25 Days of Christmas

For the past seven years I have celebrated Christmas by showering my hubby with sweet notes, little gifts, and set aside time for each other in this crazy month we call December. I have twenty-five envelops, with notes inside. Some have presents that go with them. Others have food. Some have nothing at all. But I LOVE getting this ready to show him extra love during the month of December.

With Hannah here and old enough to understand this year, I have added some things into the mix for her as well. I still have to finish wrapping everything for this month’s fun, but I cannot wait to start our 25 days together on Friday!!!


Do you want to get some chicken? 

“Do you want to get some chicken or something?” Yea, that is how my sweet husband asked me out the first time. He also spelled my name “Danyell” on my first birthday card and referred to me as “Dan the Whoa-man” for quite sometime. He’s special. My guy is something else. But he is mine and as he reminds me so many times…I chose him above all else. 

We have known each other for nearly 12 years and with time I forget some of the strange things about our relationship. Habits that are so much apart of us that we forget how odd they may seem to other people. Since joining Trinity Baptist Church I have been realizing all over again how unique we are. It’s fun to watch people as Kyle tells true stories that seem insanely impossible (in one summer he was bit by a tiger, a student was bit by a shark at youth camp, and we were in a volcano warning). Or see the reactions to some of Kyle’s quirky sayings (Yea right, get real, no way). It’s brought about a new playfulness that I have missed. 

So much of our relationship is joking and poking fun at one another. As new people realize our strange relationship I hope they also see our immeasurable love for one another. There is no one in this world who I would rather do life with! Kyle is my best friend, biggest fan, and greatest encourager! 

He is taken ladies! Find your own! 😜

So many lessons

We are love abusers. We use the word love for everything. I love your outfit! I love grilled cheese sandwiches. I love my husband. Don’t you just love my daughter? Love is one word in the English language, but it has so many meanings. 

About a month ago when I was studying “love” in the Bible I came across a verse that only said the word love once, but it was assigned two different Greek words to represent that love. “Then they can urge the younger women to love their husbands and children,” ‭Titus‬ ‭2:4‬ ‭NIV‬‬ 

This verse led to several impactful lessons for me. 

1. Philandros and philoteknos were both used in this verse. Philandros means fond or man, affectionate (as to a wife), while philoteknos means fond of one’s children. Where we used one word, there were actually two words! Before children I don’t know that I would have thought this was important or even interesting, but now…I get it! Completely! I love Kyle and Hannah in completely different ways. And I’m not quite sure how to put it into words. I love my husband and cannot image life without him. I love him more today than I did yesterday and I hope our love continues to grow as we get older. My love for Hannah was deep from the moment I held her. It didn’t take time to grow. It was a fierce love from minute one. My love has grown, but it was always there for her. It’s just different, and completely fitting that two different words represent this in the Greek.

That’s pretty cool, but I couldn’t stop there. I needed to see what was happening around this verse because it uses a pronoun (they) which I do not know who it refers to. 

“You, however, must teach what is appropriate to sound doctrine. Teach the older men to be temperate, worthy of respect, self-controlled, and sound in faith, in love and in endurance. Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good. Then they can urge the younger women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God. Similarly, encourage the young men to be self-controlled. In everything set them an example by doing what is good. In your teaching show integrity, seriousness and soundness of speech that cannot be condemned, so that those who oppose you may be ashamed because they have nothing bad to say about us.” Titus‬ ‭2:1-8‬ ‭NIV‬‬

2. This passage is directing the believers in Christ on how to live their lives. The older women should be reverent in behavior, not slanderers, or slaves to wine (vs. 3) so that they can teach the younger women how to love their husbands and children (vs. 4). This is to be done in action as well as in spoken teaching. I think about the older women who have given me advice and smile. Many of these women have spoken advice and lived it out. My mom and mother in law of course have done this for me, but so have Sarah (one of my friends who has walked me through becoming a pastor’s wife) and Carla (a sweet friend from church who sets an amazing example for my marriage). These ladies and so many more have told me how to love, but more than that they have showed me. 
3. One thing I always try to be aware of is how the teenagers watch my marriage. Because Kyle and I do ministry together the students see our marriage weekly. They observe how we respond to stress, disagreements, love, humor, and so much more. I want to be a “older woman” (you may never see me type that out again) who sets a good example for the next generation. I want to be someone that a young girl looks to for advice, but I also want to be someone who they watch working with my daughter and husband and say when I’m in that position I want to do it that way too. 
Looking into the love in this verse has taught me so much more than just the Greek word behind our English word. It has taught me about who to seek advice from and to be aware that others may be seeking advice/watching for an example from me. 

