Revisit: The Vows

Today marks our first anniversary. One year ago we said “I do.” To say the past year has been one of wonder would be an understatement. I never knew the kind of love I could share with another person until I spent a year as G’s wife. We’ve had both ups and downs, but overall this past year has been a dream. We have wrestled through job changes and school schedules. We bought our first home and invested in a number of house projects. We’ve welcomed a nephew into the family and a puppy into our home. We’ve found ourselves stranded on the roadside, lost in unknown cities, and scratching our heads at the mysterious substance slowly continuing to crawl down our walls. And through all the trials and troubles and momentous memories, I could not be prouder of the man God has placed into my life to witness it all by my side. They say the first year is always difficult, but if the rest of our years roll the way this past one did, I will be completely content.

So, in honor of our one year, I’m throwing a flashback to our wedding vows and the promises we made on June 16, 2018 and continue to make every single day to one another…


G and I both wrote our own wedding vows. It took me several weeks to come up with the exact phrasing I wanted to vow to my husband while at the altar. And since I wanted to be mentally, emotionally, and spiritually present when I wrote them, I waited until the night before our rehearsal to finalize them completely.  For once, I was intentionally last minute!

As we stood before the Lord and our family and friends to exchange our vows for the first time, we met one another’s eyes and shook our heads in acceptance and agreeance of the promises being made.  It was the moment that I looked forward to the most on our wedding day: becoming one before God and the people we love. As beautifully surreal as this moment was, I was so caught up in emotion during the moment that it was difficult to focus on the words we were vowing to one another. I remember the sincerity of G’s voice though and the genuineness of his words.

With two weeks of marriage behind us, I decided to reread his vows to me and WOW.  His words have an impact on my heart, but a thousand-fold more than on our wedding day. I do not believe I can ever read his promises too many times. My heart is so full.

Exchanging vows beyond your wedding day is a powerful thing. For years to come, G and I will have these written promises to one another to revisit. In hard times, during fights, when that honeymoon phase finally diminishes — our crumpled paper vows will be waiting to remind us of the plans we have as a couple and the reason why we made those plans.

His Vows

My Ashley, I could never have imagined the magnitude of God’s love before He brought us together. I will never forget the first time I looked across the room of our Bible study group and our eyes met. I knew at that moment I would never be the same. Now, here we are standing before each other and our loved ones in the presence of God. I’m extremely humbled and at the same time ecstatic to step into eternity with you as my best friend, lover, accomplice in mischief, teacher, and comforter. With God as our source of strength, we can accomplish anything, weather any storm, and love more than could be imagined. You are the most beautiful woman, in every aspect, that I have ever laid eyes on. You were put into my life to fill what was missing and to compliment what was already there. You make me want to be the best that I can be and the man you deserve. You encourage me through struggles and rejoice with me through triumphs. There is so much I expect out of myself to be your husband. If I fail at everything else but am the husband God has called me to be for you, then I will be content and consider that a success.

Sweetheart, I promise to honor you at all times. I promise to love you with all that I am. I promise to forgive you when I am offended. I promise to always be your rock and source of strength when you are weak. I promise to cherish you until my last breath. I promise to set a godly example as the leader of our family. I promise to always pursue you and never stop growing together. I promise to give you all that I am.

Ashley, I will love you forever and always.


Her Vows

Grant, today I take you to be my husband.

I am making a commitment to you, and with God’s help I promise to you these things:

I promise to give you the best of myself.

I promise to honor you and trust you and respect you for the person you are. I promise to treat your needs, interests and goals as I do my own.

I promise to grow and change alongside you, to become the people we are meant to be together for the remainder of our lives.

I promise to share your joy, to bring my joys to you first, and to choose joy in our relationship each and every day.

I promise to let you win every now and then on game nights. I promise to equally split our Netflix watching between the Office and everything else available. I promise to try and choose a restaurant by at least the third time you ask. I promise to continue to pretend knowing what you’re talking about when you discuss TIG welders and all other machining lingo. And I promise to hold you accountable to early morning workouts and evening sunset walks.

