I’ve got a fun little post for you today and it’s all about decorating your home on a budget.
When Taylor & I moved here to Texas we had to be super careful with our money because 1. We didn’t have any jobs lined up and 2. Moving is just plain expensive. We also didn’t bring a lot of things with us from Washington. Things like our table, couch, chairs and those sorts of things we left behind, because we just didn’t have the room.
So with that being said, when we got to Texas we had our bed and dresser, but that was pretty much our only furniture. So over the next few months it became my mission to furnish our whole apartment and not spend a lot of money doing it.
I love bargain shopping – and I think I’m pretty good at it. But, bargain shopping is not for the faint of heart; it takes a lot of patience and a lot of time, especially if you are picky (and I am) however, if you can handle that, than it is 100% totally worth it.
We have been here for a month now and I almost have our apartment totally furnished, so today I wanted to share with you some of my favorite buys and tips on how to snag a deal when you find one.
This is by far my favorite buy to date. I love this coffee table. I found it for sale on Craigslist and it was listed for $20 . . . $20, you guys. I mean that is a steal. To be honest with you I thought that there might be something wrong with it and that was the reason for such a low price, but nope – nothing wrong with it at all. The lady who we bought it from was redecorating her house and simply just wanted to get rid of it. It is so cute, it has everything I was looking for in a coffee table – white, rustic and that farmhouse charm.
I actually lied up above; I forgot that we brought this with us from Washington. This is another Craigslist find – when I found it, it was listed at 40 dollars, which is a great deal. However, I asked the guy selling it if he would take $30 for it and he said yes! 10 dollars isn’t a huge difference, but whenever buying something used at a garage sale, Craigslist, Facebook Marketplace or wherever, don’t be afraid to offer less. Often times most people price an item higher with the expectation that people are going to offer lower. All they can say is no and if they say yes, than you walked out of there with a better deal than you expected. #winning
Oh goodness this couch is up there with my coffee table for favorite buys. I searched FOREVER for a couch and this is actually a good example of how bargain shopping takes time & patience. I could have easily gone on craigslist and spent 100-200 dollars on any old used couch that I didn’t like or that didn’t match my style – but instead, for probably the first three weeks that we were here, our big queen sized deflating air mattress acted as our couch. And that was okay, because I was waiting to find something that I liked and finally I did. I found this couch on the Facebook Marketplace, listed at $250. It was honestly more than what we wanted to spend, but what sold me was that the couch was 100% brand new – the family who had bought it just didn’t like how it looked in their space and wanted something different, so they sold it for more than 80% off of what they purchased it for.
Facebook Marketplace Tip: The Facebook Marketplace is great, however things go FAST on there, so if you’re really hunting for something specific, like we were, you sort of have to browse constantly or at least check the page several times a day, because things are being listed and sold all the time and it all goes really fast. And if you find something you like, message them immediately and just get your name in there and show that you’re interested.
So we actually bought this bookshelf at Ikea, but I thought it was a really great deal and I love what we’ve done with it so I wanted to share it with y’all. Taylor wanted a bookshelf for a while, but I’m not crazy about bookshelves. I don’t really love them, unless they’re built in, but Taylor really wanted one and we ended up with this guy. The display at Ikea actually showed the bookshelf standing up, vertically and I didn’t love it. But then we thought how it might look in a dining room if we turned it on its side and that is what we ended up doing and I actually love the look. Plus it adds some great storage and it was only $55 dollars. (Oh Lordy and please excuse my messy house . . . )
"And I'd Choose You" Sign
This is my favorite sign in my house and I didn’t buy it used, but like the bookshelf it was a really great deal and I wanted to share it with y’all. I get all of my signs from Smallwood Home and I LOVE THEM. I love the signs and I adore the company – win, win. I honestly can’t remember exactly, but I am almost certain that I got this sign for $39 dollars (& free shipping!!). It is their XL size, so it’s huge, and it is super lightweight so it is easy to hang. Anyways, they are having a great sale right now and they have recently released a bunch of their Christmas Signs – Go check them out! Click here to start shopping.
Now I wanted to share with y’all a couple of projects that I am about to get started on.
First up is this rocking chair. How cute is it? I have this dream of Taylor & I one day sitting on our rocking chairs, sipping sweet tea and enjoying life on our porch - so when I saw this chair for sale (and for only $15) I had to have it. In the next couple of weekends I am going to start refinishing the chair – stripping it down and repainting it. Then I’m going to share the whole fun process with you!
