Lavish Hospitality 29

posted in: 31days, lavish hospitality, marriage | 0

I’ve not been married too long.  I mean 6 years and change isn’t long for a lot of people, an dI know I have much to learn.  We have much to learn.  God is so gracious to us to teach us in every season of our marriage.

We’ve been through 7 moves, 3-4 job changes, two children, so many changes.

And I’ve learned, even in the hard times, I have been given a man who pursues Jesus, encourages me to pursue Jesus, and is the one I want to rest in.  Even in times of hurt and pain and sin and miscommunication, I often know that my safest place on this earth is with him.  And that can only come from Christ.

I’ve learned that my mister will let me down, but Christ will not.  My mister is not my Savior.  Jesus is.

And in those times that are hard, I have a responsibility to show him lavish hospitality in two ways.

  1.  To forgive him.  I need to forgive him and not hold those sins against him.  Isn’t that what Christ does for us.  We sin so much.  Just think of how many times you correct your kids over the same things.  That shows us such a glorious picture of God’s great patience and grace with us.  He just keeps loving us well.  The same thing is what I need to do for my mister.  I need to keep loving him well because Jesus has loved me well.  My mentors once told me the secret to loving in a marriage – loving well in a marriage – succeeding in a marriage – love Jesus more than your spouse.  TRUTH.
  2. Don’t make your spouse your everything.  It is suffocating to them.  When you put so much pressure on them to be all for you – you don’t allow them to thrive.  It can get stifling.  Your spouse was never meant to be your everything.  Jesus was.

Quote taken from Dave Harvey’s When Sinners Say I Do

Lavish Hospitality 7

posted in: 31days, lavish hospitality, marriage | 0

Sorry for the delay, we have been fighting with our internet reception at home.  But, I’m still here.  An update: I want to use this month to get the quotes and start the stories for Lavish Hospitality.  Then use NaNoWriMo to really write it.  I’ll keep you posted.  Thank you for reading.

This past weekend we celebrated our 6th wedding anniversary.  I have found in marriage it is very easy to show grace for the big things, but so much harder for the small things.  One area that my husband and I need to both work on it love: not being easily offended.  When one or both of us have been offended, we are not hospitable to each other.

The other night I just didn’t talk – that is my normal mode of response when I’m hurt.  So, we watched Bull in bed without saying a word.  Turned off the computer and went to bed, all without saying a word.  That is not hospitable.

That is not how we are supposed to act.  Love doesn’t act this way.  I’m not very welcoming to my husband when I don’t even talk to him.

God always need to radically work on my heart when I am offended.

Quote from Tim Keller, The Meaning of Marriage.

No More Perfect Marriages (a review and giveaway)

posted in: Books, marriage | 3

We all need marriage help.  Whether we are single looking to get married (we read books on preparing for marriage).  Or we are married and need help in our marriage (so many books on this topic).  Or whether we’re no longer married (whether by divorce or death), and we can read books that will help us with that.

We are coming up on 6 years of marriage.  They’ve not been easy because we’ve moved a lot and had many external changes and two kids to enter our family in that time.  But, we’ve journeyed it together.

Mark and Jill Savage, who have been married a lot longer than we have, wrote a book together about their marriage – the good, the bad, and the ugly.

There are marriage books – and I put them in two categories: practical and theological.  Theological books (think The Meaning of Marriage by Keller or This Momentary Marriage by Piper) are heavily theological.  Yes, they are practical too, but that is not the main point of the book.  Then there are marriage books that are primarily practical.  Where these is Scripture in the book, and the author’s biblical worldview comes through, but it is mostly practical in nature.

No More Perfect Marriages falls into the latter category.  I find it to be very refreshing that the authors share their story, heartbreak and all.  They share how sin affected their relationship and how God redeems hurt and sin and pain.

One of the most helpful parts of this book is the talk about the masks we wear in our relationship with our spouse.  I’ve thought about what mask I wear – and I think it definitely changes given the circumstance.

I think this book can help you and your spouse think through some helpful things that might prevent some heavy pain coming in the future – or may help you be prepared to fight that pain together.

Thanks to SideDoor Comm and Moody Publishers for this book.  All opinions are my own.  They are giving away a copy of this book too – if you would like a chance to win just leave me a comment telling me one of your favorite marriage books!

Handlettering: kcreatives

Photo: Audrey Grace Photo

Love Every Day

posted in: marriage | 0

This past weekend my mister and I got to head just a ways out of the metro for an overnight date which we only get about once a year.

