Celebrating Baby Duncan

Celebrating at AuthenticVirtue.com

 “O taste and see that the Lord is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in him.” Psalms 34:8

It’s true, sweet friends! Dalton and I are expecting our very own little one around December 28th. There’s so much I want to say but mostly we want to point toward our Abba Daddy, Who gives so many good gifts, and thank Him. We’re excited, in rapture, and full of joy. Two years of waiting has had its ups and downs but we know God does everything for a reason and I’m looking forward to celebrating this journey and enjoying it fully.

I hesitated sharing our news so early (I’m almost 7 weeks along) but this is something we have waited two years for and believe our little baby, however young and vulnerable, is worthy of great celebrations and massive amounts of confetti throwing! 🙂

(Can you tell we are over-the-moon excited?)

Be prepared for monthly baby-bump updates (I’ve always wanted to do those) 🙂 and new blog posts documenting my journey toward motherhood and all the lessons God will send me.

With love, blessings, (and a little less) coffee,

Frannie

Your Marriage is Meant to Endure Conflict

Your marriage is meant to endure conflict! Learn how with AuthenticVirtue.com

Honesty time.

Sometimes, even in the happiest, God-centered marriages, your going to be angry. You’re going to be angry with your unmet expectations, forgotten trash, or cancelled plans.

Sometimes the cause is legitimate while other times it’s your own personal issue causing the angry, emotional torrents to come bubbling out. Then, there are the days when it’s not a his or her problem as much as it’s a hormonal problem or lack of sleep problem.

This is real life, ya’ll.

So, what do you do when you’re tempted to be angry? How do you adjust to the fact that your adorable, wonderful marriage may have grumpy days?

Realize bad days do not equal a bad marriage

Ugh. I cannot count the times I’ve felt like a failure because we had grumpy days. As Dalton’s bride, I took full responsibility for the constant, 100% never blue, happy days I wanted our marriage to be full of.

It shouldn’t have been a surprise when I fell to pieces the first time a bad day came around. I had placed an unrealistic expectation on both D and I.

Friend, grumpy days happen and they do not signify the apocalypse-ing end of your marriage. Grumpy days test you and your spouse’s humanness. It signifies that you’re both sinners in need of grace, God’s amazing gift of holiness and forgiveness.

So don’t freak out. Instead …

Assess the situation

What’s going on? What has turned your Knight in Shining Armor into something less than shining? Why are you acting like a shrew instead of the beautiful bride that you are? Are you tired? Hormonal? Is hubby carrying a stressful workload? Are bills piling up? Is there an family or in-law issue causing tension?

Assess the situation; most of the time grumpy days have root issues which go deeper then the current problem. In other words, it isn’t always about the cheese.

Take time to discover what’s causing the tension in your home instead of jumping to hasty conclusions. Then …

Communicate

I recently heard a radio speaker suggest couples keep an index card in the freezer saying, “I’m angry with you and want to talk about it but I won’t attack you. Is now a good time?” He suggested the angry spouse pull the card out of the freezer and hand it to the offending party whenever an issue required resolving or a communication stalemate has occurred.

I love this idea because I’ve found that communication is key. When grumpy days come it’s easy to let our inner Ice Queens take over — we’re hurt but we’re waiting for our spouse to breach the divide. Hours pass in uneasy tension as emotions foster anger, assumptions and bitterness. D likes to say, “Talk it out otherwise you’ll assume the worst.”

He’s right. Talk it out. Hand your spouse the ice cold index card assuring him that you won’t attack but want to get to the root issue of the problem.

Realize James 1:20

Confession: Anger is one of my big sins. For years I labored at maintaining my cool cucumber appearance only sharing my deep, angry thoughts and disappointments with family who knew and understood me. For years I allowed myself to not call sin sin.

I met Dalton and the façade pressed on (because, well, I wanted him to think I ways always sweet, wonderful and perfect … who wouldn’t?) 😉 It wasn’t till after we married and he mentioned that he didn’t like the burlap banners I tacked above every window and bare space our smallish home possessed. (Think up to 6-8 hot-glued tool, burlap banners — haha.)