(First - please excuse the terribly dark and all together horrible photo) But next is this little table. I got this table for $5 dollars at the Goodwill and I love it. I just think it is the sweetest little table – I love the details and the dainty-ness of it. Like the rocking chair, I am going to strip it down, give it a new coat of paint and make it brand new – Stay tuned to see both projects in a couple of weeks!!
And that’s it y’all! I love bargain shopping and I love finding old, forgotten things and making them new again – it is so fun. I hope that maybe I have inspired you to give this bargain-shopping thing a try – be patient and see what you find; I think you might be amazed.
- XO -
Hi sweet friends!!
This weekend we hit the half way point in our marriage course – 3 weeks down and 3 weeks to go!!
And I I have to tell y’all that yesterday Taylor & I were talking and we both said how we’ve each noticed differences in ourselves and changes in each other as a result from what we’ve learned so far.
How cool is that? Thank you, Kirk & Chelsea!!
Both of us have really taken this course to heart and we have been trying so hard to practice everything we’re learning so that in time we won’t need to practice anymore and instead we will begin to act out of habit. Our desire to have a long lasting healthy & loving marriage is so strong and every week we are learning how to be a better partner to our spouse, how to serve them better and how to really love one another with the same kind of love that God has for each of us.
We are so thankful for what we have learned so far and I am especially grateful for all of you who have been following us through this journey and I hope that we are continually inspiring you in the way that we have been inspired over the last couple of weeks.
I know that I have said this already, but I have to say it again – I would highly recommend this course. You don’t need to have any problems, you don’t have to have an unhealthy marriage and you don’t even need to be going through anything, I really think it is so beneficial for any marriage. I have been asked a few times now if Taylor & I are having problems and if that’s why we’ve chosen to take the course, and the answer is no. We don’t have any serious problems that are currently threatening our marriage, but for us, we want to be proactive and do what we can now to avoid getting to that point later on in our marriage.
So with that being said, if you want to do the course (which you should!!!) click here! And y’all it’s only $34.99, which is a STEAL! I think I can speak for both of us when I say that it is 100% worth the $35 dollar investment.
And if you buy the class be sure to comment below and let us know!!!
. . .
Okay! Let’s get on with lesson 3, which was about forgiveness.
“The truth is, marriage is the joining of two imperfect people – two people that are sinners. And in order for a marriage to be healthy and thrive, forgiveness must be an essential practice.” – Kirk Cameron
Forgiveness is hard and it is certainly much easier said than done. It is especially hard because we have been raised in a culture where forgiveness isn’t the answer, but we are called by God to forgive others as he has forgiven us.
So the first question on our study guide was to think of some things that our spouse has done that we have held onto or that we have not forgiven them for.
Taylor & I couldn’t come up with anything . . . And that’s good! I am so thankful that neither one of us is holding onto anything that one of us has done in the past, however just because there is nothing now doesn’t mean that something won’t happen later on that one, or both of us, won’t want to forgive the other for.
And when that happens, how are we going to respond?
The whole lesson here was that we need to learn how to forgive in the freest, purest, most constant and unconditional form.
We have to learn to forgive like God has, and continues to forgive us.
Matthew 6:14 – 15
“Then Peter came up and said to him, “Lord, how often will my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? As many as 7 times? Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you seven times, but seventy-seven times”
I have always loved this verse. It is a such a profound example of forgiveness and how we must learn to forgive over, and over and over again even when that person does not deserve it.
As a culture we don’t want to forgive, because we don’t want people taking advantage of us, we think that the other person should apologize first, we don’t think that they deserve to be forgiven or we want to get them back and hurt them the way that they hurt us.
I think the same goes in marriage – I know that for Taylor & I it did. I really struggled with forgiveness. If Taylor said something that hurt me I would stay angry and bitter for a long time, much longer than I should have. I would bury it inside and then at random times I would think of that thing he did and I would randomly get grumpy with him or simply be bitter towards him.
And then for Taylor, if I did something that upset him, he would be angry for a few minutes, get over it and then be fine – but he wasn’t really fine. He would bury his feelings and then over time they would build up and one day it would all just blow up and we would get in a big fight.
Both of these things were a result of us not forgiving one another. Eventually we came to forgive each other, but by the time we had done that we had wasted so much time being angry or bitter towards the other person and it caused us to be short tempered and disrespectful toward one another.
