Monday, December 30, 2013

If only there were someone...

I'm making my way through the Old Testament. A journey I began last January. I eagerly read the stories in Genesis and Exodus. Made my way through Leviticus-Deuteronomy with eyebrows raised and eyelids heavy. Took a reprieve by reading the Psalms. Made my way back through Joshua and Judges. Did a bible study in Ruth. Fought some wars, got lost in some drama and learned to worship in Samuel, Kings and Chronicles. Found hope in Ezra and Nehemiah. Relished my time in Esther. And now I'm in Job. 

I'm really feeling for the guy. Really.

He was a good guy. Upstanding. Dedicated. Successful. 

And then he lost it all. 

Except for his wife...who tells him to curse God and die. 

And his friends...who tell him he must have done something wrong, evil, sinful... 

This weekend I dug into chapter 9. Painful praise. Acknowledging God's power, while wondering why the Creator of the universe is against him. 

My heart is breaking for Job. I just want to give him a hug. 

And then I come across a little verse (Job 9:33) that I'd never discovered before. One that causes excitement. Gratitude. Praise. Worship. Wow. Chill bumps. I'll cushion it between other verses for context. Jump in with me:

God is not a man like me that I might answer him.
That we might confront each other in court.

If only there were someone to arbitrate between us,
to lay his hand upon us both,

someone to remove God's rod from me, 
so that his terror would frighten me no more,

Then I would speak without fear of him,
but as it now stands with me, I cannot.

Did you catch that? Job is alone. He feels God is against him. That God's fury is like a lighting bolt straight to Job. And, in utter distress, he only wishes he could have a mediator. Someone to help him understand God. Someone to speak to God on Job's behalf and Job on God's behalf. Someone to remove the pain. 

Wow. Do I take Jesus for granted or what! Right there in the midst of unbelievable pain, Job cries out for a Savior, a Counselor. He cries out for God with us. He cries out for the very Person we can cry to. 

What an amazing blessing! What an amazing reminder! No matter what you're going through - you don't have to go through it alone.

 For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus,
 1 Timothy 2:5

Friday, December 27, 2013

This Christmas

I love Christmastime. Celebrating life in Christ. Celebrating family and food and all of our blessings.
 And this Christmas was especially blessed.

 The Christmas season, to me, kicks off with a beach black-Friday shopping trip with my mom and ends with the Bauer's annual Christmas party - a time of food, laughter and games with my best friends. Derrick and I are blessed with abundant lives, and a busy Christmas season. 

It officially started with Derrick's work Christmas party. A great excuse to dress up, and my husband was looking especially handsome! We had a great night of fellowship with his coworkers and our church family.

 The next day was my Campbell Christmas party. We had an ugly sweater contest...but I decided to channel Cindy-Lou Who instead.

That night we had a Christmas party with our amazing small group. 


 The weekend was full of celebration with Derrick's mom's mom and my mom's mom and all the family. 

Christmas Eve is always spent hanging out with Derrick's family - complete with Jesus' birthday cake, lively readings of the Christmas story (Luke 2), presents and games. 

On Christmas Eve, Derrick and I always watch The Grinch and have a sleepover in the living room...and then wake up on Christmas morning and open our stockings! 
It's amazing the things you get excited about when you become an adult :) This year I was so pumped to get socks...and a steamer (from my mom-in-law)...and a bucket full of house needs (from my mom)...and Clue (from the hubby)...and tons of Jesus books and giftcards and toiletries (from everyone).

 Christmas morning at my parents is still one of my favorite Christmas moments. A Christmas Story in the background, presents all over the living room, and everyone together.

And, of course, Johnson Christmas wouldn't be complete without the epic scavenger hunt.

 Next, it's Christmas at Mama's. This year was so special. Almost everyone was there together and in great spirits. And I LOVE seeing my dad, aunt and mama laugh until they cry. 

To end the day, Derrick and I head over to do the Greens' Christmas! Complete with balloon messages to heaven and yummy food (a theme at Christmas time).

 Another thing I'm loving is Derrick and my new hobby. It was his obsession first, but I'm quickly jumping on board...

Board games. He got 10 for Christmas. So we spent the quiet moments surrounding all the festivities at home playing lots of games.

Tomorrow is the Bauer's Christmas party, and I'm looking forward to catching up with my beautiful best friends. 

I hope your Christmas was as blessed and abundant as ours!

Merry Christmas from the Greens!

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Our first Christmas

Holy 3 months, Batman! I have missed writing - but life happens. And we've had a lot of life happening lately. Sometimes living life takes precedent over writing about it. But, for today at least, I'm back.

