Good Wife Life

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We’re going on being married for 5 weeks and already I’ve questioned it.

Am I being a good wife?

I’m greeted with compliments from friends at the gym reassuring me that I am, but there are the moments when you doubt it.

Like at 6am when the alarm sounds, you walk to turn it off, then curl back into bed as you watch your husband wake to shower to start his day. 6am is not the norm for you. He knows that now. But before him? No 6am was only a hopeful alarm time. No your norm was more like alarms at 6:45, 7:00, 7:15, 7:30, then finally waking at 7:45 to roll out of bed, stumble to your car, and try to gain consciousness when you reached the gym.

No 6am is new.

So with sleep still in your eyes, you stumble downstairs to once again be greeted with new.
Make coffee. Pack lunch. Pour cereal and juice. Count out vitamins ( enough now for two of you.)

You’ve learned he likes his coffee strong, sweet, and slightly tan. As you stir in the creamer you think of how his coffee often reflects you- strong, sweet, and slightly tan.

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You say a prayer of gratitude that your husband is a man who is ok with eating the same thing each morning because while you said you’d make grits and eggs for breakfast one day this week, you really meant the idea of grits and eggs sounded nice one day this week.

He slips downstairs, reaches around to hug you from behind and you breathe in the freshness of his morning scent. Axe. It’s always been Axe and yet this fragrance now is home. It calms and awakens.

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You set out breakfast as he pulls out his bible. Again, your thankful for this moment. The moment that so often can be easy to push aside when the mornings get busy. You curl beside him under the blanket, pull out your bible, and you both silently commune with your Father as you prepare your hearts for the day.

He leaves for work with a kiss. Then the question strikes again.

Did you do enough to be a good wife?

It’s taken me 5 weeks to battle that question. Most mornings look like what I described above but there are those where I’m exhausted. Where I don’t feel good. He lets me linger in the bed, he packs his own lunch, makes his own breakfast, and I stumble down the stairs as he leaves. If my worth as a wife was wrapped in the motions of my morning, then I would be nothing.

Yet, it’s not the works I do that are the foundation of our marriage, but the word of God.

See, at the end of the day, if I forgot this was the week to change the sheets or if I missed taking the recycling down or I didn’t write a note on his lunch napkin or I forgot that we ran out of chips and he’s left with pretzels left from our wedding, we are still married. My works don’t save it. My works can make it healthy as we manage a home and our bodies but they ultimately don’t determine if our marriage will work out. No, our commitment to the covenant we joined with Christ on July 18th, that’s the foundation for our marriage.

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So today, if you find yourself facing a list from the world of ” 15 things you can do to be a good wife” take a moment to remember it’s not your works that make your marriage. Its your love for your Savior and your husband that do.

I Am My Beloved’s featuring Helen Handmade with a {G I V E A W A Y}

I am my beloved’s, and my beloved is mine
Song of Solomon 6:3

I wear a ring on my right ring finger now. At one time, it resided on my left, guarding the place my engagement ring now holds. Inside the band is reads ” I will wait for” and above you’ll boldly see ” my beloved”

I’ve waited for you Thadd.

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As we began our wedding preparations, my friend Victoria has been on speed dial.. or maybe speed text because with our varying schedules, phone calls just don’t happen as much as we’d like. In mid February, she connected me with Helen from Helen Handmade and while I’ve never met Helen, she has been a blessing.

So when Helen asked I’d be interested in doing a product review, I said yes. All my bride friend’s out there, let me just say creative juices run D E E P in Helen’s veins. Seriously her talent and heart for homemade things just radiates from her work. We discussed a few options for items and settled on a custom piece of artwork that Thadd and I can display at the reception but also on the walls of our home after the marriage.

It was then I shared this with Helen to give her my inspiration:

For me, I would say Song of Solomon 6:3 is our verse primarily because my fiancé is my first and only real relationship. I’ve also remained pure and with that wear a ring that says on the inside “I will wait for” and on the outside “my beloved”. When we first began dating, he read through my blog and found the one that shared how I was waiting and how no other man had ever known my heart. It was the only blog that made him cry and ask God to remove me from his life if he wasn’t the man for me. Well, 10 months later we are still here and engaged. My name also means beloved so that adds an element.

After giving her my wedding colors and love for magnolias, she went to work designing. What she came up with blew my mind it was so beautiful.

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It’s a 12×16 solid wood custom built piece, and y’all I can’t wait to hang it! Helen was so great to work with. For the paint colors, I shared the Pantone colors to which she matched perfectly.  The design is perfect and represents not only our wedding style but also the style for our home.