And to be honest with you, at the time I don’t know that either of us realized that we weren’t forgiving the other person, but looking at it now, that is exactly what we were doing and it was causing unnecessary hurt and anguish in our relationship.
In marriage we are bound to hurt one another, never intentionally of course, but in those moments I think it is so important to simply act with love and forgive your spouse, even when it doesn’t feel like they deserve it.
With as much as we disobey and dishonor God, we are not deserving of his forgiveness or his love, but he loves and forgives us anyways – no matter what. How amazing is that?
We are so fortunate and blessed to have such a loving, forgiving and amazing God that loves us more than anything. If we can learn to love others, especially our spouses, in the way that God loves us, I can only imagine the profound impact it will have on your marriage and your life.
There was one other part of the lesson that I really loved and it was Chelsea talking about how unforgiveness was like a cancer in the way that it just eats you up inside and it steals your joy.
When I heard her say that I became genuinely sad, because I thought about how many times I have let my pride, anger or whatever it may be stand in the way of my forgiving someone and how much joy I lost because of that.
And after sort of having that realization, I really just came to understand how important forgiveness really is and how much of yourself you can lose by not forgiving someone. So from here on out, we are both practicing forgiving each other more and learning to forgive and love each other just as God loves us.
And like I said earlier, it is much easier said than done – I know. But if you do anything or take anything from this post, I ask that you try and practice free, pure, constant and unconditional forgiveness.
Forgive even when they don’t deserve it.
“Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.”
Happy Friday & happy FIRST DAY OF FALL!
I am so pumped because it is OFFICIALLY FALL. And, in honor of it being the first day of fall, I thought what better than to do a Friday Favorites post: Fall Edition!
We LOVE fall at our house and although it still feels like 7000 degrees here in Austin (for real, current temp: 94 degrees) we are super pumped! The house is decorated, I’m currently drinking my second Pumpkin Spice Latte of the season, I’ve pulled out all of my boots, scarfs, plaid, etc. and the Texas State Fair is less than a week away and that can only mean one thing . . . HELLO FALL!
I'm so excited to share all my favorite fall things with you today! Now sit back, relax and let's talk fall.
- Pumpkin Bread -
Growing up my mom made pumpkin bread every year and I loved it. It would always be such a treat when she would make it and now I have begun to make it for my my family, aka Taylor ;) This recipe makes A LOT of bread, so if you’re like us and only have two people, than be prepared to give some away otherwise you’ll be up to you ears in pumpkin bread. #dontsayididn’twarnyou
I’m sharing my mama’s cherished recipe that I oh so adore – she also happened to mention that she thinks the recipe came from pillsbury . . . So if that is true, well than thank you pillsbury for the years of delicious pumpkin bread - regardless of who created it, it is delicious and you should make it!
Mama's Pumpkin Bread Recipe
15 or 16 oz can (2 cups) pumpkin
3 cups sugar
1 cup oil
2/3 cup water
3 1/2 cups All Purpose Flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ginger
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease (not oil) and flour bottoms only of two 9 x 5 or 8 x 4 inch loaf pans. In a large bowl, combine the first five ingredients. Beat for 1 minute a medium speed. Add remaining ingredients; blend at low speed until moistened. Beat on medium speed for 1 minute.
Pour batter into prepared pans. Bake at 350 degrees for 60 to 75 minutes.
- Fall Candles -
Okay if you know me than you know that my bathroom closet looks like a Bath & Body Works store - It’s a borderline problem. A couple of years ago when I was nannying in Florida the mom always had a Bath & Body Works candle on her counter and her house always smelled SO GOOD. It didn’t take long after that for me to buy my first candle from there and become totally and completely obsessed.
I buy candles for every season and I have racked up quite a collection. Every season they come out with new candles and y’all, they are just so pretty and they smell oh so good.
I also buy their hand soaps and lotions, because they are all just so stinking cute and they smell so, so, so good too!
QUICK TIP: I NEVER buy anything full price here, because they have sales ALL THE TIME. So my word of advice is to wait until a sale comes along, because I’m not even kidding when I say that have sales all the time. Some sales are better than others, but they often do a $12.50 candle deal (50% of their regular $22.50) and then every once in a while they will have a buy two candles (full price) and get two free. So just wait for the sale – sign up for their email list and you’ll be right in the loop!
Lord help me when they bring out their Christmas collection . . .
- Fall Decorations -
Our house is all decked out in fall and it is just so fun! I don’t have one specific place where I buy all my decorations, but some of my favorites are Hobby Lobby, Home Goods, TJ Maxx and Target!
