that first year

anniversary blog I'll admit, I started this post back in August because I worried I wouldn't have a thing to say. Or rather, I wouldn't know how to take something so big and cram it into a blog so little.

I've never been so good at boxes.

I'm going to let this post go where it may. It might be messy and disorganized. It might be super cheesy - be warned. But it will be honest. That I can promise.

I had a life before you babe. I've been single way longer than I've been married. I didn't date hardly at all. Mainly because no one asked and partly because it made me nervous to get that close.

My first real date was when I was 22. The one where the guy picks you up, opens your door, and takes you out to dinner. At least, that's what I thought a first date looked like. Mine looked a little different though.

He rode his bicycle over and asked me to "hop on".

I tried to be cute and sit on it with him.

Bike tire POPPED.

So we walked...pushing the bike...with a popped tire.....mortified.

So I had this life, I had these plans and dreams and ideas. And while I know all of that existed, all of it had meaning and purpose, I can't remember things as well before you.

I know, strange. But if I am being honest here, I just can't.

A few dear friends asked how this year has been and I hesitated, "You mean, 2015 or since September 14th?"

I started from September 14th.

Because in that single moment, on that day, everything in my life changed. And while I knew it would feel different because all my married friends told me so, in all honesty, I didn't believe them whole heartedly.

And, I had too many nerves to really listen.

I could've never understood the idea of loving a person so much that when their late or forget to call, you worry. You worry because life seems so cozy and safe with them and you know good things can be taken away.

You know better than to think we're guaranteed or entitled to anything in this life.

I didn't understand how someone so stubborn as me could want to set a few of those big dreams and ambitions aside. [Don't worry, they're still there.] They still nudge and pull at my heart. They're still the things I pray for each and every day.

But being with you, loving you well, matters a heck of a lot more.

And you never see my ideas as unimportant, you never push them down. Even the ones that would require us to move or sell things. Or the ones that bring me tears. Or the ones I bring up and change the very next day.

I didn't understand being a complete sassy-bratty pants, making a mess and not cleaning it up, saying hurtful, mean words to another human and have them love you through it.

Have them not keep a single score of right and wrong.

Have them want to hold you closer, even as you fight and push them away.

I hope we talk a lot about this first year.

I hope we catch each other in the kitchen one evening, years from now, the house a wreck, dinner cooking on the stove, the littles running and screaming and we just stop and smile at each other.

I hope we smile at what we've built and how it all began.

I hope we hold tight to this year because it's been more growth and vulnerability than I've ever known. But I hope we embrace each new year too - welcome each chapter of change and growth and forgiveness with the same loving arms as year one.

Because it isn't always easy. 

You have to choose love. On the days it's effortless, when you're nuzzled in that sweet spot of his neck or have the most fun day ever.

When you knock knees under the table while sipping coffee and it feels as though time can actually stand still.

And on the days it comes hard. When you've hurt one another and said words you didn't mean.

That process of choosing and loving and growing is what builds a marriage, I think. It's what holds us together.

Because it's not about how far we go in our jobs or how many plans we cram into our schedule. It's about showing up for each other - every single day - for better or for worse. It's about making room in your heart for another person. Making room for the bitter and the sweet.

It's about having fun and not taking things so darn seriously all the time.

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It's about celebrating how far we've come. If it's one month or one year.

Because this is fragile sweet man, so incredibly fragile.

Bottom line is this: I love you babe. You're the best yes I've ever made. And I am excited for how God shakes things up, moves us around, changes our hopes and dreams to love each other better - to love the people around us better too.

Cheers to you boo bear, cheers to us.

xoxo

my back stoop

I crunched the numbers. I compared.

Wait, that can't be right.

I did it again.

Mmmk, it is right.

I let out a breath and looked down. I could feel the tears welling up in my eyes. If I do this [I'll get to this later, another time, another post] well, we can't save up for those things we talked about. Suddenly the thought of me making it difficult because of my silly dreams - became too much.

I can hear my heart shouting - you're dreams are never silly.

Maybe I was a wee bit dramatic. But if you know me at all, if you've been reading my words [thank you by the way] you've probably learned I am FULL of emotions, it's who I am.

It's who I've always been.

Matt went up to cut his hair. Yes, he buzzes that head of is, saving us 20 bucks a month. Love. that. man.

I grabbed my glass of wine and went to sit on our back stoop.  It had just rained.

I love the smell of rain.

Fresh bread from the oven and rain - two of my favorites.

