What’s in a Year?

Somehow I’ve managed to live my life in one year increments. Ever since high school, there’s either been a job change, a house change, or a change in marital status right around once a year. I think it has something to do with the structure of academic semesters and summer holidays, but breaking yourself of that pattern as an adult can be quite difficult. I call it the one year itch, Kyle calls it baffling, but my desire for something new is satiated in semi-major life changes every 365 days or so. And yet I sit here in our little apartment and feel nothing major occurring within my heart or outside of it. After completing a full year of blogging once a day, we’ve both started to wonder what the next year will hold. It’s funny how there have been days I haven’t been able to think of a single thing to write, and now I’m inundated with enough ideas to fill up a month’s worth of posts. My darling journal will finally see some action once again. Or at least more action than the scotch taped pictures I find from catalogs to fill its pages.

I know I said back in January that Genesis and I were finished with our meet and greets, but I’ve started a one year bible reading plan. Two people inspired me in this recently- Chelsea is on track with day 140 something and Nathan is in the second year of his one year plan. I figure that I’ll either succeed or I’ll fail, but I’ll just push through, even if it takes me three years. The fact that I’m already on day 8 offers me a little encouragement, plus it’s been really fun. Come on bible, let’s focus.

The husband has started a blog project in the world of sports, and even though it’s not an every day project, he ends up blogging sometimes 2-3 times a day. This, as we’ve discussed, will either be a two year fun project or someone will eventually pay him money to do it. It’s unfortunate for him, but I’m not the type of wife who can be patient for more than two years while her husband works a part-time job without getting paid for it. I might not even be that patient if he was getting paid for it, but that’s really just showing you too much of my heart.

Sometimes we want to do things like open a snow cone stand (Dallas has a shocking lack of them) or spend all our savings on a mobile living space and travel the country (that’s only me) or start our own businesses or write a book or move to another country just for fun and blog about it as though everyone wants to read it. But for now, our hearts are rather settled on taking it easy and figuring things out one day at a time. Maybe living life one year at a time has decided it isn’t for me.

Or maybe it will just become a two year itch.

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Three Things I’ve Learned

Today’s post: Three things I’ve learned after one year of marriage.

1. Even if husbands are clean before marriage, they won’t necessarily be clean after.

This is not a knock on my husband- he does a pretty good job most of the time. But one of the most surprising things about marriage for me was that his side of the bedroom looks nothing like his room did when we were dating. Maybe it’s because he finally has someone to clean up after him, though sometimes I’m tempted to leave that pile of clothes and see how high it can get before he takes initiative. I’ve said a lot of prayers while doing dishes after he’s used the kitchen. Marriage is a great adventure in sanctification.

2. Marriage is a great adventure in sanctification.

This has been huge. As a young woman, I could barely understand my own emotions before I added those of a whole other person. Under the same roof, mind you. It’s not really twice the emotional rollercoaster like you think it would be- it’s really four times harder. I can’t imagine what it will be like to have teenagers if God takes us that far, but maybe that’s why they start off really sweet and grow into their emotions- so you can slowly prepare for the disaster at the end. All that to say, marriage definitely reminds you that you’re not the only one on this earth. Sometimes rudely, usually abrasively, but rarely in a kind and loving way.

3. Life shared with someone you love is much sweeter than living it alone.

This is not a stab at singleness. I loved being single more than most people I know, and God will sanctify and purify you in his own way if that’s where he is leading you. But there’s something about always having someone to come home to- someone who knows your craziest thoughts and dreams and the darkest parts of your heart, but loves you anyway. Someone to laugh with and cry to and be silly with. And someone to protect you and love you through all of life’s battles.

And these are just a few things after year one. We have so far to go.

On Scheduling

I’ve come to the conclusion that the majority of our disagreements are Jen’s fault the result of each of us impeding on the other’s time.

Oh you have softball tonight? Well I wanted to go out to eat instead.
You’re going antiquing this weekend? I was going to work on my web site.
We’re going to your family’s house again?!

It’s just one of the many ways our personal selfishness is revealed through marriage.

I don’t really think there’s a fix to this problem or a tried-and-true remedy for the ailment of feeling lonely all the time, but here’s what Jen and I decided on…

As most of you know, I’ve been rather busy running my OSU web site (it’s a second job really) and because of this our time together is sporadic at best. So we walked through my weekly schedule, hour by hour (literally), and blocked off time that’s just Kyle and Jen time. No writing, no reading, just being with each other and cultivating relationship.

And it’s been outstanding – to be intentional with your time to grow in the Lord with your spouse.

Of course we’re also only on day 2 so get back to me in a week, we’ll probably be in the midst of another Zeb incident.

Anniversary Plots

The idea of an anniversary makes me really nervous. Sort of like birthdays and Christmas, there’s so much expectation tied to it, which usually makes me clam up and fail. I’ve already got a project in the works for our anniversary, but here are some things I would love to do if I still needed ideas. Maybe I’ll use these for year two.

