growth that extends into 2014. And that's how I'll measure my success.

Happy New Year, dear friends. Looking forward to seeing all God has in store!