The other night I was driving home from work, thinking about how full my life is right now. Happy and blessed. How it's my favorite time of year.


 And it made me reflect on Derrick and my first married Christmas.

He had just taken a job at HHGregg. His first week there was Thanksgiving and, while I was out shopping with my mom, my sweet husband was working an all-nighter, dealing with crowds of crazies - two things he's not good with.

That season - from November to February - of him working at HHGregg was a difficult time, but we didn't know it. I remember sitting in the living room watching tv, my eyes fighting sleep, leftovers in the microwave, waiting for him to get home some time between 10:30 and 11:00 p.m. I'm pretty sure dinners of cheap oven pizzas and pigs in a blanket were staples.
Thank God I've evolved as a wife and nutritionist!

Derrick had to work until 6 p.m. on Christmas Eve. I remember putting dirt up against our house by myself that day, so that grass would grow in the spring - because my dad said we needed to do that to keep water from washing out around the house. I guess I just needed something productive to do. It's a good, silly memory now.

Derrick was also scheduled to work all day on the night of our best friends' first Christmas party - but he surprised me when he took off to be my date. His hard work and sweet heart meant so much and mean even more looking back now.

But those are happy memories now, and they make me appreciate where we are now.
There were many other happy memories that year too. 

 It was the first time we put on Elf and decorated the tree together. 

The first time we had a sleepover next to the fire place in the living room on Christmas Eve.

 It was the year that Derrick flew a remote controlled airplane in my hair.

The year we made a "Happy Jesus" cake.

The year my brother got the biggest knife ever from my Mama.

 The year my sweet husband made me cry with his sweet hand-written Christmas note.

It was the perfect first Christmas. And I look forward to many many more crazy-perfect Christmases. 

So no matter what this season holds for you - make sure to cherish all the good times, learn from the not-so-good times and memorize each moment. 

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Life and stuff.

It's been a while, I know. Happy long weekend! I hope you're all taking this time to relax and spend time with those you love. Last night I got all of the cleaning and laundry done (praise!), so today Derrick and I slept in, enjoyed our morning at home and then had a simple, sweet and productive date day.Thank God for long weekends! 

Here are a few updates on my life. 

Work's going surprisingly well. Getting settled. Every day is a new challenge, a lot to learn and busy from the time I get there to the time I leave...but I can definitely see God's hand in everything, and it's great to be a part of a strong team with the purpose of sharing our passion for Campbell! 

I have a huge weakness for fast food. I love eating out. I try to take my lunch to work and then end up running to pick up french fries or these past few weeks I've been making a point of stocking up on beautiful, fresh, healthy options. I'm aware how important it is to choose healthy foods - and I'm trying to discipline myself to make better choices. 

Fall is just around the corner! I'm getting excited. Work gets busier in the fall, but fall also means mountains trip with the family, our 2nd wedding anniversary, warm and cozy weather, delicious smells, leaves changing... 

Weeknights are still busy with family nights, church and nights out with friends - and I wouldn't trade any of that for anything. Right now we're making our way through the show Supernatural - being brave enough to watch it every night before bed. Derrick has been playing a lot of guitar recently, and I love listening, dancing and singing along. He informed me today that there was nothing in the world that he needed. I feel the same way - we are truly blessed. 

It's been nice checking in with you. 
The rest of our long weekend includes worshiping our amazing Creator tomorrow and filling the rest of our time with resting and relaxation. Hope you have an amazing weekend as well! 

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Don't Settle

Last time I wrote, God had just uprooted me from my comfort zone at work and illuminated a different path. This one had a few more stones, twists and turns - and took more faith step to step. Sometimes He does that so we don't settle - settle for just making a difference within our comfort zone, settle for not growing and struggling and coming out stronger, settle for handling it on our own, never needing to cry out to Him or begging Him to carry us on the next step because we're unsure of what it may be. 

It has been a crazy two weeks, and I can definitely say I'm not settled. But things have unfolded in big ways - ways that only God could have seen. 

My new title at work is Admissions Campus Coordinator, and I'm excited that I'll have the opportunity to manage current students who work for admissions, plan the private and small group visit experience, recruit locally, act as a liaison for my Arts & Science family, and implement some new ideas and strategies. 

With the chaos of switching jobs in the midst of faculty coming back,
 new students arriving and office'll be a few weeks before I can truly judge the new position. But here are a few things that have made me unsettled...

The upstairs offices, where most of the counselors work and I will soon join them, are being renovated. We've all been downstairs - using laptops and trying to be productive in any open space available. I like having a nest, a bubble, a home. Having organized files. Having a to do list. Having photos and quotes. Having everything in place. So this was a challenge. Everyone was so gracious about it, but it definitely gives me something to look forward to: getting settled. 