Book after Book

I love to read, but last year I just couldn’t read. I was so nauseous for the first few months and would get worse when I tried to read. Then I had a few months that I could read without getting sick. After Hannah came I had way better things to do than read, like shower, eat, SLEEP, feed her, stare at her, be with her… the list goes on. But this year I want to read book after book. I love to read and have a goal to read at least 2 books a month. I finished 2016 by reading For Married Women Only by Tony Evans. It is an awesome, easy read. This short booklet has a match for your husband and can be read in one sitting (if the baby doesn’t start crying, husband doesn’t need dinner immediately, or dog don’t knocks a bottle of Gatorade off of the end table). It is a look at what the Bible says our roles are as a wife. My favorite quote from the book is, “Submission has to do with function, not being. It does not signify that a wife is inferior to her husband in terms of her worth before God.” How beautiful is that? Just because I submit to my husband doesn’t mean God values me less than my spouse. We are the same in the eyes of God as long as we are saved by Christ because when God looks at me he sees Jesus! This book reminded me of my job as Kyle’s wife. I am his helpmate. I am his number one fan. I am to respect him and submit to his leading of our home. 

New Year, New Love

Love is something God has been teaching me about since Hannah arrived. This year my word is going to be Love. Love for my daughter, husband, family, Lord, church. Love! 
I want to focus on how I love people and whether they receive love that way (5 love languages has helped me in the past…just need to refocus). Kyle bought the love language books for kids and teenagers a few weeks ago. I want to apply them to my students and youth at church. I have recognized that some family members receive love in the total opposite way of how I give it…so I need to adjust to better show my love for them. 

I also want to learn so much more about how to love my husband. I have been gifted several books on loving Kyle and strengthening our marriage (I asked for them). I can’t wait to read them. Our love should only grow with each day!

The Bible has so much to say about love, God’s love for us, and how we are to love others and Him. I want to focus my quiet time on love. I want to surround myself with scripture teaching me how to love. 

So here is my disclaimer: my posts this year may get repetitive, seem mushy-gushy, and slightly obsessive with love. You have been warned! BUT I think we can all learn how to love others, ourselves, and God better. So this year I am choosing to LOVE!

Wisdom Teeth and His Wisdom

For years Kyle has lived with his wisdom teeth, but lately they have become bothersome. He claims that he isn’t in pain, but two of them are impacted and one even has a big hole in it. Today, right now, he is having them removed. We were hopeful that our health insurance would cover the cost, but they aren’t fully impacted (go figure) but God has been good to us and we had the money to cover this expense. 

To be honest, Kyle would have loved to ignore them longer, but I don’t want to be taking care of him and a baby when they really need to come out in who knows how many months. So yes, today is partially because of my selfishness. 

The most amazing thing happened yesterday even though. We were in between our doctors appointment for Hannah and the hospital tour when our pastor called us. He informed us that someone in the congregation gave a gift to help cover the cost of the surgery. What? Are you kidding? Is this for real? My brain still cannot wrap around how much our church loves us and how God provides for our every need. God provided a lamb for Abraham (Genesis 22), manna for the Isrealites (Exodus 16), and each day He provides me with so much more than I could ever imagine. 

So this morning I will praise you Lord! You provided us with the means to take care of ourselves, but then showered us with a gift that relieved so much burden! Lord, You are impossible to understand, but I know you love me. Thank you for your never failing love and always enduring grace and mercy! 

Tuesday Night Date Night

A few years ago, as Kyle was adjusting to working for a church, we sat down as a couple to talk about our new phase in life. I was frustrated with not having a husband who would safe guard a night for us and needed to be heard. Since that night we have kept Tuesday nights as a night for us. We rarely go out on an actual date, but we do have our time together no matter what. 

