life of faith

taking baby steps & leaps & everything in between


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He Said/She Said – New Year’s Edition

I’ve been wanting to do another His & Hers for a while now, since we both enjoyed writing the first one, and we heard that our readers enjoyed it. 😉 I had written one up for Christmas, but since Christmas is over and ours was so crazy, I figured a retrospective/future perspective New Year’s Eve one was even better!

We have plans to celebrate New Year’s Eve tonight with some of our closest friends – Molly & Doug, Amy & Omar, and Megan. Some delicious food, fun games, and lots of laughter are on the way!

We also got to visit Katie & Burt in Delaware yesterday, and finally meet their baby boy, Ben! What a treasure he is 🙂

Baby Ben chillin' with Dayne!

I especially love hanging out with other peoples’ babies, since we’re not quite ready to have our own! It was very fun to be able to spend time catching up with Katie & Burt and snuggling with Ben yesterday.

Now, read on for our 2nd Official His & Hers

Again, according to the unofficial rules of “He Said/She Said”, we answered these questions completely separately, but we did do some post-editing afterwards, mostly for grammar and length.

Looking back, what has been the best thing about 2011?
Dayne: 
Getting married of course!  I say that because I have to say that.  Actually, I’d say “Getting Married” is pretty far down on the list, but “Being Married” is number 1.  There is a big difference between the two.  One was a lot of planning (by Lisa) and a lot of stress in general, while the other has been super fun.
Lisa: Obviously, getting married was the overall best thing about 2011. I also think I grew a lot personally and spiritually this year, possibly more than any other year of my life. I feel like an entirely different person than I was in the beginning of 2011 – a little bit more complete and whole (not because of Dayne “completing me”, but because of what I’ve learned and experienced).

What have been some of the more difficult things about 2011?
Dayne: 
Being Married.  As we say to anyone that asks us how it feels to be married, the first few months were difficult.  I can’t even tell you what it was though – just that there seemed to always be something that didn’t seem to click between us.  The first day back after the honeymoon we were fighting about something (that day it was the fact that I felt the kitchen counter was cluttered – which to be honest, was a stupid argument on my part).  It went on like that a lot with little things coming up that were borderline petty, but for some reason, we both felt very strongly about.  I think it was mostly just getting accustomed to not always being able to make our own decisions.  For me, it’s difficult trying to make a joint decision about something small.
Lisa:  Some of the difficult things of 2011 were the job transitions I went through (nannying to innkeeping to receptionist-ing) – none of them were easy, though they went smoothly. My engagement was not the easiest thing, due to a number of factors; I struggled with major anxiety and panic attacks throughout at least half of our engagement that had nothing to do with my relationship with Dayne. Then there was the baseline anxiety of losing my identity. Getting married is psychologically very scary, even though it is incredibly exciting and good! One of the hardest things about 2011 has been letting go – some friendships have not lasted through all the changes, and I also truly miss the little girls I nannied. Thankfully, I still see the girls every once in a while.

What are some of your favorite memories of 2011?
Dayne: 
It was two things, Aruba and the wedding ceremony, in that order.  I might get in trouble for saying that, but I have to say that I have never felt as relaxed as I did on our honeymoon.  The wedding ceremony is number two because it was a big change in our lives and I thought our wedding was great (I may be biased though).
Lisa: Some of my favorite memories: every major event associated with our engagement and wedding, from Dayne’s proposal to my bridal shower to my bachelorette party to our rehearsal & dinner to the big day itself and then our amazing honeymoon.
My friendship with Erica got stronger through the whole process, and I realized very clearly how meaningful my relationship with her is.
I also loved the college girls’ reunion I had with Megan and Molly and Amy this fall! I love them and am so thankful they’re in my life, and that we can have so much fun when we’re together.

What did you learn in 2011?
Dayne:
 Patience.  Lisa usually gets a thought into her head on a topic, and sometimes, reason doesn’t seem to filter through to her.  While this is frustrating for me, it also has taught me to slow down my explanations on things and attempt multiple ways of explaining what’s going through my head.
Lisa: I learned what is my responsibility and what’s not – although I still have trouble with this. I can’t be everything to everyone, and sometimes it’s better to step away or let go.
I learned what it’s like to live in marriage with someone… and that it is truly difficult as well as beyond rewarding.
I learned (again) how very patient God is and how much grace He extends to us. I am learning that He is in control all the time and working things out for His good purpose, even when we can’t see or understand what He’s doing.