In my old office, it was just me. I had a tidy to do list and the peace and quiet to stay focused to quickly get it done. Days went by with little human contact - other than the mailman, drop-by visitors and people at meetings. I really didn't have any other direct co-workers, and my other staffmembers were in a different building. I was a bit of a hermit - which made the introvert in me very happy.
In admissions, there are about ten things going on all the time. People everywhere, working together, talking about their weekend, asking questions, celebrating holidays. It's taking a little to get used to, but it's also nice to have a team of supporters around you all the time. My extrovert is feeling appreciated. 

In the midst of all of this, it was announced this past week that my previous boss (who I love and was so incredibly blessed to work for, one of the primary reasons I was so heartbroken when my job changed) has been chosen to be the new Provost and VP of Academics for Campbell. I'm very proud of him - and see that God wanted to give me a new home before shaking up my old home. Plus, it's exciting that both Dr. Hammond and myself will be getting used to new roles and responsibilities together this semester. Big things are happening in little Buies Creek :) 

All in all, I'm inspired by the possibilities. I'm blessed with the people. I'm open to the opportunities.  I think that being in admissions has shaken me up from settling. And I like to think that my presence there and my ideas and implementation of those ideas will help the admissions team not settle either. 

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

For I know the plans I have for you...

Jeremiah 29:11 has been hanging on the wall in my office for years. 

"For I  know the plans I  have for you," says the Lord.

His plans. The plans He has for me. Not the plans that I have for me. Or the plans I think He has for me. Or the plans I think I have for Him.

It's reassuring that God can see the whole story. The whole picture. The puzzle is complete when He looks at it. It's also unnerving that I can't see the whole story, the whole picture. My puzzle is very incomplete. 

I was reminded of this a week ago.

I sat in my boss' office. Don't cry. Be gracious. Smile. Just don't cry.  
I had just learned that my job was shifting. I would no longer be the Admissions Coordinator for the College of Arts & Sciences - my job of 3 1/2 years. I would now work in the Admissions office as a counselor. I would no longer work for the dean that I loved, with the professors who had become my family, and no longer in my own office with windows all up one side. 
My mind was spinning. What would they do without me? What would I do without them? I was numb, brokenhearted, confused, humbled, proud, disheartened...
yet, still open to the knowledge that God saw it all and had a plan. I knew I needed to be open to His plan, even if I didn't feel like it.

That was last Tuesday. The rest of the week was a mixture of frustration, sadness and curiosity. I cried more than I'd like to admit. And my mind was constantly spinning. I felt like my work-world, which was so much more than a job, was crumbling down around me, and I had no choice in the matter.

For me, it was more of a spiritual struggle than anything else. I struggled to have a positive attitude. To give my whole heart to God's direction in my life. I struggled to even know what that direction was. I felt out of control, and it drove me crazy to not know what the next step might look like.

The situation seemed so big. So life-altering. 

I was also afraid that I might take the wrong next step. That I would go down the wrong path. That I would disappoint. That I would fail. That I wouldn't be good enough...

I was struggling- big time - with pride. I was good at my coordinator job. I was proud of my coordinator job. I was loved in that job and needed in that job. And now, something that I had found an identity in and felt confident in and sure of myself in, had been taken away from me. My self-righteous heart couldn't believe it. My sin nature fought hard core with the Spirit in me, the part of me that knew God was humbling me, and He would give me strength in Him to do whatever the next step held.

Now I sit here a week later. God is good and, oh so, mysterious. That's the beauty of His plan. I'm feeling much better. Still heartbroken and a little disoriented. Ready to learn the new job and get settled - feeling disorganized in limbo. But I'm also excited about the possibilities, the plan, the people...and open to seeing what God sees up ahead for me. 

And I'm thankful - very thankful - to the people God has put in my life to encourage me and speak truth to me during this time. My husband has been a rock, my friends and family have been so understanding, and my coworkers have been showering me with love.

And, once again, I am reminded of my favorite passage of scripture in John 10 - which, in God's perfect timing, actually made an appearance in my personal bible study just today...

"The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full."

Sunday, August 4, 2013

What a Weekend!

Derrick and I had a whirlwind weekend - 
which was much needed to give me some perspective.
First of all, I don't share my weekend activities because I think I'm so important that you should care what I do every second of every day. I share because how we spend our time shows our heart. And also because Derrick and my life is often summed up with the words "busy" and "blessed". Mostly blessed... okay, and a lot of busy.