1. Take a trip.

Everyone knows how badly I want to purchase an Airstream, but did I tell you about the time I thought the husband bought us one as a surprise? Another story for a later time…

This is actually something we’re doing this year (thanks to the husband’s secret planning skills), but it’s only going to be a short weekend trip. The idea of flying anywhere for a short period overwhelms me, not to mention the price of flights is extraordinary right now. So we’re taking a short road trip to a secret destination, which will be more fun and less overwhelming than a big trip anywhere else.

2. Host a party.

via a cup of jo

This is something I really want to do, but I’m not sure where we’d fit all the people we’d want to invite to our tiny little apartment. Maybe if God blesses us with a house and a big back yard, we can try this on anniversary number 5. I love the idea of having some close friends over for dinner to celebrate another year of our love. Check out the links below for some free photo booth templates from the fabulous Jordan Ferney. She has the best party ideas.

via oh happy day

3. Make a photo montage.

With all the technology available these days, you can make any type of photo book or collage by just uploading some favorite photos to the website of your choice. Even if you’re not picture people, you can gather enough pictures over the last year to make something pretty memorable. Even if you have to include things like this:

What are some creative things you’ve done to commemorate an anniversary or special occasion?

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Let the Countdown Begin

Sometimes we look at the past year and wonder how it’s gone so quickly. Other times we wonder how we’ve only been married for one year and not ten. With eleven days left to go in our “Julie and Julia” blog project, we’ve got a bittersweet feeling that comes with the end of any era. We’ve been praying about what to do with this thing since January, and we both feel like the Lord has given us much closure in moving on, in letting it be a digitally tangible example of how we lived, what we ate, and who we met during our first year of marriage. The husband is already on to new projects, and the wife can’t possibly stay out of writing for long, though God only knows when she’ll commit to doing anything for longer than a week. We pray for that daily.

All that to say, we’d like to use this post as an opportunity to answer questions about marriage, about blogging, about anything you’d like to know from us (silly or not). If no one participates, it will just be like every other post on this blog. But at this point, with eleven days left, we’ve really got nothing to lose!

Have at it: If you could ask us one question, what would it be?

The Night We Met

I had known her for two years already, but I remember the night it felt like I was meeting Jen again for the first time.

We had driven to Hennessey that day to visit her sister, who had just undergone brain surgery. I was a little upset because I was missing the OSU Texas Tech basketball game and all I had was a radio and miles and miles of Oklahoma farmland to traverse. In retrospect, her sister had just been prodded in the brain with multiple metal instruments and just wanted some company so my being perturbed was probably a bit misguided.

Anyway, we had fun that day reminiscing with some old friends who had also come with us to the place where (little did we know) we would be married at some 800 days later.

Then that night, well, that night was one of those nights that don’t really make sense unless you’ve lived in a college town It’s one of those fistful of wonderful nights that are seared into the hard drive of your mind and even if you wanted to erase it, you couldn’t.

Jen had just gotten her hair cut and she was wearing this crisp red jacket that made her look about 6” taller than she actually was. She looked elegant that night. Like Katie Holmes crossed with Rachel McAdams.

We were out with friends and everyone had a blast, but honestly we could have been out with strangers in a country halfway around the world and it still would have felt the same way. I couldn’t stop looking at her, I was completely and unequivocally hooked.

I wish I could have put it in a time capsule.

There were other nights in our dating relationship that stand out for various reasons: our first kiss, our first actual date, and “that one night in Austin” come to mind. But I think I’d be hard pressed to give you a more soul-debilitating twenty four hours than January 12, 2008.

To fifty more years of red jackets and fresh hair cuts.

A Contrast of Centuries

Recently a friend said to me, “I have to confess that I really love reading your blog, mostly because it helps me realize that I’m not completely crazy.” And isn’t that what friendship is all about? You find people who are rather similar to you, mostly because you’re encouraged to find that insanity dwells in us all. I’m not the only wife who has cried over a failed lobster night, nor will I be the last.

Sometimes I find solace in the written word, and while it should be the holy Bible, this week it manifests itself in a work of fiction that has been a source of giggles and encouragement to me in the last 11 months. Though its pages reflect the early 1800’s, the content is quite similar to today. It simply goes to show that we have been the same for all of eternity; ladies, let the crazy live on. Here, a contrast of my heart and another 200 years earlier.

I’ll just say it: sometimes the blog gets in the way of our marriage. Yes, I am so excited that Kyle is doing what he loves and having a great time with it, but sometimes I hand him his dinner plate and expect to sit at the table, only to watch him take it directly to the computer, put on his headphones, and eat there. To be fair, that only happened once. You can all imagine why.

February 16, 1837
Our honeymoon ends today. There hasn’t been quite as much honey in it as I expected. I supposed that Ernest would be at home every evening, at least, and that he would read aloud, and have me play and sing, and that we should have delightful times together. But now he has got me he seems satisfied and goes about his business as if he had been married a hundred years.

Even as I write these things, I feel rather ridiculous, but such is the heart of a woman. Sometimes Kyle and I have discussions on how I don’t necessarily have to hang out with him all the time, but I just want him to want to hang out with me. If you’re a man, go back, try to process that, and then give up.