He left for work and I threw myself on our bed. I was so mad. So angry in fact that my thoughts startled me. They were vengeful and malicious.

I’ve since made James 1:20 my key, go-to verse when I sense emotions getting the better of me. Because, truth be told, my anger will never work God’s righteousness in my life — only sin. It doesn’t matter how justified I feel, how badly I’ve been offended or how deserving of punishment the offender is. Our anger will not work one once of righteousness in our lives.

Forgive and Bless

Ultimately, I’m responsible for myself and my emotions. Grumpy days will happen and when we assess the situation (figure out what’s really going on), communicate (but not attack), and recognize that wrath will only hinder God’s work in our life then it’s time to move on. It’s time to forgive and bless. 

The beautiful thing about forgiving our spouses when they act grumpy or hurt us is that it’s life-giving to both parties. When Dalton forgives me for being an emotional ball of negative energy and chooses to bless me he is not only breathing life into my life but his.

So, do the next thing. Forgive and bless. I once heard the advice of baking your husband’s favorite cookies when you’re struggling with negative emotions toward him. It’s good for us to give up on steaming and steeping over our spouses faults and move toward finding ways of encouraging and brightening their day.

It’s good for them and it’s really good for you.

This is from experience because I’ve been there. I’ve been angry and have wrought havoc because I refused to handle the issue correctly. Let’s grow in grace by being women and men of God who handle the grumpy days properly. Knowing that arguments do not equal divorce, assessing the situation, communicating and forgiving will bring joy to your lives.

I know because I’ve learned the hard way. Marriage is meant to endure conflict. Learn how.

Free Printable @ 800x800 px with AuthenticVirtue.com

Need a little inspiration when days get tough? Feel free to download and print this 8×10 inch freebie printable. I love this quote by Fawn Weaver. Click here for the link and enjoy.

How do you handle grumpy days in your marriage? Did the arguments surprise and/or scare you? What are your strengths in dealing with conflict? Your weakness? Let’s grow in grace and community — this is a safe place to share!

Love, blessings and coffee!

Frannie

3 Treasure-Filled Lessons Marriage Has Taught Me

Authentic Virtue

It’s been one beautiful adventure, my marrying Dalton. Today, we celebrate our 2nd wedding anniversary. For the last 731 days I’ve grown more in love with a man who is an obvious God-send.

Last year, I wrote a post titled 55 Things I’ve Learned After Being Married One Year. This year I feel a little less ambitious and long-winded. 😉 Here are my three most recent, most life-altering lessons marriage has taught me.

[pullquote width=”300″ float=”left”]It’s Okay to be Delighted In[/pullquote] Silly, isn’t it? We yearn to be loved but when the chance comes we freeze. Our minds swirl with dangerous ideas: no one could love me, no one could adore my faulty body, no one could find me irresistible — I’m not worthy enough. We push our husbands away and forsake their genuine, God-given delight in us.

Sweet one, stop. I’ve been there; I’ve doubted my husband’s words, ignored his truth and resisted being fully loved by him. I was afraid. It’s scary letting someone take full delight in you — they might find a flaw.

Dare to take the risk. Dare to fall into your Adam’s arms and dare to be his Eve. Believe that the love he has for you is the gift that it is and rejoice in it.

[pullquote width=”300″ float=”left”]It’s Okay to Love Fully[/pullquote] Okay, okay. I know this is strange. Somehow, in my single years, I developed the idea that it was wrong to be as in love with my husband as I am now. It wasn’t spiritual to make him my priority. It was embarrassing to be radiantly, happily in love. The vulnerability of having a person I’m loyal to above all made me sickeningly weak.

Crazy, right?

It wasn’t until I read Song of Solomon that I realized my error. We’ve been given permission to love our husbands fully — it’s good to be ravishingly, totally enthralled with our person. Love isn’t supposed to be conservative. It’s generously visable to the world.

