Category Archives: celebrations

happy anniversary, my J

6 years, my Love. 6 years of so much beautiful life and learning. The best 6 years of my life.

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“The story is about to begin, and every day will be a new piece of the plot.”

Every year that we are given together is this: “A new piece of the plot,” a new chapter to add to our grace-filled, sweet, and sanctified story. Every bit of our every day, whatever it holds, is a piece of that story. The heaviness of this past year, the ways we felt stretched to our limit, the character that was formed in us, the joy that we found in choosing gratitude, the ways Jesus made us more like Himself. All these things are pieces of our life together.

These pieces are pictures of the themes that continue to flow throughout our marriage and the life we share together — growing together as husband and wife, being more in love with each other now than on the day we said our vows, being even dearer best friends now than on that day we said our vows, laughter and our inside jokes, learning how to communicate better, learning how to practically serve and love the other better, eating a lot of good food, being brave together, evenings filled with books and movies and hot beverages, trips and adventures, being creative together, dreaming together, navigating the road of parenting together, challenging one another, encouraging one another, praying for one another, trusting and seeking Jesus together; and above all, the faithfulness, kindness, and grace of the One who made us one.

Our 5th year of marriage held a lot. Oh, quite a lot. And while I am so thankful we are through that time now, I continually come back to the gratitude I feel that the Lord brought us through that. We learned so much, J. We learned it together, and that’s my favorite part. Truly, my Love, I grow more overwhelmed everyday at the sweet grace of God in choosing me to be the one who gets to walk through every day with you. Every year we journey together I think my heart might actually burst with how much I love you; but, every year after that it must get bigger because my love for you grows every day. I’m so glad that you are the one I get to share my heart, memories, adventures, love of books and travel, belly laughs, coffee addiction, gum, and tiny bathroom cabinets with. I am so proud, so thankful, and so deliriously happy that I get to stand next to you as your wife. Now, and for the next 100 years.

You are my hero, my best friend, and my greatest love.

Happy Anniversary, my husband.

With all my heart,

Me

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friday || 04 || celebration

This week, we have been celebrating a new stage in our lives: a new job for my guy! For the past 3.5 years, J has worked for the Communications Office at Southern Seminary. He started out as the photographer and completed his time as the Digital Marketing Manager. He has worked so diligently and faithfully in his various roles there, and been blessed with terrific coworkers and bosses who have encouraged him and helped him grow, and given him many memories of trash can basketball, sarcastic jokes, and lunches at Simply Thai. We are so grateful for all that he/we gained through his 3.5 years there.

The Lord was so kind to bring that photographer position along when He did, 3.5 years ago. We had just recently decided J would get out of the wedding photography industry and we had also just found out we were pregnant. (!!) The Lord’s provision in that way was unexpected and an enormous answer to prayer. And He has provided in just that way again. This new job came out of the blue and, through it, prayers for practical needs have been answered, as well as giving J further opportunities to grow in his abilities and experience in the digital world he’s so gifted at! I am so proud of him. He’s truly the hardest working man I know, he serves and works sacrificially and tirelessly, and is kind, wise, and full of integrity in all he does. And I am oh, so excited to watch him embrace and excel in his new role!

In other happy news, we are also celebrating our 6th wedding anniversary this saturday and we get to go away for the night! So thankful for gracious, sweet friends who love our little while we are away. It’s such a gift. A long, leisurely dinner, multiple hours of reading and sipping coffee, and even a movie await us in just a matter of hours. I cannot wait. Celebrating 6 years being married to the best man I know. I’m so grateful.

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— a few of my favorite things this week —

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01 || We tried Mushroom Chicken Skillet this week. Served over pasta: muah! Le Creuset Signature Cast-Iron Fry Pan from Williams Sonoma  02 || These verses have been on my mind as I’ve been so overwhelmed by the Lord’s goodness and perfect timing  03 || J has a journal like this where I write weekly letters to him. I love filling it with the emotions and moments we are experiencing in each season.  04 || A new job for the man means some new duds are in order soon! I love the variety of slim button down shirts from JCrew Factory. Factory Slim Washed Shirt  05 || One of the newest additions to my wardrobe is quite appropriate for this week of celebration: Factory Cheers Collector Tee  06 || J is pretty classic in his shoe preferences. This one fits the bill for him: Factory Calvert Suede Oxfords

What do you darlings have planned for this weekend ahead? Any big Super Bowl plans or recipes to share? Happy Friday, dear ones.

my 27th year

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I turned 27 yesterday. I have looked forward to 27 for a while. There’s something about it that marks a milestone in my mind. It’s always sounded quite grown up to me. I looked forward to being able to say, “oh, I’m 27.” I looked forward to writing it down. For whatever reason, 27 has always stood out to me as an age I eagerly anticipated being. And here I am! I’m excited about hitting this quite grown up age. I think it holds some delightful days ahead.