Then in the evening he goes and sits in his office and studies; I don’t mean every minute, but he certainly spends hours there. Today I got a letter from Mother, which made me cry at once. He came and embraced me and I told him I was lonely and hadn’t been used to spending my evenings all by myself.
“You must get some of your friends to come see you,” he said.
“I don’t want friends,” I sobbed. “I want you.”
“Yes, darling; why didn’t you tell me sooner? Of course I will stay with you if you wish it.”
“If that is your only reason, I am sure I don’t want you.”
He looked puzzled.

I’m sure no one else has ever had these conversations, just me and little Katherine. My heart immediately wonders if I am being unreasonable and selfish, but I just can’t help but feel these things. I often think back to our dating relationship and think about all the letters we wrote one another, all the nights we spent talking over coffee, on walks, listening to music. And in my head, nothing should have changed, though I know this life is always evolving.

Am I unreasonable and childish? What is married life? An occasional meeting, a kiss here and a caress there? Or is it the sacred union of the twain who walk together side by side, knowing each other’s joys and sorrows and going Heavenward hand in hand?

And thus wages the battle between the poetic souls of women and the practical hearts of men. It must happen, I suppose, in order to get anything done and maintain all the order in the universe. Otherwise the world would run completely out of coffee and paper, and no one wants to live in a world like that.

It’s the Little Things

Lots of places to go with a title like that, huh?

It has come to my attention (who starts a sentence like that outside of British Parliament?) in the last few days and/or weeks through a bit of gentle appropriate reminding by my wife that I am failing.

I am failing to create time within our marriage to converse and grow. I am failing to carve out special moments for the two of us to share. And I am failing, mostly, to grasp that our wedded bliss is about something other than my day-to-day happiness.

Not abject failures, but failures nonetheless.

The good news, for me, and for any of you XY’s out there, is that I’m (we’re) close.

10 minutes of turning my phone off and being locked into what my wife is saying here. 15 minutes of shutting the computer down and cooking a quick dinner with her there. Thankfully, I’ve been blessed with a wife whose attention span rivals that of Tigger from Winnie the Pooh, so she doesn’t ask for multiple-hour-long blocks. She just wants me, the person she married, to be here, the place we live for short amounts of memorable time together.

Like I said…the little things.

The Adventures of Zeb

Welcome to the adventures of Zeb. Zeb is, of course, the lobster I killed last night after lots of prayer and a glass of wine. Okay, two glasses of wine. I would have been able to do it minus the vino had Zeb been dead upon purchase. But if you buy a dead lobster, let’s be honest; there’s really no reason to name him.

After much research on the subject of boiling a lobster, I realized two things. One, I can do this. And two, researching anything online leads you to some pretty interesting websites. See below:

Some say that you can ‘hypnotize’ a lobster by rubbing the top of its head or its abdomen, thereby pacifying it before boiling. The theory is that the adrenaline produced by a frightened lobster adversely affects the texture and flavor of the meat. I have never seen or tasted any evidence of this, but if you want to cover all possible bases, go ahead and hypnotize your lobster.

I made fun of this guy in my head until I actually tried to boil Zeb. It was then that I realized that his lifeless little body wasn’t so lifeless, and hypnosis would have been my best friend. For when I put him in the boiling water, he began to squirm and proceeded to use his tail to grasp onto the side of my not-so-lobster-sized pot and pry himself out. Even writing this, I’m feeling squeamish. I gasped heartily, grabbed the tongs, and tried to maneuver him back into the water. There was lots of splashing and wrestling, and right before I passed out, Zeb relinquished. At this point I debated on a third glass of wine, but decided against it for the sake of my lemon butter. I set the timer for ten minutes (the standard time I gathered from about 15 different sites) and proceeded to wait.

After taking Zeb out of the water I started to dig the meat out. This would have been much easier had I owned a lobster cracker, but after multiple trips to several stores I settled on my kitchen knife and a pair of scissors from Hobby Lobby. It eventually yielded acceptable results, though I soon began to realize why no one bothers to cook lobster. It’s not because it’s difficult to prepare, but because it takes so much work to eat. I’m not sure who decided to make this a worldwide delicacy, but if he’s still alive I’d like to talk with him. It really was delicious with the amazing lemon butter and savory meat, but in the end, all you really have are bits of shell and a wine cork that smells strongly of lobster.

Rest in peace, Zeb.

Lobster Day

Today is “clean out the pile of crap in our bedroom that we meant to donate months ago” day. I have a love/hate relationship with these days. They’re so hard to get started, but once you’re on a roll, you want to get rid of EVERYTHING. Fortunately for us, we’re able to hand all of our goodies to a family that’s having a garage sale, they keep the money, and we never see our stuff again. (Thanks, Jen!)

Today is also “let’s learn how to cook a lobster” day. I don’t really know what happened- I think I read too many Martha Stewart Living articles on how to have the ideal summer party. Tonight’s party is just going to include the husband and I, but maybe if I perfect this lobsterness, we can have the ideal summer party too. As long as our lobsters don’t have us for the party first.

What are you learning today? Has anyone ever cooked a lobster?

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