Lavish Hospitality 29

posted in: 31days, lavish hospitality, marriage | 0

I’ve not been married too long.  I mean 6 years and change isn’t long for a lot of people, an dI know I have much to learn.  We have much to learn.  God is so gracious to us to teach us in every season of our marriage.

We’ve been through 7 moves, 3-4 job changes, two children, so many changes.

And I’ve learned, even in the hard times, I have been given a man who pursues Jesus, encourages me to pursue Jesus, and is the one I want to rest in.  Even in times of hurt and pain and sin and miscommunication, I often know that my safest place on this earth is with him.  And that can only come from Christ.

I’ve learned that my mister will let me down, but Christ will not.  My mister is not my Savior.  Jesus is.

And in those times that are hard, I have a responsibility to show him lavish hospitality in two ways.

  1.  To forgive him.  I need to forgive him and not hold those sins against him.  Isn’t that what Christ does for us.  We sin so much.  Just think of how many times you correct your kids over the same things.  That shows us such a glorious picture of God’s great patience and grace with us.  He just keeps loving us well.  The same thing is what I need to do for my mister.  I need to keep loving him well because Jesus has loved me well.  My mentors once told me the secret to loving in a marriage – loving well in a marriage – succeeding in a marriage – love Jesus more than your spouse.  TRUTH.
  2. Don’t make your spouse your everything.  It is suffocating to them.  When you put so much pressure on them to be all for you – you don’t allow them to thrive.  It can get stifling.  Your spouse was never meant to be your everything.  Jesus was.

Quote taken from Dave Harvey’s When Sinners Say I Do

Lavish Hospitality 7

posted in: 31days, lavish hospitality, marriage | 0

Sorry for the delay, we have been fighting with our internet reception at home.  But, I’m still here.  An update: I want to use this month to get the quotes and start the stories for Lavish Hospitality.  Then use NaNoWriMo to really write it.  I’ll keep you posted.  Thank you for reading.

This past weekend we celebrated our 6th wedding anniversary.  I have found in marriage it is very easy to show grace for the big things, but so much harder for the small things.  One area that my husband and I need to both work on it love: not being easily offended.  When one or both of us have been offended, we are not hospitable to each other.

The other night I just didn’t talk – that is my normal mode of response when I’m hurt.  So, we watched Bull in bed without saying a word.  Turned off the computer and went to bed, all without saying a word.  That is not hospitable.

That is not how we are supposed to act.  Love doesn’t act this way.  I’m not very welcoming to my husband when I don’t even talk to him.

God always need to radically work on my heart when I am offended.

Quote from Tim Keller, The Meaning of Marriage.

No More Perfect Marriages (a review and giveaway)

posted in: Books, marriage | 3

We all need marriage help.  Whether we are single looking to get married (we read books on preparing for marriage).  Or we are married and need help in our marriage (so many books on this topic).  Or whether we’re no longer married (whether by divorce or death), and we can read books that will help us with that.

We are coming up on 6 years of marriage.  They’ve not been easy because we’ve moved a lot and had many external changes and two kids to enter our family in that time.  But, we’ve journeyed it together.

Mark and Jill Savage, who have been married a lot longer than we have, wrote a book together about their marriage – the good, the bad, and the ugly.

There are marriage books – and I put them in two categories: practical and theological.  Theological books (think The Meaning of Marriage by Keller or This Momentary Marriage by Piper) are heavily theological.  Yes, they are practical too, but that is not the main point of the book.  Then there are marriage books that are primarily practical.  Where these is Scripture in the book, and the author’s biblical worldview comes through, but it is mostly practical in nature.

No More Perfect Marriages falls into the latter category.  I find it to be very refreshing that the authors share their story, heartbreak and all.  They share how sin affected their relationship and how God redeems hurt and sin and pain.

One of the most helpful parts of this book is the talk about the masks we wear in our relationship with our spouse.  I’ve thought about what mask I wear – and I think it definitely changes given the circumstance.

I think this book can help you and your spouse think through some helpful things that might prevent some heavy pain coming in the future – or may help you be prepared to fight that pain together.

Thanks to SideDoor Comm and Moody Publishers for this book.  All opinions are my own.  They are giving away a copy of this book too – if you would like a chance to win just leave me a comment telling me one of your favorite marriage books!