26 was a good year. As I’ve said over and over again here, a hard and beautiful year. The Lord worked in my heart, revealed to me how very deep rooted some struggles truly were, and He showed His kindness and grace to me daily as He sanctified me in those struggles. He brought our little family through some deep valleys and wearing days. I grew more content, more joyful in simplicity, and more grateful in all things. I was challenged, on a daily basis, to practice fearing God more than men; and learned the freedom that comes when I stop living my life based on what others think about me. I learned to be satisfied in Jesus even more. I read more books and grew in knowledge. I had adventures. I grew in creativity. I feel more in love with writing. I learned more about what it means to truly love with a sacrificial love. I gained some beautiful friendships. I spent more time in my kitchen. I made memories. I traveled. I was challenged. I was encouraged. I realized, to an even greater depth, how immensely surrounded I am by gifts of grace. 

And all these truths I’ve learned, all these areas in which I’ve grown, all these creative endeavors I’ve tried and loved, all these ways I’ve been sanctified, all these gifts I’ve been given, these all hold true in this, my 27th year. The Lord has graciously given me another beautiful year. A year in which I can carry with me the things He’s done in my heart and eagerly anticipate what more He will do. Oh, how many prayers, hopes, dreams, and goals I have for this sweet year of 27. I’m so thankful it has begun. I pray that I live it well.

2015

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Happy New Year, friends! January 1st, 2015 has arrived and a whole new year awaits us. An open book with fresh pages, anxious to be filled with the learnings, the adventures, the joys, the sorrows, the hopes and dreams, and the heart changes that will make up the days of this new year.

2014 feels slightly like a blur to me. I’ve never known a year to go by as quickly as this past one did. It was a year, for me, filled with being stretched, being challenged, learning so much about what was at the core of my heart and mind, learning to live in grace and proactively seek change, learning about what it means to be authentic and vulnerable, and learning to live in the joy and freedom that comes with a heart that is steadfastly trusting in God and seeking to please Him. There was a lot of hard stuff in this past year. A lot of heart-aching, mind-exhausting, emotion-wearing, grown-up hard stuff.  J and I were talking last night that it was a heavy year; but, in it all, it was a sweet one. For in all that heaviness there was beauty because the Lord was at work. His faithfulness is great and our hearts have learned to find gratitude in all things, to stand firm in the Lord’s guidance of our lives, and to yearn for Him and love Him more than we did when 2014 began. I’m so thankful.

Over the last couple of days I’ve been filling the beginning pages of my 2015 journal with my words, my desires, my hopes, and my goals for this year. There are dreams, there are practical changes, there are areas in which I desire to see myself grow and change. There are so many thoughts, wonderings, and prayers swirling around in my head on this New Years Day, and I’m excited. I will turn 27 this month, and J and I will celebrate 6 years of marriage — the best 6 years of my life. According to the name of my blog, these are sweet days. Days in which to work, to push myself, to try new things, to make a mess of my kitchen, to open up about struggles and hopes and dreams, to travel, to read, to learn, to have more dance parties, to encourage, to serve, to challenge myself, to teach, to take more pictures, to stretch my creativity, to be with family and friends, to be outside, to grow, to live simply, to write letters and make phone calls, to laugh, to cherish and to love, to soak up every bit of my darling Little, to adore and help my husband, and to depend on God’s grace everyday to do these things, to do them well, and to glorify Him in every bit of it.

I have loved taking time to deeply ponder the past year and the year ahead. It’s sweet to reflect and thrilling to look forward. As the days go by I’ll share some of those desires, hopes, and goals with you all, and know, I’d love if you felt like sharing any of yours with me. It’s wonderful to be able to pray for one another or hold one another accountable. Share in the comment section or send me an email! Truly. I’d love it.