I'm sitting here in between two loads of laundry, 
reflecting on another fantastically full weekend.

Friday night we went out to eat with all of the adults in our small group from church. This group of people quickly welcomed Derrick and me into their group a few months ago, and we've been growing closer and sharing our hearts every since. 

It was First Friday in Downtown, and the weather was wonderful. We had a reservation at Sitti. At first, when we googled the menu, Derrick and I were at a lose for what we would eat at a Lebanese restaurant. It seemed so foreign and weird...but we embraced it when we arrived and had a delicious cultural experience. More than the food, though, the conversation was great.

We woke up on Saturday morning, and after an-almost breakdown moment by me, we were off to Charlotte for a day of fun and fellowship. 

We met John and Jessica for lunch. It was the first time the four of us had been together since their wedding, and it was so great to catch up with them. I had forgotten how easy the conversation flows and how well we all connect with each other.

Then it was off to see Carrie's play. She had the lead role in Little Women, and I knew I wanted to be there to celebrate. Carrie's so great about always coming home for all of our special activities, and it was exciting to get to be there for her. She did an aaaaamazing job of bringing the character of Jo to life. I was definitely impressed. 

Derrick and I then made our way across town to Elevation Church's main campus. We often watch Steven Furtick's sermons on the weekends, but this was our first time visiting. One word to describe the experience would be overwhelming. The music was loud, the people were friendly (except for one woman, but we'll forgive her), the crowd was electric and the sermon was convicting. Plus, we got free t-shirts :) 

One of Derrick's coworkers and his wife were also in Charlotte for the weekend, celebrating their anniversary - so we met up with them at church and headed to dinner afterwards. It was my first time really connecting with church people outside of our small group, so it was a time of great fellowship and food. 

Then the phone GPS took us through back roads - horror movie settings - and I was so happy to crawl into our comfortable bed when we got home.

This morning Derrick had to shoot some footage for a video at the first service at Hope. After I dropped him off, I headed to Target. 

With life being so busy, I was falling behind on my homemaker duties. My sweet husband was running low on tooth paste, socks, shampoo...and our home had no groceries or toilet paper. Thank goodness for a quiet hour in Target on Sunday morning to re-stock the house. 

The 11:15 sermon at Hope was great. A breakdown of Psalm 23. God must be trying to teach me a lesson about David, because all of my personal bible study and church sermons have been breaking down his life and it's application. I'm starting to realize that David understood God so much better than I do.

After church, Derrick and I finished getting groceries and then headed home. I was more than happy to finally clean and organize groceries and do laundry and do the budget and re-stock the cabinets...

We're ending the weekend with dinner and Big Brother catch-up at my parents tonight.

A full weekend, busy and blessed!

A busy week at work ahead, full of a lot of new adjustments and leaning into God's plan.
And then birthday beach trip with my hottie husband! 

Friday, August 2, 2013

August 01.

When you get married on the first day of the month, every new month is the celebration of a new beginning AND the celebration of another married month! So, happy 22 months, handsome hottie husband!

I love being married.

Having a home of our own. 

Having a bed buddy.

Having my best friend around all the time. 

Cooking meals and cleaning the house. 

Making decisions together. 

Holding hands on the path of life -
 even when it twists, turns and goes dark before you can see the next step.

Going through changes together and learning together.

Laughing together and making memories together.

Being involved in church and worshiping together.

Feeling like fast food, board games and hours of TV watching on the couch
 is the best date ever.

Having your shows and your traditions and your foods and your inside jokes
and your friends and your routine.

Having someone I can be completely silly with and stupid with and immature with
and crazy with and vulnerable with.

Having someone who completes me in a human way and
 helps speak truth into my life when everything's fuzzy.

So, happy August, everyone!
And happy marriage! 

Monday, July 29, 2013

My Guilty Pleasure

Normally on Monday night we're at my mother-in-law's, and I have to catch up on my TV watching on Tuesday night. But tonight Derrick had to work late, so I'm snuggled on the couch...

Watching the Bachelorette. 

I watch every time. I love it. And I hate it. I think it's ridiculous but, like a train wreck, can't help but watch.

So, here are my thoughts during a typical Bachelor night...

Seriously, does anyone think this actually works?

What do they do in the fantasy suite? And do they do it with all three finalists? Gross.

This is not the real world, people. Why don't they ever have a date to Taco Bell...or Subway...yum, Bojangles...?

Break to fix a grilled cheese. 

Desiree is kind of boring. Is that just me? 

Are sunglasses not allowed on this show? 

Making out on the beach may look romantic on camera but would NOT actually be fun.  