I've gathered up some of my favorite fall decorations to show you - I snagged these sparkly white pumpkins last year at JoAnn’s Fabrics and they have become a fast favorite in our house! And then this Apples/Cider/Pumpkins sign is from the Target dollar section! I mean seriously, what a STEAL! The little white pumpkin in the picture is from the Target dollar section also!
Oh how I love Target. And Hobby Lobby. And Home Goods. And TJ Maxx.
Oh heavens, I just love them all.
- Fall Clothes -
I love the transition from summer clothes to fall/winter clothes and this year is no exception - bring on the boots, scarves, vests, sweaters and plaid!!!
I've compiled a list of some of my favorite fall must haves for this fall season.
Plaid Button Downs
Colored Pants ( I have several different colors - red, green, black & white)
Vests ( a definite must!!)
And finally, boots. Oh I love boots. Hunter Boots (pictured) are my absolute favorite - Like most of what I buy, I don't get my boots from any one place, I shop the sales and look for deals. I have a couple pair from Target, a few from Nordstrom, one or two from Macy's and definitely a few from garage sales or the goodwill.
- Hallmark Movies -
Hallmark movies, need I say more?
Hallmark movies might possibly be my favorite part of the holidays all together . . . I simply can't get enough of them!
I was excited for the fall lineup, but they just released the Christmas line up and now I'm just overwhelmed with excitement.
It's simple, really. All I really need is a good glass of red wine, some pizza and a Hallmark movie and I am good.
Go & check out the #fallharvest Hallmark Movie lineup here!
And if you love movies like we do, comment below with your favorite holiday movies!!
And that's a wrap, friends!
Let the fall season begin! Now if only Austin could get on board with their weather . . .
- Stay tuned for Monday when I'll be recapping our 3rd marriage lesson -
- XO -
Hello & happy Monday!
Whew! I don’t know about y’all, but this weekend flew by. I feel like we just haven’t stopped moving since we got to Austin and I’ve loved it, it has been SO FUN! We love Austin so far. I’m telling you guys, there is SO MUCH FOOD in this city and it all looks so dang good. Yesterday Taylor and I started a list of all the places that we want to try here and lord help me, cause it’s not going to be short. #ineedtoexercise
Give me all the tacos. And barbeque. And tex mex. And ice cream. And foodtrucks . . .
You see what I mean? It’s a problem
Anyways – Over the weekend we went to this super fun bar in south Austin and before you go in, they have this great sign on the outside. I mean how fitting is that, “Welcome to Awesome, Texas” (don't mind the terrible photo quality)
Now on another note . . . TODAY IS #MARRIAGEMONDAY!
I get so excited to talk about marriage and to share our experience with you, so thank y’all for listening & reading – it really means the world to me.
This course has been a real blessing to Taylor & I and I truly hope that these posts and our experience leaves you feeling inspired and wanting to love and serve your spouse better.
. . .
This weekend Taylor & I completed the second lesson in our marriage course – The Heart of Family by Kirk & Chelsea Cameron. If you missed my lesson 1 post you can see that here! As I have said many times before it would be so much easier to simply tell you only what I want to share about our experience in the class, but that wouldn’t be truthful, nor would it be beneficial for you or us.
So let’s get down to it, shall we?
This week’s lesson was about conflict, and y’all, it was hard. So hard in fact that within the first 10 minutes of us discussing the first question on the study guide, I was walking out of the room in tears . . .
I wish that I could tell you something different, but I can’t. This week’s lesson was plain hard. We had to talk about some tough things and face some of our biggest problems and it just wasn’t fun. But with as difficult as it was, it was seriously needed and it was honestly and truly really good.
I would easily say that conflict is probably one of our biggest struggles. We are both ridiculously stubborn and we get frustrated easily, which together creates conflict.
I often find myself getting frustrated with Taylor because of his tone of voice. Even if he isn’t mad or frustrated, his tone of voice comes across to me in that way – mad/frustrated/annoyed. Or when he is frustrated and he raises his voice, I take it as him yelling at me or scolding me, when he thinks he is simply raising his voice.
And then for me, I am very sensitive and I tend to take things very personally. I hate being scolded or yelled at and when I do, I shut down.
So when we put these two things together it creates immediate conflict in our relationship. Taylor will say something, I will get offended and then I will respond with frustration causing him to get annoyed and then we end up bitter toward each other.