I’m so thankful for all of you who have taken the time to read this blog of mine over this past year. Through this blog/instagram I have gained some darling friends, I have been richly encouraged by your words and prayers, and I have been blessed by your sharing bits of your life and time with me. I hope and pray you’ve been encouraged as well. I can’t wait to share more with you all this year of 2015 and I thank you now, on this 1st day of January, for spending time here on my little space.

What a gift it is to have a beautiful new year ahead! And to be able to rest in the One who gives new mercies for each new day. My heart is full to bursting!

Happy New Year, dear ones! Now go enjoy some football and tasty food.

for my J

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Happy Birthday to you, my husband.

I love the sweetness that September holds for us. We celebrate our daughter, we celebrate your birthday, and we celebrate the day we met. That day, that moment we met, is still so fresh in my memory. I can replay it vividly, remembering what we both were wearing (oh, the windpants), where we were standing, and what we said. Let this statement be called cheesy if it must, but it is true: my life was changed that day. The moment that tall, blond, blue-eyed, smiling, Michigan sweatshirt clad, senior shook my hand, my life was changed and a whole new level of love, excitement, and dreams began to build.

Life with you is rather wonderful. To dream with you, to adventure with you, to parent with you, to grow with you, to learn with you, to make mistakes with you, to cry and ache with you, to enjoy and laugh with you, is the best. It really is just the best. You are my favorite to experience life with and I’m still pinching myself that the Lord gave you to me to trek through every day with.

These last weeks/months have been filled with heart-aching, weary days, but there are several sweet things that have come out of these days. One of the greatest is the daily reminder of God’s grace displayed through you, my husband. How kind He has been. You are such a gentle, thoughtful, and wise leader. You listen well and you speak truth with such love. Your shoulder soaks up countless tears for me and your humor brings out my most genuine, full laughter. You help me to learn and you push me to grow, to try, and to be brave. You are my greatest example and my best friend. As much as we’ve joked about running away to some exotic location, (where, of course, our problems would never follow us), I would rather be here, trusting Jesus together, striving together in His strength, and being made more like Him, because that is what gives us the most joy.

You are my greatest gift this side of heaven and the most hard-working, genuine, kind, thoughtful, wise, gentle, generous, patient, humble, strong, faithful, and incredibly-loving man; the best man I know.

I celebrate you today, my Love. I sure do love living life with you.

With all my love,

Me

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Today you are 3 years old. When did that happen? Those first moments of holding you in my arms, looking into the face of the beautiful little girl, my daughter, that I dreamt of for months, smelling that delicious newborn smell, kissing your little nose and hands, lost for words, tears filling my eyes, are as tangible to me today as they were that September evening 3 years ago.

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Those treasured moments that I hold so dearly to my heart are not the only ones that are there now. They are now accompained by conversations we’ve had, phrases you’ve uttered that have caused me to turn around expecting to see a 10 year old in front of me, songs you sing from memory and movie lines you quote, seeing your sense of humor develop, having you sit on the counter and make cookies with me, dance parties to your “fav-ite Bwave song”, going on your first daddy/daughter date, moving you into the “big kid class” at church, witnessing both the strong will you possess and your beautifully tender heart, watching you discover the world and gain understanding, holding you close after a moment of discipline with tears streaming down both our faces telling each other we love each other, having you suddenly wrap both your arms around my neck and say, “you MY mommy!”, seeing the joy that fills your face and ignites your run into your daddy’s arms when we go to visit him at work, hearing you say, “Mommy, Jesus die on da cwoss for me because He yove me sooooo much.” These moments. These and so many more are what fill my mind as I write this to you right now and are what flash through my mind daily as I watch you shed the last little bit of baby-hood and become, in every way, a little girl.

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I hope you never lose your childlike wonder. The simplicity of what entertains you is so sweet to me. Observing your joy at watching a big bus drive by, or laying on your back looking at clouds, or playing with plastic dishes in the sink, or playing our indoor “baseball” game for hours, has taught me to delight in simplicity, to treasure the moments that make up our days, and to be grateful for the beauty that is found when I do that.

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You are the perfect mix of your daddy and I and your own little strong self. Our favorite place is home and our favorite companions are one another. None of us do well with unending busyness, our comfort zone is not found in big groups of people, and we all find refreshment in quiet evenings at home. Along with your love for home, though, you have this independent, strong, intense bravery that I adore. Oh, it sanctifies me, but it teaches me, too. We learn together to step outside of ourselves, try scary things, and to push ourselves past what makes us feel comfortable and safe.