I know to some of you that is extravagant because you never get to for different reasons.  To some of you, that isn’t enough, and you go lots more whether its because you have more money, more babysitters, or less children.

Either way, I think little getaways are crucial to good marriages (not necessities, but really really good ideas!)

But, just in case you can’t go on an overnight trip, don’t get many out of the house date nights, here are some ideas for loving your spouse well every day.  Just like I’ve told girls getting married and my top piece of marriage advice (besides love Jesus first): study your spouse!

So, maybe these ideas might not be exactly what you would do, but hopefully they will spur you on to loving your spouse well in meaningful ways that will affect your marriage!

  1.  Leave little love notes.  I love leaving little notes to my mister throughout the house or in his car.  It doesn’t need to be a special day.  It doesn’t even need to be a special card.  Just a dry erase marker to the mirror, a sticky note, or a nice card you bought.  Even write it out in blueberries.  The card featured above is by Instead of Ashes, a little Durham designer that I love!
  2. Pray for your spouse.  You probably do this every day, but maybe one day, specifically ask your spouse how you can be praying for them.  It might surprise you what they say.  And then, go pray for them.  Make sure to follow up with them and ask how God is answering the prayer.  You might be surprised how short the time is for answers like that (uninterrupted conversations with my mister are hard to come by).
  3. Drop by their work with lunch or a drink.  It doesn’t have to be expensive, since I know budgets are tight.  I will sometimes run by with a CFA milkshake in the middle of the afternoon.  Today, we took my husband a Zaxby’s salad.  Know their favorite drink and drop it by.  Sometimes, you might not even need to see them, just have their receptionist give it to them.
  4. Do the one thing that he loves.  Ok – so my mister has always wanted a peaceful house.  And in the 5.5 years we’ve been married, I think it would never be defined as peaceful.  With 5 moves (6 for me, moving into his house), 2 kids, change of jobs, etc – that doesn’t sound peaceful.  But, maybe sometimes you can have the kids in bed, tv off, couch cleaned off, kitchen sink cleared, and just chill and talk.  We like to unwind after the weekend with taco night couch nights on Sunday nights.
  5. Ask them what they need done for the day.  I did this a lot more when I didn’t have kids.  I would ask my mister what was one or two things that he would like for me to do during the day.  Now that I have preschoolers, its just survival mode, maybe an occasional thrive mode!  But, sometimes I am reminded that I can love him well by asking him this simple question.  Maybe its ironing his favorite shirt for a big meeting the next day.  Maybe its cooking his favorite meals.  Whatever it is, just say ok honey!  And don’t argue.  It kinda ruins it!

Loving well takes intentionality and purpose.  Don’t let a day go by when you aren’t striving to love your spouse well.

The Perfect Tuna Salad

Tuna salad can be a go-to lunch any day of the week!
Tuna salad can be a go-to lunch any day of the week!

One of the pieces of marital advice I give every newly engaged girl I know is simply this: Love God, Love your mister, and study both.

When you love God first, loving others becomes easier (not easy, just easier).

Love your mister – I’m assuming if you are going to marry him you already do.

Study both. The more you get to know God’s character and dwelling on the Gospel, the more you will actively live our the gospel.  Which every marriage needs.  And then when you study your mister – not memorizing every book and trying to make your mister into that person in the marriage book – you are well on your way to success in marriage.


Now, how does that marriage advice apply to tuna salad?

Well, my mister loves tuna melts and getting his tuna salad perfect has taken me almost 5 years.  So, when he tasted this the other day – I got a two thumbs up and don’t change a thing look – and he ate it all!

This tuna salad is also vertatile.  You can have a low carb lunch by putting it into a avocado half.  This is a delicious combination.  You can toast some bread, melt some cheese on top, and have a traditional tuna melt.  You can put it atop some greens for a salad.  You can eat it with whole grain crackers for a lighter lunch.  Or just eat it with a spoon.

