Photo Apr 20, 3 38 15 PMI really have no words to add to the beauty of this day. He sacrificed Himself just for me.  For you.  He conquered the grave.  He conquered hell.  ”His reckless love could not be overcome.”  He is victorious and because of that we can live in freedom.  We can be filled with His power.  His love.

So on this Resurrection Sunday, may we fully embrace the gift He has given.  May Jesus be glorified and lifted high in our lives.  Not just today, the day we celebrate His resurrection from the grave, but tomorrow.  And the next day.  Forever.

~Whitney

 

 

On April 20, 2014 · Leave a Comment · In Lovely Life
 

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If there were a time I would choose never to revisit, the dating years would be high on the list.  The night I was going on my first one-on-one date, a married friend of mine told me that she was soooo glad to be done with dating.  She was so glad that part of her life was over.  I just shook my head – I felt sorry for her because dating was exciting!  It was so much fun!

Well, that was my first date.  And it was fun!  It was sweet and perfect and everything I think a first date should be.  But fast forward a few years into the process and the whole dating thing can kind of wear a person down.  I became weary of it.  I learned that I wasn’t created for casual dating.  I’m not good at casual anything.  I’m either all in or all out.  And that doesn’t really bode well for date #2.  Where do you see yourself in five years?  Marriage?  No?  Okay, check please!

I wasn’t desperate to be married, but neither was I dating to play around.

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I’m a romantic at heart and just love love.  Getting dressed up and going out was fun, but it wasn’t fun trying to decode guy signals to see if he was into me.  Or trying to analyze each text message to see if wanna hang out? meant I’m really interested in you and would like to see where this could lead or if it meant I’m bored and don’t want to look like a loser hanging out by myself on a Friday night. 

I always wanted to be one of those go-with-the-flow kind of girls, but I just wasn’t.  I wasn’t a casual dater.  I didn’t want to waste my (and his!) emotions and potentially bruise my heart dating someone if it didn’t lead to forever.  But, how could you tell if someone was the one?

One day, probably after lamenting the tragedy of a failed date or a stupid text message, my dad sat me down.  He was most likely tired of seeing me analyze everything.  And he said the words that still ring in my heart today:

 

If a man really likes you, if he’s really interested and invested and all-in, you’ll know it.  There’s no way you won’t know.  He’ll show it.  You won’t have to wonder.

 

It sounds simple, but boy, was it what I needed to hear!  I had gotten so used to being intense and trying to make things work, that I had failed to just relax and trust the process.  God had it.  I didn’t have to make someone like me.  I didn’t have to make myself like someone.  When it was right, it would happen.

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And yowza, did it happen.

When a boy drove three hours just to pick me up for our second date, met my parents, took me to a restaurant that had flowers and a heartfelt letter for me waiting on the table, I didn’t have to wonder how he felt.  A few weeks later he told me he loved me, and a couple months after that he proposed, and less than a year after meeting each other we were saying “I do.”

He showed it.  He didn’t play it cool and send me impossible-to-analyze, vague text messages about hanging out.  He made it known.

And I realized that my dad was the smartest man in the world.  Ha!

Marriage kicks dating’s tail.  Marriage is awesome.  I finally understand why my married friend was so excited to be out of the dating stage.

And yet, dating is important.  It’s invaluable.  I wouldn’t go back and change those awkward second dates or those vague texts or those does-he-like-me’s.  It’s part of the process.  It’s part of learning who you are and what you want.  (Or, mainly, what you don’t want.)

So to those married to their “one,” go kiss him and thank the Lord that you don’t have to decode any more vague hang out texts.  And to those in the midst of the excitement and terror that is dating, soak it all in.  Trust God and the process.  Use this time to learn what it is you want and don’t want.  Remember my dad’s words.  Know that true love doesn’t take decoding.  When it happens, you’ll laugh at the time you previously spent wondering if you’ll be able to tell if it’s the real deal.  You’ll know.

~Whitney

On April 10, 2014 · 2 Comments · In Mr. and Mrs.
 

BECOMING-WHITNEY-_-cable-cowl-2After weeks of searching, I finally settled on a pattern for my perfect squishy birthday yarn from Purl Soho.  Once I finally decided, the knitting was a breeze.  A joy.  Pure bliss.  It made my heart sing.

BECOMING-WHITNEY-_-cable-cowl-3The yarn is Manos del Uruguay’s Maxima in the Oxygen color way.  I’ve never worked with such high quality (and expensive, sheesh!) yarn, and it definitely is all it’s cracked up to be.  I mean, how can I go back to my Vanna’s Choice yarn now?  Ha!

