Our Wedding + Being Loved Well


It seems nuts to me that our wedding was almost two weeks ago. After a two year engagement and a nineish year relationship we tied the knot among our family and friends last Saturday and boy, was it a magical day.

When people ask us how the wedding was I’ve struggled at what to say. Not because it wasn’t perfect, but because it was SO perfect. The words “magical” or “perfect” or “lovely” can’t fully capture how stinkin amazing our weekend really was.

The one thing that stands out to me from our whole wedding process (from our engagement, to the planning, to the venue prep, to the setup, to the day after) is how well everyone loved us. I could burst into tears right now at how overwhelmed I am at the work and love everyone put in to making our day so special.

At one point during the reception J and I were sitting at the head table, eating pizza and looking out at everyone there. He leaned over to me and whispered “can you believe all of these people are here to celebrate with us?”

Throughout the day I kept saying that my heart was exploding from all of the love. Not just overflowing but exploding from the way our village loved us, and loved us well. Aunties and cousins and friends baked desserts, coworkers cooked up trays of pizzas, other friends poured (literally) hundreds of beers and stacked dozens of oreos to make a cake, uncles and parents and neighbors spent days pulling weeds and setting up tables and hanging signs. Everywhere we looked was a reflection of the work people-our people-put in to making the start of our marriage an epic event.

We’ve always said that we wanted our wedding day to be beautiful but our marriage to be even more beautiful, as a wedding is just one day and a marriage is something you build for the rest of your life. But during our wedding it didn’t just feel like an event, it felt like being wrapped in the biggest group hug you can ever imagine, like a blessing for the start of a next chapter from all of the people we love the most.

I mentioned to J throughout our engagement that I was a little sad our wedding was approaching. Not because I didn’t want it to come, but because I didn’t want it to be over. You know that feeling you have the day after Christmas, when all of the presents have been opened and all of the family has left, and you look at a house full of discarded wrapping paper and full Tupperware and realize the thing you’ve been looking forward to for months is over? That’s what I was dreading. Because our marriage had been something I’d been looking forward to for a billion years I was scared I was going to be sad when it was over. Although that’s a little true (because the day was so magical I wish it could happen every weekend) I have only amazing things to say about the start of our marriage and am loving enjoying this next chapter, and looking forward to the one that comes next.

A million thank you’s doesn’t even begin to cover how grateful and floored we are by the work everyone put into our day and the love we felt from all who came out to celebrate with us. Thank you for being our people!

Photography by B. Jones

Wedding Countdown + Bridal Shower Recap


Somehow almost two years have passed since J and I got engaged, which means that we’re a couple of weeks away from getting married. Wait…what?!

A lot has happened in those past two years. To skim the highlights: we moved across the country, I started grad school, J moved back to the PNW, I got a few new jobs, J got a new job, I started and ended my field placement, J graduated from academy, we got a new house, I graduated with my degree, moved back across the country, and started a new job.

It’s been a busy two years! Because we’ve both been so busy, wedding planning has stayed on the back burner. Although sometimes I feel guilty for not planning/doing/crafting more I feel incredibly grateful that our lives are so full, because it doesn’t leave any room to stress the little things.

I can see how easy it could be to get swept away in wedding details, to get sucked in to all things that a gigantic life changing party is comprised of. Those bridezillas you laugh at on reality TV? I mean, I guess I can see how that evolves. It probably starts with a color pallet, and an innocent search for the exact shade of table cloths, and the next thing you know you’re pummeling a fellow bride at Monica’s dress shop because she glanced at the dress that you knew would be just perfect on your skin tone (even though you didn’t even know the shop carried it until you saw that Stacy beeyotch pull it out).

Okay, so that’s a little much, but still. Wedding planning can be a lot! But I think the trouble starts when you focus on the wedding as an event instead of the marriage as a commitment and celebration. Because the thing is, at the end of the day, you’re getting married, right? So, isn’t it already a win?

I might not get all of the signs crafted that I had planned, or the hand written notes completed, or put as much research into the type of meatball served during Appy House as I had originally thought, but isn’t that still okay?

