Our Second Anniversary

Two Years

Someone told me once that they thought the second year of marriage was the hardest because any infatuation is gone and any traces of the honeymoon phase have vanished. By the second year you’re left with who you are and you’re stuck with each other.

A little over a week ago we celebrated our second anniversary together! I cannot believe it has already been two years since we said “I do.”

In some ways it feels like it was just yesterday. Yet in some ways it feels like we’ve been married forever and I can’t remember what it was like before we were together. Both in the best way.

It has been two full, crazy, busy years, but they have been wonderful. We have moved several times, including across the world and back.

We have lived for extended periods of time with both sets of parents.

We lived in two apartments in Romania and a house in Mississippi.

We have traveled to five different countries and a host of states.

We have gone through pregnancy, childbirth, and many sleepless nights.

We have been together in sorrow and in joy; we have laughed together and cried together.

Two Things I’ve Learned

I’m pretty sure I’ve learned about two hundred things since getting married, but I’ll just stick to two for now. I have learned that marriage is hard but worth it, and communication is so important.

Marriage is Hard…

Sam and I were apart for nine months while we were engaged. He was in Romania living, learning, and spreading the Gospel, and I was in Florida completing my second year of college to get my AA. When we FaceTimed every morning (or afternoon for Sam—there was a 7 hour time difference!) we would read books on marriage and discuss them together. I remember one book in particular seemed to focus on conflict management. We finished it just for the sake of finishing, but we really didn’t think we needed it. Sure, we had our disagreements here and there, but they were all just miscommunication. It is hard to communicate perfectly when you’re separated by thousands of miles and a huge time change. When we got married and were together everything would be perfect, we thought.

Marriage IS wonderful and we love it, but it is not the perfect picture we had painted in our heads. Getting used to living with another person is hard. Discovering all your selfishness and faults, revealed by close living quarters is painful. Some level of conflict is inevitable.

Communication is Key

I recently told someone who was going into a long-distance relationship that communication is so important and I think having a long distance relationship teaches you that lesson very well. But I stopped myself. Did I really think mine and Sam’s long-distance relationship taught us how to communicate? Because sometimes communication is still a struggle.

I do think our time apart bolstered our communication skills. But it did not perfect them. Communication was difficult while we were apart and we thought everything would be better once we could just be together, but focusing on communication is still so important.

Just like we cannot build our relationship with God without intentional communication through Bible study and prayer, we continue to learn that building our marriage takes continual, intentional attention to communication.

…And it is all Worth it

We really have not gone through anything majorly difficult in our marriage, but what hardships we have endured have been worth it. Every hard time has taught us more about ourselves and each other and brought us closer together. Every difficult season has made us stronger.

It is all worth it.

Our Second Anniversary

Our second anniversary was simple, but it was lovely and one of my favorite days. Sam went to work and I took Mae to VBS (her first VBS!) that morning, and we were still unsure of our plans for the evening; we weren’t sure if we wanted to do something that night or another night.

Mama offered to babysit Mae, so we decided to go out for dinner that night. Then Sam called and said we needed to be home between 6 and 7, but he wouldn’t tell me why. So we ended up staying home and cooking supper together while Mae played on the floor. Then we lit candles and sat in our “big room” to eat supper.

Sam still wouldn’t tell me what his plans were, but right as we got ready to leave he asked me if I liked live music. Then I knew we were going to walk to the coffee shop downtown that has live music once a week, and it must be on Monday.

“That’s strange, no one is here,” he said when we reached the coffee shop. “I just thought we could hang out and relax together.”

The thought was still sweet, so I didn’t mind too much. We still talked to the owner and got coffee, and then Sam was ready to go.

“I thought we could go to Blue August and take a picture.” Blue August is the venue where we got married. When we got married two years ago I never would have imagined that someday we would live just half a mile away!

We were getting ready to take a picture outside when Sam told me to hold on a minute, went up to the door, opened it, and walked in!

“Sam! We can’t do this!” I exclaimed in horror, but he just laughed.

He had contacted the owner and she allowed us to go in and walk around between 6 and 7.