BECOMING-WHITNEY-_-cable-cowl-1I wanted a pattern that would show off the yarn and that would be a lot more enjoyable to knit than my last attempt.  That’s where the genius of Ravelry came in.  I did a search for this yarn and projects that people knit with it, and found this lovely braided, cabled cowl.  It was just begging to be knit!  I have two skeins of the yarn and am going to knit until I run out, so the cowl should end up twice as long as the original pattern.

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I think I say this every time I write about knitting, but knitting is my jam.  It’s my favorite.  It’s my true love, and I don’t care who knows it.  Ha!

There’s always a project or twelve lying around the house.  A while back, one of my favorite knitting bloggers wrote about gaining confidence to knit in public.  I’ve never really forgotten that because, if anything, I need to gain confidence to leave my knitting at home.  If I could, I would knit pretty much everywhere.  Anywhere, anytime.  I’ve even asked my pastor if he minded if I knitted during his messages.  Thankfully, my pastor is also my dad and just laughed me off.  Hashtag, Iwasnotevenjoking.

I mean, I have a case for it.  You know how some people doodle notes to help them pay attention?  Knitting helps me pay attention.  It busies my brain just enough that my mind doesn’t wander off and can focus on whatever else is happening, like a movie or a podcast.  I’ve even prayed while knitting.

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I feel like this quote will be my new motto.

So, I’d love to know – does anyone else feel this way about knitting?  Or maybe you have your own personal thing that’s your jam?  My friend Rachel is a reading machine.  I think she’s read around 14 books or so this year.  I would say, for me, eating Snickers bars comes in at a close second to my passion for knitting.  Ha!

~Whitney

On April 8, 2014 · 7 Comments · In Crochet & Knit
 

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It cracks me up that posts like this are what the internet people want.  And I just read an article the other day theorizing that the closer your friends are, the less you will clean up before they come over.  Such as, if you’re “acquaintances” you’ll dust/vacuum/mop/launder/scrub and the whole nine yards.  But, if you’re best friends forever, you’ll just say “oh, this is real life y’all!”

Hmm.  Interesting theory.

If real life is what the world at large wants, just come over to my house right now.  It hasn’t been cleaned in ages.  Two weeks ago my brother and brother-in-law stayed at our house, and then last week I spoke at a conference and was too nervous to spend my time doing anything beforehand but pour over my notes.  And then this week my brain has just gone on vacation.  I literally catch myself just staring out the window looking like this.  So there hasn’t been any cleaning being done.  Just wallowing in filth.

And I’m not making the best decisions.  Last night when I should have been cleaning up the dinner dishes or, you know, making our house look less real life, I started crafting.  It’s that point of no return.  The house is in such disarray that one thirty minute cleaning spree won’t make a difference, so I craft.  I avoid.  And I read on the internet that if I leave this mess, invite a friend over, then I’m apparently this great person and not concerned with appearances.

Well, call me vain and let my friends thank me later.  I’m more concerned that if I had company they would set up an intervention for my laundry room.  Or try to set all my dust bunnies free.  It is spring time you know.

To me, the closer friends I am with someone, the more I clean.  I am under no notion whatsoever that people think my house is perfect all the time.  Just show me a crafter/maker/creator who has a clean environment 24/7.  It’s too stressful.  More important things are to be done.  But if I invite someone over, I want them to know that I value them enough to stash the glitter in the closet and to put the toilet paper in the holder and not sitting on the top of the toilet.

Where are you in this theory?  Do you feel less pressure to clean for your friends?  Are you embarrassed when people witness the filth?  Are you one of those perfect people (like my bff’s YHL) who could post a messy house tour and everyone be shocked that – gasp – you are human?  Or do you just tell your husband that if he wanted to live in a house with no dust, he should have married Cinderella?  And even Cinderella had help from the animals!  Where are my singing, cleaning animals?  Sheesh.

~Whitney

On April 4, 2014 · 2 Comments · In Lovely Life
 

BECOMING WHITNEY | Love is Shown

What’s that one movie where the boy desperately in love holds a huge stereo above his head in the girl’s front yard?  Yeah, that.  That’s showing love.

Now we can’t all be that guy.  I mean, you can if you want.  But today it would look more like taking an earbud out of your ear, handing it to the girl you love, and letting her listen to your iPhone playlist.  Romance.

Love is made up of big public displays and small everyday activities.  Love is elaborate date nights as much as it is taking out the trash.  Yet regardless of how it’s displayed, love isn’t love unless it’s shown.  Love makes its presence known.  It’s intentional.

Today’s culture isn’t formed in a way that promotes and strengthens marriage.  One celebrity can get married three times in ten years and each wedding will be plastered all over the magazines.  Oh, it’s true love!  Again.  

That’s not true love.  That’s not real marriage.  Real marriage is hard and exciting and great and difficult and forever and mind-blowing and God-given.  And for our marriages to succeed, we have to be intentional.  We have to live, be, and show love.