WHAT is that high-pitched shrill in the background? Not okay.

Do they seriously expect him to know - after 6 weeks - that she's the one he wants to spend forever with...Seriously?

I just don't see her with any of these guys. They're definitely no JP and Ashley. 

Did I actually just say "they're definitely no JP and Ashley". Oh my word. 

Is it Chris Harrison's goal to make everything seem like the end of the world? It's okay, people, there is life after the Bachelorette. It's called "The Bachelor" or "Bachelor Pad". Chill.

If I were one of the other guys and saw how much she thought she loved Brooks, I'd be done. No need to waste my time wanting someone who wants someone else. 

Brooks will probably realize later that it wasn't just Desiree that he isn't's girls in general.

Why is it okay for Des to break all of their hearts but it's the WORST THING EVER for one of them to actually be real and honest and break up with her? <That's real life. Deal with it. 

I'm not a critical person. This must be how I get it all out. 

Dear Desiree, this is not a "poor me" moment. You've had a free 6 week vacation with 20 good-looking guys. Reality check. 

Awkward 10 minutes of watching her cry. And now him cry. These guys cry more in one night than Derrick has in 4 years. 

Commercial break. 

Awkward 10 minutes of watching her cry. And now him cry. These guys cry more in one night than Derrick has in 4 years. 

I just realized I wasted 30 minutes of my life. Thank you, reality tv. 

Next week is going to be more crying and awkwardness and crying, isn't it? 

Saturday, July 27, 2013


Derrick and I are blessed with some incredible friends, and there are seasons in life where we get to catch up with them and spend time reconnecting. Recently has been one of those seasons...

Last Friday night, we had our first small group outing - going to see Wreck It Ralph with our whole group. It was a great time to catch up with each other outside of our bible study and worship time. Our Hope small group is amazing, and we've quickly clicked and became a family.

Tuesday I got to have my weekly (or more recently every other week) lunch with Bethany. Bethany is my third cousin, but she's been one of my very best friends since 6th grade. She's beating cancer and growing stronger. 

Tuesday night Derrick and I met up with my best pal Whitney (best pals since 4th grade) and her hubby Aaron. They live an hour away, so we try to meet up in Raleigh for dinner once a month. We love catching up and laughing as they recall summer stories and share their passion for ministry and marriage. 

This weekend Jessi & Evan are in town! 
Jessi has been in my life since elementary school, but she's been one of my best friends since high school. We were in each others weddings, even though she and her hubby live in Ohio (soon to be Massachusetts!). I hope one day they'll move south again!

Tuesday night I get to fix dinner for a couple at our old church who just had their first child. Zach and Diana have an amazing energy about life and love for the Lord. I'm excited to love on them and see baby Laurel! 

Thursday night Derrick and I have our first babysitting gig (don't tell the parents its our first one ;). We're hanging out with the cutest three kids ever. Our small group leaders and friends - Jason and Diana - are amazing parents and have created some pretty awesome little ones. I'm excited to spend time with them. 

And next Saturday Derrick and I are roadtripping to Charlotte to see my friend Carrie - who I've known since 2nd grade - rock it as Jo in Little Women. She's always been a wonderful actress and director, so I'm excited to see her in action. Our friends John and Jessica will be going too - so we'll get to catch up with them and make some new memories! 

God has truly blessed us with some amazing friends, and it's nice to have time to celebrate that. 

Thursday, July 25, 2013

I said "No".

I just said no to something today.

This is a big deal.

It was something people thought I would be good at. Something people needed me to do. Something that even came along with a little money. 

And I politely but firmly said no. 

I don't say no. Unless it's part of the phrases: "no big deal", "no problem", or "no worries"...I want to help. I want to be needed. I want to be productive. Even when I may want to say no, it doesn't happen. 
Until now...

So, how did I come to learning this important word and actually using it?

In the spring, I allowed myself to say "yes" to one too many things. Sure, they were all worthy causes. But I soon found myself dreading many of my responsibilities and sick and tired of being sick and tired. Being burnt out, and having a spirit of exhaustion, is no way to live life - and doesn't allow you to invest yourself fully to any of your responsibilities. I'm still struggle daily on this one.

In the past few years, I've learned the importance of knowing your priorities. This doesn't necessarily make things super easy, but it helps. And I choose to make a lot of things a priority in my life.
Quiet time with God. 
One-on-one time with my husband. 
Weekly time with our family. 
Dedication to church, our church family and worship. 
Time with our awesome friends whenever we can coordinate schedules. 
Campbell, my students, my boss and my co-workers.
 My home - making sure it is in-order, running efficiently, clean and cozy. 
These are the things that I have chosen to prioritize in my life, and I have to be okay cutting out other things.