J and I are so excited to celebrate our relationship and how it’s evolved as we’ve grown up with all of our loved ones and an excess of pizza and beer (yes, we really are having a pizza bar). As the calendar counts down and our big day quickly approaches we both have tried to remain mindful of the end game: being officially stuck together forever!

As part of our recent wedding shenanigans our sister in law threw me the most beautiful bridal shower. Most people who know me are aware of a few things: of how loud my laugh gets, my uncanny ability to find a coffee shop anywhere, how traveling is always on my brain, that I’m practically always cold, and my obsession with all things Kate Spade.

I still can’t decide how C magically turned my Pinterest page to real life (I couldn’t find a magic wand anywhere) but she did it and it’s fabulous! A huge shout out to her and everyone else who made a hot Sunday afternoon so special.

“She leaves a little sparkle wherever she goes.”
[Kate Spade]

What Home Is


As I sit on my living room floor, looking around at my empty house scattered with random items and boxes and cleaning supplies, I think about the last time the living room looked like this, about two years ago, when we first moved in. We came to North Carolina with a small carful of stuff and a few boxes on the way, with no ties to this place except for a grad school acceptance letter and dreams of the beach and southern BBQ.

We made the move 3,000 miles across the country two summers ago knowing absolutely no one. And then, about six months later, the one person I did know moved back to the PNW. And for a little while I felt utterly and completely alone. What was I doing, thousands of miles from my loved ones, with a house too big for only me (and a rent too large to pay) and an unknown future? Had I made a mistake coming here?

But through the insecurities and lonely nights I was reminded to lean in. To open my heart, and desperately trust God to make this new place a home…and here I am, just over a year later, feeling completely at home in a building that is now essentially empty.

While my house is now empty, with our possessions packed up in pods and making their way back across the country, my heart is so full. The past month I’ve been reminded of how hard God works for us when we put our trust in Him and His ways. With a little trust and faith and a lot of love, we can make any place into a home. Any building, any city, any state can become home when we open our arms and our hearts and drop to our knees.

How special is that?

To a lot of us the place we are born will always be home. The place where our family is, where our best friends live, where we rode our first bikes or had our first kiss. But as I grow up I realize I’ll forever have more than one home, because for me pieces of home are scattered all across the country. And better yet, home isn’t just a place or a house but a feeling. Often it’s the people we love that give us this feeling. Our family, our friends, our partners. The people I’ve met here have become some of the ones nearest and dearest to my heart who I will treasure for the rest of my life.

And home is made up of all of those little things. The routines we make in the morning, coming down the stairs and starting coffee, curling up on the couch or the patio with a mug and devos and a lazy cat, drinking in life and caffeine and feeling God’s presence all around us. It’s the old man sitting on his porch every day as we pass by on a walk (or sluggish jog) and lifting his left arm in a friendly wave. It’s the drive to work, with views of a sunrise over the river, the sky pink and dotted with cotton candy clouds. It’s the coworkers, the guests, the clients. It’s all of the little things that make us feel that we belong, that remind us that we’re where we’re supposed to be, doing what we’re supposed to be doing, even if at the time it doesn’t feel like much.

This move is hard for me. I’ve lived in a number of places in several different states and time zones, and each was heartbreaking to leave for different reasons. Of course they’ve always been bittersweet-with exciting new things ahead and precious things and people left behind. In the next month and a half I’ll be starting a new job with a new graduate degree and moving into a new house in a new city with my new husband. This newest chapter is so saturated in blessings, sometimes I sit in disbelief that this wonderful life is something I get to call my own.

 

“You put Your arms around me, and I’m home.”

Fear


Recently J officially started his job as a police officer. Yes, he’s had this job for 7 months now, but this time it’s different because he’s the one in the uniform and the bullet proof vest, making the arrests, walking the beat, and doing all of that other police-y stuff (some of which are the exciting things you see on TV and some of which seem pretty boring). This job has been a long time coming and something we’ve subconsciously been preparing for for years; J being an officer has been in the plan for as long as I can remember. Even back in high school I knew in the back of my mind that, someday, we would be a blue family.