When that happens over and over and over again it starts to take a toll on you. It starts to become your new normal and all of the sudden you go from this place of love to this place of bitterness.
It is so easy for us to let our emotions lead the way, but this week’s lesson taught us the importance of pushing your feelings to the side, thinking before you react and relying on God to change your heart.
God has this amazing capability to change our hearts, to change those hateful, frustrated feelings that you’re having and turning them into love.
John 13:34 - A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.
Most of what the video talked about this week was being slow to react. When you are fighting, take a second to think about the situation and ask yourself if what you are about to do or say is going to work to build a solution or if it is just going to strengthen the fight.
This is of course much easier said than done, but I loved what Chelsea said, she said that in that moment it can be hard to want to love, respect, honor or react positively to your spouse and so if you can’t do it for your spouse than do it for God. Reach out to God and ask him to change your heart and your feelings.
James 1:19 – Know this, my beloved brothers; let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger
I can tell you that Taylor and I are so quick to act on our feelings and after having gone through this lesson we are now working so hard to be intentional about what we say and what we do, because now we understand the importance of it.
I love what James tells us when he says, “be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger.” By doing these three things, we are reacting not through our emotions, but through love and compassion.
. . .
The other focus of this week’s lesson was on the “mother problem” of your relationship. What is that one thing that you would consider to be your biggest problem?
We said our stubbornness and our pride – especially together.
Taylor and I have bad memories and we forget things easily or we tend to think something happened that didn’t and we actually fight over these things.
I will think (and be sure) that I said, did or told him something, but he will completely disagree with me and say that I didn’t say, do or tell him what I said I did and like me, he is 99% sure that he is right.
Neither of us likes to give in because we are too prideful and stubborn.
I mean honestly does it even matter who was right or wrong? No. All that matters is that from that moment on you figure out what you need to figure out and then move on.
It is such a simple thing to do, but because of our pride, neither of us wants to back down. We want the other to be proven wrong and in those moments, we’re not acting like a team but instead were working against each other.
Ephesians 4:31-32 – Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.
Going back to what I was saying at the beginning of this post, we discussed how to change ourselves instead of critiquing and trying to change our spouses. Taylor & I had just watched the lesson and got done hearing about how you don’t want to change your spouse, but instead you should focus on what things about yourself you can change and how those changes can affect your marriage.
The first question on the study guide asked us to write down the different ways in which we were raised differently and how those different ways impact our relationship.
We were both raised very differently, not to say that either way was better than the other, they were simply just different. We are both incredibly fortunate with our upbringings and how we were raised, but when you combine two people’s lives and their pasts it is hard and a total adjustment, which is probably why people often say that the first year of marriage is the hardest.
While discussing this question and trying to answer it, we found ourselves going back and fourth saying, because you do this, you are initiating the problem and causing the conflict, so you need to change. We were 100% blaming the other person and trying to change them and not us.
We became frustrated and annoyed with each other, which is what caused me to walk out of the room in tears.
After walking out, Taylor came and found me in our bed and I was in no mood to finish the lesson, but he kept reading the questions and the bible verses to me even when I wasn’t responding. He began to answer the questions on his own until I slowly started to respond. I finally came around and we finished the lesson together.
Taylor put me first in that moment. He took time to react, he came and found me and worked to bring us together again even when I felt so against it. He very easily could have forgotten the entire lesson and walked away from the situation, but he didn’t. And although it took some time, I am thankful that I came around, chose to put Taylor first and continued on with the lesson, because I could have just as easily refused to finish it and let my pride & stubbornness win again.
We put each other first and we chose to not let our emotions lead the way and while we probably could have reacted that way much sooner and avoided the first scenario, we're still learning . . . and that's okay.
I know that I would be writing a very different post today if we, especially Taylor, hadn't chosen to react the way we did and for that I am beyond thankful.
We keep our lesson posted on our fridge so that we have a constant reminder of what we are practicing, because it is seriously so easy to forget and fall back into your old habits.
Even if you forget, which you are bound to do time and time again, keep trying to be intentional and continue to work on yourself to be better, because the more we do it, the quicker and easier it is to make it a habit and the more natural it will become.
Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person.
- Click here to purchase The Heart of Family Marriage Course -
- XO -
Happy Wednesday, friends!
The other day I was with my sweet friend, Aleysha, and she showed me the cutest little thing that I just had to share with you guys.
