Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Random Updates

I haven't written in a while - which I hate. I like having brilliant things to write about. Funny stories or somewhat wise insight and advice. Today, though, I don't really have any of that - just a few updates on my life. I am currently at home sick - missing work for the first time since I started working there. Sickness is no fun - I much prefer my job. 

 So, what's going on in my life? 

1. Thanksgiving was perfect. Derrick and I slept in, and then headed to my Mom's house for lunch with that side of the family. We had tons of food, and Derrick and I watched Cinderella with a friend of the family's daughter. I haven't watched Cinderella in a decade, and I'm sure Derrick hasn't watched it in longer than that, so that was fun. It's a lot more intense then I had remembered, and I liked watching Derrick interact with Isabelle. After that, we headed to Granny Jean's house for Thanksgiving with the Green's. They're always great to be around - and I'm glad to be a part of their family. Then it was time for Mom and I to leave for our beach shopping spree :) And time for Derrick to go to work. My weekend with my mom was great, and I got almost all of my Christmas shopping done!

2. We were blessed when Derrick got a job at HHGregg a week before Thanksgiving. Of course, with him starting around the holidays - he's been working many hours and long days, which has given me a taste of what it would be like to live on my own. Lots of time to clean, do the chores, read, watch TV... And it's also given us too much of a chance to miss each other. The house is too quiet, and I get very excited when he comes home at night. He enjoys the job though - for the most part - and it will be good until he can find a full time video job.

3. Sunday afternoon we decorated our Christmas tree, with Elf playing in the background. It was the perfect first holiday tradition to begin together. We bought stockings before we chose our ornaments, and our stockings are green and pink (just like us) - so our ornaments are bright colors that liven up the tree. I love it. Of course, Derrick handed me the ornaments, and I tried my best to place them perfectly. No two ornaments of the same color too close. No big gaps or ornaments on top of each other.It's lovely, and I'm excited to start many more traditions in the next few weeks.

4.The last update or random fact that I'm going to share is that there is a mouse in our house. Now this shouldn't surprise anyone - because we pretty much live in the middle of four fields...surrounded on all sides. But I am terrified of mice. Horrified. Paralyzed. I logically understand that they can't hurt me - but that doesn't matter. So sharing my sick day with a mouse has been difficult. I haven't been in the kitchen all day - because I've heard him in there. After spending the morning avoiding the kitchen, I think I saw him scurry into our bathroom - so I have avoided that this afternoon. I have basically tiptoed from the bed to the couch, being very careful to avoid him. It has crossed my mind to leave altogether. But I will wait until my husband brings the mouse traps home tonight. The part of me who just watched Cinderella wants to rescue the little guy (as I type these words I hear him back in the kitchen...and the want to rescue him dissipates). The rest of me just wants to annihilate him.

Hopefully I'll have something better to share with you soon :)

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

How's Married Life?

There are always those "small-talk" phrases that make people feel comfortable. "How's school?", "How's work?", "How's the wedding planning?"...

How's married life?

This question always causes me to pause for a moment. Do they want a simple answer? Do they want details? Really...what are the expecting me to say? That's it's bad? That I wish I had never gotten married? That single life was so much better? (None of which are the case.). So...

It's good. 

Sometimes I'll even throw in an anecdote about how Derrick says: "It's busy. Lots of Campbell."

So, how's married life? 

It's happy.
It's cozy.
It's busy.
It's fun. 
It's silly.
It's adult.
It's magical.
It's normal.
It's comfortable.
It's butterflies.
It's adventurous.
It's settled.
It's friendship.
It's romantic.
It's work.
It's love. 

And, for those who actually want the details. How's married life?

It's more normal than I could have imagined for Derrick and I to just be together. It isn't so much different than dating, but we don't have to say goodbye. We get sleep together. We get to do separate things together. It's not choosing his house or mine - it's hanging out at our house. It's comfortable, and we quickly settled into our routine. But being settled doesn't mean there aren't magical moments. Whether it's a moment full of romance or we're just watching a scary movie in our living room, it's passionate friendship and it's wonderful.

It's great to have a home of our own in so many senses of the word. We get to go grocery shopping together (Aldi is awesome). I get to cook supper for us, and we eat together. I clean, and he does the laundry. We watch television together. He works in his office while I read in bed. And I can't fall asleep until he's joined me. It's nice to have that place to come home to and that person to come home to. Our house has become our haven, but Derrick is  my home. 

It's being partners in life. Looking at our budget together and looking forward to making Christmas lists and deciding how much to spend on people. It's deciding what we want for supper and sharing our thoughts and passions. It's falling into place on who does what chores. Learning new things about each other. Figuring out the world - but doing it together. It's holding hands.