It came as a shock to me, then, the amount of fear and anxiety I had on his first official day.

I felt silly being worried all day, and pushed it back into a small corner of my mind. I tried deep breathing, and muscle relaxation, and cognitive rationalization (can you tell I’m a therapist?) but still it lingered. I prayed for his safety and for God’s hand of protection on him. I distracted myself with work and school and life.

And still, the fear was there.

And then I realized…it’s okay to have some of that fear, as long as it doesn’t overwhelm my life, and it’s okay to pray for my own peace.

I think that a lot of us somehow consider it selfish to pray for ourselves. Instead of asking for peace we feel like we should be praying for whatever is making us nervous-another person, typically, or a situation, or an outcome. I know I do.

And I think that sometimes we get caught up in the sacrifice of our faith and we want the best for our loved ones so much that we forget to take care of ourselves too. Moms, dads, husbands, wives-we should be praying for our families. But part of being a good parent, or spouse, or sibling, or friend is filling our own cups, too. I am constantly reminded of the saying ‘you can’t pour from an empty cup’, and friends, that’s absolutely true. Psalm 55:22 tells us to cast all of our cares on Him and we will be sustained. Not just our cares for others, or the cares we think are big and important enough to bring to the Lord, but ALL of them, every little one.

The other day J was working late and although I knew rationally that he was certainly just stuck at the station, the minutes ticked by without any word and I nervously kept checking my phone and the clock. I prayed for his safety and waited.

And then, I prayed for my peace. A simple, quick prayer, asking God to just blanket me in peace and ease my troubled mind.

As I think about it more I realize that the fear I feel isn’t all about J. It’s easy to group all of my worries and anxious thoughts onto that one thing but I know that’s not true. Somehow, that added weight became the one that tipped the scale. Suddenly, the other little worries I had about work and school, money and clients, moving logistics and wedding details-they all became heavier.

Until I took a moment to myself. To take a walk and enjoy the sunshine, to pray not only for others but for myself, to take some extra time drinking my morning coffee and doing my devos. When I am a better me I am also a better fiancé, a better intern, a better student, a better daughter, a better employee. Our society has such a negative view on self-care and taking time to ourselves. If you hear one thing please let it be this: loving and taking care of yourself is not selfish. Praying for yourself is not selfish.

J and I are just beginning this new chapter together and although it’s hard now, I know that won’t last forever. Soon, we will have a new normal (which will include living in the same state, yay!) that will soon change when I get a new job. That will then change when we have a family. That will then change when we move, or switch careers, or any one of a thousand things. But I know with certainty that the constants will always be there, and that with faith and family as a foundation no fear will last forever.

“Do not be anxious in anything but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
[Phillipians 4:6-7]

March


A year ago this month J moved back to the PNW. Sometimes that year seems like a decade and sometimes it seems like it was just last month. But, somehow, a year has passed and we’ve gone from 2016 to 2017. I could waste your time blabbering on about how time flies (okay, but really, how is it March?!) but I’m not going to. I want to talk about redemption and love and how having our faith tested has been one of the most rewarding parts of our adult life together.

A year ago this month we took a blind leap of faith and drastically changed our living situation. Moving back to Washington was never part of the plan, and living apart was certainly never something we had considered. But, somehow, we made the tough call and…it sucked.

To be completely transparent those first few months were hell. We were both struggling to adjust from sharing a home for the past few years to being 3,000 miles and a 3 hour time change apart. J was adjusting to being back with his family as an adult and living with his parents at first. I was trying to relearn how to navigate school and jobs and internship without my main support, which I hadn’t realized was providing me with so much security and grounding. We were both grappling with the unknown theme the future now held and the frustration that came with not having a “good” job, of J being ready and hopeful and prepared for a career that hadn’t yet come.