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I pray that this brave, independent, introverted, observant, thoughtful heart of yours will belong to Jesus. That in all these beautiful aspects of who you are you will display a love for Him, for truth, and for others. That you will seek Him with that intense passion I love about you. That you will dream with your hope founded in Him. And that you will be confident and strong in who He has made you to be, finding your worth in Him, and breaking down lies that tell you otherwise. That you would love others well, but live only to please Him.

I am in awe of God’s kindness in making me your mama and humbled as each day I see more of my inadequacy in this role His given me. In that, though, I see His abundant grace. He chose your daddy and me to be the ones to raise you, teach you, train you, and love you with a fierce, deep love, and as we do that He reveals more and more to us about His faithfulness, His mercies, and His gentle guidance.

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Never have I known such a perfect mix of heartache and heart thrills as I do in being your mama. How much I want to bottle you up at every stage and make you stay right there forever, but how excited I am to watch you grow up and to enter each new stage anxious for what it holds. I tell you often that you are my little gift. There will never be a better way than that to describe what you are to me. My beautiful, undeserved, grace-filled, darling little gift. And I am so very glad that you are.

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Happy 3rd Birthday, my Little Anna Kate. I love you more than words.

With all my heart,
Mama

dan and rachel

This past weekend J and I were so thankful to celebrate the wedding of our close friend, Dan, and his beautiful, now wife, Rachel. We had met Rachel over google chat a little over a month before their wedding and it took about .01 seconds for us to say, “she’s wonderful and she’s perfect for Dan.” Now, having been able to spend several days with her in person, we just adore her. Watching the two of them together is so sweet. They just fit. God’s design is perfect.

One of the sweetest memories we walked away with from that weekend was the evening of the rehearsal/rehearsal dinner. Never have I been to a rehearsal dinner that was so rich with love, laughter, joy, and gratitude. It was truly a beautiful evening. After dinner Dan’s dad opened it up for friends and family to have the opportunity to share about Dan and Rachel. Person after person stood up and shared what Dan and Rachel meant to them, as individuals and as a couple. People shared how Dan and Rachel had impacted their lives, what their friendship meant to them, the examples they had been to them over the years, and how Christ was so glorified in their hearts, their relationships, and their lives. There was much laughter and buckets full of tears.

After everyone else shared Dan and Rachel took turns sharing their own hearts, pouring out words of gratitude and humility at how blessed and loved they felt and how overwhelmed they were by God’s gifting them their family, their friends, and one another. And with every word they spoke their genuine, humble, and grateful hearts were seen. They gave gifts to their wedding party and shared sweet, hilarious, and encouraging words and stories about each one of them. Again laughter exploded and tears flowed.

After that Dan’s dad asked Dan and Rachel to come sit in two chairs next to one another and their moms came and sat beside them. Then almost everyone else in the room came and gathered around them, placing their hand them and they spent a time in prayer, praising God for this couple, entrusting their marriage to Him, and asking Him to grow them, strengthen them, and bless them in the days to come.

Being the photographers means that J and I get a little bit of an inside scoop of the goings on of the wedding day, which truly is a privilege. It also means that you get a special type of perspective as you seek to capture the moments of their wedding day, and in this case, the rehearsal dinner as well. And when you get to observe a time like this beautiful prayer time it just makes you grateful.

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To stand back a little ways and watch this precious couple be prayed over, be celebrated, and be cherished caused my heart to be so grateful for the gospel. Grateful that we can have the bonds we do — because of Christ. Grateful that we can lift our gratitude, requests, and hopes to God — because of Christ. Grateful that we have the privilege and calling to reflect God’s relationship with the church in our marriages — because of Christ. Grateful for the joy we can experience in this life because of the hope we have for eternal life — because of Christ. In every part of their weekend Dan and Rachel praised Jesus and gave all glory to God. This couple is genuine, loving, kind, hilarious, stinkin’ adorable, joyful, and a constant testimony of the love of the Lord who made them and brought them together.

Dan and Rachel, we praise Jesus for you both and count it such a joyful privilege to have shared in your weekend. You both blessed our hearts in a meaningful way and we are so thrilled that you are now husband and wife! We love you guys!