Dreading weddings
The thing I said no to was being a (weekend) wedding coordinator at Campbell. Something it seems like I would be good at, sure...
but weddings are actually something that I'm not that crazy about. I appreciate them. I love seeing people's personalities come out in their wedding. And I love that weddings represent a commitment to marriage. But all of those things are because I love people as individuals and I love marriage. But I don't love weddings. I think people spend too much time and money on them - when they should be focused more on the marriage. So, I knew that I would be giving up more weekend time to do something good, sure, but something that I would end up dreading. And I'd much rather dedicate my free weekend time to my own marriage, loving on others in my life, taking care of my home, etc.

So I said no. 

It's still hard to admit, but I think I'm glad that I did.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Song of Psalms

At church last week, we were challenged to read through the Psalms in a month, which fell right after I had just finished 1 & 2 Samuel and fit in perfectly with my goal to read through the Old Testament in a year. God's timing is always perfect.

So I began delving deeper into the heart of David. The Bible app on my phone is awesome, because I can listen to apx. 6 chapters on my way to work. Then Derrick and I listen together, take notes and talk through. It's been an amazing lesson for me. 

So far, after 38 chapters, I've learned that David is great at two things that I'm not so great at: being honest with God and praising God passionately. 

Being honest with God. 
So many times I hide my struggles and feelings to the point that I hardly even know them myself. I package them nicely, ignore them, see no point in sharing b/c God already knows or figure God has better things to do than to listen to me complain. 
But none of that stopped David. When he was angry, he was angry to God. Even when he was angry with God. When he felt far from God, he said so - and begged God to draw near. When he wished bad upon someone, he admitted it. When he felt lost or lonely, he poured his heart out. He knew God knew, and He knew God cared - so he said so. 

Praising God passionately. 
I think David is the best praiser in history. No matter what his psalm, his prayer, his poem was about - no matter what depths of despair he was in - he always brought it back to praise. He always acknowledged God as God, Creator, Sustainer, Avenger, Refuge, Judge, Father, King. He danced for God, sang for God, shouted for God - no matter what other people (even his wife) had to say about it. 

So many times, my prayers are "God bless so and so", "God heal...", "God use...", "God show...". And those are great. We should ask God to move. And believe He'll do big things. 

But sometimes, we should just bask in the praise of how awesome God is. Tell Him all the things You love about Him. 
Adore Him. Acknowledge Him.
 And sometimes we should just share our heart - vulnerable and real.
 He already knows, so don't be afraid to say so.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Fall's not that far...

Two weeks ago, I looked at my schedule and saw free days and clear skies after Orientation weekend (July 12-13). I was excited about the possibilities.

Today I looked at my calendar...and saw fall.
It's crazy how quickly the calendar becomes full these days.

Of course, many of my coworkers choose these next two weeks to vacation. And many of my friends have been vacationing all summer - traveling to exciting locations, family vacations, camps, etc. And, while I'm inwardly struggling with the desire to get away,
Derrick and I do have a calendar full of exciting things ahead... 

We are officially done with Campbell Orientation, 
my middle-of-summer marker. I love having the opportunity to hang out with and get to know our future students. They're so eager and excited, their future right around the corner.

July 19-21
This weekend we get to go see Wreck It Ralph
 at Koko Booth Ampitheatre with our awesome church small group on Friday night. (Yep, I love Ralph). 
On Saturday we have a birthday party for an adorable two year old. Then we're planning to hang out with Derrick's dad and sister :) And on Sunday we'll be watching the little ones at church!

The 24th is the sister's birthday! 
I'm sure there will be a lot of good food that I am happy to help eat.

July 26-28
This weekend is double exciting because some of our best friends from Alabama (Joel - Derrick's best man - and his beautiful wife Ashley) will be up! We always do late night dessert with them when they're here. 
AND Jessi (one of my bridesmaids and best friends since high school) and Evan will be in town from Ohio! I love weekends full of catching up with dear friends.

August 2-4
(whoa, August already?)
We'll be checking out our first First Friday in Raleigh with our small group from church, and then Derrick and I are headed to Charlotte. I'm excited to see one of my other dear friends Carrie portray Jo in Little Women, and then Derrick and I are going to enjoy the city...

Then my birthday and the students coming back will be right around the corner....

Then September and Visitation Days and cookouts and my family's long awaited mountain trip and my dad's birthday...

Wasn't it just Memorial Day? 

