4 Things I Learned from Doing Marriage Project

It seems daunting in retrospect – every day for a year you have to put at least some sort of thought, feeling, idea, or personal belief out there for all the world (hypothetically) to see. It was fun at the beginning, then it got difficult, then it got easy, then we almost gave up, then we loved it again, and…well…it was a lot like a relationship.

Here are four things I learned from writing on this blog for the last year:

1. Writing is believing – There are times, and some of you probably know where I’m coming from, that I would start writing about a topic and I really didn’t know which side of the fence I was going to land on until I typed the last sentence. So I think that means I learned that I process the world through writing about it. And to that end…

2. I’m very thankful to Mr. Gutenberg – For setting in motion a 5-century long series of events that would, for the time being, culminate in my leaning back in a desk chair hammering away on a wireless keyboard at this post. Writing the 200,000 words or so we’ve written would have been a lot less enjoyable by hand.

3. Have a plan – We went into this without a plan to speak of. I really didn’t know what we were going to do or how it was going to end up or who would read it. Because of that it never turned into what I think it could have (and maybe should have) but…

4. Doing something > not doing something – I can’t even comprehend how much we’ve learned, how much I’ve learned about each other, about writing, about the blog world, about other writers, and about the Lord. So even though I would deem our endeavor mildly unsuccessful in terms of end result, the journey of actually consistently doing something for 365 straight days was an absolute experience.

We’ll be back for more over the next 9 days and have a farewell post next weekend so don’t go away yet. And thank you, as always, to all of our readers, we’ve had a terribly fantastic time interacting with you and learning from you for the past 12 months.

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?

Photo Attribution

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?

Lessons in Travel

Four things I learned from traveling to the OC this weekend:

1. Always remove towel remnants and sand from your lens before shooting photos.

2. Not many people know the gospel. It’s really easy for us to forget that when we spend our weeks doing the same things over and over; work, home, church, play. We gather with the same people, who, for all intents and purposes, are exactly like us. But getting out sometimes makes you realize how close people are to finding Jesus. They’re reading books on Philosophy and worshipping the freedom they find in music and believing that there’s a higher power of some kind. They’re really just almost there.

3. Everyone I talked to who lives in the OC has lived there for their entire life. What’s interesting is that they’re praised for it because it’s a beautiful place to be, yet those who stay in their hometown in the plains are considered incompetent hicks. A strange imbalance, I dare say.

4. Husbands are pretty good at keeping things in order while you’re traveling, even if it’s cleaned up right at the last minute. Even after he forgot to crate the dog he was sitting and it chewed my art supplies into tiny pieces, the rest of the house looked great. There was no major harm done, plus I think I’m getting a leg up on the dog debate. Lost art supplies scores me at least ten votes toward the future of canines in this family.

Also, here’s a picture of one of the families I camera stalked at the beach. (Yes, there were several, and none of them were American.) This one was taken right after this elderly man was swept under by a wave. I’ve never seen anyone so excited to be in the ocean before.

What have you learned from your travels?

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.

Sunday Letters

Dear wife,

I hope you’re enjoying your little mini-vacation as much as I’m not enjoying life without you this weekend. I thought I was going to revel in getting a lot of work done on my website (and I have) but when it comes to taking a break and going to Braum’s or just siting outside and talking I’m finding it’s just not as fun without you.

However, it has given me the opportunity to plan something terrific for our one year anniversary which is…wow…two weeks from today. It’s crazy isn’t it – this time last year I was at my brother’s graduation, you were meticulously organizing your parents’ venue for the wedding, we weren’t married yet.

Now, I can’t imagine not being married. Like I literally don’t remember what it was like to live by myself, have coffee by myself, watch movies by myself…until this weekend.

And that’s kind of the point I think. I was so looking forward to some me-time this weekend and I’ve ended up just wishing you were here the whole time. That you are so ingratiated into not just my life but my existence is something I’ve never known from another human. I think that’s how it’s supposed to be though, fights and all.

Have fun in Cali, try not to almost lose your ring in the Pacific Ocean like you did on our honeymoon.

Here’s to the next 50 weeks.

– Huz

A Travel Companion

This weekend, thanks to a very gracious and thoughtful friend, I’m flying to California to spend four days reading and lounging and taking in the salty-aired world that is Laguna Beach. I’ve used the same overnight bag now for nearly five years, and the zipper has reached it’s last zipper leg. I still use it for car trips, but having all my personals fall out on other passengers during flight sounds less than appealing. So what else is there to do but dream of having new luggage?

Unlike the husband, I have the uncanny ability to store about 3-4 nights worth of goodies into one overnight bag. Here, some I would purchase if I had the extra money saved.

From JCrew

Two things: 1) I’ve been very into navy and white lately. Such classic colors. And 2) who knew JCrew carried luggage? Yes, please.

Hartmann Wings

This one is on sale for only $475, but I’m totally in love with the design here.

Gucci "Wholesale"

And a final one with the tacky plastic still on its handles from an online “wholesaler” website. Because let’s be honest- none of us are buying the real thing. If you are I’m not judging you, but the fakes look just as great.

Happy travels to all- where are you traveling this month?