Sometimes blessings fall like the sweet spring rain. 

So in addition to blessing me, Helen wanted to bless my readers. So we have created the first giveaway ever featured on this blog.  What is she giving away? A $50 SHOP CREDIT! So excited about this. The giveaway will run from today, April 13 to April 18th at midnight so make sure you enter! Click here to head to Helen’s site then you’ll find the giveaway under the Giveaway tab.  In addition, she has provided a coupon code for all to use until April 30th for 10%. The code is BELOVED. I’m so thankful she extended these offers to y’all and hope you enjoy her work as much as Thadd and I have.

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Girl Meets Boy: The Thadd and Kaela Story

In just a few nights Thadd and I will celebrate the night that we met face to face. The night  pictures became real, the words spoken in front of us and not via phone, and for the first time we’d get to watch each other’s eyes light up as we told stories. It was the night we said hello in the parking lot, and the night we began the journey we’re now on. 

But how did we get to that night? 

I haven’t shared much of our meeting story and thus given all the memories from a year ago I thought it was finally fitting.

To stay I stumbled into this wouldn’t be too far from the truth. It still remains a mystery what led me to Sovereign Grace Singles and will forever be the starting point of this story. Either way, March 14 I stumbled upon this site and decided to create a profile. I wasn’t necessarily seeking a relationship but was ecstatic about a site that connected Reformed believers around the world together. It was a social media site developed to allow us to share understandings of scripture and yes had a platform for dating. Once I made my way through the profile, I decided to search and friend request everyone in Georgia. Reformed believers in the south are few and far between. The search led me to a profile of a handsome, blue eyed man who’s page lifted up the name of God and shared his passions: running and Braves baseball. The friend request went through on Monday and shortly after I received the message that would send us into lengthy conversations for the next few days.

Every night that first week we messaged back and forth sharing details about our likes and dislikes, and with every message I grew more eager to meet the man who was showing such interest in my life. On Friday night he causally shared his number with me. After spending time praying about sharing my number( and letting him know I was Southern in my ways and so he’d have to make the first move), I sent a message back and the next day we were texting. Texting led to phone calls. The phone calls went on for hours. For those who know me, you know I despise talking on the phone. I actually use to have to give myself pep talks just to call someone. So when I would hang up and see that we had spent 3 hours on the phone, I knew this might lead us somewhere. Sure enough, we planned our first date and wound up at one of my favorite coffee shops- The Daily Grind. I was full of nerves and arrived 2 hours early. After browsing through nearby shops and taking some time to journal, I walked back to my car ( I didn’t want him to think I had been waiting long) and anticipated his arrival. The 13.1 sticker gave his car away. He rounded the lot and pulled in beside me. Our eyes met, we smiled, rushed out of cars, and embraced for the first time. I look back on that night and smile. Some may not believe in love at first sight, but that night my breath was stolen by a man who I barely knew but knew I wanted to spend eternity with. We had somehow managed to match- both wearing my favorite colors (coral and navy), the navy gingham pulling out the blue in his eyes. He paid for our coffee, both getting java coolers- him with cookies and cream and I with my white mocha- and we spent the next 4 hours laughing and chatting. The night ended with him opening my car door and embracing me the same way the night began.

Our schedules and distance keep us from seeing each other often. We planned another night out, this one for dinner and putt-putt which turned into adding froyo and strolling through Walmart laughing at each other as we pulled $5 movies from the bin and recalled childhood memories. The next week we went out for our first Braves game. He drove the hour drive to my home, picked me up, blared country down 278 as we pulled into The Varsity. After a traditional Atlanta dinner and chaotic drive to the stadium- we spent the next 5 hours cheering on our Bravos, hand in hand, tomahawk chopping in sync, and sharing snacks of Reese’s Pieces, Sour Green Apple Big League gum and peanuts. The Braves won that night, but we won even more. The journey home was spent singing country lyrics back and forth, tracing the lines of each others fingers, and ended with an embrace and comments of how we’re ok with sharing pics together, and then the question came of status changes. I agreed so long as he initiated it ( I believe guys should lead). There he stood holding my hands, his 5’6” self looking dead into my eyes, our gaze locked, he leaned in until our foreheads met, one more glance up and I knew the next move he’d make. This 24 year old who had never been kissed, closed her eyes after noting the direction his head went, I tilted left, and let magic take over. They say sparks fly. I’m sure bombs exploded. I let the moment linger. As much as I wanted it to continue, I knew it was past midnight and he still had a long drive home. I murmured a goodnight, kissed him again, then slowly walked to my door where I bid the night to an end.

