What We’ve Learned as Newlyweds

Marriage.

It smells like my husband’s toots and yummy meals on the stove.

It tastes like morning breath and coffee handed to me in the morning when I wake up.

It feels like the hell-like temperature of the thermostat and the best hugs I’ve ever known.

It sounds like his toothbrush tapping loudly on the bathroom sink and the whispers of “you’re so beautiful” over and over.

It looks like a never-ending to-do list and the longest and best date I’ve ever been on.

It’s an odd thing to describe, but the best way I’ve found is to say it’s the most beautiful mess I’ve ever been apart of.

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I’ve been in this covenant for a very short time, but I feel like I’ve learned a lot. I’ve listed some of my naive thoughts below:

  • Trying to eat healthy is so much harder when you’re feeding another person.
  • Waking up next to the person you love most is the most comforting and safe feeling.
  • Pick your battles, friend.
  • Most of the time when I’m aggravated, it’s because I’m really just selfish. I’ve learned to pray before I respond.
  • Validation is a big thing for my husband. He likes to be told he’s good at taking care of me and loves me well.
  • Cooking together is so very fun – especially when Justin Timberlake is jamming with you over the speaker.
  • It’s okay to take time to adjust.
  • Taking time to talk about your days is important before putting up the dishes and washing clothes.
  • Hearing his deep voice whisper prayers over me is life-giving.
  • Take some time to notice the others’ efforts and to shower them with thanksgiving.
  • Ever heard that “marriage is sanctifying” phrase? Yeah, no joke.
  • When something he does bothers me, take a moment to remember what he does that I love and am thankful for.
  • Even if you don’t like him that day, choose to love him. Choose to recall and remember those vows.
  • Nightly foot rubs are a love language.
  • Going to bed at 8 PM can be a couple hobby.
  • Sometimes finding activities to do that you both enjoy can be like trying to fit a square block into a triangle shaped hole…but it’s even sweeter – and somewhat humbling – when you see your husband intentionally make time to sit on the couch and watch a movie with you – even though he can’t stand sitting still.
  • Knowing that you have a life partner that loves you more than you deserve is such a sweet feeling.


My husband isn’t a writer, but I asked him to share some things he’s learned, too. Here’s what he said:

  • Women are very strange characters.
  • I am no longer the sheriff in town.
  • I actually enjoy having someone in the bed with me.
  • Coffee time with my wife is one of my favorite things.
  • People make marriage seem like a chore – and it’s totally not. It’s fun.
  • Even when my baby’s salty, she’s still the prettiest thing I’ve ever seen.
  • I love Taylor a lot more than I ever thought I could.


I’d love to hear what you’ve learned in marriage, or any advice you have for us! Feel free to share some wisdom in the comment box below. 🙂

When You’re Living in the Lasts

I’ve watched Boy Meets World my whole life. And guys- that show is still my favorite. Yet after watching it for all my 19 years, I’ve never seen the last episode.

Until Wednesday.

And man, did it tear me up.

I don’t want to spoil it for those who haven’t seen it, but since the show ended more than 10 years ago, I feel like that gives me permission.

The main characters leave their home and set off for new lives all at once. The episode is full of goodbyes and the closing of all the chapters before it and the beginning of a new one. It has flashbacks of memories with family and friends and of childhood.

Somebody told me once that God gives us a tenderness toward certain things for a reason, and to pay attention to certain situations or things that make me cry because that’s my tenderness. If there’s any truth to that, mine is change. New chapters. The closing of former ones.

And I guess it’s because of the unknown. There’s so much worry in my heart toward change and things I can’t control, and it slips into fear really fast if I’m not intentional with it.

Riley Matthews, Corey and Topanga’s future daughter, says it like this in Girl Meets World:

“Change fills my pockets with pennies of uncertainty.”

When I focus on the things I can’t control and the unknown, I know I should be focusing on the One who’s in control and the things I do know.

I am loved.

I am taken care of.

He is for me.

He wants to give me the desires of my heart.

He is in ultimate control.

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And I was reminded of this so well yesterday as I was surrounded by a community of my people at my last Welcome Back concert. The sky had just turned dark, Judah and the Lion had just come on stage, and I stared up at the sky and felt the rain on my face, just glad to know I was soaking up something.