Married life is good. Great. But so much more than that.

Friday, November 11, 2011

With a thankful heart...

Today (well, yesterday) we're going with thirteen things I'm thankful for. And, on this 11.11.11 Veteren's day, I want to especially thank our veterans, our soldiers and their families that make so many sacrifices every day so that we can live in the land of the free and home of the brave! How often do I take it for granted that I get to be free because they're so brave!

1. I am thankful that God is coloring the leaves in gorgeous yellows, oranges, and reds.

2. I am thankful for country music and the people who sing it. They feel like family.

3. I am thankful for the people who care about and take care of Campbell University.

4. I am thankful that I am safe. I do not live in fear on a daily basis. There are a lot of people who don't have that.

5. I am thankful that I have someone to share the bed with. Warm and safe.

6. I am thankful for my prospective students. Their confusion. Their curiosity. Their excitement and innocence.

7. I am thankful for printers - they take my words and my designs and make them easy to share.

8. I am thankful for my vehicle. I love it. It has taken me where I need to go, participated in many adventures, put up with my messy fast food lifestyle, and stuck with me for 8 years.

9. I am thankful for my new work phone. I don't miss anything. And I can text now!

10. I am thankful for my sister-in-law (although I just call her sister). She's a great friend...and makes wonderful cookies :)

 11. I am thankful for the windows in my office. I look to the right and have a beautiful picture of campus.

12. I am thankful for the Christmas cookie candle that makes my office smell warm and welcoming. And like Christmas.

13. I am thankful for Pandora. It keeps me company all day - with everything from Mandisa to Keith Whitley from Journey to the Judds.

Thanksgiving is only 2 weeks away! Can't wait :)
Thanksgiving means turkey. family. christmas shopping with mom. christmas tree time. and new traditions with my HUSBAND!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

What to Buy Wednesdays

As you can tell from "Marriage Monday", I'm all about alliteration. Wednesday's blogs will focus on things I love ("What to Buy"). With Christmas coming up, maybe I can help you find something to add to your list or to buy for someone else.

Today I want to share with you one of the devotions that I've been doing over the past several months: "Women of the Bible" by Ann Spangler and Jean Syswerda.

I feel like I have learned so much from this simple little devotion book. You spend one week (5 days) on each woman. You read their story, learn about their culture, share their struggles, and are presented with a challenge to your own life. The daily devotions take anywhere from 5-25 minutes to do, so they fit easily into your schedule and can be done own their own or with another devotion. You will meet up with old friends (Eve, Esther, Bathsheba...) and meet new friends. And, while you learn about the women of the Bible, you also learn more about some of the key stories in the Bible and some of the popular men of the Bible.

This book does not go into verse by verse detail, but I feel like it does a great job of overviewing the stories and most important facts of these women. I highly suggest it.

If you're looking to go in-depth and focus on one woman of the bible, then I would suggest this great study by Beth Moore:

I love finding devotions that touch my heart, show me God's heart, and help me grow spiritually.

If you decide to take my suggestions and do either of these great devotional studies, let me know what you think!

And I want to know: What's your favorite devotion?

Monday, November 7, 2011

Power of a Compliment...

On Mondays my blog will focus on Marriage. Marriage advice. Things I've noticed from being married. Wedding insight. Anything related to marriage.

Today I want to talk about the power of a compliment in life, but more specifically in marriage.

I think one of my favorite things about my and Derrick's relationship has always been the fact that we appreciate it other - and we let the other one know it. And it makes me sad to realize that some couples are not like that. Words can be so powerful and, while they don't always trump actions, they can heal and uplift and encourage. Or hurt and break down and push away.

Men need encouragement just as much as women. They need to be admired and respected more. They need to feel like a man, a protector, a provider. I try my best to find specific and general ways to compliment Derrick. To build him up. To show him that I appreciate who he is. Don't just think that because he's a strong man he doesn't need to hear that you love him. And respect him. And how you love and respect him. There are so many kind words that you can share with your husband, and I encourage you to try it today:

"I appreciate all you do for me."
"You make me feel safe."
"You make me laugh like no one else does."
"You're handsome. I love your smile."
"The way you think and figure things out amazes me."
"I'm proud of who you are and all you've overcome."
"I like watching you work (or play video games or play sports or whatever his hobby is)."
"I like talking to you about things. Your opinion is important to me."
"Thank you for taking care of me."
"Thank you for taking time with me."
"Thanks for taking me out to eat the other night; I really enjoyed the evening."

Be creative. Be honest. Be specific to your husband (or boyfriend...or best friend...or parent...or sibling).

