Life Before Marriage: Kelly

Hi lovely readers of Leelee's blog! It's such an honor to be visiting here today and sharing a little bit about my comedic, lovely, and wonderful marriage with my best friend. I know everybody says their spouse is their best friend, but ya'll, mine really is. True to being a typical blogger, I've decided to share more about us through question format #bloggerprobz #listitout:

 

Tell us a little about your love story.

Well I have to say, ours is my favorite. And not so movie glamorous but it's still my favorite.  Hunter and I knew of each other through friends and my brother. I knew he was sweet, tall, southern, and younger than me (shout out to the fellow cougars). He tried so sweetly to take me out a couple of times but I resisted because I truly believed he was too dang sweet to not have a woman. And I was just not going to be that "other woman." I finally relinquished and agreed to a movie. Boy oh boy, I fell head over heels for that man. We saw the movie and then spent the rest of the night talking and getting to know each other. I was sorely mistaken - he didn't have a woman. And I planned on swooping in. Ha!

 

 

 We dated for almost 3 years before marrying in October 2014. It was everything we wanted and more. Beautiful weather, lovely tobacco barn, and each other. We've had our fair share of ups and downs throughout our relationship, but I can't help but fall more and more in love with him each day. God truly knew what he was doing when He lumped us together.

 

How did you know your man was THE ONE?

Ya'll are going to laugh but I had a "requirement" list of what I expected in a man. I had been through fire and back with a previous bad relationship so I knew I wouldn't allow myself to settle for that mess again. Thus, I made a list. He surpassed every single one of my ridiculous requirements with flying colors. Truth be told, I knew he was the one when I saw how much he loved the Lord. That man loves God more than he loves me... And that's perfect.

 

 

What are some of your favorite dates that the two of you have been on?

Oh my... Chick-fil-A dates? Ha! In all seriousness, we love trying new things whether it be restaurants, locations, etc. Whenever we find a new place we love, we add it to our list of places to come back to. We live close to the coast (roughly 2 hours away) so I would have to say our day-trips to the beach really top the list for me.

 

What advice to you have for couples who are dating but seriously considering marriage?

Laugh. Laugh at everything. Life is way too short to be serious all the time. I had a sweet friend once tell me, "Your marriage is like one big comedy show! Ya'll are just so funny and know how to have fun." I loved that she saw that and like I told her, "Laugh at the little things. Giggle through the big things. But more importantly, enjoy each other and have fun." Hunter easily keeps me laughing daily, and I to him. We do have our serious moments, but boy do we love a good laugh.

 

 

What would you tell ladies who are waiting for a ring?  Especially, how would you address the range of emotions?

Stop waiting. Seriously. It'll eat you alive, waiting, hoping, wanting. Rather live in the moment and enjoy your time together right then and there. I feel like our society is always trying to get to the next best thing, and we forget to focus on the best thing right now. Don't get caught up in that. Plus, it'll scare the poor guy away!

 

What was THE WORST part of waiting?  How did you get past it?

For me, it was the unknown. I'm a natural planner - I like to know the when's, where's, how's, why's.  Thank goodness I married a fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants kind of man; he's truly helped me see the beauty in winging things. As far as how I got past that? Prayer. I focused intently on God and His plan for me. It's easy to want MY PLAN, but His plans are so much greater than I could ever imagine.

 

Anything else you want to share?

Put God in the center of your marriage. I truly cannot imagine our marriage without Him because we are tried and true sinful human beings. Without our focus being on Him, things can get skewy and messed up. So keep HIM fully in the center of your marriage. It makes those hard days just that much easier.

Portraits of Me

As many of you know, I work with preschoolers.  My little friends love to create original works of art.  Some of their creations do not end up looking at all like their inspiration.  I love seeing such artwork because they are truly one of a kind drawings.

As one of their favorite adults (besides their parents and Santa Claus, of course), I am often the subject of their drawings. 

I couldn't resist sharing some of my best portraits :)

This is what I really look like when I am in the classroom.

Snapshots of my room

You probably noticed that there wasn't a Life Before Marriage post this week. I have a few ladies working on guest posts, but I am also actively looking for more volunteers. If you have a story to tell, please fill out the info requested on the guest post page.  Thanks.

I have always been one to notice the details. The little things on the sides matter just as much as the things in the middle of the path.  

Obviously, every detail that goes into the design of my bedroom matters.  