The Perfect Tuna Salad
Recipe type: Seafood
Cuisine: Southern
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4-6
A perfect tuna salad is great for parties, light lunches, or salads.
  • 2 cans whole chunk white albacore tuna in water (the quality of tuna is so important)
  • ¼ cup Duke's mayo and 1 T
  • 1 tsp dijon mustard
  • 3 hardboiled eggs (the cooking time for the recipe is all in the boiling of the eggs)
  • ½ tsp each of kosher salt and black pepper
  1. Mix all together.
  2. Eat.

kcreatives photo : scott and joy still say i do

scott and joy still say I do

One of the most important parts about being married is receiving constant encouragement in your marriage.  Whether its reading books, listening to sermons, asking questions of your spouse, dating your spouse, or being with couples who have been in marriage longer than you – or even coming alongside couples who haven’t been married as long – marriage encouragement is a MUST!

the whole family

This past weekend I got to shoot at a beautiful location in Buckhead (in Atlanta), and be encouraged in my marriage.  Similar to a regular wedding ceremony, there was a music, vows, family, a “sermon” – but no unity candle for which I was glad! 🙂

The beautiful bride

The joys for me: knowing this was where the groom proposed and this vow renewal was his idea (15 years of marriage – good man), how they incorporated their girls into the ceremony, how the bride and groom gave the charge to other couples there, and how laid back the bride was.  That usually doesn’t happen at a wedding.

The most important thought for me was “Marriage is a long vision”  Meaning – think long term for your marriage, don’t get so disgruntled with the here and now.  This too shall pass.  Marriage is for a lifetime.

Photographer: kcreatives photography

Location: the duck pond – buckhead, atlanta, georgia

Bride’s Makeup: Woo Skincare

Blogtember: The Best Day

posted in: marriage | 3

best day

Oh my goodness – this is like picking your favorite book – I have no clue how to narrow down the best day.

Ok – ready – here you go…

It was 10.9.11.  Yup – that’s right, the day after our wedding.

Of course I loved the day we got married…being surrounded by our friends and family, the engaging, expressive, full on worship we had during our ceremony, being prayed over by sweet friends and mentors, eating yummy cake, staying at the amazing Washington Duke Inn.

But the day after…you aren’t really concerned about anything.  You are just living life – with no one contacting you, or concerned with wedding details, or guests questions, or how your hair looks.  I was no longer concerned with what is my husband going to think when he wakes up to me and my hair isn’t perfect and my breath stinks.  I was no longer worried about the first night of sex (we had waited until our wedding night to have sex, and it was worth the wait).

We sat there changing our facebook statuses, looking at pictures, reading the paper, getting delicious amazing food delivered by room service, I remember the grilled salmon salad.  We watched movies.  We just relaxed.  It was wonderful.  We didn’t have to hurry off to our honeymoon destination (we ended up leaving the next day to start our 2 week road trip up the East Coast and into Canada).

I loved just being with my mister.  And he was then MY Mister.  So, if any of you are getting married – just wait until the day after – when all the stress is gone.  Wedding weekends are stressful, emotional, full of tears and joy, and amazing – but the day after—there you got it!

This picture was taken by our friend Erica Cooper – and no, we were not kissing in this photo – you’ll just have to trust me on that one!

Blogtember: My Latest Obsession

posted in: life together, marriage | 2

My Obsession

Obsession is a strong word.  Hmmmm…I’ve got one main one.  Its been my latest obsession for the past 4.5 years now.

My mister.  As we come up on our 4 year wedding anniversary, I’d have to say he gets better with age.  I can say he’s in his 40s because he is and I’m not…I’m such a baby compared to him (ha!)

He is definitely my better half.  He is the caring, shepherding person who makes any and every church that he is a part of more wonderful.  He listens to people.  He cares about them.  He takes what they say to heart.

He is an amazing musician.  Its like he doesn’t have to work at it.  It just flows from him – like worship.  Though I know he does work at it – it is more a part of him.  He loves playing with his favorite musicians: Erica, Nathan, Tim…and some penny whistle action by Phil.

He is a humble man of God who seeks to lead me gently and lead our children well.  They will know patience by knowing their daddy.

I do not get enough time with this man.  But, tonight, after he got back from a concert…he tasted the food I cooked, helped with cleanup, fixed my knife block, and now we are sitting on the couch both working on our computers.

He is amazing.  I’m obsessed with him.  And will be for the next 60 years so Lord willing.

Raising Boys in a Post-Biblical Marriage Culture

Raising Boys in the Post-Biblical Marriage Culture

It is no surprise to most people that the SCOTUS handed down a favorable win for same-sex marriage yesterday.  This doesn’t surprise me at all because we are not a theocracy nor are most of the people in government controlled by the Bible. In a way I don’t find fault with a non-Christian society to assume that all marriage should be allowed.

However, even though my family lives in America, we are more controlled by the God of the Bible and know that He is sovereign over all, Jesus is no longer in the tomb, and God even controls the government and the leaders and the decisions by His sovereign will.