I’m overwhelmed with thankfulness for where God has me right now, right here on  my beautiful campus in my little dorm room. As for where I’ll be next when this chapter closes, I don’t know. But I’m trusting in the One that does and am doing my best to really be where I am in this moment.

Today, let’s choose to be where we are and be all there – without fear or worry for what’s to come. Because He’s holding us so tight and isn’t planning on letting go.

On Senior Year

This morning I stood alone in my quiet kitchen cooking my lunch when all of the sudden I felt eight feet tall. And by that I mean all grown up.

As I chopped up tomatoes, I couldn’t help but to ponder where I am right now. Maybe that’s completely dramatic and teenager-y of me (and I can only say that for 9 more days people), but as I’ve said before, I’m not good at dealing with change and the end of chapters.

And sure, I felt a bit this way when I was beginning my end of high school, but this bittersweetness that I’m dealing with right now is serious business.

It’s the beginning to the end of so many things that feel like home. 

Samford isn’t just the place where I’m getting my education or where I’ve taken tests and submitted papers. It’s the place where I’ve grown up and found my people and broadened my knowledge of coffee drinks.

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So I’m sad. But I’m also excited. Because for the next two semesters I get to check fun things off my bucket list and be with my people and go to all the coffee shops I haven’t been to all while growing more than I have already.

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And it all comes back to this: when everything feels like it’s a last and change creeps up more and more each day, my God is constant. He is the same and loves me just as much today as yesterday. He is still good. He is still enough. He is still my strength and my peace. Today I’m resting in that.

“Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.”

James 1:17

Truths and Tips for the College Freshman Girl

Dear Girl,

You’re in for a treat. If you’re anything like I was at this point, you’re scared and excited at the same time and either one of those emotions tend to overcome the other on any given day- or minute. You see so many unknowns in front of you and all you’ve got is maybe your room number or a brochure of information. And you don’t know what the heck you’re getting yourself into.

Let me just start off by saying that college is literally the hardest, greatest, trying, most beautiful, crazy, and most fun time ever. Take my word for it, the road is somewhat difficult….but I promise you that by year two, you’ll never have experienced so much growth in your life- if you do it right.

I’m seriously excited for you as I’m typing this out because part of me wishes I could go for it all over again.

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I’m here, writing you this letter, to tell you the truth about college- but also to give you some encouragement and shed light on what people may forget to tell you as you’re checking off your lists and preparing your vulnerable and scattered mind for this whole shebang.

So let’s hear some tips, shall we? (take these seriously, folks):

1. Get involved as much as you can/want to by sophomore year. Don’t keep saying “I have plenty of time. I’ll do that later.” You’ll find that “later” slips by you all too quickly. I want to follow this up directly by saying don’t overload yourself. If you start to feel strung out and worn thin and your to-do list gets longer than your arm, you’re probably too involved.

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2. There’s such thing as too many shirts. Be smart and don’t spend $200 a semester on shirts that will end up taking up four drawers (oops).

3. Sabbath. I could go on forever about this. To be short, it is essential for refocusing your heart, mind, and soul and becomes your saving grace and your weekly mind-sleep that you can’t do without. For more on why God calls us to discipline our time this way, check out this message from Church of the Highlands.

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4. Keep a blog or a journal, if nothing else than to reread later. You’ll be surprised how much you grow.

5. Get in a bible study or a small group right away and be all in. It’ll impact your life more than you ever thought possible.

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6. Once you’re in that small group or bible study, take 20 minutes and get everybody to take the love language test online with you. Things will start to make a lot more sense about people and you’ll know how to love them much and love them well.

7. Keep Jesus your first priority. Talk to him first when you wake up and throughout the day. Make His plans your plans. Let him love on you and live through you.

8. When you have hard days (they will come), grab you some queso and chips and watch your favorite movie in the dark. It gets better. I promise.

9. Stay at school the first month. Don’t go home. I promise the homesickness is worse if you do.

10. Be intentional about staying in touch with your home friends just as much as you are about making new ones, even if it seems you’re putting in the most effort at first. Ask them what you can be praying for in their lives. You’ll be so thankful you did later. And so will they.