You might remember me sharing that my verse of the year for 2016 was Daniel 3:18 “And if not, He is still good.” Our constant prayer for that season was to stay faithful and hopeful and expectant. Even when job opportunities slipped by. Even when living situations changed. Even when time passed and frustration mounted and hearts broke and tempers flared-my prayer was God, keep up faithful. Lord, help me stay encouraged. Please, God, just remind me of Your faithfulness. I know in my heart that You are so good but right now I need some extra reminding.

Sometimes those prayers were with gritted teeth and an angry heart. Sometimes they were in tears with a helpless heart. And sometimes they were whispered in the quiet of the night, alone in bed, begging God to just help us run the race faithfully. I would pray for patience to speak words of encouragement to my soon to be husband and for help fighting down the angry words I sometimes wanted to say. And J and I turned towards each other, becoming closer even though our physical time together was far and few between. Our relationship started to evolve and deepen in a way I didn’t even know was possible, and I began to love him in ways I hadn’t expected, even after eight years together.

And still, I began to despise March. The month that took my partner away from me, that turned my world around, that made my life so much harder than it was. Didn’t God know that I had worked out a perfect plan? Didn’t He know that we would be so happy here together, in my perfectly decorated house and perfectly scheduled calendar? Certainly God didn’t intend for us to live apart and struggle financially, spiritually, emotionally, and relationally.

And the months passed, and it started to become the new normal, and my heart would hurt, and I would question God, and then I would remind myself of His goodness. And this cycle continued, and we made adjustments, and we encouraged each other, and held fast to the things that mattered, and then the job did come, and then things changed more, and then plans were made, and then…somehow, it was March again.

And I am reminded of a year ago and a bunch of months in between when I cursed March and spent my days praying with a tired heart and encouraged J through gritted teeth. And then I realize that this March, in just two weeks, almost exactly one year from the time J moved away, we are officially starting a new chapter as he graduates from academy and embarks on his dream career. A job that comes with benefits, and good pay, and satisfaction, and worth…everything that we prayed for a year ago, plus more.

And I’m brought to tears as I realize how, in the space of almost exactly 12 months, God used a simple leap of faith to provide us with such growth. All of our doubt, of our hurt, of our questioning has been so restored because we remained faithful and leaned in to each other when it would have been so easy to just tap out.

Yes, sometimes that faith was through dug in heels and the temptation to not believe but still, it was there, and it’s now been one of the most redeeming things in our life together thus far.

A lot can happen in one year. And my, how faith and love can grow.

 

“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.”
[2 Timothy 4:7]

 

I’m Ready


I know every December I talk about how quickly the time has flown by and how I can’t believe it’s already almost the New Year. And this year, like usual, I feel a lot of that. I can’t believe I only have one more semester left until I graduate, that I’ve been living in The Carolinas for a year and a half, and that we’re getting married in less than seven months. But I also feel something new this December. I feel READY for the New Year. I feel ready for 2017.

I think I can speak for a lot of us when I say that 2016 was kind of a tough year. It came with a lot of challenges and surprises and it was jam-packed full of STUFF. Memories, trials, moments of elation, moments of devastation. Overall the year was incredible and my heart is overflowing, but at the same time I’m…tired.

It seems funny to categorize a year as “exhausting” but that’s really what 2016 was. So many nights I rolled into bed tired and woke up tired. I went to the gym tired, I ate pizza tired, I did homework tired. I logged 60 hour work weeks tired, I watched too much Netflix tired, I talked on the phone tired. That’s not to say that those moments weren’t also happy and energetic and incredible, because they were. I think I’ve grown more in this past year than I have in any of the others. And I guess that makes sense, because when you’re a kid going through a growth spurt you’re always tired, so as my soul and heart have been growing, they’ve also been a little tired.

I’ve always thought it was kind of silly to make New Year’s resolutions, and am not one to make promises and vows when January rolls around. Why wait for a certain month when you can make the decision to change at any time?