It is called a Date Jar, and I had actually seen the idea before on Pinterest, but for some reason I never thought to do it and I don't know why because it is such a cute idea!!
Also, I don't know about you, but Taylor & I are the WORST at making decisions. I don't know who hates it more, me or him, but we totally stink at it. But now that we have a jar full of date ideas, all we have to do is pull one from the jar and we have our date! How simple & fun is that!?
So last night Taylor & I wrote down 61 dates for our date jar! We wrote down a bunch of random, different and fun ideas and today I wanted to share our 61 date ideas with y'all.
Mason Jar (whichever you prefer)
Large Popsicle Sticks (I found them at Michaels)
Ribbon (to tie across the top)
61 "Date Jar" Ideas
Whew! Some of the ideas are specifically meant for Texas/Austin, but you could easily substitute it with something similar where you are, like the Longhorn Caverns caves - look up caves in your area and see what there is! One thing Taylor & I learned last night is that there is so much more to do here than we ever thought, and it was so fun to look everything we can do!
Plus it is such a simple & cheap project. It also makes sort of a fun date coming up with all of the dates together!
- XO -
I have been so excited about today’s post! If this is your first time reading the blog, I’ll give you a quick little backstory – Taylor & I enrolled in this marriage course called, The Heart of the Family by Kirk Cameron. It’s an online course that once you purchase it, it can be completed at your own pace and at any time. You can read a little more about it here!
One of the first class assignments is to introduce yourself to your other classmates. One night about a week ago, I was scrolling through all the people in the course and a large majority of our classmates were saying that them & their spouse had been married for 10, 15, 20, 30 years. I remember reading their post's and looking at Taylor saying “ummm, maybe this class isn’t for us . . . we’re like the only people that have been married only one year. Are we just being ridiculous?” And bless his heart, because his response was so perfect. He said, “Em, who cares? Why does it matter?” And he is so right. We are so quick to compare ourselves to others, and why? We aren’t the same people; our marriage is not the same as any other marriage, so why would we compare what works for us, to what works for another couple.
I love that we're doing a marriage course and we're only one year into marriage.
I think it really all boils down this idea that if you only work on something when it needs work than it isn’t going to thrive. Like in a garden, if you are constantly out working on your garden, pulling weeds, watering the flowers and helping it to grow, well than at that time is when it will thrive. When you think about it, it really isn't any different in marriage. Work on your marriage often - don’t only do it when you need to.
. . . .
Whew! Okay, on to our first lesson. We really weren’t sure what to expect going into it, but at the end of the lesson, I think we both had really enjoyed it. #totalwin
I should also say real quick that the course comes with a study guide, where you answer questions and discuss various things from the video lesson.
This first lesson focused on a couple of different things, the first thing that they discussed was the purpose of marriage. What would you consider the purpose of your marriage? Taylor and I looked at each other after I read the question, and we both laughed a little bit and said, “To make each other happy.”
But here’s the thing - that is not the purpose of marriage, because marriage is so much bigger than that. The purpose of marriage is learning how to love unconditionally. It is to make us holy. To teach us to love as God loves us. Marriage brings two people together and binds them as one. It isn’t easy. I don't know that it was ever meant to be easy. When marriage gets hard, it is too easy to walk away and say forget it.
Chelsea shared a quick story about a woman who went to a counselor saying that she was done with her marriage; she didn’t love her husband anymore. It was over and done.
The counselor said, well tell me what you would do if you did love your husband. And she took a minute to respond and reflect on that question, and then said, well I would love him. I would do things for him, I would listen to him, I would talk to him, I would surprise him, I would cook and clean for him, etc.
And the counselor said, do that. Just do that.
We all know how difficult it is to love someone when it feels like they hate you, are against you, push you away and don’t appreciate you. But this is the purpose of marriage, to learn to love selflessly and humbly. To love your spouse even when they don’t deserve it. To love as God loves us.
Taylor & I entered this marriage and promised a lifetime to each other. This year already we have hurt each other and been angry with each other, blamed each other and so much more, but we're learning how to love each other and how to see each other in God's eyes. To be selfless and humble in our love for one other. And to find the good in every situation, not the bad.
It is not easy, y'all. No ma'am, not easy at all. But marriage wasn't meant to be easy. You have to be intentional and I really think that after you do it for so long, these actions become habits and it changes your life & marriage. We're only at the beginning of this process, but the end goal is so worth it and that makes the process all the more worthwhile.