Now, I will brag a minute on my husband. Yesterday I was walking through the living room, and Derrick looked up at me and said, "You're beautiful. I'm not sure if I've told you that yet today. But you're beautiful."  And sometimes when we're eating dinner or lying in bed, he'll tell me, "You're a wonderful wife. I probably don't tell you that enough, but you are." Even if I don't feel beautiful or agree with him - it makes me feel secure that he notices.

Women need to be adored. And we want to feel appreciated and needed. Or at least I do. It means so so much to me when Derrick takes those seven seconds to look into my eyes and appreciate who I am.

If you're married, I hope that your husband appreciates you. If he doesn't, start by respecting him with your words and actions, and I pray that he, over time, will follow by adoring you. If not, I think you're amazing and strong for loving him - keep loving him. 

If you're not married, find a man who makes you feel appreciated. You may not need compliments. You may prefer gifts. Or a man who cooks dinner for you. Just make sure he makes you feel worth everything. And do your best to make him feel the same way. 

Saturday, November 5, 2011

The search for our hobby...

It was our first Sunday in the couples' Sunday School class at church. We were in our small group, when another couple asked "So, do the two of you have any hobbies?"


Uhhh...Hobbies. Yeah. We watch TV. 

I'm at Campbell a lot.

And so began the search for our hobby. 

I wish I could say that I had time to be crafty. That scrapbooking or sewing or turning trash into treasure was a hobby of mine. But, as cute as all of that Better Homes and Gardens stuff is, I hardly have the time, resources, or creativity to be crafty. Maybe one day. 

I'd like to think that we had some adventurous hobby, like tennis or jogging. But I've never played tennis in my life. And jogging makes it hard for me to breathe. Hiking would be nice. Maybe one day.

Then there's the idea of a romantic hobby. Doing pottery together. Discovering gems of antique stores or hidden mom and pop restaurants. Painting or playing an instrument. I'm not sure if we have the money or talent for those things...but maybe one day. 

Since they asked the question, though, and now that we're settled in our home, I have focused on finding my hobby. I enjoy reading and haven't done much lately. I went to the library - and now make time to get lost in my fiction Amish world and get to know the apostle Paul a little better (two separate books). I love writing...I have started blogging again - and hope to find a more steady role as a blogger. And I'm hoping to print another book soon. Plus, I do love my job - and Campbell offers concerts and plays and parties and friendships and fellowship. So that can still be a hobby. 

Derrick's hobby is definitely videos and video games.

And we both enjoy photography. 

So maybe we do have hobbies. They may not be flashy. Kind of simple. But that's who we are and that's what we have time for. Maybe one day I'll be a sporty, crafty, talented, artsy woman. Maybe one day. 

I want to hear from you! What are your hobbies? Do you have any hobbies with your significant other?

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Thankful Thursdays

I like to believe that I often take time to realize how blessed I am and to be thankful for all of the things that God has given me. I don't know if I really appreciate it all enough though. This November I will be making a list of things that I am thankful for. Every Thursday I will list thirty things that I am thankful for. In no particular order.

I hope that my journey into the spirit of thanksgiving will encourage you to look around and be truly thankful as well.

1. I am thankful that I can talk to God anytime, anywhere, about anything.

2. I am thankful that I have known my grandparents - and have memories with each of them.

3. I am thankful for my cozy bed. So cozy I don't want to leave.

4. I am thankful for my office at work. It is a wonderful haven to work from.

5. I am thankful for sweet tea. That I not only never go thirsty but have my favorite drink always a car ride away.

6. I am thankful for pens and paper - that we can record our thoughts...and make to do lists.

7. I am thankful to work at a place where I can talk about Christ and say "Bless you" without worry of criticism.

8. I am thankful for a brother who is a friend, who will drop by my house just to hang out for ten minutes. 

9. I am thankful to not only have one Christian girlfriend, but to have at least seven who have been beside me through the years. 

10. I am thankful for my student ambassadors - who help me and bless me and surprise me and encourage me. 

11. I am thankful for words. Their beauty. Their message. Their power. Their legacy. 

12. I am thankful that I have clothes to wear every day - a closet full of more than I need. 

13. I am thankful for blankets. They provide warmth and comfort. 

14. I am thankful for my television. I have news and stories and productions and entertainment in the comfort of my own home. 

15. I am thankful for music - it makes sense of feelings, comforts, excites, and tells a millions stories.

16. I am thankful for the Christmas season. The meaning, the smells, the tastes, the cool air, the tradition...

17. I am thankful for books. They are a wonderful escape, a source of encouragement, and a path to adventure.

18. I am thankful to live in the USA. No matter how corrupt our nation may be becoming, it is still the home of the free and land of the brave.