This year, though, I’m READY for January. I’m ready for a clean slate and a refilled cup. As I sit here at the airport, looking forward to seeing my family for the first time in seven months and my fiancé for the first time in three, I look around at all of the travelers milling about. There’s business people traveling alone, never glancing up from their smartphones, and teenagers playing on their tablets. There’s little kids racing up and down the hallways and weary parents chasing after them. There’s couples holding hands, couples fighting, and a few lone souls with headphones on just plain conked out getting what is sure to be a cricked neck. I look at these people, and I wonder where they’re going. Are they going home to loved ones? To see a friend they’ve been missing for years? To squeeze in one last business trip before the holidays hit?

I imagine all of their stories, and I imagine that maybe they’re all tired in their own ways as well. Maybe some of them are mostly physically tired-their kids keep them up all night, their boss keeps them at work late, their school schedule doesn’t allow for much more than sporadic naps. Maybe they’re mostly emotionally tired. They’ve suffered a loss, they’ve hit a dead end, they’ve been stuck in a rut on the same old routine.

But you know what the great thing is about the New Year rolling around? That every single person can have a fresh start. We allow a new year to dictate change if we want it to. We allow ourselves to make resolutions and vows to be better or different or stay the same, if that’s what’s working. A lot of people resolve to love more and fight less, to take more in and forget about the petty things, to make more memories and take that leap of faith that they’ve been hesitant about.

And I think that’s awesome. I’ve loved this year and the moments and people in it but I am READY for 2017. So with an open mind and overflowing heart, I look forward to the holidays and the New Year and wish you and yours the best year yet. And if you’re someone that too has had a rough year, or is just really tired, or is struggling with the holiday season…I wish you peace and comfort and rest. Know that I am praying for you and sending you love and wishing you a 2017 full of everything you want it to be.

 

 

**If you’re having a hard time this year or this season, or could just use some extra support in life, please reach out to me. I’d love to pray for you and love you and encourage you.**

Creating a Marriage more Beautiful than the Wedding


Today I opened up my wedding planning app for the first time in a couple of months and had a mini panic attack. My “overdue” list was bulging with reminders-book this, research that, call him, follow-up with her. My heart starting racing and I frantically began opening spreadsheets and pinning random things and checking budgets all in the space of about 15 seconds.

Then I took a deep breath and laughed at myself.

Isn’t it funny how caught up we can get in things? I am so excited to marry J, and I am so excited for our wedding. But I think it’s important to note that those two things are separate. The life I am building with J is not contingent on a big party with succulent centerpieces and rustic pallet backdrops. If something happened and we weren’t able to have our big wedding, it would suck. I would be disappointed and honestly really bummed out. But at the end of the day, I would still get to marry my other half, so really, isn’t that still a win?

Our culture has become so focused on this big fairy tale of beautiful dresses and tailored suits, of first looks and cake cutting and epic first dance routines. We spend thousands of dollars and hundreds of hours of time investing in this one day that signifies the start of a new life chapter.

What if we spent just a fraction of that investing in our marriage instead?

I read somewhere that the average wedding these days costs $37,000. Thirty-seven GRAND! Holy smokes! That’s like a car. A nice car. Or three semi-nice cars. Or 37 beater cars. That is a LOT of money. Not to mention the time that most brides or grooms (and their families) put into planning such an affair.

Now, I’m not saying that this is bad. If you have the money and want to spend it on a wedding, great! I’m excited for you and I hope that it’s everything you’ve ever dreamt it would be. But I also hope that you’re spending some of that money on date nights with your fiancé. On premarital counseling. On late night ice cream runs, or early morning Saturday coffee dates, or endless mimosas at Sunday brunch (yes please). I hope that you’re spending some of that time sitting next to your future spouse and simply drinking in their presence. On talking about your future hopes and dreams and goals and giggling over old memories and inside jokes. On discussing your roadblocks and planning for the future and digging into some of the hard stuff.

Because relationships aren’t always easy. And they shouldn’t be. Because like most great things in life, you can’t reap what you don’t sow. I think that when we start focusing most of our time and energy in other things (like a wedding) we forget to invest in one of the most important things in our life-our spouse.

Now, I’m obviously not married yet, but I have been in a relationship for eight years now and shared a home for about four. We’ve had our ups and downs, as everyone has, but we’ve always managed to shift things around so that our relationship stays at the center. That’s not to say we don’t have our own goals and priorities but we’ve always remembered not to let things get too far before checking ourselves and refocusing on what matters.

