Sunday, December 29, 2013

Our First Year

one year.
two different cities, apartments, & jobs.
travel in three countries...
& through fourteen states.
three hundred sixty-five mornings of waking up next to my best friend.
& a whole lot of grace.

Everyone tells you that the first year is so hard.  And I'm kind of afraid to say that it hasn't been...but it really hasn't been.  There are hard days...but the easy ones far outweigh those.  There are arguments & fights...but the laughter is so much more memorable.

But it's still been a learning year.  So much about marriage is learning the other person (especially when you didn't date that long beforehand).  It's about learning to appreciate his quirks.  Learning how to apologize. Learning to teach him about yourself so that unrealistic expectations are fewer.  Learning what meals are his favorites.  Learning how to cheer him up when he's upset.  Learning grace.

Marriage is about the Gospel.  And I can say without hesitation that I understand the Gospel now more than I did a year ago.  God loved us in our sin.  He loved us even with our faults, our annoyances, our mistakes, & our hurtful words.  He sacrificed What He loved most to show us that love & to provide a way for redemption.  He taught us grace.

Husbands & wives have a power over each other that no other person can have.  Just as Grayson can make me happier than anyone else on earth, he also has the power to hurt me the most.  Words we say to each other in anger can hurt more than those of anyone else.  But I am so thankful to have a husband who shows me grace upon grace upon grace.  A husband who shows me Jesus every single day.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Life Lately

one. We've been reading Behold the Lamb of God by Russ Ramsey this Christmas season & I really like it.  I'd recommend it to anyone for next year. 

two. Today on my run, I got in a fight with the sidewalk (read: tripped on a crack in the sidewalk because I was looking at a cute toddler instead of at my feet), & it won.  Don't think I've been this scraped up since tee ball.

three. I've always wanted a real Christmas tree.  We had one (or maybe more) when I was little, but not since then.  So we found a Christmas tree farm near us & picked our own.  Was just as jolly as I'd always imagined! (And now our apartment smells so merry!)

four. Got the last of our Christmas presents shipped off today!

five. Last Christmas was so busy with Christmas + a wedding 4 days later.  This year is very different.  It'll be just the two of us, but we're skyping in our families :)  & hope to go home in the next month or so!

six. Also last year, Grayson & I just did stockings for each other.  Glad to be able to do a little more this year.  Grayson rarely buys new clothes or anything for himself, so it was fun getting to shop for him this year!

seven. I really think this is Seeley's favorite time of the year.  And she's done pretty well not diving into the tree this year, but she does try to nibble it sometimes.

eight. And I just love getting to wear my Christmas sweater once a year.  It's so comfy!

Monday, December 2, 2013

Miscellany Monday

one | I've been sick for 2+ days & have never been more thankful for a) a husband who likes soup & b) an apartment located right across the street from Panera.

two | My favorite season is upon us!  Grayson is embracing his newly-discovered love of shopping (my words...not his) & shopped almost two whole days by himself.  And I've done some here & there.  Wrapping is my favorite part!  Seeley's too.

three | Found this list of advent readings on Pinterest & just bought Behold the Lamb of God to start reading tonight.  I love advent.  I feel like most of the time when we're in a season of waiting, we don't know what the final outcome is.  But with advent, we do.  We know that the days of hopeful anticipation reach an apex in the birth of a Savior baby.  Waiting periods in life are usually scary, frustrating, anxious, & sometimes sorrowful.  But even during those, we still ultimately know what we're waiting on: Jesus.  Reminds me of a favorite C.S. Lewis quote: If I find in myself desires which nothing in this world can satisfy, the only logical explanation is that I was made for another world.

four | Thanksgiving day we went to a park to take some pictures for our Christmas cards.  Just a peek at one of my favorites.  [And Grayson just found us a really nice tripod on a huge sale!]

five | Grayson's company had a 10th Anniversary party a few weeks ago (I like just about any excuse to dress up, especially if it means I get to wear my wedding shoes again).  The photographer just posted pictures from the party & I love these!

six | Apartment is decorated & we're getting our tree soon!

seven | One perk of having only two of us to eat Thanksgiving food: I haven't cooked since then.  Leftovers for days!

Linking up with lowercase letters today!