It is also important to record the everyday moments of my life so that I can easily look back and see how I have come into my own self as I grow older.  My style and decorating ability have changed over time.  How my room is now is not how it was several months or even years ago.  It will only be a matter of time before I change it around again.

This bookshelf over my bed holds some of my favorite pictures.  On the left is an action shot of the dance floor at Dave and Amanda's wedding.  I had so much fun celebrating them as a couple and dancing the night away.  The photograph on the right is of all the grandchildren, taken at Pop-Pop's funeral.  It is the only photo of just us grand kids as adults.  It was also the last occasion that all seven of us were in the same place at the same time.  If the shelf was bigger, I would include one of these silly pictures of my other cousins.  The bear was a Valentines Day gift from a student.

The big bookshelf in my room does not hold many books.  The top two shelves are full of knick knacks and treasures.  I have a few small porcelain dolls sitting on boxes.  The small dolls were my solution to justify buying more porcelain dolls when I was running short on storage space.  That is also why I have those tiny pewter horses.  I bought the seashell dog at a craft fair because it was so cute.  Suz is holding her "twin" from Malawi.  They had the same nail polish. 

Here are some more of my favorite photos. 

This shelf might not be the most glamorous, but it is the most practical.  It contains the baskets of my hair/ beauty/ personal grooming products.

My photo albums have to be cute as well.  I have a few sea shells because I like to have something to remember the beach when I am not there.

Polka dots on polka dots is how I roll. I own some of the coolest bedding. I like to cover my walls with all sorts of cheery things to inspire me and to brighten up the paneling.

These are most of my scrapbook albums.  I would love to showcase the albums better, but it is a small bedroom.  I will be sharing more about my scrap-booking hobby in a future post.

These are my graduation Eeyores.  I have one for my high school graduation and one for college.  There is also a graduation owl.

What kinds of mementos do you have around your bedroom?

Scripture Art

For a while, I had been interested in the art form of hand lettering.  I had practiced a few things on my own, but often felt uninspired or overwhelmed. There were so many things that I could be writing out that it was difficult to choose where to start.

I practiced a few tutorials that I found online, improving my control and the overall appearance of the letters.  Near the end of February, I ended up on the Middle Places blog.  In addition to being an encouraging site for Christian women, they also have monthly scripture journaling prompts.

This was just the sort of inspiration I was seeking.  I can utilize their suggested passages as starting places for my writing.  Some days, I write out exactly those verses. Other days, I read the Scripture and write what speaks to me.  After getting into the habit of writing out Bible verses, it becomes easier to write and to find Scripture to write.

I have chosen some of my favorite pages to showcase.  Which are your favorites?

Here are most of my supplies.   I also found a set of watercolor markers at Michael's that are perfect for lettering.

Life Before Marriage: I'm Katie Beth

Living life to the full

Jesus said He came so that we ‘may have life and life abundantly’ (John 10:10). This is one of my favourite verses, one I have clung in very trying, dark and desperate times. It is also a very fitting verse for single women (and men) as they navigate their current season of singleness.

As a young and single Christian woman, living life to the full has a very different connotation from the world’s view.

My current season of singleness may be short-lived, but it also may not be. That is a reality I am having to face. I have two choices. I can choose to mope and choose to believe the world and God is against me. Or, I can choose to embrace this life Jesus has so graciously given me.

One of the advantages people think single people have is time. It is true there is an abundance of time we do not have to share with our families. I have chosen to embrace the time I have to live life to the full to bring glory to God.

Singleness is hard, no doubt about it. It is very tempting to spend time focusing on ourselves and what we do not have, instead of looking at the opportunities there are around us. The way I have chosen to live life to the full is by spending my energy looking outwards.

Life doesn’t need to start once I am married. What happens if I never get married? I don’t really want to live the rest of my life sitting around waiting for something that may not even happen. This isn’t meant to discourage anyone. It is meant to be encouraging to live life now even in the midst of waiting. I have chosen to live life to the full by focusing on goals and serving.

I long for a relationship and to one day be a mum, but that shouldn’t stop me from trying to pursue my own goals. With my slight detour in life, I have been spending the last few years trying to work on developing a writing career. I am not as far as I’d like to be. But I have had the perfect opportunity to undertake further study in a season where I do not have the responsibility of a husband or little people to look after. Do you have a particular passion you can pursue further?

