Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Sweet Georgia

We get asked all the time if we miss Georgia...and we do. Here is just a short list of our favorite things and parts of Georgia that we miss...

Our friends and GA family - Our small group and our closest friends. Two of my best friends got married just a few months after we moved. Holidays were spent with our small group and closest friends and even some extended family. Though we are so thankful to be spending our holidays with our immediate"blood family" traditions of 5 years past are missed. We missed the funeral of one of our dearest friends Andrew. One little boy turned 2, one boy turned 3, and our favorite sweet little Sarai turned 1. In just a few short months our other favorite little guy who shares a birthday with Parson will also turn 1. Jeanette, Jennifer, Kiley, and Fredrick would always have a Christmas party with us involving to much food, nerf, and usually being a little sugar drunk.  Parson still calls for his Mimi and Papa, his Georgia grandparents and his very first love TyTy (Kiley) and even his cousin who will forever be referred to as  "baby Blakely"

Southern Hospitality - No matter where I went alone or with Parson someone almost always held the door open for me or wanted to have a 30min long conversation. Ma'am and Sir are words that are forever in our vocabulary after living in the south, say yes Ma'am or sir to the wrong person and you will get a scowl in the north :P Being called "honey or sweetie" by a complete stranger was not creepy...instead they were terms used for sincere endearment.

Retail - Kroger, my favorite little road side fruit stands, Trader Joes, "real" super targets and an over abundance of Apple stores all within a short drive. Having to adjust to shopping at a big box store like Meijer from a small store like Kroger was almost culture shock :P

Food - Thats right the food. Shrimp and grits, biscuits and gravy, real sweet tea, boiled peanuts and our favorite restaurants. Maybe its because I am pregnant that I miss our favorite restaurants...but there have been multiple occasions that I wanted to call our favorite tex-mex restaurant and see if they could overnight me some crab cake tacos or my favorite sushi place for a yummy seafood fix.

Church - Now we have found a church in Holland that we love. We are slowly getting involved and establishing a new church family. North Point Community Church will always hold a special place in our heart because we know and love so many people that are a part of that church.

The Culture - Because we were so close to the city of Atlanta we lived in such a melting pot. People from everywhere and part of the world. 9 times out of 10 everyone got along. No one cared where you were from, what your religion was, or how your skin looked. Children all played together not knowing any different. The area we live in is fantastic but it always seems that there is this judgement that is held over each other...and its enough to drive me bananas :)

We are thankful for Facebook, texting, emails, and phone calls to keep connected to those who are dear to us in the south. We know that we will be visiting there within the year. Georgia taught us a lot and helped grow us into the people we are. We often joke about how we just need to move all our family to the south.

Living in the south is just something you need to experience and cant quite explain. It holds something that the north doesn't have. Even though the invisible line that separates the north and the south is just that...invisible, the lifestyle and culture is so different, refreshing and endearing.

So Georgia even though it was time for us to are forever a part of us and we do miss you :)


Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Photo Post

Parson is busy...

Creating new ways to sit in strollers

Mastering the "Selfie" 

Waiting for Daddy to come home

Snuggling with the kitty

Modeling his new Elmo hat


Creating masterpieces 

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Contract or Covenant?

You know how sometimes you go to church and the message seems absolutely mind blowing? Like for whatever reason the information you are hearing is being presented in a way that only God knew that you needed to hear it? Today was one of those Sundays. 

We walked into church today on time for a change because of the time change, boy am I glad we did. The children's choir was helping lead worship today. Something about watching the innocent children worshiping with their whole hearts gets my heart (and tear ducts) working every time. One little boy in the front row was dancing his little heart out...he just could not contain his was the best way to start a Sunday. 

Anyway...our church is doing a 4 week segment called "Why did I get married?" based on Andy Stanley's series "Staying in Love". Now I am an information junkie. I have just about every marriage book, bible study, ect and I have read almost all of them. I am no better of a wife because of them :P Granted...all of them have bits and pieces of information that Aaron and I try to practice often. 

We have been married 5 1/2 years already which seems absolutely crazy and I am not quite sure how that time flew so fast. The thing Aaron and I decided before we said i-do was that we were going to make this matter what. That unless it was a seriously unhealthy relationship then divorce was just never going to be an option on the table for us. Of course you have moments when you think "What the heck did I do...why did I get married?"

We have already had ups, downs, and dull moments and they will happen in the future to. Generally we think our marriage is pretty good. We manage to work through major things together as a team. What I have found in the short time we have been married is that its the daily junk that eats at our relationship. 

That is exactly what todays sermon was about. I am simply going to share my notes from the sermon and I am by no means taking any credit for this information...I just thought it was such a good perspective change that I HAD to share it.