Marriage is tough. And the stresses of life can put a strain on anything, but especially on relationships. Our marriage is very important to both of us and we have spared ourselves many stressful, tearful nights just by saving Tuesday nights for each other. 

Some things we do that don’t cost much:

  • Cook together
  • Watch a movie on a pallet of blankets in the living room (Redbox or something we own)
  • Go fishing at the neighbor’s pond
  • Go kayaking down the river (we own our kayak)
  • Read a book / bible together
  • Lay in our hammocks on the back porch and talk
  • Take our dogs for a walk / hike
  • Drive around with the windows down and sunroof open
  • Play a video game together (we like Peggle, Fortune Street, and Just Dance-well, I like just dance)

Dates don’t have to cost money or be fancy. They can be simple. 

I love Tuesday nights!

Yesterday we had a Tuesday day date…lunch at Cody J’s, baby appointment, shopping at REI, And That!, Motherhood Maternity, and Academy (mostly window shopping), frozen treat from Chicfila, and a car wash and vacuum (so we can install a baby seat!). Then we came home and cooked dinner together. The night ended with Kyle catching a few fish while I read a book on the dock. Nothing special, but an entire day together refills my love tank (I’m a quality time girl)!!!

How do you stay close to your spouse? Do you have a night set aside for each other? How do you do something similar with kids (my life is about to change)?

Sometimes I have to Walk Away

Today was tough. Not all day, but when I had to walk away. There are points in my life and marriage when I simply have to walk away. 
Being a youth pastor’s wife (and I’m sure, any ministerial wife) has its challenges. One of the challenges I am faced with occasionally is not know what to do, say, or think about something my husband is struggling with. Maybe it’s a message he has prepared and can’t seem to get to a good point in. Maybe it is church politics (every church has them). Maybe it is picking and choosing between church events and resting or going to family gatherings. The list could go on forever. 

So many times I wonder what he wants me to say, think, or do. Many times I try to gauge if he needs me to build him up or put him in his place. Should I point out that he is being ridiculous? Am I suppose to continue to compliment his 3 point message with its alliteration? How does he expect me to respond to this? 

Today, I didn’t know what else to tell him. I didn’t know how else to help. I simply had to walk away. I grabbed my pool bag and a book (Wonder Struck by Margaret Feinberg) and left. Not out of anger or even frustration, but because he needed a day to just sit, think, pray, contemplate, seek advice, … A day to just be. 

I hate walking away, but more than that I hate watching him struggle. I want to help him fix it. I want to be his friend, helper, soulmate. But today I couldn’t help any more than I had tried. 

It’s hard, marriage that is. 
I’m back at home now. About to eat dinner with my sweet husband. I hope and pray he is in a better place, but know that either way, God will take care of him even when I don’t know how to. 

The Best Marriage Advice

I honestly don’t remember who first gave Kyle and I this advice, or when it first came. But the best marriage advice we have ever been given or could ever give doesn’t even really feel like marriage advice. It’s really just good life advice. 

Here it is:

If you are both growing closer to God, you will also be growing closer to each other.

It seems too simple and kind of like a “no duh!” moment, but think about it. If I am reading my bible, worshipping God, praying, and growing closer to God, AND Kyle is doing the same thing, we will be also growing closer to each other. 

When I take my eyes off of the distractions of the world (and yes, a husband can be a distraction sometimes) and focus on the Creator of the world (God), I begin to grow closer to Him. If my husband will also do this and grow closer to God, then we are both moving towards the same thing, God, and therefore becoming closer to each other. 

It sounds simple and I wish I were better at it, but I fail daily to do this. Yet it is still the best advice for life, and marriage, I have ever reviewed or could ever give. So today, let’s all strive to grow closer to God and out spouses!

With you, Life’s a Picnic

Saturday afternoon we celebrated Kyle’s brother, Kevin, and his soon to be bride, Erin, at a picnic themed couples shower!

Weeks ago I designed and printed these simple invites:

My mother-in-law and one of her close friends did all of the yummy snacks. 

The gift table used a picnic basket for cards and an “Established” sign for decoration. 

Here is a close up of the sign at my house before the party:

On the tables, we used plain white table clothes, a yellow placemat in the center, with live flowers on top. 

My sweet sister-in-law wrote our entryway chalk board sign.

It was a great day celebrating with family and friends!