Thursday, October 31, 2013



A couple days ago we went to the annual Halloween Carnival and Trunk-O-Treat at our church.  Our costumes hadn't arrived and so out came the dress-up bin.  The kids put together such fun costumes that the thought crossed my mind that we shouldn't have purchased new ones. 
Then the next day our UPS lady pulled up with packages in hand and a couple of treats for Lucy.  Our new costumes were delivered.  They were met with so much excitement that I realized how fun it is to order new costumes that will be used for dress-up throughout the coming years.  Both ways work well with my crew.
We had a lovely Halloween with kids and candy, costumes and jack-o-lanterns.  Yudai, our Japenese Exchange Student, has been so much fun to have here with us.  He is helpful and kind.  Polite and respectful.  Fun and funny.  I hope he enjoyed this fun American celebration.
Now it is off to bed for a tired Mama.  It was an eventful day, all the munchkins are accounted for and tucked away for the night. 

To Have and To Hold Day 31 | The One We Are the Hardest On

This is the last day of this series.  As I have focused on this series, I have been able to put down some thoughts I have had about marriage and have challenged myself to do more for my husband.  There are so many ways I can love and respect the one I love so much. 

I just wanted to leave this series with a final thought.  Sometimes I can be really hard on my husband.  I have a lot of expectations for him.  I expect him to be kind, helpful, and friendly.  I expect him to work hard, to always do the right thing.  I expect him to wake up early and always say the things I like to hear.  I expect him to lead, parent, love, and serve.   I expect a lot. 

I expect all this from someone who is going through this life for the first time, experiencing so many of life's challenges and obstacles as I do, with a willing heart but weak hands.  I often think I'm such a nice person when I'm well rested, well fed, and have some quiet time.  Those are in short supply here for us in this phase of life.  I know he is the one I'm the hardest on.  If I'm being completely honest, I give my children, my family, my friends a lot more grace then I give my husband.  My expectations are high and most of the time he lives up to them.  When in my eyes he doesn't, it is sad to admit, but I really struggle.

Life is about changing and making things right.  This is an area I would like to make right.  I want grace and patience in my marriage.  Love is kindness, suffering long, patience, respect, grace, mercy.  Everything should be done in love and kindness.  Marriage is no different.  I have a lot to work on but I do know that love is key.  I'm not saying we don't work through difficult times or share our frustrations, I'm saying we should do it all with lots of love and a healthy dollop of grace.   

Much of what I'm learning is that so much of this is really up to me.  It is up to me to make the difference in my marriage.  To make it amazing and all that I want it to be. 

You can find the rest of the series here.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

To Have and To Hold Day 30 | Master Bedroom Makeover Part 4

So, I didn't finish our bedroom makeover.  I'm so close but I'm just not going to get it done before the month is over.  Here are a few photos of what I have so far.

Here it is with both sets of curtains.  Our old curtains on the right, new curtains on the left.  I can't decide if I should keep the new.  As you can see, they are big and poofy, maybe too big and poofy.  I had a moment of weakness in the Ikea, I mean gold and polka-dots, how can a girl resist.  The blue velvet curtains went back and the polka-dot ones kind of ended up in my cart.  We shall see if I decide to keep them...

The gallery wall will be around the bed.  I'm in the process of putting it up.  I traced and cut paper the size of the frames, and taped them up.  So much easier then guessing and lots of nail holes.

I love, love, love my black walls!  I know that they are not for everyone, but they make everything pop, and they are, dare I say, sexy and fun!  I love the gold on black.  I'm very happy with how they turned out. 
These last two weeks have been full and busy.  My wonderful husband flew my mom into town to surprise me for my birthday!  I was completely taken by surprise and oh so grateful to him for planning ahead and to her for coming!  What a delightful gift!  He also gave up a weekend away with me and let my mom go in his place!  We spent a couple days taking long walks, talking, shopping for wardrobe staples (hello skinny jeans for my mama!), talking, eating yummy food (how have I never had blue cheese fries before?  to. die. for.) and more talking.  It was a beautiful couple of days together.

Last week was spent with my mother and this week has been spent celebrating everything Halloween and harvest with a week long visit with a wonderful 5th grade exchange student from Japan.  Life is full and the bedroom makeover had to be pushed back.  I'm hoping to have it up on the blog this next week.  I have a couple more decorating projects to finish and a few to photograph and share and then I want to be done for awhile.  I need a break from decorating.  I will work on  celebrating contentment when it comes to my home as we head into this season of thanksgiving.

You can find the rest of the series here.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

To Have and To Hold Day 29 | Documenting Our Story Part 6

I love to document and record life.  As I'm wrapping up this series on how to show more love to our husbands, I just feel that documentation can play such an important role. 

I love to celebrate us by documenting the everyday, the special occasions, the celebrations.  I love making the little books of trips that we have taken or a collection of photos through the past years.  I love putting photos of the two of us in our home for all to enjoy, a reminder of our unique relationship, the one I share with him alone. 

I hope to write down more of our story.  I hope to write down some of our struggles and triumphs.  I hope to have his voice in more of our memory keeping.  I hope to record more of his life, what he does when he works and serves away from us.  I want to record as much as I can, to celebrate our relationship.

