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

dip your toe in

FullSizeRender (2) I like to perfect things first.

I like to be really good on the very first try.

[It could be the reason I quit playing the violin after a week.]

When I was little, I'd stay at things a short while and then leave. I'd grow tired of not getting it right, of not being good enough. Deep down I'd think, "It shouldn't be this hard. If I were supposed to be a violinist and stick with it, it would just come easy, right?"

Now, I'd like to think I've grown out of this. And in some ways I have. In some ways, I stretch and push until it hurts because deep down, I believe all that pain and sweat is worth it.

There is yoga in my life to prove that. Amen?

But there are those other days of staring at a mountain instead of walking towards it. Of aching for perfection and praying that it will all just come easy. That somehow all the mismatched, tender pieces will fall into place just as they should.

You see somedays, I am still that little girl, not wanting to roll up my sleeves, get messy and just try.

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I was at the gym a few days ago; my bike faced the pool. A young boy and older man were in the water. The older man was teaching the younger boy to swim. The first few minutes on the bike I watched as the boy flailed his arms wildly. I saw water splash in and up his face. I saw his eyes water when he lost his footing and went under.

The older man stayed near, talking through each step, showing how to move his arms, encouraging him to swim out further.

Just a little further this time.

The boy never hesitated. He never grew too tired or frustrated. He listened to that man, gave him a nod and swam out. Continuing to splash and breath and kick.

He did this over and over and over again.

And with each passing minute, his arms and legs grew more familiar to that water. Each time he swam further from the edge I'd think, "Just a little further Maeve, stay on the bike. I know you're tired. But stay on, just a little while longer. Don't give up yet."

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If you've been here before, you know I write a lot about being brave. I write about taking big leaps and giving in and living with radical love and obedience.

But I think I left out a really vital part, dear ones.

Because you see, I doubt that young boy learned to swim by diving head first into the deep end. There had to be steps. There had to be moments, little tiny moments of dipping his toe in, sitting on the steps, standing in the shallow end - first.

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What if today, what if for right now, being brave meant stepping up to the edge.

What if it meant just looking out into the water and saying, "I see you. I see how big and vast and grand you are. And the thought of swimming terrifies me. So for today, I'm going to stand next to you and take it all in. I'm just going to dip my toe in the water."

Sometimes, that's all we can muster - dipping our toe in.

And I hope you know, that's enough. I hope you believe me when I say dipping your toe in is HUGE. It isn't small, it isn't insignificant.

Because sometimes, dipping our toe in means deciding to get out of bed in the morning. It means calling that friend we haven't talked to in a while. It means sitting down and finally writing a letter.

When we start somewhere, anywhere, we make room for something big. We make room for the leaps.

Because that phone call or letter leads to a response. And that response leads to an invitation. An invitation to sit side by side on your neighbors couch, cups of coffee in hand, her sharing life has been hard, really hard lately.

It leads to pouring two glasses of wine, walking next door, and asking if you can come in  because you heard them fighting and wanted to make sure she was okay.

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Being brave is going to look different for you and me. It's going to look different in each season and chapter too.

Some days it's going to feel a lot like learning to swim when it seems as though everyone else is diving in head first. Some days it's going to feel so easy and freeing, like we were made for this. And other days, we might wish we never started at all.

But I'm not sure if where we land or step in really matters as much as coming back to the shore.

Coming back when we'd rather stay in bed. When we'd rather not have our heartbroken once more or feel rejected or be completely open and honest.

What matters more is coming back, staring out at the wild, unruly shore and simply dipping your toe in.