Sunday, April 21, 2019

With This Ring

Six and a half years ago, Aaron and I vowed ourselves to one another, slipping shiny new rings on each other's fingers while pledging our love in front of friends and family. But vows aren't just something you say one day and then move on from. They're constant: whispered through our actions, cemented in our sacrifices, and renewed as we learn from our mistakes. They're words and truths that keep us grounded and remind us of how we truly feel about each other: even on the days when it all doesn't feel like roses and fireworks. No matter where I am or what I'm doing, when I catch a glimpse of the gorgeous promise glistening on my left ring finger, I'm reminded just what a circular piece of metal can mean: just how much I can, and did, and will continue to commit myself to- with this ring.

If I wrote them today, here's what they'd look like:

With this ring, I promise to love you even on days I don't feel like it. I promise to choose you again and again, each and every day for all of my days. I promise to do my best to ease your burdens in areas I can since you handle so many other things that I can't.

I promise to laugh with you, dream with you, and throw all I have into making this about much more than just us. I promise to listen, and to do my best to understand, even when we both think we're right. I promise to learn and change together, rather than apart, and to always keep fighting for us.

I promise to always hold your hand, to keep you and our marriage a priority even when we have kids, and to never stop dating. I promise to be open and honest with you, even when I'm not quite sure how I really feel (which will happen a lot...sorry). I promise to wipe off your shirt after I'm done crying on it, and to make last minute plans on occasion because spontaneity and adventure keep us fresh- even though I like to plan.

With this ring, I promise to be your best friend, to always assume the best, even when it's easy not to- to stay in my lane and to value your wisdom. We both know things aren't always perfect, but I promise to forgive and forget, to say I'm sorry freely and without reserving my grudges. I promise to kiss you before bed and when I wake up, to do my best to back the car out of the garage without hitting anything, and to remind you to check the important emails out of the thousands within your inbox.

I promise to laugh at your silly jokes, to stay up way too late watching Parks and Rec while you sleep on the couch, and to make you fresh iced tea because I know it's your favorite. I promise to bear your burdens to the best of my ability, to walk by faith and not by sight, and to sit back and marvel at the wondrous story God is writing in our lives. I promise to be your helper and to stand by your side, even when times get hard and we're forced to navigate through uncharted waters.

With this ring, I promise that my heart is and will always be reserved solely for you. I couldn't live this life with anyone else, and I'd never want to.  I promise to love you, no matter the numbers in our bank account, the hairs on your head, or the days we have left together. You're it, forever. Thank you for loving me and pursuing me in a way I never knew someone could, regardless of my many faults. I love you. Thank you for choosing me to be your bride, today and every day. Because this ring, and these vows- they aren't just for one day. They're forever.

Engagement | January 2013

Date Night | April 2019

Thursday, April 11, 2019

One Fork at a Time

I stand there, bare feet touching the hardwood floor, exhausted from the day, yet finding my patience as he reaches in again and again. His fingers, still slightly sticky from the cookie he polished off at dinner, grasp the handles, one fork at a time, slowly handing me the clean dishes. I thank him each and every time, praising his hard work. His longing to be involved makes my heart melt. He looks from me to the silverware basket and back, a gleam in his blue eyes at the joy he feels from helping me accomplish this mindless task. To him, it's not a chore, it's a delight, and it's something he gets to be a part of with his mama.

There are moments of frustration for us both: the top rack, littered with Shakespeare's plastic cups and now clean ice cream bowls, is two inches too high for him to reach in and help unload. He's ready to shut the door long before we're done unloading, or when I still need to fill it up with a new round of dirty dishes covered in spaghetti sauce and leftover olive oil. To be honest, it would be way easier for me to just do it myself. There are less "two year old" battles to potentially fight, and I would undoubtedly be much more time efficient. Our sectional couch is calling my name and I'm worn and tired. But I see him learning, and growing, and reveling in the way I am including him. And that makes it more than worth my time, much more than any "relaxing" option may be, no matter how tempting This is Us and a mug of hot tea sounds.