The other big way I feel like I live life is through serving. I am not bound by school hours, or school drop-offs and pick-ups. I try to use what I do have to my advantage in order to serve others. One simple way is to look within the church. Is there something on a Sunday morning (or evening) that you can commit to helping with? I love children so I have committed to serving on the Sunday school team a couple times a term.

Accepting the season you are in is one step towards contentment. Choosing to embrace is another step. Life as a single is far more satisfying when you look outwards instead of inwards.

Blog links: www.ourseasonsofgrace.blogspot.com

Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/Kaytee-Beth-603627093106088/

P.S. I could feature your story in a future week.  Find out how by clicking over to the guest post page.

April Blogger Love

Did anyone hear the story of  Sad Pawpaw and his hamburgers?  I am glad he was able to get all of his family and tons of other people together.

Teaching is an inspiring profession.  This article really captures that essence.

I loved this article about clothing and self-acceptance.

Julie took some of the most beautiful pictures of the Philly Art Museum.

Amy and PJ got the cutest puppy. She also wrote nice things about her marriage.

I love this piece on helping and forming relationships with other women.

Lecy has some really awesome tips for taking better pictures with your phone.

Dani shares what she needs (and what we probably need too) to spring clean her soul.

Susanna compiled a superb spring wardrobe collaboration. 

I love what Cassie has to say about getting back to the basics of blogging.

Erica has some great Monday motivations.

I love these work out tips.

This trip recap reminds me how awesome St. Louis is. (And it has Clydesdales).

 

April Was Awesome

My Mom-Mom was able to return to her home after several weeks of rehab following a car accident. She still has a ways to go with her recovery, but this was a huge step.

I decided to repeat the 30 Day Pilates Body Challenge and have found that it is even better the second time around.

The boyfriend and I decided to go to a park that has a good walking trail on a particularly sunny Saturday.  On a whim, we decided to walk the entire trail.  Later, we discovered the trail was 3.5 miles long.  We felt very accomplished and also very tired.

Our church welcomed our new Interim Pastor and his family.  His sons have already been accepted into the boy pack, although the city boys have a few things to learn about the country.

Suz has finally reached the final country of her missionary journey. Her next travel days will bring her back to the USA. We have a countdown in our house.  Unfortunately, this means we will have to relinquish our home office/ extra closet space. Just kidding. I can't wait for her to come back home.

I had an opportunity to cook one of my favorite dinners and take a picture of the meat browning.

We had a fabulous field trip to the zoo.  I took some great pictures.  The lions are Lex and Bella.  They are twins.

The BF and I went to Panera one evening for some soup and their yummy bread.  When he got out of the car, he noticed some baby geese.  We quietly took a few cell phone pictures because who can resist cute animal babies?

What is your favorite animal to see at the zoo?

What I'm Into

Life Before Marriage: I’m Kimberley

This week marks a new direction for the Life Before Marriage series.  The last several weeks have featured the wise words of ladies who are married and wanted to share their wisdom. Starting today, the series will highlight ladies who are living their lives fully, right now, before marriage.  It seems fitting that today I allow my blogging friend Kimberley to start.  Kimberley and I first connected when we were paired as Solidarity Sisters.  It has been a pleasure getting to know her better these last two months.  She is finishing up her studies to become a teacher and lives in Australia.

Hi all, I’m Kimberley from Life As Me and I am really excited to share with you today about how I am living my life before marriage.

If I am being completely honest with you, I would say that I don’t really like this season. I would love to be married. A lot of my friends are getting engaged, married and having children. It can be hard sometimes.

During this season of singleness, I have learnt something very important. Living life to the fullest doesn’t depend on my relationship status.

I am living my life to its fullest chasing my dreams. I’m travelling the world. I’m serving in my church. I’m writing a book. I’m drawing closer to God.

So don’t think that because you are single you have to wait to live your life. Go out and live it now. Who knows who you will meet and think about all the great stories you will have to share when God brings a relationship into your life.

I want to share with you a short letter I wrote to my future husband on this topic. I hope it encourages you.

Dear Future Husband,

I may not know you yet but that doesn’t mean I can’t serve you now and do things for yours and our benefit.

I am waiting for you NOW. There are things that I am not/cannot do without you. I don’t want to do them until you are by my side.

I am praying for you NOW. I don’t have to wait until I know who you are to pray for you. You are always in my prayers. I am praying that you will become the man God wants you to be.

