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

Boxes

FullSizeRender (2) A few months ago, I wrote this post.

It was all about direction and discipline, about taking small steps to achieve big goals.  And I'm glad, so glad, I did this.  I'm grateful I took the necessary and so often overlooked time to sit down, set aside to do lists and should lists and have a conversation with myself.

Because sometimes, we just need to sit down with ourselves and ask some good, honest questions.   

"What I am doing right now that is life-giving?  What makes me come alive?"

"What hurts?"

"How am I feeling?  Like really.  Not how I want folks to think I'm feeling.  How am I doing in the thick of it?

When I asked myself questions like these, the steps to take just sort of fell out of my head.  So I wrote them down, I laid my heart out, I gave it my stamp of approval and said, "Alright, enough talk Maeve, go do it.  Go be it."

But don't hold on too tight.

You see, looking back, those steps sort of boxed me in.  And I hate boxes y'all. Not like pretty ones with bows.  I'm talking about the ones we put ourselves and other people in. The ones where we think we have folks all figured out and don't give them a chance to be anything more.

Oh, you work a 9-5?  You must be pretty boring.

Oh, you write and post about happy things all the time?  You must have it all together. Your life must be pretty darn perfect.

You only eat organic?  You must be one of those crunchy, granola types.

We make folks one dimensional.  When really we're layered and multi-faceted, we're emotional and creative.

We work a 9-5 and paint at night.

We fight for the goodness in the dark.

We eat kale and french fries.

So I took these steps to heart, I weaved them into my day.  And looking back, three months later, I can say - I didn't fully accomplish them.  And the funny thing is, I think a few years ago, maybe even a few months ago,  I would have been upset by that.  I would have been so hard on my tender heart.

There you go Maeve, starting something you didn't finish. AGAIN. 

But I don't think goals of the heart ever really have a firm start and end date.  We don't simply arrive.  We evolve and change and mess up and grow - every minute of every day.

Every second we get a choice.  A choice to start fresh, to say we're sorry, to look shame and guilt in the eye and say, "You're not welcome here."

When we let go of being so strict, we make room for growth and purpose and intention.

I made room for actually reading my bible more.  Sure, I wasn't always on track and would run over my two week deadline, but sometimes, you can't fit a book into just two weeks. Sometimes, you need time to praise God AND to wrestle with Him.

To go from, "Why would you ever let that happen Lord?" to "Okay, I see it now, I see your goodness."

You can't put a deadline on that y'all.

Did Matthew and I stick to our date night each week?  No, not always.

But more often than not, I remember the times we needed to be there for people, we needed to reach out and welcome them into our home.  We needed to respond to the needs of our tribe.  We needed to finally invite our neighbors over for a meal.

As for exercise, as for wanting to sweat each day.  That didn't really happen either.

BUT in between the gym time and walks I found a new appreciation and love for yoga.  I found myself not being so scared to go to a class because I struggle to touch my toes.  I found myself saying yes to a lot more poses - even the ones that hurt.

And I listened to myself when I needed sleep, instead of waking up early to sweat.  I listened when all I really wanted and needed was to cook and write.

Don't get me wrong folks, motivation and direction and goals are good.  I believe that with all my heart.

Although, when we forget to listen to our mind, body and spirit - because we're so busy achieving and performing and doing - I think it hurts us.  I think it does more harm than good.

And maybe that's you too?  Maybe you needed to hear: unclench your fists and give in to what you need in this moment, right here and now.

Is it rest?  Do you need more rest?

Is it a home-cooked meal?  Make yourself something really tasty.  And, if you don't know how, find a friend who cooks really well and ask them to teach you.  [It'll bring them joy - trust me]

Itching to be creative?  Get out the paintbrush, the canvas, the camera, the music book, the journal, the thank you cards.  Whatever it is - just do it.  And trust that even on the days you might not feel creative, you are.

No more excuses.

No more - I'll get to that thing I really want to do tomorrow.

No more boxes.