Live Each Day Like You’re Moving to Germany

In the past two weeks I have spent every spare moment trying to get in time with my family and friends. I have scheduled coffee date after coffee date, driven 9 hours to visit my brother in Florida (who has lived there two years, and I never visited once before), and countless hours back and forth between my home and school so that I can spend evenings with my parents. While I know that part of the reason I haven’t been able to do this before now is that I have had a lot of school responsibilities, the fact still remains – I have wasted a lot of time that could have been spent building relationships. 

I am so grateful for this month that has allowed me to spend such a great deal of time with my family and friends. I am treasuring every moment, because in many cases I am not sure when or if I will see some of these people again. I hope and pray that I do! But it takes two people to keep up a strong and healthy relationship from a distance.

I say all of this to encourage you – live each day like you’re moving to Germany in two weeks. The reality is that we don’t know when our last day will be. Just this week my aunt’s father was diagnosed with cancer. There is too much at steak in this life to live alone. For the longest time I have been a huge proponent of my “me time,” and I have neglected friendships that I could have been building up. Please don’t make the same mistake. Even if you are like me and could easily spend five evenings a week alone, make the effort to reach out. 

For myself, it has been really beneficial to make appointments with people and keep a calendar. It may seem crazy to have to set up an exact time for a coffee date two weeks away, but it helps me to know exactly what I have going on with who in the coming weeks. It is also refreshing to know that in reality not all of my time is being taken up with scheduled events. Even with all of the things I have going on, I still have plenty of time to read a book and refuel my introverted side. In a book called Never Eat Alone there is a quote by Margaret Wheatly that says,

Relationships are all that there is. Everything in the universe only exists because it is in relationship to everything else. Nothing exists in isolation. We have to stop pretending we are individuals that can do it alone. 

If it is a huge challenge for you to break out of your shell like it was for me (and still is some days), start small. Make it a point to spend intentional time with a friend or family member at least once a day. When we take the time to speak into someone’s life, we are investing in God’s kingdom.

Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work: If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up! – Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 

The Military Life Chose Me

Ever since I started dating Jason, I have had many people tell me that they could never be a military wife. I know what they are trying to say, and I certainly don’t take offense when I know that they mean well. They mean it as a compliment to me, or they mean it to be sympathetic to the challenges that we go through. But one thing that I have realized in thinking today about what it means to be a military wife (or husband, for that matter if you fall into that category) is that it is often not something that we chose. 

I didn’t choose to be separated from my husband for months at a time. I didn’t choose to drive back and forth from college to his house every weekend for a year just so that we could spend the day together. Of course I don’t want that. But I do want to be married to Jason, and I did choose to fall in love with him. I opened my heart to the possibility of love, and with that vulnerability comes the possibility of getting hurt. 

The hurt of being separated is strange. But I don’t think that it is any more strange than the pain of a loosing a spouse, or the pain of a sick child, or the pain of financial hardship. 

Jesus tells us that in this world we will have trouble, but to take heart because he has overcome the world. Right now my version of that means being separated from the one that I love most on this planet. But you have a version of this too. If you don’t, then you have not lived long enough. It will come. When it does, remember that there is a reason that you are going through these challenges. 

So no, maybe you would not choose to be a military spouse. But I bet that if you fell as deeply in love with someone in the military as I have, you would think twice about it. If you felt like God was leading you to be with someone in the military, you would think twice about it. Just because you don’t spend months away from those you love, doesn’t mean that your strength is less than mine.

Don’t belittle yourself. You are strong. Your strength does not look like mine, but it’s there.  My strength comes from God, and I know that without him I certainly could never be a military wife either. But here I am! And I am blessed a thousand times over because of it.

Fact or Fiction: Relationship Edition!

Okay, so I know I’ve been married only a little over a year so I may not be the most qualified to write this blog post. However, I’m definitely more qualified than someone who has never been married, and so I still think I have at least a little bit to bring to the table on the subject.