Because people matter, and relationships matter. Weddings and cakes and presents and beautiful centerpieces matter, but love matters more. As the months until our big day start to wind down and planning ramps up I’ve been trying to be mindful to constantly keep checking myself. Yes, I want a beautiful wedding and I’ve dreamt about all of the details for years, but I also realize that this wedding day is one day and our marriage is a lifetime. As beautiful as our wedding will be I want our marriage to be ten times as beautiful. My constant prayer in this exciting season of life is to always be reminded what matters the most.

Choosing Goodness


Lately I’ve been having some…interesting dreams. I’m not really a violent person. I’m not quick to anger, I’ve never really gotten into a physical fight, and yelling is typically not my go-to mechanism. But lately, my dreams have been violent and vivid and shocking.

I’ve been on this tangent of “justice” lately, as many of my friends and classmates know. I joke that because there is so much injustice in the world Dream Cote has no choice but to take it all on. It’s kind of funny, because I’m not really a murder-y person, but my subconscious clearly sees violence as a release for my pent up frustration.

I should probably back up a little bit and explain that I see a lot of heartbreaking stuff in my line of work. Everyday there’s trauma and grief and abuse and a lot of the times people are not paying for what they’ve done. Unfortunately this is all too common in the world, no matter what profession you’re in or what place you live. As we’ve all seen, this past year especially, there is an abundance of tragedy everywhere, and most of the time innocent people are paying the price that comes with living in a broken world.

Because our world is broken. It is full of evil and injustice and terrible, horrible things.

But I think we look at that and forget that it’s also full of good.

The last couple of weeks I’d been losing sight of the goodness our world holds. Yes, it is broken, but it is also full of love. Of joy. Of new life. Of second chances. Of people laying down their lives for others. And we can’t let the evil diminish this goodness.

Because the truth is, I can’t always change the evil. Sometimes I can’t put a bad guy behind bars and I can’t make the people who are doing wrong pay. But I can always be the goodness. I can love others and help them heal. I can hold someone when they’re hurting and help them carry their pain. I can make a choice to not be sucked into the evil and instead decide to focus on the goodness because it’s so much better that way.

There is quiet satisfaction that comes with goodness, of not partaking in evil, in leading a life looking for the good. I am a good person who lives a good life and serves a good God. Yes, our world is broken, and yes, there is evil here. There are bad people and bad situations and somethings will never see justice-but that doesn’t make the good any lesser. Our society seems to have a fixation on all of the negatives and the media makes sure we are constantly bombarded with everything that’s wrong with our world. And even though it’s okay to be aware of the bad and be actively praying for a world that isn’t so broken, I know that I for one am a lot better person when I’m setting my eyes on the positives. I might not be able to change all of the bad things but I sure as heck can feed into the good and help diminish the bad. I will be an advocate for this not only in my line of work but in my personal life and my prayer life.

Lately, I’ve realized that my mind has been consumed with this worldly idea of justice…when it should be consumed with love.

 

“Do not be overcome with evil, but overcome evil with good.”
[Romans 12:21]

 

 

Do You Miss Him?


The other day one of my coworkers asked if I missed my fiancé.

I was taken aback by her remark. Did I miss him? Well, of course I miss him. I think I kind of laughed and said something along the lines of, yeah! All of the time. And she looked a little surprised, which in turn surprised me. She then said something that would be at the back of my mind for the next few weeks: “You just seem so happy here.”

You just seem so happy here.

Well, yeah. I love this town. I love this place, and its people, and my jobs, and my friends, and my home. I love the culture, and the views, and the food, and the ocean. I love my program and the school, the people I get to learn from, and the fact that I was able to make someplace 3,000 miles away my home.

Since when did being happy without our significant other become a bad thing?

It seems as though we’ve made the terms “love” and “need” synonymous. Like it’s bad to have a life outside of your other half, to do okay without them, to have different dreams.