[pullquote width=”300″ float=”left”]It’s Okay to be Weak  [/pullquote] Someone very dear spoke these words of life to me: receiving criticism doesn’t mean you failed, it means you have room to grow.

Marriage will reveal weakness. And, if you have an addiction to perfection like me, you can imagine the horror of having someone see you for the human that you are.

It’s okay.

Sweet friend, it’s okay to be weak. It’s okay to need forgiveness, restoration, and grace. That’s why Christ came. [pullquote width=”300″ float=”left”]And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.[/pullquote]

Two years married to a person who sees all my selfishness, greed and pride has been hard on the side of me that wants self-made righteousness — but it’s been good for the part of me that needs grace.

Reader, whether you’re married or not, I hope you know that it is okay to be delighted in, it’s okay to love fully, and it’s okay to be weak. When we learn to accept these truths life becomes treasure-filled; you may even wonder how you ever thought yourself happy before, these truths are that rewarding.

For a montage of our wedded bliss and a shot of us as a happy, watermelon-wearing couple, why not friend me on Facebook at Authentic Virtue Blog or on my own profile!

With love, blessings and one very happy, well-loved heart,

Frannie

Celebrating Us with Carnival Cruise + Eastern Caribbean

Hey sweet folk!

Three weeks ago my Darling Man and I flew south and embarked upon a glorious, fun 2nd anniversary trip (which isn’t actually until March 7th!). We just loved our seven day Carnival Cruise in the Eastern Caribbean. I only wish I had enjoyed it more! (And for you’re enjoyment click on the picture to see them up close.) 😉

We loved starting our trip by visiting wit Dalton’s aunt and uncle … they were so awesome and dropped us at the St. Louis airport at the crack of dawn (3 am!). We’re so thankful for you, Bob and Judee!

Oh, I also have to mention “Clubby,” the one-footed pigeon in the Fort Lauderdale airport; we loved being greeted by a tourist friendly bird. 😉

The ship was so beautiful. We sailed on the Conquest which housed … I think up to 2,000 visitors from all over the country. It was hard to choose what to do with the many pools and hot tubs, water slide, giant movie screen, live entertainment and music, and several restaurants.

We were so excited to get a suite — we decided that we were willing to pay to have a view! There were no regrets. Our room was beautiful and we really enjoyed our sweet room attendant, Aileen, who made our bed, turned down the sheets and always had our ice bucket filled up. I especially had fun squealing over her towel-animal creations; she was so talented! It was fun feeling like royals for a week! 😉

We sailed the first two days, and then visited one of the ports on Grand Turk (the capital of Turks & Caicos Islands). Such a lovely place! We went on an excursion where we snorkeled over a reef and then went to Gibbs Cay where sting rays were swimming around. I didn’t touch one but it was fun watching other’s squirm with them!

Before our trip was over we also spent a day at Amber Cove on the Dominican Republic and Nassau, Bahamas (which was my favorite).

What was our personal favorites on the ship? I know I enjoyed the coffee bar and since Dalton worked out at least 2-3 times a day I’d wager he enjoyed the gym. 😉

It was so special to spend my 26th birthday at on our cruise. Early in the morning we got a knock on our door where someone delivered Dalton’s surprise gift to me — a yummy chocolate cake and rose! He is SUCH a sweetheart! It was a lot of fun to spend the rest of the day docked in Nassau. We walked several blocks of the old, downtown area … I especially wanted to visit their library and my dear Dalton went to take me but we got lost among the old buildings!

This is where I have to stop and say how much more I wish I had enjoyed this trip. I had been feeling queasy most of our vacation (due to sea sickness, I think) but the day of my birthday ended with me spending several hours sick to my stomach. (What a waste of a perfect birthday cake!) 😉

Because of that I was a real party-pooper most of the trip. I’ve got to brag on my Man because all through the trip he continued to bless and encourage me despite my grumpiness. One of these vacations I’ll learn to take full advantage of it! 😉 Anyways, I have got one great man! Hearts!