The process of recording and documenting is the process of celebrating.  I analyze and evaluate as I document.  As I take the photos, write our story, record the moments, and share the photos I can better see our relationship.  I ponder on things that I'm too busy to think about during the day to day of life.  I love the process of documenting and I know that it blesses our relationship.

You can find the rest of the series here.

Monday, October 28, 2013

To Have and To Hold Day 28 | Gratitude List

I love the idea of a gratitude list.  I'm thinking of doing something this next month to celebrate and document this season of Thanksgiving.  Like so many, I have much to be grateful for. 

When it comes to our spouses, wouldn't it be great to make a list of all we are grateful for.  All that they do, all that they are, all the little things that we appreciate.  I love the idea of making this list and sharing it with our husbands.  What a great anniversary or birthday gift.  How special he would feel to see all the ways that you appreciate him.

 You can find the rest of the series here.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

To Have and To Hold Day 27 | Master Bedroom Makeover Part 3

Here is the master bedroom progress.

Walls are painted, check.  Art prints framed, gallery wall frames purchased and collected from around the house, curtains purchased, check, check, check.  Bed covered in stuff that needs to go somewhere, check.  Asking myself how I got all this stuff, check.  Getting closer to being done, check. 

You can find the rest of the series here.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

To Have and To Hold Day 26 | The Little Things

I have been working on doing a little something extra for Steve each day.  I've tried to keep it simple.  A fun text in the middle of the day, offering to run to the store, a happy attitude when I normally would not, checking out a book from the library for him just because, a note of thanks left on his pillow, a massage, just random fun extras throughout the month to show him I care. 

I wasn't perfect about this, there were some busy days when this just didn't happen.  But, I enjoyed the process of thinking more about my husband and finding small ways to serve him and let him know how much I love him.

You can find the rest of the series here.

Friday, October 25, 2013

To Have and To Hold Day 25 | Documenting Our Story Part 5

Documenting our courtship and engagement is something I have wanted to do for a long time.  I didn't keep a journal when I met and dated Steve and I regret not recording our story.  I also want to record his perspective on our story during this time.  I was hoping to do this during this series but realize that it is not going to happen.  I'm still wanting to focus on it in the near future and get our story written down.  Here are some things I plan to do to get what we can remember (so sad for the things we can't) out of our heads and recorded.

  • Look up dates of events in our courtship.
  • Talk to others that may help me remember things I have forgotten.
  • I want it to be beautifully written.  Well that is an overwhelming thought and feels like it will paralyze my efforts.  My plan is to just write it down.  I won't try to have it make perfect sense, just get facts, feelings, and memories onto paper.  Then I will try to make it beautiful.
  • Get Steve to share.  I was planning to do this on a weekend away together.  We love to reminisce when we are away together and this would be a great time to record his memories.
  • Gather any extra letters (I wrote a letter to my brother that was on a mission after Steve and my first week together, love what was recorded there) and photos to add to our story.
  • Possibly do a little picture book for the kids to look at with a condensed version of our story.  I love this idea and it has been floating around in my head for a few years now.  I would love to make it a reality.  
I'm so excited to record our story!  It is one of those things I have wanted to do for so long.  At one point along the way I thought that I had missed the boat, that I couldn't record it now that so much time has past, but I don't believe that.  I know that some has been lost, but there is still so much to remember and to record.  Wish me luck.

You can find the rest of the series here.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

To Have and To Hold Day 24 | Love Languages

I'm sure most of us have read or at least heard of the book The 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman. It talks about how each of us has a way the we feel loved the most.  For me, I feel loved the most when people serve me. I love gifts, and kind words, and hugs, but do my dishes or sweep my kitchen floor, oh man, I feel so loved and cared for.  Steve's love language is physical touch.  He loves the other things as well, but hugs, a foot rub, sitting close on the couch together, even just being inthe same room together, any kind of physical contact is how he feels love.

The funny thing is, we show love the way we like to receive it.  So true.  I serve those I love and Steve wants to be close.  The challenge is to show love to your husband in the way that means the most.  Ladies, it is more bang for your buck.  I can spend the day cleaning and cooking, mending and running errands, paying bills and organizing and feel like I have shown so much love.  But he may not feel it.  I hate thinking my time has been wasted. Do what means the most to him, it is part of  knowing him better and loving him where he is at.  It is wisdom.   We only have so much time and energy to give each day, lets use it wisely and let him feel the most loved.

Just a side note, Steve has 4 sisters and a brother.  They all took the test and they all scored crazy high in the love language of physical touch.  If you know his family at all, you really would not be surprised.  Just another testament to me of how very different we all may be and how important it is to figure out the needs of those we live with and love and care for.

You can find the rest of the series here.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

To Have and To Hold Day 23 | Backing Down

I remember talking to a family member that asked me early on in my marriage if Steve and I fought.  I just laughed.  Of course we fight, we just don't do it in front of people.  We all have disagreements with the ones we are married to.  I dont think i need to tell you that in a marriage you are dealing with a different person, who may see things very differently at times.  We can get defensive, our feelings can get hurt, we may say something we shouldn't.