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Sizzling Summer Series: Confidence and Creativity

After all this time of sharing with you, this is my last official post in our sizzling summer series...I'm sad to see it end but soon my other random musings will be back. 

 If you haven't read the other 4 posts in this series, here's what you should know before we dive in: 

I've joined forces with some of my best wifey-friends to write these posts.  Our thoughts, ideas and experiences are mixed in together -
 as one - so you will have no idea who is credited with what :)

1. We believe that God created sex as an act of love, intimacy and connection  (and baby making) between a husband and a wife within the union of marriage. 2. If you have had sex outside of marriage, we believe in a God who loves redeeming and restoring. 
3. We realize that our experiences aren't everyone's.  We also realize that we're all still pretty much in our newlywed stages so we aren't experts.  But it's our heart to share with you.

Alright, let's talk about being confident and creative. 

Of course, as Christians we need to be humble in Christ... But when it comes to sex, be confident. Your husband picked YOU to marry. Out of all the girls in the world - he picked you. He wants you.

And, if you take care of yourself, he likely doesn’t notice those flaws that you worry about. He thinks you're amazingly sexy. Isn't that such a compliment? Shouldn't that inspire you to give him what he so longingly desires? It’s free. I can give him this awesome, free gift at any time it's possible! And he'll love it. 

Put on whatever makes you feel sexy, whether that's lingerie, a flattering dress, a tank top and undies, whatever! The sexiest thing for his is to see you feeling confident about yourself. Thinking to yourself, wow, I am sexy. When my husband sees me he is going to be thinking of nothing else.

Also, I know a lot of ladies would rather not do certain things because it's "just not me". Of course it's not you in regular life! Try crazy things - mess up your hair, put on really dark eye make up, wear stockings, wear an emphasizing bra, dance for him, whatever! Go for it! Even if you think it's not your personality, just try it. Ask your husband what he'd like or surprise him and gauge his reaction. It can be really fun if you just go for it with a carefree attitude and aren't be afraid to laugh at yourself. 

Here are just a few simple ideas for married women:

Make a basket of sexy surprises for him.

Give him a book of coupons - that can be redeemed anytime.

Dress up in an outfit that reminds him of a special time in your relationship – but turn up the sexy with makeup, hair, undergarments or lack of…

Turn off the lights, turn on the lights, light candles…

Pick a certain perfume that you put on to get him in the mood – and only then.

Play music – it helps set the mood and it also keeps your mind, as a woman, from wondering to all of the things you could be doing instead.

Buy him “sexy” boxers that he can put on to show you he’s in the mood. 

Read Song of Solomon together.

Laugh a lot. If it doesn’t go as planned – it’s okay. Your husband is your best friend –be silly.

Try somewhere new. The closet, the couch, the kitchen, the car…

Have a code word or phrase that only you and your husband know that refers to sex…this way you can send him sexy emails or texts without the worry that someone else might see :) Yes, send him suggestive text messages.

Most importantly – find what works best for you as a couple. Find what you both enjoy. Find the timing and rhythm that works and make it a priority to do so.

Thanks for sharing in this sizzling summer series on sex!  I hope you learned someone or felt inspired. All of the ladies and myself are so glad we could give you a small glimpse into our "panty party" conversations, and we truly hope that this was encouraging as a woman and a wife.  
Yep, I'm pretty sure anything I post after this is going to be boring in comparison. 

Monday, July 8, 2013

Sizzling Summer Series: Companions

I took a break for Orientation, a conference in Philadelphia and a relaxing weekend with my hot husband. Now, I'm back. If you missed my first three posts on marriage and sex, take a minute to check 'em out: 

#1. Coming Content
#2. Communication
#3. Cause you love him...

 If you haven't read the other 3, here's what you should know before we dive in: 

I've joined forces with some of my best wifey-friends to write these posts.  Our thoughts, ideas and experiences are mixed in together -
 as one - so you will have no idea who is credited with what :)

1. We believe that God created sex as an act of love, intimacy and connection  (and baby making) between a husband and a wife within the union of marriage.
2. If you have had sex outside of marriage, we believe in a God who loves redeeming and restoring. 
3. We realize that our experiences aren't everyone's.  We also realize that we're all still pretty much in our newlywed stages so we aren't experts.  But it's our heart to share with you.

 Now, on to the importance of companionship.

This may seem out of place and PG compared to my last post (don't worry, the next one will spice things up again), but I promise it is important and very relevant... 

The ladies who have contributed to this series have been my friends since elementary, middle, and high school. It's rare and an amazing blessing only from God. We used to wonder how we’d fall in love, who we’d marry and what marriage would be like. We’ve been through a lot together – and talked through everything together.