What do you hope to accomplish in 2012?
Dayne: 
I don’t really look too far ahead, so I don’t really have any things that I specifically want to accomplish.  I think I want to be more conscientious about my free time.  I enjoy playing video games, and I’m not planning on stopping that, but I would like to read more and do more side coding [Lisa’s note: “side coding” means programming; Dayne is a software developer.].  Also, I think I’d have more energy during the week if I was physically active, which I should work on.
Lisa: I hope we get a house in 2012. I hope I get better at my job and possibly get promoted (although I’m fine staying in my position indefinitely). I hope I get better at something – whether it’s writing or fitness or a new hobby. I hope I also get better at loving others (including Dayne) more than myself.
Oh, I also hope we’re able to set a good foundation for our family financially – that we are able to save and give abundantly.

What do you foresee being some of the biggest challenges in 2012?
Dayne: Buying a house. This just worries me because Lisa and I aren’t the best at making huge decisions like this together.  I think we both see it as a big investment and form our own opinions.  When we then talk it over, we both are trying to convince the other one that we are right when we should simply be working together through the process.
Also, budgeting.  I enjoy the process, but Lisa has a more difficult time seeing it in practice.  I just hope that I can be patient and Lisa keeps an open mind.
Lisa: I think house hunting and our finances will be a challenge for us. I think as we get more involved with our church, there will be challenges associated with that (just because Satan doesn’t like spiritual growth).
I think growing in our marriage will be a challenge, as well as sorting out how to embrace our differences and be sure that each of us is growing and happy. Figuring out how to make our marriage a priority as well as our family and friends… that will continue to be tough!

In what ways do you want your marriage to grow in 2012?
Dayne: 
I want us to read more together; we had started a couples book, but only read one chapter together.  I think we can do better on that.  I do think that reading is more on my side than on Lisa’s though since I believe she’d be ready to read together if I just said the word.
Lisa: I think the biggest thing for our marriage at the forefront of my mind right now is that we need to set aside quality time with each other. We need to make date nights a priority, and try to do new things at least once or twice a month so our relationship doesn’t get stale.
I also want us to get better at communicating, and it would be great for us to spiritually grow more together – maybe doing more devotionals or praying more together. I am really looking forward to joining a couples’ small group this year.

In what ways do you want your relationship with God to grow in 2012?
Dayne: 
I don’t know for sure, but I am very excited about our new church and I can’t wait to see how our involvement in it enables us to grow.
Lisa: I am really looking forward to digging into the Bible in 2012. I expect that will change my relationship with God in many ways. I would like to see myself become more intimate with and dependent on Him. I’d like to trust Him more and not struggle with anxiety and worry as much as I currently do. I’d like to naturally seek Him in prayer before I make decisions. I’d overall like to see myself become more consistent in my relationship with Him.

In what ways do you want to grow personally in 2012?
Dayne: 
I’m 5’10” right now, I’m praying for 5’11” by the end of 2012.
Lisa: Oh man. This is a doozy. I want to become more patient and extend more grace, especially to Dayne. I want to be less of a people-pleaser, because in a lot of ways it is unhealthy and rooted in deep insecurity. I want to know myself and my own boundaries better.
I want to write more and grow in a hobby or skill, even if it’s just cooking more recipes and using better techniques.
I want to become better at accepting loss or change. I’d like to experience freedom in that.

If you were to make any additional New Year’s Resolutions, what would they be?
Dayne:
 I don’t make resolutions because I know better than to believe that I’ll keep them.  Why lie to myself?
Lisa: Um, I would like to get fit. I feel disgusting. This job is the most sedentary job I’ve ever had, and it makes me feel like a huge, mushy baked potato. I need to at least start walking regularly, if not getting involved in yoga/pilates or running. I also need to overcome my fear of having a heart attack mid-workout and just pin some emergency information on my shirt or something (I have heart palpitations and chest pain at random times – I’m told it’s benign, but it’s uncomfortable and scary… hence my fear of dying on the treadmill).
It would also be nice to use our Wii Fit more often, since we have it!

What are you looking forward to in 2012?
Dayne: 
The Mayan New Year.
Lisa: I’m looking forward to a big trip for our first anniversary, and our first house (hopefully), and getting more involved at our new church, and growing friendships with new and old people! I’m looking forward to experiencing more of our marriage as it gets deeper and stronger. I’m looking forward to having a better, more holistic knowledge of the Bible! And I’m looking forward to some new experiences and traveling more. And Dayne promised me a puppy by Christmas 2012.


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Year End.

What a difference a year makes.

Seriously.  Before I even started thinking of writing in this blog, I could easily have said that 2010 was the best year of my life.  Which is interesting because, as I look back over my handwritten journal from last year, I am surprised by how absolutely miserable I was at the end of 2009.  For example’s sake, I’ll share:

12/27/09

2009 is drawing to a close with 2010 on the horizon and I can’t help looking back at the past year (and grimacing).  It has been one of the most difficult (if not, at risk of being dramatic, THE most difficult) year of my life.  I have been through so much and just been ……………. turned over and dragged through the ringer.  I was just looking at journal entries of mine online that I wrote… up until I quit my job this past January.  It’s like I am a completely different human being.  I don’t recognize myself.  I must have gone through so many phases of progression to get to where I am now – empty, cynical, scared.