I promise to not only be your partner in life, but your best friend.

And most of all, I promise to love you with my whole heart forever and always.


To G: just as our first dance’s song lamented, “We’ve come so far since that day, and I thought I loved you then…” I’m excited to walk into this second year of marriage with you, and for all the blessings and challenges God has waiting for us. Thank you for not only being my best friend, but the answer to my prayers, my partner-in-crime, and both my biggest fan and biggest opponent. You keep me humble. You keep me steady. You’re my everything, babe.

All my love, friends, 

A Coffee-Inspired Bridal Shower Gift Basket

This post is made possible by the delicious chai latte from Starbucks I’m drinking. I’m at the keyboard early this morning, having a little Me Time before heading to Indiana to celebrate the beautiful bride-to-be. It’s wedding season! I love Spring because it is the mark of hitching season. And there is absolutely nothing I love more than celebrating marriages of those who have found their special One.

It is so fun to put together creative DIY gift basket ideas to give to friends and family getting married. I *clap* just *clap* LOVE *clap* it! Today I am sharing a bridal shower gift that is coffee-inspired for the couple who loves mornings together over a tasty brew.

I put together this cute coffee themed gift basket for G’s cousin Kelsey and fiance Nathan in mind. This adorable couple had engagement pictures taken centered around steaming mugs, and are all about traditional home-style delights. Seeing a request for Trader Joe’s Dark Roast on their registry and running across this set of coffee mugs while at Meijer, I put my thinking cap on and started piecing other coffee bar necessities together into the basket.

I was aiming for a visually-pleasing aesthetic to the basket apart from finding key pieces. Picking up my personal favorite Trader Jones blend as well (mmm French Roast), I decided the coffee bags themselves did not fit the look of my basket in mind. So I found some simple brown lunch bags, and made two cute labels to better fit. I apologize for the blurriness of this picture; I must be too hyped on caffeine in the final photoshot.

One label reads, “Love is Brewing” beneath the names Nathan & Kelsey. The other, “The Perfect Blend.” I found three earthy pictures to compliment the packages as well, and used Canva to create the labels. The pictures are of palm leaves, succulents, and coffee plants in rows.

Not pictured separately, this basket hides the remainder of the two Trader Joe’s coffee bags at its base, with six kitchen towels laid on top of them. A pure white sugar bowl and creamer server sit nestled between the couple’s mugs, and a Wood Wick Vanilla Bean Candle will provide a gentle back noise to those early mornings shared together. All in all, pretty much everything newlyweds would need for a bright morning rests in the basket.

The final two pieces in the basket were hand crafted by yours truly. I bought a Cricut Explore Air 2 after Christmas, and opened the box for the first time to complete this gift. Thankfully, Cricut supplies you with a few pieces of cardstock and instructions to teach you the very basics of Design Space prior to letting you go create on your own. The card created was a minimal little diddy that read “Enjoy” on the front. I couldn’t think of a better excuse to utilize that card than with this gift, and finished the message inside by writing, “Wishing your Happily Ever After begins with a good morning…”

After mastering the greeting card design, I decided to try something more difficult. I found the perfect blank chalkboard at Michael’s, and knew I wanted to add a cutesy saying to it as a decor piece for Kelsey’s home. I scoured Pinterest for ideas and fell upon this: “Good days start with coffee and you.” Could that be more perfect?! I fiddled with the fonts, liked what I saw, and decided to add a bit of color as well — a gold foil mug and coffee beans were the best additions.

I am so happy with how this basket turned out. I popped in a few fake flowers to add some texture to it (flowers from my own wedding’s arrangements.) The towels are stealthily placed so the porcelain pieces will not hit one another as I make the drive to Indiana, and my car already smells amazing after having the basket inside for only a few minutes. Oh! And the basket itself was a good find at TJ Maxx last autumn that I expected to use as a gift in the future. So the planning process all kind of fell together!