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This leads me to one of the next questions, how can I do better at changing myself, instead of my spouse. This one really hit home with me, because we always try so hard to change the other person. How often can you think of yourself thinking, I only wish that he/she would do this or wear this or look like this . . . I know I do all too often. So the lesson here was to focus on changing yourself first. Take sometime to reflect on what things you could change about yourself and how those changes could affect your relationships. Then after that, take time and work to change them.
Let’s talk about Taylor’s clothes for a second. He dresses great. I personally think he looks real good in shorter shorts, Sperry Topsiders and nice button downs, but you guys, he hates it. All he wants to wear is a nice polo and some normal length shorts. But, I wanted him to dress a certain way and I learned that me picking out clothes for him was actually frustrating him and driving him away from me.
The fact is that when he puts on all of this stuff that I love, I think he looks so handsome, but at the same time it doesn’t look like him. So as his wife, I want to support him, let him wear what he wants and love him for him, not for what he is wearing one day.
Y’all, I could honestly go on and on and on about this first lesson, because it really was that good. There is so much more that we learned that I didn't share with you and hope to share in the future, but we both just left feeling so inspired and wanting love each other better. I feel like we both have a different mindset about marriage now. We know and understand that marriage goes far beyond simply just making each other happy. Of course making each other happy is key, but I really believe that once you shift your focus to the real purpose of marriage, the happiness part will come naturally.
- XO -
Happy FALL y'all!!
Okay first things first . . . Krispy Kreme is selling PUMPKIN SPICE DONUTS TODAY ONLY! So if you have a Krispy Kreme near you I give you permission to stop reading and get up & GO!!! (And then come back & read the rest!)
On another note, you know it's officially Fall when #PSL season is in FULL SWING. Can I get an amen?
My breakfast this morning consisted of not one, but TWO pumpkin spice donuts and a Pumpkin Spice Latte. #sorrynotsorry
Nothing like celebrating the start of fall with pumpkin spice everything.
And now I'm sitting at my pool in my black skinny jeans and a plaid button down and it is just the most perfect cool & crisp morning. In about 2 hours the heat will set in and it'll feel like we're in the midst of summer again, but for right now I'm soaking up every ounce of this cool, fall weather.
Love me some plaid!
Yesterday Taylor & I sat down and made our "fall bucket list" and if the donuts and #PSL didn't get me in the fall mood, this totally did. We are so pumped for this fall and have so many fun things planned!
I'm sharing our fall bucket list below and if y'all have more ideas or fun fall activities, comment below!!!
We always love suggestions!
Happy Friday & Happy Fall, Y'all!
- See you on Monday with my first #MarriageMonday post about our first week of the Marriage Courage Course -
- XO -
Hey there & happy Wednesday!!
I hope you guys had the BEST Labor Day. We sure did! We spent the day with our sweet friends and spent a couple of hours kayaking down the river, hitting up a local Austin brewery, checking out a GREAT happy hour at Austin’s Ale House ($2.50 beers y’all!!!) and finished our day watching the bats fly out from under the Congress Bridge, which by the way was so unbelievably cool and crazy and just one of the most unique and craziest things I’ve ever seen.
I wish I could say that I had pictures, but sadly I don’t because I was so nervous to bring my phone out on the kayak and even more nervous to lean it over the edge of the bridge to snag a picture of the bats. #notworthit. But, needless to say that Labor Day 2017 was a total hit.
And then this weekend Taylor & I celebrated ONE YEAR OF MARRIAGE! And since Monday was Labor Day, I figured that today I would share all about our one year anniversary, because I’ll just bet that it isn’t going to go like you would think. So let’s do this, shall we??
Plus we have something fun up our sleeves to share with you, so keep on reading 'til the end!
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People say that marriage is hard and it is. It totally is, i’m not going to deny that. It takes sacrifice, support, humility and so much more. This past year we have had our tough moments. We have fought, cried, been hurt and hurt each other, we have said things we regret and not treated the other like they deserve to be treated. But every time we come out of those moments with a more profound love and respect for each other.
Like I said when I first began this blog, I want to write about marriage and inspire others, and in order to genuinely do that I want to speak from the heart about our real experience with total honesty, because so often on social media and blogs you only read what people want you to see and believe about their life. And if I were to do that, I would tell you right now that we had an amazing week leading up to our one year anniversary. It was full of romance, love and endless surprises. We celebrated by going to this great little restaurant for a special dinner and that afterward we sipped our favorite wine and cuddled up for a movie on our comfy and pretty couch. And y’all, that would all be a lie.