Handlettering: kcreatives

Photo: Audrey Grace Photo

Love Every Day

posted in: marriage | 0

This past weekend my mister and I got to head just a ways out of the metro for an overnight date which we only get about once a year.

I know to some of you that is extravagant because you never get to for different reasons.  To some of you, that isn’t enough, and you go lots more whether its because you have more money, more babysitters, or less children.

Either way, I think little getaways are crucial to good marriages (not necessities, but really really good ideas!)

But, just in case you can’t go on an overnight trip, don’t get many out of the house date nights, here are some ideas for loving your spouse well every day.  Just like I’ve told girls getting married and my top piece of marriage advice (besides love Jesus first): study your spouse!

So, maybe these ideas might not be exactly what you would do, but hopefully they will spur you on to loving your spouse well in meaningful ways that will affect your marriage!

  1.  Leave little love notes.  I love leaving little notes to my mister throughout the house or in his car.  It doesn’t need to be a special day.  It doesn’t even need to be a special card.  Just a dry erase marker to the mirror, a sticky note, or a nice card you bought.  Even write it out in blueberries.  The card featured above is by Instead of Ashes, a little Durham designer that I love!
  2. Pray for your spouse.  You probably do this every day, but maybe one day, specifically ask your spouse how you can be praying for them.  It might surprise you what they say.  And then, go pray for them.  Make sure to follow up with them and ask how God is answering the prayer.  You might be surprised how short the time is for answers like that (uninterrupted conversations with my mister are hard to come by).
  3. Drop by their work with lunch or a drink.  It doesn’t have to be expensive, since I know budgets are tight.  I will sometimes run by with a CFA milkshake in the middle of the afternoon.  Today, we took my husband a Zaxby’s salad.  Know their favorite drink and drop it by.  Sometimes, you might not even need to see them, just have their receptionist give it to them.
  4. Do the one thing that he loves.  Ok – so my mister has always wanted a peaceful house.  And in the 5.5 years we’ve been married, I think it would never be defined as peaceful.  With 5 moves (6 for me, moving into his house), 2 kids, change of jobs, etc – that doesn’t sound peaceful.  But, maybe sometimes you can have the kids in bed, tv off, couch cleaned off, kitchen sink cleared, and just chill and talk.  We like to unwind after the weekend with taco night couch nights on Sunday nights.
  5. Ask them what they need done for the day.  I did this a lot more when I didn’t have kids.  I would ask my mister what was one or two things that he would like for me to do during the day.  Now that I have preschoolers, its just survival mode, maybe an occasional thrive mode!  But, sometimes I am reminded that I can love him well by asking him this simple question.  Maybe its ironing his favorite shirt for a big meeting the next day.  Maybe its cooking his favorite meals.  Whatever it is, just say ok honey!  And don’t argue.  It kinda ruins it!

Loving well takes intentionality and purpose.  Don’t let a day go by when you aren’t striving to love your spouse well.

Team Us – Building a Great Team

posted in: Books | 0

Marriage is a blessing…and marriage is tough.  Marriage takes a lot of work and you don’t get a break.  Having little ones makes every marriage harder.  And having kids adds so much more love and fun into a marriage.  And every marriage looks different.

One of the things I love about Ashleigh Slater and her little family is that they play by their rules.  They are a unique family who is on a unique journey.  They live and love well.  And she has written a book called Team Us.  In it she shares some mentalities to implement in a marriage.  “In the coming chapters, I’ll share with you how Ted’s and my decision to adopt a team mentality has shaped our marriage.  How it’s helped us remain united as we’ve encountered things like annoying habits, different hobbies, conflict, job loss, and parenting.” (pg 16)

I love Ted’s little comments throughout each chapter and their real life experiences to help us remember that no marriage is perfect – and their questions to consider at the end.

One of the points I really love is you have to cultivate a lighthearted marriage. You have to incorporate non-heavy moments in your marriage.  Every marriage will have its lows.  Our marriage has had its share of lows brought on by outside influences.  But, then we get away and have a date night, stay overnight somewhere to just enjoy sleeping in without preschoolers coming in at 5am, we eat meals together without kids, we go to the playground with kids, we have taco night once a week, we enjoy cocktails together while watching Netflix.  Whatever it takes – we enjoy being with one another and we don’t always have to have heavy conversations.

This would make a great marriage book to read in 2017.  Here’s to your (and my) better marriage in the year ahead!