Wednesday, November 27, 2013


I love this season of Thanksgiving & how it prompts us to stop & really reflect over how much we've been given.  We should face each day with a spirit of thanksgiving, but that's so often not the case.  Just this year, I have so much to give thanks for.

one. A first (almost) year of marriage that's been more than I ever could've asked for.

two. God's peace about moving 2,500 miles from home...

three. & His provision through every step of that process.

four. The beauty of California, & living in a valley surrounded by mountains (that will soon be covered in snow!).

five. A little more time to read, write, paint, decorate, & run.

six. Seeing an answer after many months of prayers for friends.

seven. Families that sacrificed time & money to come visit us.

eight. A church with a mission of making disciples.

nine. A job (hence the lack of blogging lately) that encourages me & makes me feel like I'm doing something worthwhile.  Even if it's just a part-time job for now, it's one that I enjoy & it helps us out a little bit.

ten. A husband who didn't pressure me in finding a job, & allowed me to wait for something that I would enjoy.

eleven. Families & friends who encouraged me during that process.

twelve. Technology that makes all the miles between here & Georgia not seem quite so far.

thirteen. Though we'd love to be with our families for Thanksgiving & Christmas, we're also thankful for this 1st married holiday season where we're able to start traditions of our own.

fourteen. I've always loved the hustle & bustle of the holidays.  But this year will be simple.  Just the two of us.  Less busyness = more focus on what these seasons are really about.

fifteen. Almost-daily chats with my mom on her drive home from school.

sixteen. Being a tourist in our new city.  We've been so blessed to get to see so many new places over the last few months & we love all these new adventures.

seventeen. A camera (birthday present at the beginning of this year!) to capture these days.

eighteen. Time to try lots of new recipes.

nineteen. Quiet mornings.

twenty. A mantel to decorate.  This may seem trivial, but I love to make things pretty.  I like seeing a little apartment become a home.  And I'm thankful for home.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Book Love Lately

With some extra time while I'm still looking for a job, I've gotten to do lots of reading.  These are the books I've read in the past few months...

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
I've heard so many people talk about this book, so I decided I needed to read it.  It was an easy read & was entertaining, but wasn't my favorite.  It's an interesting plot...a love story of two terminally ill teens...but obviously that can get kind of depressing.

Safe Haven by Nicholas Sparks
Typical Nicholas Sparks.  I love to read his books because they don't require much & they're almost always easy to read because they captivate you from the very beginning.  I'd already seen the movie, but still wanted to read the book.  This is one that makes it easy to like the book & the movie.  My favorite of Sparks' books are the ones that combine a love story with a thriller kind of plot.

Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card
I didn't love this book.  It wasn't bad, but it just wasn't really very exciting to me.  I know a lot of people are reading it because the movie's coming out soon, but it wasn't my favorite.

The Sweetest Thing by Elizabeth Musser
This is one of my new favorite books.  I read Swan House by Elizabeth Musser over the summer & loved it.  I loved this one even more.  Musser is definitely one of my new favorite authors & now I want to read everything she's written!  A beautiful story of friendship set in Atlanta during the Great Depression.

Allegiant by Veronica Roth
I think this is the first time I ever bought a book on the day it came out.  I read Divergent & Insurgent a few months ago & have been excited for Allegiant ever since then.  No spoilers, but I thought it wrapped up well, even if not the way I necessarily would've chosen.  [I read here that Veronica Roth is a Christian, & I can see that in much of the storyline even though they are secular books.  However, the books are marketed to young teens & I think a few things could have been left out if they are to be read by that age.]

Monday, October 28, 2013

Miscellany Monday

one | Right now I just want to read all day.  I've read several good books lately & wish I could just sit by a fire & real all day long.

two | We've had cooler weather lately & have had several fires.  I love living in an apartment with a fireplace (& am already excited about having a mantel to hang our stockings from this year!).

three | Typical family picture.

four |  Have I mentioned this exciting news?  Gonna have to find a way to make it back to Georgia in May.

five | Still can't get over some of our pictures from Yosemite last weekend.  Some of my favorites I've ever taken & the landscape there just made it so easy.  Called for some Photoshop creations for new lock screens on my phone.

lowercase letters

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Weekend at Yosemite

Grayson & I have talked about going to Yosemite ever since we moved.  It's only about 3 hours from us!  While we're living here, we want to do & see & go as many places as we can.  Right now, any vacation money we have will probably be spent on trips back to Georgia, so we want to do as many mini-vacations & weekend trips as we can.

Last week I started looking into going to Yosemite & realized that if we wanted to, we only had about a week to do so since most of the park roads are closed from November-May because of the snow.  Seemed like the perfect time (especially since it just re-opened after the government shutdown 2 days before).  We'd planned on just leaving early Saturday morning & going for the day, but now I'm glad Grayson suggested just finding an inexpensive place to stay near the park because there was so much more to see than we even knew about.  