So today I’m sharing 7 small ways you can show love to your spouse.  7 – mostly free – ways you can just infuse a little bit of love into your husband’s day (or wife, if you’re a guy reading this.  Hi!  You’re awesome).  They aren’t all revelatory, but maybe there are a few ideas that you haven’t thought of in this list.  Or maybe an idea will spark another idea in your head.  The whole point is to just get intentional about love.  About making it work.  About reminding each other that what you have is pretty stinkin’ awesome and you’re not taking it for granted.

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1) Sneak his phone away and add a loving reminder to his reminder app.  (This app comes standard with iPhones.  If you don’t have a smart phone, you’re on your own with this one.  Technology is leaving you behind.  Ha!)  Set the reminder to go off at a time when you know he’ll have his phone with him, like right before he clocks in to work or during his lunch.  As for what the reminder says, get creative!  Like, your wife wants you to know that you are loved!  Or, reminder:  you have the cutest face this world has ever seen.  Or, yowza!  You are rockin’ that AT&T shirt and khakis today!  

 

2) Engage in one of his hobbies that isn’t your thing.  Does he love basketball, but you hate it?  Then one night when he gets home from work, have his ball clothes lying out for him.  Find something in your closet that can count as ball clothes, and then take him to go shoot some hoops.  The key here is to actually have fun, NOT to rub in how much you hate basketball or how big of a “favor” you think you’re doing him.  Trust me, he knows that you’re going out of your way to show him love.  And he’ll appreciate it.

 

3) Keep his favorite snacks in the house.  Even when the food budget is low, you can make room for those Doritos or the pack of Mt. Dew or the pint of mint chocolate chip.  It will make him feel loved that you’ve noticed his favorite foods and that you always try to have them available.   And bonus!  If you cook a meal that goes horribly wrong, you can just whip out that snack and distract him.  Ha!

 

4)  Send him pictures or links that will make him smile.  Sometime in our past four years of marriage, Timothy started sending me pictures of animals in love.  I don’t know where he got that idea because I am definitely not an animal person, but it’s become our “thing” and makes my day.  I mean, cuddling lions!  Heart-shaped birds!  Kissing snails!!!  Find a “thing” for you and your husband.  Send him links to sports updates or articles about up-and-coming technology or GIFs of your favorite shows.  Send it to him when he’s at work – it will give him a tiny break from his stressful day and a reason to smile.

 

5)  Go out of your way to wear his favorite outfit of yours or fix your hair the way he likes.  Timothy asked me the other day why I hardly ever wore my hair in a certain way like I used to wear all the time when we dated.  I told him that it wasn’t as “trendy” of a hairstyle as it used to be, and then we started talking about something else.  The next day I wore my hair that way and you would have thought I just gave him a million Oreos.  He complimented me like crazy throughout the day.  The point is, sometimes your taste and your husband’s taste are going to be different.  While you should definitely wear the clothes you love, sometimes it’s great to dress with just him in mind.  (As long as you’re being modest, obviously.)

 

6) Hide notes for him to find.  Stick a note thanking him for working so hard for your family in the pocket of the pants he wears to work.  Put a little note in his wallet telling him to be sure and buy himself a dessert treat on his lunch break.  Hide a note in his stinky gym bag that tells him he’s the most good looking thing you’ve ever seen in gym clothes.

 

7) Embrace the PVDA. PVDA is the lesser-known cousin of PDA.  People lump it in all the time with the ever scorned PDA and it’s time to end the cycle.  PVDA, public vocal displays of affection, is a great way to build your husband up and spread the love.  The other day I read a status on Facebook from a man apologizing for the fact that he was about to brag on his wife for an accomplishment she had just made.  Um, no.  Sharing your spouse’s successes isn’t a bad thing.  If we wives don’t uplift our husbands, who will?  We can be quick to joke with our friends that our husband plays too many video games, or call him out on social media for leaving his socks everywhere.  Let’s be just as quick to publicly and vocally uplift him for getting that promotion, for being a great example of a Godly man, or for working hard to provide for his family.

BECOMING WHITNEY | Love is Shown

Love is shown.  Love is intentional.  And it’s a whole lot of fun.  Maybe you can pick one of these ideas and show your husband some love this week?  (And for those who aren’t married, most of these ideas can be adapted to show love to your sibling, your best friends, parents, or anyone needing a little sunshine in their day.)

If you try out any of these ideas, I’d love to hear about it!  And I would especially love to hear your ideas of other ways to intentionally show love to your husbands.

~Whitney

*this post is part of the Love is Shown series.  For more information on this series, click here.

On March 28, 2014 · 9 Comments · In Lovely Life