Thanks to Moody Publishers for the book and Ashleigh and Ted for your friendship and example.  All opinions are my own.


Ways to Fight for Your Marriage (Giveaway)

posted in: Uncategorized | 6


Some things in life are not worth fighting over: team sports, lesser theological topics, some political issues, etc.  But, there are definitely some things worth fighting for: marriage is one of them.  And the only one you are totally responsible for is your own.  Yes, you can pour into other couples and their marriage and you can disciple others, but ultimately you are only responsible for your own.

Being married for 5 years, and having gone through some really difficult circumstances in those 5 years: out-of-state moves, job changes, traumatic birth, another birth soon after, commission jobs, change in life direction, loss of friendships, damaging personal relationships…we’ve had to fight for our marriage.

Here are some things we do to fight for our marriage:

  1.  Sometimes, you go to bed angry.  Ok – we’ve all heard the saying don’t go to bed angry, and the principle is biblical (don’t let the sun go down upon your anger).  We’ve learned that one thing we can do when we are angry with each other is sometimes just go to bed.  When we are tired and crabby and angry – we usually don’t have healthy conversations.  So, we will call it a night, go to bed, and typically by morning, we are better.  We will still have some things to talk about, but we have rested, prayed, and calmed down.
  2. Taco Night.  Often times during the week my husband and I don’t eat meals together.  He’s at work, I eat with the kids, he gets home late, etc.  But, on Sunday nights, as far as it is up to us, about 830pm, after the kids are in bed, I get Chipotle tacos and guac – 12$ if we buy two guacs.  We sit on the couch, talk, eat, laugh.  Sometimes we will talk for about 3 hours – something we did when we were dating, married but didn’t have children, you know the scene.  Sometimes we will watch a show on Netflix (right now: Leverage, West Wing, Blacklist).  Just sitting shoulder to shoulder, eating yummy food (that I didn’t have to cook), and talking or just being with each other – ends our weekend, long Sunday, and spurs us on to be married another week.  I love it!
  3. Being in the Word.  We do not do our devotions together.  We actually find it hard to pray together and it is something we are working at.  But, we do each have time in the Word each day, and that helps us love God and love each other better.  I often tell him what I need: more of Jesus, more of him.  Two things I can never have too much of.  Cary and Dena Dyer have written a book for couples, a compilation of their story as a couple, humor, biblical wisdom for married couples, and discussion questions.  A couple things I really liked about the book was they shared their own stories.  Some marriage books give tips and pointers but don’t delve into their personal marriage any.  I love people’s stories and I want to know how they live their marriage each day.  Another thing I liked was the talking points at the end of each chapter.  Some couples find it hard to talk – or find things to talk about – and need help.  One thing I didn’t like was that I couldn’t see my husband reading this book.  It didn’t seem to fit a guy writing/reading style.  I know most books are bought and read by women.  So, maybe how a wife could do incorporate Love at First Fight into her marriage is by bringing up some of the questions to her husband.
  4. Get the long vision.  I heard one time that marriage is a long walk in the same direction.  Get a long vision of marriage.  We seemingly have been in one hard season after another in our 5 years of marriage.  And maybe one day the hard season will end, but we know that we wouldn’t want to walk these hard seasons alone, or with anyone else.

If you would like to win a copy of Love at First Fight, just leave a comment on your best marriage tip.  Sponsored by Shiloh Publishers and Sidedoor Communications.  All thoughts are my own.

The Perfect Tuna Salad

Tuna salad can be a go-to lunch any day of the week!
Tuna salad can be a go-to lunch any day of the week!

One of the pieces of marital advice I give every newly engaged girl I know is simply this: Love God, Love your mister, and study both.

When you love God first, loving others becomes easier (not easy, just easier).

Love your mister – I’m assuming if you are going to marry him you already do.

Study both. The more you get to know God’s character and dwelling on the Gospel, the more you will actively live our the gospel.  Which every marriage needs.  And then when you study your mister – not memorizing every book and trying to make your mister into that person in the marriage book – you are well on your way to success in marriage.


Now, how does that marriage advice apply to tuna salad?

Well, my mister loves tuna melts and getting his tuna salad perfect has taken me almost 5 years.  So, when he tasted this the other day – I got a two thumbs up and don’t change a thing look – and he ate it all!