Do you have any weddings coming up? What are your favorite things to gift for the bride-to-be or to the couple at the wedding?

Good morning, friends,

Share Blog: Love What Matters

I am blessed to call some amazing women my closest friends. Playing off my last post on what and who is my Tribe, I felt it necessary to share this raw and inspiring story from one of my Pink Ladies, Katie, as it provides a beautiful testimony as to the characters of those in my Tribe.

Katie is one of those rare women who can take the worst situation and find the gem in its midst. Life happens to us all, and I know this girl has had a lot of lemons thrown her way lately. Yet having survived what some may say is the hardest battle of all — the battle for your own life — Katie persists with a smile on her face and overwhelming love in her heart. No matter what she is going through in her personal life, she makes time to check in on those she loves and be available for a chat or hug. For someone who could very easily choose to be selfish and focus on her own struggles, Katie will not allow anyone to feel sadness and pain alone. She is the very definition of a servant heart.

As I read through her inspiring testimony for the 65,245,897th time, I marvel at the determined, persistent, and optimistic woman I have in my Tribe. I could not be more humbled to have Katie call me her friend in return.

Please read her inspiring story here. (This story was originally submitted to Love What Matters by Katie Hess.

I love you, Katie, and all that you symbolize — you are more than my friend, you are a role model.

Wedding Shots: Bridal Party

It has been awhile since I did a Wedding Wednesday, eh? I’ll be honest: I forgot. As with most people, Life sometimes gets away from me but I am still here and am still very much in love with weddings. Especially my own wedding. It is hard to believe our wedding was almost four months ago already. Marriage is phenomenal and I continue to thank God every day for this adventure in which He has placed me.

I was all up in the feels this past weekend as I was going through our wedding album and attempting to choose some pictures to display in our newly remodeled living room. I chose a few family pictures, but also had to go with two bridal party options. I am biased towards these photos already, but I love the people in them even more. And so, I’d love to share my bridal party with you today in this week’s Wedding Wednesday:

I am lucky enough to have some amazing friends in my life who have taken the place of the siblings I never had. These people have been with me through some difficult times, and have helped piece me together following failings, heartbreak, and deaths. I would not be the woman I am today without their love, laughter, and advice.

Focusing on my girls, I could not be happier to call these ladies my close confidants. I have my cousin who has been a role model to me since I was a little one wobbling around and following her at our grandparents’ house. Then there is Toto, one of the most generous and kind girls I’ve ever met. Toto and I met by a whim of luck when a mutual friend brought us together to go on a cruise our senior spring break. One week on a ship, and now she’s who I turn to whenever I need some calming words of reason. Next I have Courtney. Courtney came into my life through my brother-from-another-mother and is my closest girlfriend. We can roll our eyes together over wine while our husbands talk mechanics and I feel secure knowing she is always just a quick call away if I need a girls’ night out.  Finally, my Panda. We lived together for an entire two weeks in college before she moved back to her parents’. Fortunately, even without a residence in my apartment, she would faithfully come back each week to force me to watch the Bachelor. Since graduation, her laughter has continued to brighten my life and I love knowing that no matter how much time and space may sweep into seeing each other, we can pick up like no time has passed.

I feel blessed to have such a great connection with the guys in our party also. Of course, Mascot’s husband was actually my Man of Honor. Growing up from our Dairy Queen days, Josh has become the closest thing to a brother I can imagine. We word-joust constantly and can squabble like the best of them. But we also have gone to war for one another and been by each other’s sides through our darkest days. Passing through your teen and college years with someone can be a difficult thing to do, but we always stayed in contact and witnessed the highest and lowest points of one another’s growth.

Speaking of brothers, when G and I married I actually gained a sibling. Legally. G’s brother was his Best Man, and it has been amazing to not only form a family relation with Colt and his wife, but also become an aunt when they had their first son at the end of July. As an only child, becoming an aunt was not something I envisioned for myself. Yet it is one of the biggest blessings in my life to date.