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10 Together and 5 Til We Wed

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10 months. 

It doesn’t seem like much, but to someone who never knew love, it feels like eternity. But it’s just the beginning.

I still think of that night. The one pictured above. I bought that new jersey so I could match you. We sat in the outfield, cracked jokes, sipped Cokes, shared Reece Pieces, and blew Big League bubbles. You and me and our love for the game.

That night, you did something no other man had done in my life. As you opened my car down and said goodnight, you held my hands asked if I’d be your girlfriend, then gently kissed me. I remember looking back into your headlights as I walked inside knowing I just kissed the man who I’d kiss for the rest of my life.

My phone exploded just like my heart that night when you made things Facebook official.

7 months later you’d present me with this after dinner and before cupcakes asking me to be your wife. I said yes, and of course ate a cupcake.

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Now with 5 months to go, the days seem longer than before. With each passing Sunday, I see us standing at that alter vowing to love no matter what, knowing that a love rooted in the foundation of Christ never fails. It’s patient. It’s kind. I wake in the mornings and look to my left to see my wedding dress knowing that in 156 days I’ll walk in white down the aisle as we walk into the next journey of our life. I can’t wait. 

In closing, I’m sharing a new favorite song from Dave Barne’s new EP “Hymns for Her” check it out here http://amzn.com/B00T52V24W  . The song is called ” Good Day for Marrying You ” and it will most definitely be in my Wedding Day Prep Playlist.

When Love Rushes In

As I sat eagerly last New Years Eve with my journal in one hand and bible in the other, I listed out all the plans I had for the year. Plans and dreams of races and pant sizes. Plans and resolutions that meant well, but brought little follow through. Plans, dreams, and resolutions that for once didn’t include love.

Then the unthinkable happened.

Love rushed in. 

As I look back at 2014, I see the evidence of love all over the place. Just weeks after I’d pray for God to bless our children’s ministry with growth, the outpour of His love followed as new families emerged. What a joy to look back and see how our ministry has new life and love that led us to our first child dedication.

I began new relationships with ladies at the church as His love poured through our ladies bible studies. Through each one I was able to bond with ladies who have become influential in my walk with Christ. They would pray with me for my future husband. We’d sit and discuss marriage and I would soak in all their knowledge praying a grain of it would stick for the years to come when I longed to be a Godly wife.

The biggest fountain flowed though in March when I stumbled across a site that would have me friend request a man whom I would engage in daily messages with for a week before hearing his voice which would later as me out on a date with coffee that would last for 4 hours marking the beginning of our relationship. This navy gingham wearing, bearded fellow would soon ask me to be his boyfriend after a Braves game. We’d spend the summer cheering each other on at our half marathons. We’d grow together through our sharing of God’s word. He’d eventually start coming to the Journey Dallas. He would win my heart over in November and asked for my hand in marriage on November 15.

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To think that in 9 months I’d go from a single woman to a fiance is crazy. Love rushed in. Love flowed through our disagreements and our craziness. Love flowed through our times of bible study and our prayers for each other.

Now, as we face 2015, love continues to grow as we enter it engaged and we’ll leave it married.  The plans I made 365 days ago- some got done, some got erased, and some with transfer to this year. I know one thing though, it’s not so much my plans anymore that matter. It’s all God’s plan. When love rushed in, it taught me just that.

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A Running Couple

When I entered the dating scene 3 months ago, I had no idea what would come of it. There was no way of knowing how God would mold the conversations between him and I, nor how He would use this man to be a source of encouragement in one of the most taxing things I’ve done. But, first let me back up some.

Runner was in his user name. I’ve learned as we’ve grown together that me being a runner was one thing that caught his interest in me. Only difference- he’s been running for 15 years. Me? 2. He ran in high school and college, both cross country and track. So early on, we decided to go on running dates. Truth be told, these are some of my favorite outings. The first ones were rough though. Why? Because I’m one stubborn headed southern belle who is not going to give up for anything. Since he’s ran for so long, he’s faster. We barely made it 30 minutes running together. Eventually I had to lose my pride and ask him to slow down for me. He of course was more than willing to, and the next run we made it 5 miles.

So the beginning of June arrived. I woke before Starbucks was even up to meet up with him as we headed to his third half marathon. IMG_0578 IMG_0565IMG_0569

Getting to be there for him was so amazing. It also got me accustomed to some of the seriousness of halfmarathoners. IMG_0593 IMG_0597 IMG_0629 IMG_0649 IMG_0655

He was amazing. Finished with a time of 2:06. We came home and a week later he signed up for his first full ( next March) as well as got a training program to finish sub 2 hours. I’m so proud of him and the hard work he puts forth in this- because it rubs off on me.