We got to the park Saturday morning & first drove Tioga Road.  It takes you through a big portion of the park, so we spent several hours doing that.  After that, we went to Bridalveil Falls & Yosemite Valley, & didn't leave the park until it was dark.  Saw this great sunset on the way out!

Sunday morning we drove back to the park & headed up into the mountains to Washburn & Glacier Point.  Then we took a hike up to Sentinel Dome where you have a beautiful 360 of the park.  After that we drove back down into Yosemite Valley & spent some time there.

We left as the sun was setting (Grayson pulled off the road multiple times because I had to have a picture of this sunset).

I tell Grayson that he has a severe case of wanderlust.

I thought I was a goer & a doer, but he is even more so than I am.  But I love that about him.  I love his need for adventure (& that he wants me along for the adventures!).

I do things that I never thought I would do, & go places that I never thought I would go.  It reminds me of that opening scene in While You Were Sleeping when Lucy is telling about her father giving her mother the globe & how, in her mind, he gave her the world.

Friday, October 18, 2013

God is bigger than a resume.

This morning I was reading about Solomon (part of the new She Reads Truth James study plan) in 1 Kings.  He tells God, "And now, O Lord my God, You have made me Your servant king in place of David my father, although I am but a little child.  I do not know how to go out or come in" (1 Kings 3:7).

Solomon was only a twenty-something at the time.  He was not qualified.  He had no experience.  But he was God's chosen king.

Right now, in the midst of a job search, but during so many other times in life, I've felt less-than-qualified.  We all have felt that way, as though we are not equipped for whatever lies ahead of us.  And the truth is, we're not.  We're not enough.  We're not qualified.  We're not experienced.  But God is.  God is bigger than a resume.  He more than makes up for our lack of qualifications or experience.  He is always more than enough. 

We have to believe that it is not only okay, but pleasing (1 Kings 3:10) to God when we ask for His help.  Asking for His wisdom & guidance in situations & believing that He can & will come through for us brings glory to Him.

Later in that passage God answers Solomon's prayer for wisdom, "behold, I now do according to your word.  Behold, I give you a wise and discerning mind, so that none like you has been before you & none like you shall arise after you.  I give you also what you have not asked, both riches & honor, so that no other king shall compare with you, all your days" (1 Kings 3:12-13).  God didn't just answer Solomon's prayer.  He gave him exceedingly more than he had even asked for because He was so pleased with his asking.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Blog Updates

I've been working on redesigning my blog the last few days and have added a few things.  It's still a work in progress, but you can read the new "our story" section here.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Miscellany Monday

We had such a great fall weekend!

Saturday: Slept in & then went to Mount Diablo State Park for a little hike.

Sunday: Church, farmer's market in Los Gatos, then to the fair to ride the ferris wheel, then home to carve a pumpkin!

lowercase letters

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Carrs + Carters in Cali

My parents flew in late Friday & stayed until yesterday afternoon...their first trip to Cali!  :)

We left Saturday morning & drove down to Carmel for lunch.  Drove a little longer down to Big Sur, & then meandered back up the Pacific Coast Highway...a necessity when you visit California.

And a stop in Santa Cruz on the way back to see the surfers...& get ice cream, of course.  My dad is a true ice cream lover like we are.

Sunday was church & then an afternoon in San Francisco.  

We even took a boat tour of the bay so we got to see the Golden Gate & Alcatraz up close.  Grayson & I had been wanting to do that, so it was good to get to do it with my parents.

Monday morning I had iPhone tutorials for my parents who just got new phones (!!!)...& then we had lunch at my favorite pizza place, Blue Line Pizza, in downtown Campbell.  Grayson hadn't been there yet, but he got to leave work to come have lunch with us.  Tuesday we spent the afternoon walking around downtown Los Gatos & then went to the Google campus & Shoreline Park once Grayson got off work.

Come back soon!

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Our First Visitors!

Grayson's parents have been visiting with us for the past week or so.  We tried to cram in every good thing that we could while they were here...dinners in Los Gatos, lunches in downtown Campbell, a drive on the Pacific Coast Highway, a trip to our favorite ice cream shop in Santa Cruz, an afternoon riding bikes on Google's campus, a sunset in Carmel, a walk around Stanford's campus, a hike in the mountains, & a drive up to Half Moon Bay.

Next up: my parents!