It made me think of those times when I was little and I'd sit at the top of my driveway in the rain. I'd grab a lawn chair and umbrella and my stuffed animal or baby doll and watch the cars go by (disclaimer: there weren't many kids on my street to play with).

I'd pretend I didn't have a home, that I was wandering and stumbled upon this pretty house with well manicured bushes and wondered if they'd let me come in and have dinner.

In so many ways, I am still that little girl. A little lost, so very curious, and aching to be found.

I looked out and saw twinkling lights and our neighbors backyards. I wondered what folks were doing at this very moment too - cleaning up from dinner, bickering over taxes, cuddling on the couch?

Were they sitting on their back stoop like me? 

The door creaked open.

Babe..what are you doing? 

I needed some fresh air.

Do you want someone to sit with? 

This is one of those new marriage moments. One that feels so sweet and lovely and other days - incredibly uneasy and awkward. Because you see, when I was sad or angry or annoyed before, I could just sit in it and it didn't bother anyone. But now, it does. Now, someone aches to be part of it because they live in it too.

Now, someone so deeply desires to help and hold and carry the burden.

It doesn't really matter, I said back. 

It wasn't a yes or a no. Decisions have always been hard for me. I thought, if I left it open- the right choice of sitting and staying or going upstairs to bed would sort of just, figure itself out.

He sat. Of course he would. He's sweet and caring like that. 

One step below me, arms folded on his knees, eyes looking out at our little, tangly, messy backyard.

For a moment it felt like sitting on the stairs of his parents lake house - early in the morning, coffee mug in hand, watching dew lift off the water. It's one of my favorite views. It silences my soul in a way only nature and creation can. We'd sit and sip and be quiet. And I remember thinking, in that very moment - this is love, isn't it God? Sure, it's other things too - kisses and sacrifice and truth. But I think this is it too - sitting side by side in silence and feeling more safe and known than ever before.

This moment was not as romantic dear ones. This moment was annoyed and hurting and teary. I wanted him beside me but then again I didn't.

It felt like there wasn't enough space on our stoop for my worried, anxious heart and our two bodies.

I think, I actually do want to be alone.

He stood up. I could tell it hurt. I can always tell when my words cut deep and feel like a punch in the stomach. Because all he wants is to help and fix things.

And I resort to retreating and turning inward.

And I think friends, that sometimes, it's okay to do just that. There's a time for talking things out, for laying it all out there. But for me, this was not that time. Because as much as I wanted to say every little thing on my mind and heart, I couldn't.

I don't process things that way. I crave time time alone first. I sort of love time alone sometimes.

It feels crazy when I consider all the relationships I crave and need. All the dinner dates I love to plan and host.

But that's just it.

When I am with you - I want all of you. 

I want every nook and detail. I want to remember the part of the story when you stopped talking, looked down, and started folding a napkin in your lap.

My grandma Jul had this incredible way of making anyone feel as if they were the most important person in the whole world. In that little moment, nothing else mattered, nothing other than you and her and a cup of tea- no sugar, just milk, leave the tea bag in.

I want to know the sound of your laugh - each laugh you have. 

I want to see the shades of color in your eyes, and the way they change when you talk about your Dad.

And in return, like a good friend, I want to give you me too.

I want you to know that I love God and most days, feel so close to Him.  That this whole relationship over religion thing is all I need. But there are other times, when it's hard. When doubt and fear seep into my pores and all I want to do is run - run from this whole faith thing.

I want you to understand why I get awkward when asked "tell me about yourself " or "how are you doing". I want to give you an answer, trust me, I really do. I just struggle to weave it all together - to put in a box.

You want to know about me and how I'm doing?

Like, the real me or the person I sometimes fall into, when being honest and open is tough?

I want you to know that I find you fascinating and strong and full of light. 

I want you to see that I am trying to be better a human today than I was yesterday. I think we're all trying. I want you to know that I choose joy and gratitude every morning but the actual living it, the walking in it, yeah, that doesn't always happen.

These interactions, as sweet and hopeful and life-giving as they are, can be exhausting - in the best possible way.

So I sat alone, sipping my wine, closing my eyes, and humming along to "Oceans" by Hillsong.

It's easy to feel guilty for this. It's easy to feel like a big ol' jerk when I say to my husband, or friend or sister, "I think I just need to be alone."

But I think we need it y'all. At least I do.

Sometimes, to be the best lover and friend, it requires us to recharge, reboot and turn in. And that doesn't make us awful. It doesn't make us hopeless.

It makes us human - broken, thirsty, beautiful humans.

And trust that on your stoop or porch or coziest place in your home - you aren't ever really alone // the God of the universe holds you tight.

xoxo