We all walked down an aisle of some sort weather its was to wait for our bride or we were the bride walking to our groom. Down this aisle we brought expectations... "When we get married we will..."

-Buy a house
-Have kids
-Have images of what our husbands will do (yard work, change diapers, work for pay, buy us flowers)
-Have images of what our wives will do (work or not work for pay, clean, cook like your Mama, pick up your dirty socks)
-Images of our friends together or separate
-How you will spend time with one another (or a lack of time)
-Images of intimacy and how often you would have sex

Once those expectations begin being met or not met...we go into "negotiation" mode. Usually a 50/50 split...
You work outside the home = I work inside the home
You do the outside work = I do the inside work
You say kind things to me = I say kind things to you

In our minds we split things up "equally" 50/50. But once we get in this mode we turn our marriage into a relationship with a contract. "Ill do my part ONLY if you do your part" 

We then move into an "You owe me" mentality. For example, "I cooked and fed the owe HAVE to put the kids to bed" "I worked for a HAVE to cook and clean" or whatever your 50/50 situation is. It then makes it literally impossible for your spouse to make you happy...impossible for their 50% to be met because you always feel like your the one doing more.

You are no longer thankful for each other or the things that are being done that you are not seeing because your to busy looking at what YOU did. 

When you lose thankfulness you lose go from husband and wife to roommates. 

Our next error is we see marriage is a two party deal...that it only effects the "you" and "me" in the relationship. This is so false. Obviously if you have kids, your kids are effected by the happiness and continuation or stopping of your marriage. Your family, friends, coworkers, ect are all impacted. 

The next error we make is by writing God out of our marriage. Its not about weather or not you go to church or pray. Its about weather we choose to "do" marriage Gods way or our way.

 31 “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” 32 This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church." Ephesians 5:31-32

Marriage is not man/our idea. It was Gods idea...ya know remember those first few chapters of the bible...the whole Adam and Eve thing.  Its not our job to figure out how it works (I am SO guilty of this) "Two shall become one flesh" to become "united as one". United in hebrew literally means to glue together and to never come apart. 

The verse then says "this mystery is profound" that marriage is a profound mystery. AKA: not easy. Regardless who you are married to...pick anyone in the world....and its still not going to be easy. Changing your spouse is not going to solve the mystery of marriage. It will change the problems maybe...but certainly not the mystery. 

13 Another thing you do: You flood the Lord’s altar with tears. You weep and wail because he no longer looks with favor on your offerings or accepts them with pleasure from your hands. 14 You ask, “Why?” It is because the Lord is the witness between you and the wife of your youth.You have been unfaithful to her, though she is your partner, the wife of your marriage covenant.
15 Has not the one God made you? You belong to him in body and spirit. And what does the one God seek? Godly offspring.[a] So be on your guard, and do not be unfaithful to the wife of your youth. Malachi 2:13-15

If you got married in a church...with a religious ceremony..with a priest or pastor. You agreed to the "covenant of marriage" a covenant not a contract. 

What does a "covenant" mean to marriage?

You commit yourself to your relationship with God first.
You commit yourself to your relationship with your spouse next (not kids/job/ect)
That your relationship will be based on what YOU GIVE...not what you get.
That it will be based on a promise into the future, "till death do us part" not "Until you gain weight, work to much, stop doing laundry, stop buying flowers, ect"

A lot of times people will say "S/he isn't the same person as when I married him/her" Your right...people change. No one can say that their spouse "was" perfect when they got married...they weren't and neither are me or you (then or now).

If your marriage is a contract...its like a cell phone bill. You provide service...I pay. If I am not happy...I leave and start over. But if I switch companies and don't pay...they won't provide service. Its a never ending cycle of contracts and disappointments.

If your marriage based on a means loving this person into the future. Even if you give more than you get.  No one relationship or person will stay the same forever and that means accepting and loving through all the ups and downs. 

Our pastor ended with a marriage statistic..that you know 50% in marriages will end in divorce. What they don't tell you is the other statistic that is tacked on to that. That if out of those 50% of failed marriages would have gotten help or if both parts of the relationship worked at/ wanted it to work..that 75% of those within 5 years would have survived for many more years to come.

So is your marriage based on a contract or a covenant. If its based on a contract are you willing to put in the work (5years or whatever) to get 50 more years of happiness? 

Take this all as you want. Aaron and I were shocked at this perspective and never really realized that yes even though we are happy in our marriage...that it was based on a contract. Even if we did not ever intend on leaving the contract...think about all the un necessary "downs" you can avoid by changing your perspective. 

Our 1 year wedding annaversary <3 p="">