Before I got married, I really enjoyed reading romantic novels. I steered away from anything too steamy, but I looooved reading Francine Rivers, Lori Wick, Kristen Hannah, and I’ve even been known to pick up an occasional Janette Oak (notice that only women write these… hmm…). I loved the stories about handsome, God-fearing men who swept ladies off their feet by quoting scripture or cradling babies. COME on ladies… who doesn’t love a man holding a baby. Can I get a hallelujah? Just kidding. But seriously, the truth is that most of these stories are a little far-fetched. Now don’t get me wrong here, my husband is AMAZING. He is exactly what God intended for me to have, and he and I are like two peas in a pod. But there are certain expectations and standards that come across even in Christian fiction about the way that relationships should work. The reason is that the author is writing about the perfect relationship! No one wants to read about something that isn’t ideal. That is totally fine for fiction, but you have to realize that real life deals with imperfect human beings. So here are a few examples of things that differ slightly from movies and books on the subject of relationships, and my take on what actually happens!

#1: You will fall asleep every night in your husbands arms.

You will learn very quickly that you and your husband have completely opposite body temperatures. After about ten minutes of snuggling, I gotta get out from underneath the furnace and breathe a little. We would both die of heatstroke if we stayed in each others arms all night!

#2: You will spend your evenings reading the Bible together and discussing deep theological issues. If you’re not doing that, you’ll be playing board games together or watching the sunset.

One of the first things that I learned about marriage is that you do not have to entertain the other person all the time. You may be marrying your best friend, but after being in the same house with them for a few days you need some time to yourself! It is like any other relationship. Sure you will eat meals together and talk about your days. Of course you will still spend time with your husband, and you might occasionally play a board game, watch the sunset, or talk about spiritual issues. But it won’t be every night. And that’s okay! Some nights you’ll read a book while he plays video games, and some nights you’ll watch a movie. Trust me, I adore our date nights and the time that we spend together. But it really is totally normal just to do something on your own every so often.

#3. You never fight.

Not a chance. If you are in a healthy relationship, a little disagreement is going to happen now and then. And maybe even a few big ones! But the important thing to remember about conflict is to keep the communication lines open and always be willing to listen. That is easier said than done, but a little give and take will go a long way. Remember that pride may win a few arguments, but you’ll loose your partners heart in the process. /p>

#4: Husbands and wives are supposed to complain about each other behind the other person’s back.

I have noticed that a lot of TV shows these days feature a husband and wife who are constantly going behind the other’s back to talk about their problems with friends. I would strongly caution against this, except in extreme cases. There is absolutely no reason for you to tell all your girlfriends all about how your husband doesn’t pick up after himself, or doesn’t put the toilet seat down, or doesn’t do this or that. Oh by the way, I’m not talking about my husband here! Just listing examples. I would seriously challenge you to come up with a good Godly reason for complaining about your spouse. The truth is that if you complain about them to others, you will build up bitterness in your heart towards your spouse. I have seen it happen before, and you need to run from that! Instead, try the exact opposite. When your friends start complaining about their husbands, compliment yours. Always be on the lookout for the positive attributes of your spouse.

Now I will say that there are cases when you might need a friend to talk to if you need to figure out how to approach your husband in a difficult matter. However, however, however, this is a rare case. This should only be done with ONE very close friend who you trust not to spread gossip, and who you know will give you sound advice. And this should only be done after talking first with your heavenly Father to see what he has to say on the subject.