Two weeks after his half, we joined up early again ( seriously, getting up for these runs means being on the road before Starbucks, this might be the one downfall I have) and headed for our destination. Being the overly nervous and excitement filled mess I was, we got there super early but scored great parking and were able to walk around which helped calm my nerves.

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Was also extremely blessed to have Michelle and Neil there. I didn’t know they would be volunteering for the event until the day before. As the 5k lined up, I looked down and noticed my phone was dying. So I switched to my backup ipod and just went with it. I’m so glad I did. I had the pleasure of running to some of my favorite people- Will Goodwin and Rachel Noel, as well as other popular artists. The mix was perfect for the race and better than anything Pandora could have given me.

The first 3 miles went by fairly easy. I kept a good pace and despite the climb of the hills, was enjoying the race. As I neared miled 6 I saw him. Standing there, hand around my camera clicking away. I found out later that in the midst of the photos, he was also praying for me. Prayers I would soon need.

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Mile 6 would lead into pain growing in my calves. I stopped every now and then to stretch. The pain increased and my muscles began to spaze. Mile 9 I was greeted by Neil first, he signaled thumbs up or down and I immediately went thumbs down. He ushered me up to Michelle but in the process of climbing that hill both calves seized up bringing me gracefully to the ground. I was in tears. The watch read 2:45. I only had 15 minutes left to run 4 miles. I couldn’t give up now. I cleaned myself up, iced for a second, grabbed some water, and continued on. I was determined to finish. MIle 12 is when I saw them picking up the trail marshalls. My calves had been cramping up and at this point the cramp in my left leg moved up to my quad. It was painful. I felt like sitting down and quitting. I was exhausted and crying and then I saw them approaching me. Two of my favorite people coming to help me finish. Neil and Michelle walked me to the last bit of pavement where the last loop of the race took place. Neil grabbed me water and caught up with me ( I began jogging again) and he stayed with me until the finish chute. Standing at the other end was my runner. Capturing my moment of victory as I crossed and finished my first half. 3:36 was my final time. I was the last runner to cross the finish but that was because many before me quit.

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That race might of been the hardest thing I had done up until that point. But having my family, my boyfriend, and CrossFit athletes who I love cheer me on, meant the world. I said it then and I still believe it, I will do another half- but next time will be a road race :0

Walk in Your own Field

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There we sat. Curled in the front seat of his truck under the stars. How they shined bright out in the country, far above the field we sat in. There he sang. He sang whatever we had playing on the radio at that time. Country. Always country. I laid my head on his heart and hoped that this would be my field. This would be the field of my existence for years to come.

It wasn’t though. It wasn’t the field that I would return to week after week. It wasn’t the field my future husband would be found on. It was the field that ripped those heart strings to pieces as he said he was done, that it wasn’t working out, that it was him and not me, that I was used to fill a void that really couldn’t be filled, that for the young 21 year old girl who had just experienced her first boyfriend this relationship status was now marked as’ finished’ and she was returned empty with the status ‘single’ marked on her heart again.

Single. Empty.

Ruth wandered into the field that she was led to. She didn’t know whose it was, but she went and worked. Ruth shortly later encountered Boaz. Boaz at this point would have known who she was. Would have known her situation, her past, and her current position in life. Single. Devoted to a family member who she could have easily left. Loyal. I wonder what Ruth was thinking. Was she thinking about the hopes of remarrying? Was she thinking about her future? Or was she so devoted to the woman who birthed her now dead husband, that she abandoned any thought of her own life for the sake of the woman she now loved?

Boaz extended favor to Ruth. He offered life through the work of gathering grain. He brought a fullness to her life. As she worked his fields, I can imagine his heart growing fond of her. Ruth followed the guidance of Naomi and Boaz and remained in that field. She could have chose to explore another field, but she stayed the course that was laid before her. In the end, Ruth is redeemed by Boaz. This woman who was humble and loyal was now redeemed by the one who found favor in her. All because Ruth remained in her field.

I fled the other field. I often want to jump fences and find new fields because mine doesn’t seem too interesting. Others fields seem to be producing more, but God has me in a certain field for a certain reason. He will reveal my Boaz one day, but that day is for Him to reveal, not for me to go out hunting for.

When I walk in the field, I am full. I’m restored, I’m loved, I’m cared for. Single maybe my status, but emptiness no longer labels my heart. For I full of the love of Christ.

I lay my head down at night staring at the stars above. Sweet whispers fill my heart as “You are loved” fills the air. It is then I know, my field is where I belong.