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,


My Top Springtime DIYs

Welcome, sweet people!

I’m enjoying a quiet day off with my Beloved man. And though our mid-Missouri town is cold and gray today I’m dreaming of future sunshine, green things and spring birds singing their hearts out.

I recently re-organized my Pinterest boards and found so many fun, budget friendly DIY’s I love. Here are six must-do projects I’m planning to do this spring:

[pullquote width=”300″ float=”left”]In the Garden[/pullquote]

House by Hoff DIY Rope Containers

We have little gardening space so I grow veggies and herbs in containers lining our driveway. Our pots are needing some tlc and I’m going to give them a beautiful makeover I’ll love! (link here)

Survival Life Egg Shell Seedlings

This spring, I plan to grow seedlings using the cardboard egg cartons and shells I usually throw out. My last two growing seasons I skipped starting seeds and our harvest was poor. This year will be different … and this budget-friendly idea will be adorable in the process! (link here)

[pullquote width=”300″ float=”left”]On the Balcony [/pullquote]

Golden Boys and Me No Sew Bench

Well, I don’t really have a balcony. We have a large parking space/driveway with a step area which houses our container garden and – my favorite diy of last summer – our $20 bench.

I love our bench — it’s adorable! This spring, I hope to make a bright cushion to join the bench. It’s time our rumps had something soft to sit on while outside. 😉 I love how adorable the seat cushion above is. (link here)

[pullquote width=”300″ float=”left”]Around the House [/pullquote]

Blick DIY Initial

It’s pretty amazing what you can do with scraps and smarts. I’ll be saving up cardboard tubes (from toilet paper) to make our last name’s initial for the front door. Of course, I could just buy one for $5 at Hobby Lobby on sale — but how handy is this? 😉 (link here)

Stone Gable Springtime Vignette

Spring is coming, and with it, my favorite way to freshen our home — bringing God’s natural handiwork inside. I already have a large jar, balls to cover with fabric, so now I’m waiting for fresh, blossoming branches to bring inside. (link here)

I Heart Organizing Dollar Store Rope Basket

Confession: I love shopping at Dollar Tree.

And I love that this DIY basket is fashioned from a $1 purchase. Organizing our home with cute baskets and totes is important to me but no matter how many times I drool over the Target’s bin selection I can’t bring myself to buy a basket for $40.

I mean, think of how many lattes a girl could get for that? 😉 Instead, I’ll set my hands to crafting something similar to above. After all, I already have the rope. (link here)

What is your creative heart dreaming of this Spring? Tell me in a comment below and I’ll be sure to reply. Also, Do you have a Pinterest board I’m not following? Share your username for all of use creatives to follow — after all, making things is more fun with friends! 🙂

Love, blessings and coffee,


7 + Reasons You Need Gal Pals

7 Reasons You Need to Make Friends

Welcome, sweet people! Settle in for a few minutes of hilarious, truthful admissions as I share, from my little, awkward heart, on the authentic beauty friendship brings.

But first you need my back story.

 Building friendships has been one of those tricky skills I’ve struggled to perfect. My introverted, easily persuaded, frightfully “what-if” personality has made reaching out and building genuine relationships difficult over the years … resulting in a lot of self-made loneliness, self-consciousness and pity parties.

After years of feeling misunderstood, forgotten and lonely, I all but gave up growing new relationships. I invested my whole heart in the few, beloved people I allowed in, mainly my wonderful family. Thankfully, 2015 pushed me forward.

(Getting married, moving from family, church hunting, beginning a new job and living in a new city does strange things to people …) 😉

And while I reserve the best friend slot for my Darling Man I’ve grown to appreciate the unique beauty and fun friendship other women bring.