……………… (insert a lot more intensely personal stuff here)

I hate writing this because I would never want anyone to read it but I can’t honestly put an optimistic twist on it.  I am struggling with the core of myself.

Then, a month or so later, I wrote this:

2/7/10

On Valentine’s Day this year, even though I actually (for once) could choose to go out on a date with a guy, I am planning to go to church (hopefully alone), see Valentine’s Day, the movie (hopefully alone), and make cupcakes (hopefully that I can share with other girls like Katie) – I want to celebrate REAL love (in the face of Valentine’s Day, which I think is the fakest, ugliest, feel-bad-about-yourself holiday) – love from God, love from yourself, love from friends and family.  Maybe there will come a point for me when real love also involves a man, but not yet.

Anyways, in reading Blue Like Jazz, Don Miller is talking about love and how if we view ourselves as failures or whatnot, we still haven’t accepted the love of God.  I feel like maybe part of why I haven’t felt the love of God lately is because I haven’t loved myself – I still am hypercritical and insecure and concerned with how others see me – yet now I am refreshed at the idea of spending a whole day by myself, on a date with myself 🙂  Makes it easier to believe that God would want to spend a day with me, on a date with me… maybe this is part of what I’ve been missing.  Feeling so bad about myself that of course God’s love to me would seem unbelievable.  Not that I need to think of myself as great, but maybe I need to start seeing myself as God sees me.  I’ve lost sight of that for a long time…

The following week, I did go to church alone.  I went to see Valentine’s Day alone.  And I ate lots of red velvet cupcakes (which I may or may not have shared).  And then, a week later, I reconnected with this guy:

Dayne. 😛

He decided to come to church with me.  We hung out more and more, and less than 2 months after I wrote that February entry, we were dating.  We’re still dating 🙂  I love him and the amazing relationship I have with him has enhanced my life far more than I could ever have imagined.  I’m surprised by God’s sovereignty everyday.  While a committed relationship is a LOT (A LOT) of work, I am learning and gaining so much.

However, I’m not crediting the amazing-ness of our relationship to him or me.  I believe that the relationship is from God and for God.  If He takes Dayne away for any reason, I still have to seek Him and what He wants to teach me.  I was completely caught off-guard by the way things developed after February 21st, and I thank God I was finally in a place where I was ready for it.

While my relationship with Dayne made this year more enjoyable than usual, there are also many other memories I have from 2010 (with and without Dayne) to look back on with joy and appreciation.  One that stands out: my 25th birthday trip to Miami with some of my best girl friends (Erica, Katie, Jess, & Shelli).  Blew me away that they would travel to celebrate with me.  I also went back to church this year, found a church that both Dayne and I like, and started (and am still working on!) a Beth Moore Bible study.  Read some great books.  Watched the girls I nanny grow.  Took life a little slower on purpose.  Gave myself some permission.  I also hosted Christmas dinner for my family this year, and had the best Christmas ever.

All this to say: 2010 was incredible, and 2009 was cruddy.  Life is a series of seasons.  I don’t know how 2011 will go, but I do know this: seasons are normal, and we need to celebrate the good and seek to understand the bad.  We should never stop seeking growth through all of our seasons.  And I am incredibly grateful for all the blessings that 2010 brought with it.  Ending with blessing #290852093840985 tonight: I am sitting with my feet up writing this entry while Dayne is in the kitchen making me dinner.

 

“We were made by God and for God… Life is a series of problems.  Either you are in one now, you’re just coming out of one, or you’re getting ready to go into another one.  The reason for this is that God is more interested in your character than your comfort.” – Rick Warren

“…I’ve decided that if I had my life to live over again, I would not only climb more mountains, swim more rivers, and watch more sunsets; I wouldn’t only jettison my hot water bottle, raincoat, umbrella, parachute, and raft; I would not only go barefoot earlier in the spring and stay out later in the fall; but I would devote not one more minute to monitoring my spiritual growth.  No, not one.” – Brennan Manning, 73 years old, from The Furious Longing of God

“Do not be too timid and squeamish about your actions.  All life is an experiment.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

“If God has something specific for you, you’ll know, I promise.  But if He is setting a box of crayons down in front of you (a box of crayons called life) then by all means draw.  He’s taught you right from wrong, good from bad, beautiful from profane, so draw.  He will be with you, proud of you, cheering you on, so draw.  He loves you, so draw in the inspiration of the knowledge of His love.  Draw a purple horse, a red ocean, a nine-legged dog, it doesn’t matter.  Let’s stop being so afraid.” – Donald Miller