For four years, we’ve been gathering in celebration of each woman’s upcoming marriage – in the form of a lingerie shower (or “panty party” as Derrick calls them).  And, on top of that, we’ve met every few months or more just to catch up, laugh together and talk through how things are going. These women inspire me, they encourage me and they – without even having to try hard – keep me accountable. I think my husband would say he’s very thankful that I have these women in my life – because they remind me of what it is to be a modest, kind, thoughtful and sexy wife. 

My hope is that you too have friends who you can talk to about anything. A group of ladies that you can laugh with, cry with and talk openly about things with (all of those hanging prepositions are killing me, but I'm just going to go with it...). Sometimes our conversations are silly, sometimes serious and sometimes downright blunt, TMI.

It’s so important to have a close female friends you can talk to about your struggles. Don't just accept the problem and bury it; find encouragement. Most of the time, you’ll find that you aren’t the only one who has struggled with a certain issue. Or you’ll find inspiration to move past that issue. And, when you’re in slump, they can give you confidence and creative ideas (our next post focuses on those ideas).

If you don’t feel like you have a group of godly women to talk with, talk to an older woman in your church or someone you look up to. Or let me know – I’d be happy to talk to you, pray with you or get you in touch with one of these other ladies to talk with. 

Don’t ever talk to someone of the opposite sex about the intimate aspects of your marriage, your husband’s flaws or struggles within your marriage. 

Is there someone who came to mind when reading this but you feel you've lost touch? Call them, send a text or facebook message...invite them out for coffee or dinner. Is there a new friend you'd like to get to know better? Now's the chance. Don't miss it. 

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Sizzling Summer Series: 'Cause you love him

Just a reminder, if you didn't read the first post...
I've joined forces with some of my best wifey-friends to write these posts. 
Our thoughts, ideas and experiences are mixed in together -
 as one - so you will have no idea who is credited with what :)

Here's what you should know before we dive in:
1. We believe that God created sex as an act of love, intimacy and connection 
(and baby making) between a husband and a wife within the union of marriage.

2. If you have had sex outside of marriage, we believe in a God who loves redeeming and restoring. 

3. We realize that our experiences aren't everyone's. 
We also realize that we're all still pretty much in our newlywed stages so we aren't experts. 
But it's our heart to share with you.

This is going to be a more honest post. 
A more blunt post. And probably the most relevant and important yet. 

To men, sex is a primary way to show love and be satisfied within the marriage relationship. In addition, they physically need sex in a much different way than women do. So, sometimes, you should do it just ‘cause you love him. Sometimes, especially for women, sex is just sex – it isn’t this romantic display of fireworks – but every time it is an important way to show love to your husband.

When I'm not "in the mood" or don't "feel" like having sex, I try to get out of that mindset and enjoy serving my husband. Let's face it, guys need sex more than we do. And there has never been one time where I have regretted it afterwards. It always ends up being fun. It just takes a little effort sometimes to put myself "in the mood." Then, it's totally worth it.

Some weeks are better than others. Some weeks, I want to have sex more. Some weeks it sounds exhausting. I think that's ok. Just as long as you make it a priority in your relationship through the on-weeks and the off-weeks, then those “sex is amazing” times are sure to come. Sometimes you just have to make the time, you have to schedule it, you have to put it on your to do list. Just do it. Seriously.

If you’re having trouble getting motivated for sex, remember that it is a huge way to show love to your husband. Make it about him. Become less selfish about it, and you'll enjoy it more! Don't think "What's in it for me?", instead think how can I give him amazing pleasure?

Build him up. Boost his ego! Be his biggest cheerleader. Let him know how much you adore him. Whenever you think he looks good,  tell him. And while it's wonderful to tell him he's handsome, tell him when he’s hot and sexy. Tell him there's no other guy in the world you'd rather be with. He'd love to hear it! Go crazy and talk dirty if you want to! Because guess marriage, it's not dirty! It's awesome!

(Oh, by the way, your time of the month doesn't mean you have to take a hiatus from all sexual activity. He does not want it any less that week! Please him in other ways, experiment!)

Ladies, listen...there are temptations in this world vying for your husbands attention all of the time. He doesn't have to look for them - they're there. But how blessed and satisfied is the husband who has a wife who thinks he's a rockstar and who shares herself with him and satisfies him sexually and otherwise! Sometimes I flash my husband in the morning or give him naked kisses just so he goes to work remembering how awesome his wife is. That's important - you have to make it a priority to make your man the happiest man in the world. Men need to feel confident and adored somewhere - let it be with you, not somewhere else.