Because …

Sometimes you need someone to who understands crying over the Phantom of the Opera soundtrack (sniff, sniff)

Cookie dough raids are better with women who are okay with you eating vast amounts of sugar … and then who sympathize about your extra poundage and acne without pointing a finger

Shopping Black Friday is more fun when you have an equally thrifty/crazy/sleep-deprived gal pal

Sometimes you just need a feminine friend to gush over your latest diy, décor victory (or rescuing Hobby Lobby clearance items and refurbishing them to glory)

Coffee shops are better frequented with someone who can talk marriage, blogs, and church history all in one day

Women friends will probably be okay with exchanging gifts in the same gift bag for years and years … just because its fun

Who else is going surprise you with wedding magazines, antique doilies, adorable plants, and peppermint lattes?

I could go on and on but, in truth, I’ve learned much from the women who I’ve grown in friendship with over the last two years. I’ve learned to be more authentic, brave and accepting.

I’ve learned that being who I was made to be requires me to be okay with reaching out, in all my awkward glory, and loving others. And I’m so thankful for the women who have taught me that.

How do you build relationships with other women? Has your personality (introverted or extraverted) impacted how you reach out? What has challenged you most when making friends?

Blessings, love and coffee to all you beautiful souls!


Making Marriage Fun

A Simple How-To: Make Marriage Fun

In just fourteen days I’ll be celebrating my 2nd wedding anniversary with my Darling Dalton. What a joyous gift marriage is meant to be!

Amazingly, our marriage is this strange mixture of feeling like we’ve only just begun and feeling like our anniversary number should be much higher then it is. Of course we’ve had hard days but those can be expected and we wade through them together, hand-in-hand.

Making marriage fun is one way we’ve been able to walk through the hard times with joy and smiles — learning to make fun with your man is something I encourage every committed, womanly soul to do.

[pullquote width=”300″ float=”left”]Laugh with your man [/pullquote] It’s incredibly simple. Laughing with your husband is one of the quickest ways to remembering who you married and why.

Life is hard, to-do lists long, and disappointments inevitable. But if you can remember to make time to giggle with your spouse over the kid’s funny sayings, belly-laugh together through a good movie, or dance a silly tango in the kitchen together you’ll be able to wade through the difficult times with a happier heart and a fresher mind.

Plus, your man thrives on your laughing with him. Have you noticed your beloved’s soul shriveling and withering? Reflect on how much laughter you’ve been sending his way. Husbands often love an audience but he wants his #1 fan to be the lovely creature he chose to wed.

[pullquote width=”300″ float=”left”]Kiss your Man[/pullquote] Have any of you ever forgotten to buy basic necessities like eggs, bread or toothpaste when you’re at the grocery store? Why? Because they’re the every day items you didn’t need to mark down on your shopping list. If you’re like me you probably think you’ll be able to remember to buy these every-day necessities.

(And, if you’re like me, you’ll always forget them unless you make a list!) 😉

Same goes for kissing. We women can get so busy conquering life that we forget to do the littlest things which make marriage grow, including making our men know they are loved!

Make your marriage fun by reviving the art of kissing. Kiss him in the morning, kiss him on his way out, kiss him when he get’s home and gross the kids out by laying good one on him before dinner. 😉

It’s fun, it’s memory-making, and it’s the perfect way to get his attention! 😀

p.s. If you need some inspiration do visit Sheila’s Ten Kisses Every Marriage Needs . It’s great!

[pullquote width=”300″ float=”left”]Be his Delight[/pullquote] I have a confession: some how I picked up this crazy idea that it was demeaning to me, as a woman, to pursue and enjoy being my husband’s delight. I felt like I was unfulfilled if I made his delight my priority.

Thankfully, this little lie didn’t last long in our marriage. God reveled to me that there is great delight in being my husband’s delight. It was a good thing to be enjoyable! 😉

This is the #1 way I would recommend to have fun within marriage. Learn to be enjoyable. No one wants to be married to a sourpuss, unthankful woman, unhappy woman. Enjoy the rewards of being your husband’s delight and, sweet woman, there are many! It may take time but choosing to be a delight to your man will strengthen and grow your marriage because it’s fun and perfectly wonderful.

How do you make your marriage fun? For all you wonderful single ladies tell me what you are looking forward to in making marriage fun. I love hearing from you!

Love, blessings and coffee,


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.


  • 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,