G’s other groomsmen, Aaron and Floyd, have been amazing supporters and encouragers of our relationship, well-being, and faith. Aaron and his wife are a couple we not only enjoy double-dating with, but who we also see as inspiration for a happy and healthy marriage. Neither are hard to approach if we have questions or concerns. Marriage is wonderful, but it doesn’t come with an instruction manual. So it is nice to have fellow couples in our lives to turn towards and lean on.

 

All in all, I cannot say enough good things about the members of our bridal party. We wanted to keep the numbers small, but we also couldn’t imagine the day without having these eight people by our sides. Be it the little hand squeezes, tight hugs, or tearful laughs, some of my most precious moments of the day were those where these ladies and gents made G and I feel peaceful and unrushed. And so, so loved.

As I said, I’m pretty biased with these photos already simply due to their beauty. (Dear Olive Photography is fricken amazing!) But I’m truly in awe of the people that make these photos so wonderful. From G and me, thank you so much to our lovely friends for being more than friends — thank you for being our family.

With love, 

Reblog: Millennial & Married: What I’ve Learned Six Months In

My church began a new Bible study today and it is called Married People Connect. As I’m sure you can guess, this study is for married couples and involves small table groups of varying aged couples to offer insight, advice, and encouragement for strong and happy marriages. G and I were both excited for this new step in our marriage and look forward to growing together with fellow members of our congregation.

This new study also brings e-Zines to our emails full of inspirational blog posts, vlogs, and date-night ideas. The most recent e-Zine included the following article written by Forrest Fyre, and I thought it was not only well-written but also on-point for my own marriage. As a millennial, marriage has a different look than it has for any other generation, but it also brings the same difficulties that all marriages face. I loved the honesty this author portrays over his young marriage, and couldn’t have said the words better myself. Enjoy!


In the summer of 2017, I made one of my boldest decisions yet. I committed myself in holy matrimony to the most beautiful woman I have ever known.

My heart was happier than ever before. I couldn’t have been more sure. And yet, the Millennial inside of me was wondering what on earth I was doing.

Here are some of the things I’ve learned six months into marriage as a Millennial. I think they’ll be helpful for others going into marriage as well.

1. I am a 24 year-old guy.

This is just a fact. Marriage hasn’t teleported me to a distant world where I am a wise old sage. And thank God it hasn’t! It’s been only a year since I graduated college. I have no business acting like I know everything now just because I’m married.

But I have learned so much already. I do feel myself maturing. Remembering my age has served both as a way to show myself grace and a reminder of my need to keep learning.

2. Getting married early is not normal for Millennials

It’s been fascinating to look at what other people my age are doing and feel how “against-the-grain” being married has been as a millennial. However, I’d say that I fit the Millennial stereotype pretty closely.

I work at a tech start-up in Boulder, CO. I love traveling, music, social media, and all that other “hipster” stuff. In fact, what I find to be different about being married is not what I’m into, but that I always have my wife to do it with.

Many millennials suffer from the pressure to portray the “best” of their lives on social media. And why? For others to see. I almost feel as if there is this awful mentality that “if you don’t show yourself looking good doing it, it didn’t happen.”

Not every Millennial fits this stereotype. But being married has freed me from this pressure. Everything I do is shared with my wife. There’s no need to prove anything to anyone. If I have the memories of living large with my wife, that’s good enough for me.

3. Marriage doesn’t solve all of your problems.

Don’t look at marriage as a solution to your problems, but as an opportunity to serve and love, despite your problems. I tried my best to refrain from thinking of marriage as a solution, but I still found myself thinking of it that way.

The truth is, I don’t have less problems since being married. I just have different problems. The reality is that I am responsible for the person I bring to my marriage. I cannot expect my wife to be responsible for fixing my flaws.