 So I linger, and I'm patient, and I let him tell me about the bowl that holds his "goldfishies". I let him point out his bright blue cup, or work hard to get his tiny fork unjammed from the corner where it's caught. After some struggle, I help him break it lose, and thank him as he drops it from his palm into mine. I answer his sweet "What's that?" question about sixteen times, using the opportunity to strengthen his vocab and work on sentence structure, as only an English teacher can. And I marvel at the ways he's learning and at the way my heart could burst with pride and joy and overwhelming love for his sweet 28 pound self in this exact moment.

Sometimes I think this is the way that the Lord sees us, his children. How what we have to contribute is not necessary in order for him to accomplish his plans. How we are quite honestly probably a hindrance more than a help to him most of the time. And yet, He still includes us. He lets us a be a part, lets us have a role in the broad plans He has, in the beautiful story that He is writing and weaving together. A loving father, much bigger and greater and more patient than my selfish and broken "earthly mama self", a father who is not surprised by our frustrations along the way, our temper tantrum moments, or our inability to express our emotions at times.

And yet, he keeps showing up, opening the door, letting us a be a part of his tasks at hand. We are not the reason He accomplishes his works, it's quite the opposite: He accomplishes them in spite of us. And yet, I am so grateful that he lovingly takes the approach he does. It is such a gift to be a tiny part of his big, master plan. I am thankful for a loving, patient father who lets me get my hands in on things that point toward his glory: one grubby little hand, one tiny fork at a time.


Tuesday, April 9, 2019

5 Easy Ways to Jazz Up Your Living Room

When I gave our front room a farmhouse refresh, I had a dark couch to work with, along with dark oak trim. I wasn't feeling up to repainting the entire room, buying a new couch, or painting the trim. But I'm getting to the point where I think I'll be ready to purchase a new, more modern sofa some day, or at least dream about it: I mean, have you seen how beautiful a Barcelona style sofa is?? Its presence alone is like art, but like any piece of furniture, you need to enhance the mood of the overall ambiance with some well-chosen d├ęcor objects (and the same is true for any sofa you may currently own). Here are five easy ways to help jazz up your sofa, and really your entire living room!

1. A Beautiful Floor Lamp

A modern floor lamp can make your sofa feel all the more stylish. Tall and oversized lamps are preferable to the smaller ones, as they have a large presence and tend to look pretty amazing as a whole. Just take a look at this image: the minimal layout feels positively striking in itself, but it’s actually the presence of the floor lamp that enhances the visual value of the whole setting. Their metal accents match the monochrome theme of the sofas really well and adds interest to the living room aesthetic. Yes please!


2. A Textured Area Rug

Any couch needs a proper area rug accompaniment to seem holistic, and the Barcelona style sofa is no different. However, you have to be extremely careful about the kind of rug that you pair it with. Tactile texture is important because the sofa itself is extremely sleek and elegant, so the texture of the rug will set off the clean design of the sofa even more. Shag rugs and Beni Ourain style Moroccan rugs are an excellent option. You can also experiment with different colors to make the ambiance feel more interesting. 


3. Plants and Greens

You can also use indoor plants to ramp up the presence of your sofa. Nature is an excellent contrast to the sleek output of this particular sofa style. The leafy green of the planters would beautiful the black and chrome visuals of the sofa even more. Just a single planter by the side of the sofa would add a refreshing aura to the whole set up. Alternately, you can also hang some planters from the ceiling or set something up on the side or coffee tables. I love adding pops of green life into our rooms!


4. A Gorgeous Coffee Table

The modern design of the Barcelona style sofa needs to be accompanied with a beautiful coffee table for proper presentation. Now, this pairing totally depends on the type of interior design theme that you’re going for. The transparent one in this image presents a contemporary output. You can also use a classical style, a traditional brass, or something else entirely depending on the kind of look that you’re going for.


5. Shelves and Art 

Finally, you can enhance the look of your sofa by complementing it with beautiful artwork and shelves. Floating shelves are pretty stylish and seem really interesting – especially when you’ve got a furniture piece as simple as this sofa. You can also use statement art in the backdrop to enhance the overall outlook of this sofa.

There are numerous other accessories that you can use to beautify your sofa and living area, especially a drop-dead gorgeous Barcelona style sofa, but these five ideas will definitely help you get started with the process. Happy decorating!