J’s dreams are my dreams, plain and simple. I want what he wants because I want him. I am his number one cheerleader and supporter, his rock when things are hard, and his constant encourager, because I know he has been created for amazing things. And I know he believes the same for me.

Right now, our dreams are taking place on different coasts. Is it hard? Yeah, it is. It sucks spending 95% of our time apart. But you know what would suck more? Seeing him give up on his dreams to stay here with me, or settle for less than he’s destined for. Because this is just a temporary thing. It’s not forever. We’re apart right now, and it’s not the best, but it’s because we’re building up ourselves in order to build the best possible life together. We’re hustling and chasing dreams and accomplishing goals and I don’t think that should be anything to be ashamed of.

My love for J has only grown as we’ve been apart. I appreciate him more, don’t take him for granted, and savor the time I get to speak with him. I have a new adoration for him, and a new sense of pride after seeing him accomplish something he’s worked so hard for. I’ve fallen in love with the sound of his voice all over again and the fuzzy look of his face when it appears through slow Wi-Fi on my phone.

Just because I’m happy here doesn’t mean I’m happier without him. It’s been empowering to live all alone across the country from my friends and family, and create a life for myself full of love and struggles and success. Every time I have to dig out our patio so it doesn’t flood and replace the batteries on our smoke alarm I feel a little bit better about my ability to adult. I miss J in these moments, because he’s provided so well for me in the past, but I also feel proud that I can take care of myself (with a lot of help from my friends).

I look forward to the day that J and I again share a home. I daydream about the little things, like sitting next to each other on the couch, not speaking, not even touching, but simply being in each other’s presences as we do separate things together. I think about the time where my bed will no longer be empty except for a giant cat and too many pillows. But in the mean time I look at our accomplishments and goals and feel good about our decision, because we’re both becoming the best versions of ourselves, which in turn makes our relationship the best that it can be.

So yeah, I’m happy here. And I’m also happy with him.

 

“It doesn’t matter where I am-I’m yours.”

 

What Comes Next


As I approach the second and final year of grad school there’s been a lot of talk about the “what comes next” part. You know, the what are you going to specialize in? When are you going to get licensed? Where are you going to live? Are you going to move home? Where are you going to get a job?

And the truth is, I really don’t know. Yeah, I have some ideas. Sure, I’ve thought about it. A lot. But the truth of it is I don’t have definite plans about what I’m going to be when I finally “grow up”.

But then I was thinking…I do know. I’m not sure about the specifics of my career, or the location of my home, or all of the things that society tells us are the most important-but I do know the real important things.

I know that my house is going to be filed with photos of my family and friends, and little things that make me happy. There’s going to be my favorite bible verses on the walls and interesting books on the shelves. I’m going to have a cell phone that’s full of random pictures of the delicious meals I’ve eaten and the best places I’ve traveled, and a call log full of conversations with the people that I cherish. I’m going to have a cupboard full of too many coffee mugs and a refrigerator that always has Sriracha. My couch is going to have cat fur on it no matter how many times I vacuum and there’s always going to be a cozy blanket nearby. I’m going to be working somewhere that is meaningful and makes me feel like I have a purpose. I might not be bringing home the biggest paycheck, and there’s going to be days where I can’t leave work at work and will spend the night in tears while my heart hurts, but that’s okay, because it means I’m making a difference, even if it’s just for one kid. I don’t know what car I’ll be driving but I do know that the volume will always be turned up too loud, the windows rolled down, and the gas light on. I might cut my hair or I might not, I might gain weight or I might run another marathon, but I will love my body because of what it does for me, even if it’s not as skinny as I might wish it was. I’ll still have a ring on my finger and every time I look at it I’ll be reminded of how lucky I am to have a husband so perfectly created for me.

So no, I’m not exactly sure of the specifics of the world’s version of the responsible “what comes next” but I think I have the important things figured out. No matter the size of my house or the pay of my job I know that as long as I’m keeping first things first my life will never be something to be ashamed of.

 

“The key is not to prioritize your schedule but schedule your priorities.”
[Stephen Covey]