If you go into marriage thinking it will solve your mistakes, habits and addictions, you are setting your spouse up to be nothing more than a tool for your own, selfish ambitions. The first step for me was to realize what my problems were, and take ownership for them.

Marriage is not the solution to these problems. But it is helpful to have a companion to help reflect what’s hard for me to see in myself and support me in growing in those challenges. It was hard at first to get used to working out my problems in the presence of my wife. But I’ve realized that it helps to have honesty and trust with her in the process.

A helpful perspective we’ve had in our marriage is this—expect the other to bring their junk to the table. Desire always for them to grow from it and be willing to serve and love them despite all of it.

4. I’m selfish in ways I never recognized.

Selfishness is almost always at the root of an argument. The hardest, but most honest question I still trying to ask myself during fights is, “how am I being selfish in this?” Why can’t being humble be as easy as being stubborn?

It’s rare that I find myself not being selfish in some way. And if I’m not, the next question is, “how can I be more patient?” Or “how can I forgive and forget better?” I never knew I was so selfish about little things like home decor, food storage and grocery shopping. Thankfully, we are always learning how to argue more efficiently and with less unnecessary low-blows.

Fun fact I’ve learned: Being the one who gets out more words in an argument doesn’t make you more right.

5. I am 100% free to be myself.

Since getting married, I still go to the skatepark. I still dream big. I still rock climb after work. I still make it to social events and enjoy late-night live concerts. Marriage hasn’t put a pressure on me to change who I naturally am.

The best part is that I have a wife that loves doing most of these things with me. The key is we were honest to each other before we got married. We fell in love with our real selves because we chose to be our real selves.

Marriage has prompted me to constantly better myself—as a husband, listener, encourager, and a provider. That’s nothing different from what I’ve already felt through dating. Neither of us expect to be married and never see any change in the other.

6. Friends are important.

When we got married, we found it was tricky balancing married life with friend time. We try to be as intentional as possible about pursuing time with our mutual friends. It comes down to being OK with not having certain evenings together.

I’ve learned to prioritize my time with my wife first. Then intentionally establish time with my friends. It’s easier to become isolated from people, so having a conversation to set expectations and boundaries around time with friends was really helpful.

7. Work as a team with your finances.

As newlyweds, my wife brought good budgeting and saving skills to the table. I brought survival tactics, which were not very helpful. We came from two very different financial lifestyles. It was rough getting our strategy figured out at first.

Thankfully, we have figured out some ways to be a team. Talking with others we trust and those with experience about handling finances has been super helpful. I recommend starting a budget first and then creating a plan to pay off any debt you may have.

8. Plan your meals.

This one should have been more obvious to me. But after both being single for the last six years, we are both painfully disappointed with how quickly food disappears.

We are still learning our way around meal planning and grocery shopping. Nailing down a meal strategy will help us have more food, consistently and at less expense.

Cook together as much as possible! It’s healthier and good for building patience with each other. Also, the outcomes are usually delicious.

9. Comparison kills.

Comparison is a thief. It robs you of joy while you waste time wishing you had something else. Marriage is a dangerous area to allow comparison.

When it comes to comparison, we’ve had to draw a line in the sand. We are just as capable of comparing ourselves to others as we have ever been. And we are aware of the danger in that.

One night, we talked through some of the areas we felt like we were struggling with comparison. We made mutual decisions on where the two of us stood. We agreed to be content and confident in our personal decisions and have felt much better ever since.

I recommend being intentional about voicing any comparisons you feel so you can battle it out and remove it together. Feeling confident about your decisions as a couple is the best. Be sure these conversations don’t get overlooked early on.

10. Save water, shower together.

Pretty simple. Shower together. It’s fun and saves water.

Written by Forrest Fyre on December 26, 2017. Find the original post here.


For all my married couples out there, what have you learned throughout your days/months/years of marriage? My readers and I would love to hear your advice as well.

With you and for you,