I am living my life NOW. I don’t have to be married to have a good life. I am going out chasing my dreams. These experiences are part of God’s plan for me and are helping me to become the best version of myself.

I am preparing for the future NOW. I want to have a great future with you. And I know that it will take planning. So I am planning for that future now and doing what I can to ensure we have a great, safe future together.

I am saying no NOW. There are things that I am needing to say no to now so that I can say yes to many more things with you.

I hope and pray you are doing the same for me.

Love Kimberley

Hi I’m Kimberley. My blog, Life As Me, is my creative outlet sharing my life with you as I learn to live life as the person who God made me to be, not being ashamed of who I am. I love reading, writing and spending time with friends. So come say hi and join me chasing after the life God has prepared.

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On Goals, Progress, and Imperfection

Many months ago, I read Make it Happen by Lara Casey along with several fabulous ladies as a selection for Bree's book club.  I truly loved the book.  I loved how Lara weaved her personal story into the advice of the text.  

In fact, I loved the book so much that I ordered a set of her Powersheets to help me write out my goals and to figure out my life.  I jumped into this self improvement project with a lot of enthusiasm and little else.

powersheets.jpg

I have learned that I am not a monthly goal person.  I tried several forms of writing goals, but I would seldom go back to my original list after the first few days. If I did actually follow through, I never would write about them.  

I felt like I was a bad blogger for not sharing my goals and the progress toward these goals.  This became especially true once I started scheduling posts ahead of time.  How could I write another post at the last minute when I am actually writing for a month or two ahead of time?

However, I discovered through the Powersheets process that I thrive under long-term goals. This system helped me to visualize the big picture and plans effectively how to get there. Very little of what I want to accomplish can be fully realized in a few measly weeks.

I utilize a post it note system, along with a weekly planner, to help me focus on short term tasks that will help me realize my big dreams. Taking the notes up and tossing the completed goals into the trash gives me a small sense of accomplishment.  A little accomplishment snowballs into more and more.  Suddenly, I realize how feasible these giant life goals seem.

I can do this.  I am actually doing this.  Do you realize just how close you are to seeing a dream fulfilled?  Way to go.

Things are being accomplished left and right.  I have been making imperfect progress, but progress none the less.  

One of the perks of limiting my blogging is that I feel zero pressure to keep writing about my goals on any kind of regular basis.  I am only writing a handful of posts each month.  This method makes each post all the more important.  If there isn't anything to share about my goals, then I am not going to worry. Worry will slow me down. I do not have time for slow.

I am going to keep on living.  

After all, this is the year of change.  I have a lot of goals still left to chase.

Life Before Marriage: Resources

I would like to thank all the ladies who have participated in this series so far.  This week is going to be a little different.  Instead of showcasing one particular story, I am sharing some articles and resources that I have personally found to be useful.  

Hopefully, you will feel just as encouraged when reading them.

Amy wrote Contentment in Waiting last September.  It is one of the most beautiful pieces about trusting God and waiting on his timing that I have read. Even better was seeing her joy when, a little while later, she got engaged.

While Hilary wrote this piece on competition about going to the gym and self image, it is also a reminder for all areas of life.  She also wrote this really poetic piece about all the yeses in life,  including her best yes to Preston.

These helpful hints about prayer are buried deep in Brittany's archives.  I enjoy how she encourages us to pray for the important people in our life right now. Pray for your boyfriend now as you wait for the future.

Confessions of a Baby-Envier is a great read for those whose mind goes into hyperspeed and have your entire future planned out.

Chelsea has some great reminder about things to remember when considering marriage.

Age alone is not a sign of readiness for marriage.

Both of these posts by Betsy on the topic of marriage are so encouraging.  I love how the posts compliment each other like a set of bookends.

There’s no limit to the good things that can happen in people’s lives, and at some point it will be our turn. So along the way, let’s be people who celebrate those wonderful things, no matter who they’re happening to, knowing there’s enough to go around.  

The above quote is from Stephanie May Wilson's blog post entitled, When Their Wedding Happiness Amplifies Your Loneliness. Go read it. Right now.

Stephanie also shares a heartfelt blog she wrote about the power of social media over our hearts.

For a funny perspective on the topic of waiting for marriage, here is a story of Susanna and Nate when they weren't quite ready for a commitment.

What resources have helped and inspired you, dear reader?