My advice today, as we discuss ways to show more love to our husbands, is to be the one who backs down first.  This is hard.  We don't feel like backing down when we are upset and arguing about something that seems so significant at times.    But showing love is not always easy and isn't something we only do when it is convenient.  We love during the hard times.  So, swallow that pride, take a few deep breaths, pray for guidance, let it go, and back down.  Do it without pride and manipulation.  Show him love and be understanding of his thoughts and his intent.  Love him when he is far from lovable.  Who knows, he may just melt right before your eyes.

You can find the rest of the series here.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

To Have and To Hold Day 22 | Just Let It Go

It is easy to feel frustrated with so many little things in our marriage relationships.  It can be easy to let these feelings take over and consume us at times.  When it comes to our marriage, stressing about little issues and small annoyances is just a waste of time.  Why focus on something that stresses you out or makes you angry.  Just let it go.  For me, I have found that letting go of small things that really don't matter much can do wonders for my marriage.   I am happier.  I am focusing on the good, on things that uplift and bring me joy.  I'm a better person for it.  Let things go before they can consume you and drag you down.

You can find the rest of the series here.

Monday, October 21, 2013

To Have and To Hold Day 21 | Speaking About Our Husband

"Marriage is not a noun; it's a verb. It isn't something you get. It's something you do. It's the way you love your partner every day."
- Barbara de Angelis

I have been told my whole life to speak well of others.  How do we speak of our husbands?  Do we speak of him with respect?  Do we praise him?  I am always impressed when I hear someone speak well of their spouse.  When they compliment them and appreciate them.  When they show how much they love them by the words they use.  They honor their marriage and their relationship.  They show their spouses trust and love by what they say.  Why would we spend time doing anything else?

You can find the rest of the series here.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

To Have and To Hold Day 20 | Documenting Our Story Part 4

Here is a photo book I did for our anniversary this last year.  It was fun to make this book to celebrate 11 years together.  I made the book on Shutterfly and it came together easily.  I signed up for there mailing list and receive a free 8x8 book coupon a few times a year.  You just pay for shipping.  So worth it!  Go to their site and sign up! 

So, here is our book to celebrate 11 years together. 

You can find the rest of the series here.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

To Have and To Hold Day 19 | Master Bedroom Makeover Part 2

Here is the progress on the master bedroom so far.

I finally painted!  This was the big thing that I was dreading and it is done!  And can I tell you, I love the color!  Love it!  It can be blue, grey, or black depending on the light or on my mood.  I can't wait to put things on my wall! 
 Here I was playing around with a couple things on the wall.  Those are our old curtains, I can't believe how much better they look with the new wall, but I'll still be getting some new curtains.
  I ordered this print this last week and received it.  Lovely and perfect for my side of the bed.
Here is a photo of our bed, with the pre-painted wall.  The white velvet headboard was purchased for the bedroom redo with the two patterned pillow shams and the distressed sunburst mirror.  The bed will stay as it is. 
I ordered my "love" quote sign.  Can't wait to receive that.  I'm collecting my gold frames and planning a trip to Ikea.  Getting closer to a new to me bedroom.

You can find the rest of the series here.

Friday, October 18, 2013

To Have and To Hold Day 18 | Strategically Take Care of Yourself

Strategically take care of yourself so you can take care of him.  It is that concept of if you are empty, you have nothing to give.  Yes, I know that this isn't always the case.  I know that there are times that I feel I have nothing and I reach down deep inside and am able to still give.  But, in an overall sense of the concept, I believe it is great to work in time to take care of yourself. 

For me this boils down to sleep, eating healthy, exercise, quiet times, and taking some time to do something I love.  If I can take the time to do these things on a daily basis I'm a much happier person.  Sometimes taking care of yourself isn't the funnest (going to bed early, getting up early to exercise, and skipping a bowl of ice cream aren't my favorite)  or the easiest (quiet time, what's that?) but they make such a difference.  It is what grown ups do, the see and know and do the hard things. 

Then we turn around and give and serve and work and sweat and wipe away tears and laugh and love and serve and work some more.  And we also have time to laugh and play and focus and listen.  We have the energy to have more fun and enjoy life more fully with the ones we love most.  Take care of yourself so you can take better care of him.

You can find the rest of the series here.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

To Have and To Hold Day 17 | Sometimes Its Just About The Relationship

Sometimes it is hard, sometimes you argue, sometimes you get annoyed, sometimes he just isn't very likable, sometimes it is just off.  When I'm feeling this way, I tend to focus more on the relationship as a whole.  Sometimes it is just about the relationship.

It is your marriage.  It is important.  It is worth working on and fighting for everyday.  It is worth the effort and the time.  Even when you don't feel like it, you need to work on it.  Especially when you don't feel like it.

I have found that these times pass.  There are ups and downs in every relationship, but the harder I work on being a good wife, the better the relationship.  Life is wonderfully complicated and imperfect.  Simply focusing on the one that you promised to spend your days with keeps things in perspective, even on the hard days.

You can find the rest of the series here.