That being said, I, as a parent to two little boys, have a God-given responsibility and grace to teach these little ones in my care (and my husband’s care) about a biblical view of marriage and how to be men of God.  So I’ve thought about it the last couple of days and here are some points that I will be instilling in their little souls and will pray that God captures their hearts at an early age, that they grow up to fight for Truth and freedom, and that they love God with all their hearts.

1.  God’s Word is the Truth.  There is no false teaching in the Bible.  Every word of it is true.  It is the final authority.  In our lives, it is the final authority now.  Unfortunately, those who don’t know Jesus don’t live under this truth.  They choose to disobey a loving God who has a great plan for their lives.  They will one day know that God is the only God and his truth is supreme.  2 Timothy 3.16-17

2.  God has called them to be men.  Men.  Men of truth, valor, and integrity.  Men who love their wives as Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her.  Men who will unite themselves to one woman for the rest of their lives and seek to live out the Gospel in their home.  Men who will lead, provide, and protect their wives and children.  Men who will fight for justice.  Men who will stand for truth. Ephesians 5

3.  God is Ruler over everything.  Many places throughout the Bible we see God the Father orchestrating the hands of government to do his will.  This decision of the SCOTUS does not surprise him one bit.  He is the Ruler and He knows all.  He has a great plan for His great fame in this country and the world. Psalm 97

4.  #lovewins is not about gay marriage.  Love won the day Jesus conquered the grave after he died for our sin. ! Corinthians 15

5.  Gospel applies to all.  When we encounter those who do not believe the truth of the Bible we have one response – to love them as Christ loved them and point them to their need for a Savior.  Romans 3

6.  They are sinners.  My boys need the Gospel. Their mommy and daddy need the gospel.  Just because we will teach them that gay marriage is wrong (against God’s final authority) doesn’t make us better.  We need Jesus. Romans 6-7

7.  Love truth.  I will teach them to love truth in every walk of life.  In playing with their friends, in learning about the Bible, in standing up for justice and truth in their school, in not shrinking back when lies prevail.  Psalm 119.9

It was a sad day.  But, I have a responsibility to my children to train them up in the fear and admonition of the Lord and will pray that they will know the Truth and the Truth will set them free.

Pursuing Marriage

posted in: marriage, Uncategorized | 0

Pursuing Marriage

Today, we celebrate.

Today marks the day that my Mister and I have been married three years.

In some ways it seems like a lifetime (just the past 6 months seems like a lifetime ago), and in some ways it seems like we’ve just begun.  Instead of writing a thank you card to my love to tell you all of his wonderful qualities – which the list would go on forever – I though I would tell you three things (for three years) that we are learning to pursue in marriage.

Pursue: to find or employ measures to obtain or accomplish – especially over the long haul or for the duration

Pursue Intimacy.  This isn’t just sex – though pursuing sex with your spouse is definitely wonderful and a lovely gift from God.  But, beyond that – pursue knowing each other, pursue dreaming together, pursue hand holding, pursuit snuggling, pursue date nights (without the kids), pursue the little things that make each other smile.  Pursue Intimacy.

Pursue Love.  This may seem crazy that we would have to pursue that as we journey together in this thing called marriage, but believe me, it is so much harder than I ever thought.  3 years ago, a great friend of ours Landis read that (for memory) 1 Corinthians 13.  I thought oh, I know this.  But, then I got to review Ryken’s book on Love and then read it with some ladies in Little Rock – and I fail miserably at this…DAILY!  Pursue forgiveness.  Pursue putting the other first.  Pursue not thinking of yourself.  Pursue patience…when the days are long and they get even longer when traffic is bad.  Pursue giving.  Pursue the One who enables you to love.

Pursue Holiness.  Set apartness.  Pursue that with each other.  You are not for anyone else…you are for your spouse.  Your eye should not go in any other direction but that of your spouse.  Something I say to Elijah all the time when it comes to helping him obey are : “Don’t even look at sin.” and “I’m helping you make a wise decision”  Both of those apply to being married.  Don’t look at sing.  And help each other make wise decisions when it comes to pursuing holiness.

And the one thing I’ve learned the most in three years of marriage: my holiness and the holiness of our marriage is only by GOD.  His Son Jesus imparted His righteousness to us.  We shelter under the cross and live by the power of the risen Christ and the empty tomb.

Therein lies the strength of our marriage.

Photo props to GreenFlash Productions

Here’s to a number of years more, my Love.  Happy Anniversary

Happy Anniversary