Celebrating Our Anniversary

We had a really great weekend celebrating our 4th anniversary! I took off work on Friday, we got massages in the morning then headed to Branson for the weekend. On Friday we stayed at the Chateau on the Lake, where we stayed on our wedding night and enjoyed a nice dinner at the hotel. Then Saturday we spent time with family at a wedding.
This is what Sean gave me for our anniversary -- such a thoughtful gift and totally unexpected. I can't wait to learn more about it and to be able to capture memories for our family! I gave him some cool new Converse shoes and a knife sharpener. He wins this year.
Before dinner at The Chateau.
Putting out the vibe.
My friend Heather let me borrow this dress -- isn't it cute?
At Holly's wedding on Saturday.
My parents bought a four wheeler this weekend, so Sean was super excited to test it out. I'm too scared to go crazy on it, but all of the trails by their house are fun.


Four Years Together

Last year, on our third wedding anniversary, I posted this blog post about the history of our relationship. It includes our first picture together in 8th grade, our patient courtship through high school and college, our wedding, honeymoon and subsequent few years together as husband and wife. I do think it's really special that Sean and I have been together for so long (compared to most people our age), but what I think is even more special is what happens as we grow older together. 
 I have certainly loved Sean for a long time, but the depth of that love has increased so much since our wedding four years ago. God is molding and shaping our hearts in this process of sanctification, and He uses our marriage as a sharpening tool. In this world, Sean and I are constantly battling with our own sin and struggles and I am incredibly thankful to have such a patient and wise husband who genuinely wants for both of us to serve God, each other and those around us better.

Not sure who said this first, but marriage is not  50/50 thing. It's a 100/100 thing. Couples who try and keep score and fight for everything to be equal will only continue to be disappointed. Marriage forces us to put our needs second, to try and put the needs of our spouse before our own. We don't always do this well (usually because I start to slip into the 'fair' argument or feeling like I'm getting cheated somehow), but we really do put forth a lot of effort to serve the other person, mostly through Sean's example.
 Have you ever thought about the fact that whatever stage of life you're in, you kind of feel like you know it all? Maybe that's just me..... When I was in high school I for sure thought I knew what was best for me, and some of those decisions led to broken hearts and struggles with self esteem. If there's one thing that I have learned in my marriage it is that I don't know it all -- I crave more and more information, ideas and examples of how I can be a better wife. There are so many days that I fail to love Sean the best I could, that I fall short. We are SO blessed to have friends who have been married longer than us that show us through action what a Godly marriage looks like.

So...here's to our fourth year, hubs. May we continue to serve one another, love honestly and grow closer. I'm blessed by you and look forward to all that the next year will entail!


Book Review: Sacred Influence

I was really excited to read Sacred Influence by Gary Thomas because I read his book Sacred Marriage a few years ago and loved it. Sacred Influence is Gary's response to wives as a result of some questions he received after the first book.This book's sub-headline drew me in: How God Uses Wives to Shape the Souls of Their Husbands. Please, Gary, tell me more!
Not sure I understand the cover art. Who puts a flower in the shower?
The book certainly does have it's little nuggets of truth. My favorite of which is:

"No husband comes in a perfect package. No husband can do it all. Your job as a wife is to fight to stay sensitive to your husbands strengths. Resist the temptation to compare his weaknesses to another husband's strengths, while forgetting your husband's strengths and the other husband's weaknesses. Don't resent your husband for being less than perfect; he can't be anything else."

Oh, how I desire to stay sensitive to my husband's strengths!

Other high points of the book include encouraging wives to look at themselves as sinners who also need help (don't point out the spec in your husband's eye if you have a log in yours) and stressing the importance of gaining our value from the only perfect man, Christ, and not our husbands alone.

Unfortunately, I just couldn't identify with much of the book. A lot of it focuses on husbands who have anger issues, those who are disinterested in the relationship, struggle with pornography, don't believe in God, etc. I'm not saying that I don't relate because we don't have issues, I'm just saying that the author picked the major problems that couples struggle with and neglected some of the common, but subtle issues that can arise in a marriage (think envy, poor communication, spiritual dry spots).

I give the book 2.5/5 stars. It's worth a quick read for the gentle (and sometimes not so gentle) reminders that we as wives should hold ourselves to the same standards we ask of our husbands. If you're someone to can identify with the bigger concerns described above, I would for sure give it a read.


Personalized Glassware

Personalized pitchers/casserole dishes have become one of my favorite gifts to give! The projects come together so quickly, especially with my Silhouette Machine. My friend Morgan gave me one as a Bridesmaid gift from Pottery Barn (which I love) and that's where I got the idea. Other variations could be: personalized drinking glasses or cake plates. It would be cute to finish them off with appropriate accessories, like a fun  recipe with some of the ingredients to make a complete gift.

Supplies needed:
  • Glass pitcher/bowl/dish
  • Armour Etch cream (I found mine at Hobby Lobby)
  • Vinyl Stencil (You can buy rolls of vinyl online or at HL)
  • Craft cutting machine or exacto knife
  • Sponge brush for cream application
I found this pitcher on sale at Ross for $4 and used my Silhouette to cut an initial approx 3.5" in height.

The application of the stencil is the most tedious part. You want to be very careful that there are no bubbles or tears near the edge of the letters. If there are, the etching cream will bleed there and make your final product a little messy.

Spread a generous amount of the etching cream on to the stencil. Be careful -- anywhere the cream touches it will etch, so make sure your stencil has enough room around the edges. Wait 5-10 minutes, then wash off the cream. You can actually reuse the cream, so if there are any big globs, just put them back into the jar.
Remove the stencil and viola!

One of my favorite parts of this process is that I have the negative of the stencil left over to personalize the wrapping, too!