Here is the real, total honest and by no means social media acceptable story of our one year anniversary. As we approached our anniversary Taylor & I had been fighting more than I think we ever have. Taylor was cranky and short tempered and I was cranky because I was frustrated by his behavior. We were both short tempered, and because of both of our attitudes we weren’t being respectful to one other, we weren’t supporting each other and we weren’t acting like a team. So about 2 or 3 days before our anniversary we had a BIG fight and looking back now, it was one that we desperately needed.
I won’t get into all of the details of our fight, because honestly that really isn’t what’s important. But in this case it really boiled down to communication. To keep a long story short, I wasn’t giving Taylor the support that he genuinely needed, and hearing him tell me that totally broke my heart, because in marriage or any relationship, that is one of our biggest and most substantial roles as a spouse. And then for me, I wasn’t feeling like I was being loved and supported in the way that I needed to be. Of course neither of us did either of these things intentionally, but the problem was that neither of us was communicating these feelings to each other. I had no idea that Taylor felt that way, and he had no idea that I felt my way and when that is the case, how do you fix it?
I hated our fight. It was horrible. Taylor hates seeing me cry because it genuinely hurts him. And I hate seeing him in pain. But as painful as that fight was, I am so thankful for it, because we came out of it learning more about each other and learning how to love each other better.
Life is busy and because we fall into routines, it is so incredibly easy to get lazy and forget how to really and truly love someone in the way that they need to be loved. Just like with everything in life, we are all different, so why would it make sense for us all to be loved in the same way? If you take anything away from this post, I hope that you take time to discover how it is that your spouse needs to be loved. And once you discover that, go out and love them BIG.
Too often we go about our days without thinking about our words or actions or how what we do effects another person. I know that it has only been about 3 days since our anniversary, but I have been trying so hard to be intentional about what I say and what I do so that Taylor always knows how loved and supported he is by me, because he is, always, forever, no matter what, 100% of the time. I am his wife. That is my job.
Contrary to what I thought going into our anniversary, it was so good and perfect in every way. It was different than what we had planned, but what fun is there in everything going as planned?
I’ll tell you this much. We drove to a great restaurant for dinner only to find a 1 hour wait, so we turned the car around and went to Shake Shack, which is so not fancy nor does it make the list for “best places to eat in Austin for your anniversary”. Then we went home to lay on our deflating air mattress (because we don’t have a couch yet) and watched two movies, while we drank the first wine that we ever had together and learned that our wine pallets have matured A LOT since our college days.
That was our anniversary and I wouldn’t change one thing about it. It was perfect and 100% us.
These days it is so easy to browse Facebook or Instagram and see people’s posts thinking, “gosh, their life is so perfect. I only wish mine were like that.” I’m so guilty of it. Sometimes I think I get caught up in others lives and dream of what I want my life to be and I forget about what is real, and so good in my life.
Our life is so good, we are seriously blessed and we have so much to be thankful for. No, I may not have the best camera to post pictures of our life on Instagram, I certainly can’t afford to shop at Nordstrom, we don’t eat at fancy restaurants and we don’t have the perfect bodies. But I love our life. We don't have it all, not even close, but we do have it pretty good and we are truly so fortunate and grateful for this blessed life.
And because it's our anniversary I'm throwing it back to some of my favorites.
Our first date | Our engagement | Our wedding
Whew! Okay! Now I have something fun that I’m excited to share with y’all. Kirk Cameron and his wife Chelsea created this six week marriage workshop and we signed up for it! The workshop is called The Heart of Family and it seriously looks so great - we're pumped to do it! We have not started it yet, but we plan to do so this week and then every Monday I am going to share with y’all our experience. #marriagemonday
You can go and check out the course here, but I’ll try and give you a quick low down on it. Essentially Kirk and Chelsea sit at their dining room table and talk about their marriage – specifically their struggles, triumphs and how they have come to have a lasting, loving & respected marriage after 25 years with both of them having careers in the entertainment industry AND raising SIX kids! They share what they have learned over the years and how biblically based principles have been the foundation to their marriage. So good, right?
I have posted a their ‘promo’ video below, so go take a look at it and then click here to go check out their website – or if you are already convinced and want to sign up, than you can do that here!
- XO -
I'm Emilee. 26. Homebody. Believer in a simple + intentional life. Daughter of the King. Living in Austin with my hubs.
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