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11. When you have the choice to take the elevator, take the stairs. I know, I know. I had tons of classes on the fourth floor. You get used to it and it wakes you up!

12. Be expectant that stress will come full force. If not the first week, or even the second, it’ll come. Be not afraid, just learn how to treat it as early on as possible. (Hint: my treatment is praying, caffeine, soaking in God’s truths, and taking time away from studies and all. the. things. to just sit and be still.)

13. That Freshman 15 is the real deal (hence “take the stairs”) and, if you’re not careful, could lead to the Sophomore 25. I know the buffet style cafeteria makes your eyes get a little too wide and it feels so good to eat that piece of cake every Tuesday and Thursday after speech class, but I promise it’s not worth it (that’s not to say don’t treat yourself after your first speech- it’s a doozy and you deserve a spoonful of chocolate icing).

14. Survey the laundry room and find you a good time (hint: it won’t be Sunday afternoon) when no one usually occupies it. And stick to your time, girl…stick to your time (read that in Hagrid’s voice) if ya can.

15. Playlists, playlists, playlists. Make one for when you’re studying, for when you’re out on the town with friends on a Friday night, one for when you are lonely, one for when you’re really mad that you’re not home and you just want to scream (I play this one while driving around by myself…which now writing seems a little dangerous…), and for when you just want to worship.

16. Don’t be afraid to be yourself. This is one is easier said than done, of course, but you’ll find that the more you open up and act (in my case) as weird as you actually are, the more you’ll find that the parts of yourself that you used to hide are actually your most admired qualities by others.

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17. For the organized: GET YOU A NICE PLANNER. I’ve gone through my share of planners and have found that my absolute favorites are the ones that cover 3 semesters. It’s helpful because it lets you look ahead and you don’t have to buy another one as soon.

18. You’re gonna hear a lot of talk about sororities. I’m sure you’ve already heard the opinions of close friends or family members about what they are and what they make you, but can I offer one more opinion? If you’re going to go through recruitment, just do it for the right reasons.

Beyond that, if you’re going to join a sorority, do it for the right reasons. I attend a small school, so sororities are slightly different, but I have friends from all over the place. I guess what I’m trying to say is that Greek Life is a wonderful opportunity for leadership, social, spiritual, and intellectual growth, and friendships and I definitely wouldn’t have had near as good of a college experience without being in my sorority. But don’t feel like it’s something you have to do. If it’s something you believe will enhance your growth and be beneficial to you in good ways, go for it. But don’t feel bad about yourself if you don’t feel like it’s you.

19. Live in the moment you’re in. This one’s a hard one, especially when the whole reason you’re going to school is to get a job in the future. But I promise college flies by just as fast (if not faster) than high school, and living in the present and enjoying moments as they’re happening is something I wish I would have done more of and something I’m still working on.

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20. Dare to lead someone. Whether that’s someone younger from back home that you can mentor, or a group of 20 girls who don’t know which sorority they want to be in, or leading a Bible study, do it. It’s the most rewarding thing and everyone needs someone older to turn to.

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21. Go on a trip. It doesn’t have to be somewhere drastic, but hop in the car a few times with a friend or two and go explore, even it’s just the city you live in. Go to a concert. Or twelve. Go out of state on spring break to a place you’ve never been before and just see new places with your people.

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21. Focus on finding your worth in Jesus alone. If you’re anything like me, you may measure yourself by your grades or the number of good friends you have or maybe how many dates you go on. Choose to find your identity in Christ – again and again….and again. Choose to believe you’re enough. I see this struggle so much in myself, but also in my friends. It’s so easy to place your value in something that’s tangible, especially when you want to do and be your best. But I challenge you to do your best in school and in deed, and let Christ shine through your successes and your weaknesses. I think we neglect so often that He can be glorified in both.

There is so much more I could say about college…and I’ve still got one whole year left. I wish the very best for you and pray that, no matter what school you go to or path you take, you’ll seek the Lord’s face in everything. He’ll be your strength and your peace as long as you let Him.

Sincerely,

a College Senior Girl