#5: Happily Ever After

This is probably the most common myth that we girls are taught from the time we heard our first fairy tale. You only hear about all the drama leading up to the relationship, but no one knows what happens after the prince and princess have their wedding! All we know is that they are supposed to live happily until they die. Allow me to let you in on a little secret. Marriage is not for the faint of heart. Marriage is hard. Marriage takes commitment, loyalty, and a whole lot of love. Marriage is also fun, and romantic, and can definitely be happy, but it is much more than that. Happiness is short lived and can change in the blink of an eye. However, joy is not. Joy comes from treating the other person with a 1 Corinthians 13 kind of love, not from flowers or chocolate or romantic kisses (although those are great too!!). Whenever I start to feel the pressure and whenever I don’t feel like loving, I think about 1 Corinthians 13 and I ask myself, “How do I love my husband right now in this moment.” The answer is this: be patient, be kind, do not envy him, do not boast about yourself, do not become prideful, do not speak rudely to him (or make rude gestures, or roll your eyes), seek his needs above your own, do not sweat the small things, do not keep track of the things he does that annoy you, and keep track of the things he does that are good. Always defend him, always trust him, always believe that he will do what’s right, and keep loving even when the going gets tough.

That is what love is. It’s not easy, and it’s not always fun, but I can promise you this: if you love like this, your love will not fade away with time. If you love like this you will be 80 years old and still be with the same person. Now THAT is what I call Happily Ever After.

Alright, that’s all for now folks! Hope you enjoyed the advice of a non-qualified air force wife 🙂

DIY Date Night In KC Town!

Alright, I’m behind on my posting for you guys back home! This isn’t really a traveling post or anything, but I thought I would share with you a fun little date that I planned for Jace and I in our apartment in KC Town!
So I started off my morning by getting to the store at 7am and discovering that it didn’t open until 9am. BAH! That was a fun 2 hours playing on my phone and drinking Starbucks (UM yes I said Starbucks…). But once it actually opened, I purchased tea lights, 2 inexpensive taller candles, and 2 round mirrors. Then I bought 2 cloth napkins at 1$ each, and splurged on a 10$ bouquet of flowers (really getting out there!).
And then the fun part began! I got home and made us 2 Strawberry Lime Sangrias and stuck them in the fridge to cool. This is the recipe I used. Well sort of… I have a confession. I totally bombed the whole cook the strawberries on the stove thing. So I just cut up some strawberries, a lime, and poured white wine into the glass. Then (close your ears wine snobs!) I added a squirt of MiO fruit punch! Yup. I did it. I probably broke about 10 cardinal cooking rules, but these babies tasted soooooo good… Oh and I also added Sprite. Haha!
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Okay, so next I worked on chocolate covered strawberries. Those are pretty self-explanatory so I won’t add a picture. Then I worked on a Apple Pecan Chicken Salad. I couldn’t find a recipe that had everything I wanted, so I just made up one.

Apple Pecan Chicken Salad
Makes 2 Dinner Servings
Romaine Lettuce cut up (I just eyeballed it.. I could not tell you how much I used)
Pink Lady Apple (3/4-1)
1/2 cup pecans
1 cooked chicken breast, cut into bite sized pieces
1/2 cup cranberries
1/4 cup blue cheese or gorgonzolla cheese crumbles

And after that I made a delicious strawberry dressing to go on top!

Strawberry Dressing
(2 servings)
3-4 strawberries mashed up with fork or blended
1-2 T olive oil
1/2 T lemon juice
dash of pepper
dash of salt

Let me be a little honest about my cooking methods. Half the time I don’t measure. I just eyeball everything. Seriously. It works out 99% of the time. If it doesn’t work out, I just add a little more of something else and even it out. Measuring cups are overrated. So it is hard for me to give you measurements for some of these things, but I am trying to give you somewhat of a mental idea of what might make a good combination. But hey, if you guys really like blue cheese, add more! These recipe is not etched in stone anywhere and the recipe police will not come knocking on your door if you get something wrong or try something different. If something doesn’t turn out how you like it, you’ll know for next time! No big deal. So here’s the salad before the dressing:
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I totally wanted to stuff my face in it right then and there.

AND VOILA! Here is the final spread with candles and all:
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No, I did not also make delicious and totally unhealthy bacon and cream cheese stuffed mushrooms… No, the recipe cannot be found here… *cough, cough*

So you too can make this yourself! If all the DIY is too intimidating, just get take-out and serve it on pretty plates! Play a board game afterwards, go for a walk, watch a movie, do a fun photo shoot, there are endless possibilities.