19. I am thankful for the Bible. It's message. It's guidance. It's instruction.

20. I am thankful for my father. That he still takes care of me. That he has always been my biggest fan.

21. I am thankful for clean water. To drink. To wash with. Not everyone has that.

22. I am thankful for photos that capture special moments.

23. I am thankful that I went to WCA - where I received a great education, made amazing memories, and met my best friends.

24. I am thankful for Pandora - bringing a random selection of music to my desk.

25. I am thankful for candles. They make things smell delicious.

26. I am thankful to have a place to go home to. A roof over my head. A cozy couch. A husband who loves me.

27. I am thankful for Facebook - where I can catch up with and be encouraged by friends and family.

28. I am thankful for the two devotions I'm doing right now. One about Paul. One about the women of the Bible. 

29. I am thankful for hot chocolate. And over sized mugs.

30. I am thankful for my mother. My friend. My cheerleader. She's an amazing woman that I'm blessed to have as an example in life.

Next week I'll share with you another thirty things I'm thankful for. Until then, post below and tell me what you're thankful for this November!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011


I have been married for one month. In some ways it seems like longer - like we're already an old married couple. In some ways it feels like we just got married yesterday. I still can't believe I'm married. It feels so normal. It just faded into being - no crashing and clanging - I just woke up, and he was there. It felt right.

I have learned some things after being married a month, and a lot of what I learned while dating has been put into practice as well.

1. Always think before you speak. Sometimes Derrick will leave clothes lying on the floor or will neglect doing something that I think he should have. Sometimes I disagree with something he did or I'm having a bad day and find it easy to have negative thoughts. But it's important that before speaking, before nagging, before becoming negative and hurting him - I play out the situation. I take a step back. Is it worth it? Is it really that big of deal? Or is it something too small to make a big deal over. Too many women make their husbands bitter towards them because they constantly nag and criticize them. And I will not let that happen.

2. Sometimes it's nice just to be in the same house. Derrick and I are both independent in a way. We need our alone time. Time to enjoy ourselves and re-energize. I like watching netflix, reading, writing...he loves playing Battlefield. And sometimes that's okay. Sometimes it's nice to just know that your person is in the next room.

3. It's easy to become too comfortable. Our house is very comfortable. Being with Derrick is very comfortable. And sometimes all I want to do is cook and then relax. Do nothing at night. Watch a lot of television. Just be. It's harder to be the creative, organized, productive housewife than I had imagined it would be- it's easier to just hang out and relax. But I'm working on it. Blogging again. Looking forward to getting another book printed. Working on our budget - and paying our first bills. Taking time to read. And hopefully adding some more projects to the mix. It's nice to be Derrick's best friend and watch television together - but it's also important to do more.

4. Aldi is awesome. If you've never grocery shopped at Aldi - do it. Derrick and I went there the day after our honeymoon to fill up our pantry - and we've made it our Sunday afternoon date every since. They have everything you need - and they'll save you a lot of money. Newlyweds - Aldi will fit very nicely into your budget :) Go there.

5. Going to church together is important. Derrick and I have been going to church together since we started dating, and we've been doing the video ministry together for a year. It is so important that we make time for God together. We worship together. We learn together. We serve together. We get up, get out of bed, and go to church together. We're now in a married couples Sunday school class - and I think that's going to be a big blessing in our growth as a couple and with the Lord.

6. There isn't enough time. Priorities are a tough thing to get in order. I want to be able to do it all. And sometimes I just want to do nothing. I work a lot - and I LOVE it. I often (happily) volunteer for or create new events that take place in the evening or on the weekends. This is fun for me - maybe not so fair to Derrick. At the same time, I need time to spend with God. I want to make witnessing and sharing Him more of a priority. And I need time to focus on Derrick. One night a week is with my parents. One night a week with Derrick's mom. I want to make time for friends. I want to read and write. I need to work out. I want to be involved with a bible study. I want to make time for my grandparents, aunts, and uncles. I need to cook and clean and take care of our home. So many things compete for our time and attention - and it's important to know when to say No and when to make time for something. I'm still struggling with the saying "No."

7. I'm bad at bills and paperwork...and God help me when it's time for taxes. I like to believe I'm good with money - I'm just not good at the paperwork part of being an adult. I'm really dreading tax time. 

8. It's nice to have someone on the other pillow. Marriage is a blessing. It's having your best friend, your partner, your lover. It's laughing and getting frustrated and talking and singing and relaxing. It's a million answered prayers and a million more whispered prayers. Once God brings you to the right one, I highly recommend marriage.