This tuna salad is also vertatile.  You can have a low carb lunch by putting it into a avocado half.  This is a delicious combination.  You can toast some bread, melt some cheese on top, and have a traditional tuna melt.  You can put it atop some greens for a salad.  You can eat it with whole grain crackers for a lighter lunch.  Or just eat it with a spoon.

The Perfect Tuna Salad
Recipe type: Seafood
Cuisine: Southern
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4-6
A perfect tuna salad is great for parties, light lunches, or salads.
  • 2 cans whole chunk white albacore tuna in water (the quality of tuna is so important)
  • ¼ cup Duke's mayo and 1 T
  • 1 tsp dijon mustard
  • 3 hardboiled eggs (the cooking time for the recipe is all in the boiling of the eggs)
  • ½ tsp each of kosher salt and black pepper
  1. Mix all together.
  2. Eat.

kcreatives photography: lindermans on the chattahoochee

Averi and Grant

I’ve said before that living in ATL provides me great benefit because people often come here to travel, see the sites, or since it is a big city, they may have multiple friends here – and I get to be privileged to see them when we they come visit.

I met this sweet girl right after she married her handsome husband.  I was facilitating a small group Bible study at our church and she was in it.  I remember praying for her as a teacher and a newlywed. A few months later I would meet my now husband and those girls were giddy for me to grow in that relationships.

A & G

More than 5 years later and a few kids between us – and I love this girl, yall.  I love her beauty and her realness, and her hope in Christ, and her taste in clothes, and her little home in Raleigh – oh, gracious – so much style and class.  And that she has a husband who knows photography and helps me learn on shoot – and that she fits me in to a busy schedule on the road.

Always laugh and love

Every one needs a friend like this in their life.  Averi girl – I’m glad you are in mine!

Averi Girl

kcreatives photo : scott and joy still say i do

scott and joy still say I do

One of the most important parts about being married is receiving constant encouragement in your marriage.  Whether its reading books, listening to sermons, asking questions of your spouse, dating your spouse, or being with couples who have been in marriage longer than you – or even coming alongside couples who haven’t been married as long – marriage encouragement is a MUST!

the whole family

This past weekend I got to shoot at a beautiful location in Buckhead (in Atlanta), and be encouraged in my marriage.  Similar to a regular wedding ceremony, there was a music, vows, family, a “sermon” – but no unity candle for which I was glad! 🙂

The beautiful bride

The joys for me: knowing this was where the groom proposed and this vow renewal was his idea (15 years of marriage – good man), how they incorporated their girls into the ceremony, how the bride and groom gave the charge to other couples there, and how laid back the bride was.  That usually doesn’t happen at a wedding.

The most important thought for me was “Marriage is a long vision”  Meaning – think long term for your marriage, don’t get so disgruntled with the here and now.  This too shall pass.  Marriage is for a lifetime.

Photographer: kcreatives photography

Location: the duck pond – buckhead, atlanta, georgia

Bride’s Makeup: Woo Skincare

Blogtember: The Best Day

posted in: marriage | 3

best day

Oh my goodness – this is like picking your favorite book – I have no clue how to narrow down the best day.

Ok – ready – here you go…

It was 10.9.11.  Yup – that’s right, the day after our wedding.

Of course I loved the day we got married…being surrounded by our friends and family, the engaging, expressive, full on worship we had during our ceremony, being prayed over by sweet friends and mentors, eating yummy cake, staying at the amazing Washington Duke Inn.

But the day after…you aren’t really concerned about anything.  You are just living life – with no one contacting you, or concerned with wedding details, or guests questions, or how your hair looks.  I was no longer concerned with what is my husband going to think when he wakes up to me and my hair isn’t perfect and my breath stinks.  I was no longer worried about the first night of sex (we had waited until our wedding night to have sex, and it was worth the wait).

We sat there changing our facebook statuses, looking at pictures, reading the paper, getting delicious amazing food delivered by room service, I remember the grilled salmon salad.  We watched movies.  We just relaxed.  It was wonderful.  We didn’t have to hurry off to our honeymoon destination (we ended up leaving the next day to start our 2 week road trip up the East Coast and into Canada).

I loved just being with my mister.  And he was then MY Mister.  So, if any of you are getting married – just wait until the day after – when all the stress is gone.  Wedding weekends are stressful, emotional, full of tears and joy, and amazing – but the day after—there you got it!

This picture was taken by our friend Erica Cooper – and no, we were not kissing in this photo – you’ll just have to trust me on that one!