IMG_4062I loved seeing D all dressed up for the elegant dinner on the 2nd day of sea. He’s such a stud!

I’m pretty sure all eyes were on us during the trip because of our (fairly) conservative appearance. More then once we were asked if we were Mennonite and which colony we came from! Haha!

I think that’s why I loved our “dressing up” night You can’t see it here but I had a beautiful, colorful hi-low skirt on paired with a black top and D looked super cute in his dress jeans, button up and black vest. We must have looked like very stylish Mennonites. 😉

p.s. I just have to ogle Dalton’s gorgeous beard! I love it when he can grow it out since work requires him clean shaven. Hahaha … oh, are you uncomfortable? But just look at how GORGOUS his manbeard is?! Okay, okay, I’ll stop. 😉 😀

IMG_4165

Overall, it was a splendid trip and I’m so glad we were able to go. Since we try to go on a big trip with each other every year I’m looking forward to next year’s anniversary itinerary. Next week I’ll have a packing list of what to bring on a cruise from my point of view.

Love, blessings and coffee!

Frannie

Why Introverts in Love are the Best Thing Ever

I can’t express the sweet quirkiness two introverts in love bring to the universe.

I mean, we introverts are already pretty cool.

But when introverted personalities choose to let someone into their personal, intimate lives, for better or for worse, I’m pretty sure the coolness multiplies past counting.

Why?

  • Introverts in love have homes they never want to leave because they’ve created havens of rest and refuge

Introverts need places of safety, places they can use to escape the loudness and pressure of the seeing world and be themselves. So, their homes are most likely their places of refuge. No two introverts’ space looks the same but the same quality they share is that their spaces are unique and reflecting the quirkiness deep within.

If you’re invited to the home of two introverts be prepared for something beautifully unique. It may be messy, eclectic, colorful or shabby but above all it will be a place of safe refuge full of personality.

  • Introverts in love are totally okay not going to the party …
It’s quite possible they’ll stay at home and enjoy each others company. If they’re like us they’ll play things like Minecraft, Scrabble and Star Trek episodes. If he’s a reader and she’s the artist they’ll have no problem quietly working on their individual interests, enjoying each other’s company and the knowledge that their better half is only a hallway away.
  • … But when they do they’ll bring a lot of uniqueness with them

When the darling couple do decide to face the world they’ll do it together and bring a lot of awesome uniqueness to the crowd. Next time you’re lucky enough to have an introverted, in-love couple in your home take the time to notice what they bring to the table. You may notice a lot of eye contact and inside jokes; they’ll share a bond and intimacy not many are allowed to participate in.

And, lest we forget, both will have their own set of unique quirks and humor which are bound to bring flavor to the party.

  • Introverts in love have no problem spending hours introverting together
 My introvert and I not only share a similar personality but our major love language, quality time, is also a commonality we share. And I love it! We literally do everything together and rarely get tired of each other.
  • But they also need an occasional “alone” day

So they may send the other off with coffee shop money and goodwill! 🙂

We’re both on vacation right now which  means a lot of great quality time; it also means very little alone time (something every introvert needs once in a while! 😉 ). So, D sent me off to do some of my favorite things today: go for coffee, stop by the library and visit my favorite shops on my own. He took the time to do what he does: play a video game, drink tea and simply be.

And as much as we enjoy our individual hobbies and alone time coming home to my introvert after hours alone in a coffee shop is my favorite. Being greeted, kissed and happily welcomed by the one person I allow this close is one of the greatest moments in the world.

I’ve met many introverts happily married to an extroverted spouse; these happy folk give thanks for the wonderful spice brought their way. It’s so awesome when opposites balance and bless each other. But the individuality between my introverted personality (IFSJ) and my husband’s (INTJ) also gives great balance and unique perspective … and that’s why introverts in love are the best thing ever.

What do you think? Have you met a couple of introverts in love? Are you an introvert married to an extravert? How have your personalities impacted your marriage? I’d love to hear your story!

Love, blessings and coffee,

Frannie