It was so sweet and so special to go back and see all the places from that wonderful day.

“This is where I got ready,” “This is where we waited to walk out.” “This is where we stood.” “This is where we had our first kiss!”

We walked back home and put Mae to bed, then we ate some of our frozen wedding cake and watched a movie (we were in Romania for our first anniversary so our cake was still frozen at home!).

It was all just about perfect.

Two years down, forever to go.

Hospitality: Why?

Why should you be hospitable?

You’ve spent hours cleaning your house, and there are still toys everywhere, dishes in the sink from your husband’s lunch, and you spot crumbs on the kitchen floor. Your baby is fussing and wanting to be held, but you still need to finish chopping a salad or making a sauce for the elaborate dish you’re making. What will my guests think of me if I’m still cooking when they arrive? If this sauce burns? If they see the crumbs on the floor or the dishes in the sink? If my baby is not perfectly happy when they step in the door? You begin to ask yourself a million questions, and stress and doubt begin to creep in.

You ask yourself, Why am I doing this?

The second time we ever had guests into our home after we got married, I asked myself this same question. I had only been in Romania for about two weeks, and I still didn’t know what I was doing. I agreed to have a couple over from the congregation one Wednesday night when I didn’t have anything in the apartment to cook, and the only food I had prepared was a spicy lentil stew, and Romanians typically do not like anything even slightly spicy. I was not comfortable with going to the store by myself yet, so Sam walked with me to get ingredients for soup and bread. Once the food situation was solved I began to worry about other things, such as how clean our house was, whether or not everything was in proper working order (such as the toilet or air conditioner), and of course, the fact that the couple only spoke Romanian, and I only knew two-weeks worth of the language.

I had a minor breakdown before we left to go to Bible study, wondering why I was doing this again?

First of all, being hospitable does not mean you must have a clean house or serve a fancy, elaborate dish. Second, there are many reasons for showing hospitality both for you and your guests. Here are just four reasons to overcome your stress, doubts, and worries and be hospitable.

  1. God commands us to show hospitality

There are direct commands and examples of hospitality throughout the scriptures, such as the example of Abraham in Genesis 18, and the command in Hebrews 13:12 to show hospitality to strangers in case we entertain angels as Abraham did. I Peter 4:9 tells us as Christians to be hospitable to one another without complaint, and Romans 12:13 also reminds us to be hospitable.

In addition to these examples, we can learn hospitality from the character of God. As Christians, our goal should be to imitate Him, and He is the perfect example of hospitality. He has created a beautiful earth for us and welcomes us into His family to partake in His feast, and He is preparing the ultimate home for us to welcome us into someday.

2. Hospitality is an excellent way to build relationships.

A wise Christian woman once gave me some advice on being a preacher’s wife, and she said whenever her family began working with a new congregation they made sure to have every family over for dinner at some point to get to know them. We implemented this practice in Romania, and we are trying to do it now (we’re still working through the list!) and I can attest to the truth of this advice. There is something about welcoming someone into your home and sharing a meal that bolsters a relationship.

3. Hospitality allows you to serve and grow.

Having people in your home is not easy. You may spend days cleaning the house or hours preparing food. You may only spend a few minutes on each. You may struggle with keeping the conversation interesting, continually checking to see if everyone is participating, or you may chat the evening away with ease. But no matter what, showing hospitality is a sacrifice and an opportunity for growth. It will not only bless those you welcome into your home; it will bless you and your family by giving to others.

Back in Romania, that second time I had people in my home when we left Bible study to eat together in our apartment the couple thanked us again and again, the excitement showing on their face. They stopped on the way to buy me a big bouquet of red flowers and ooed and aahed over our apartment. We figured out what to talk about and how to talk to each other, and they didn’t even laugh when I told them I was 12 instead of 20. When they left, they thanked us profusely and promised to have us into their home soon.

Our time together did strengthen our relationship, and the result was more than worth the stress leading up to it.

This is not an exhaustive list by any means, but these are the main three reasons our family continues to show hospitality.

Do you have any “whys” to add to the list? Why do you show hospitality?

Our Little Sunshine

“Mae, say mmmma-ma. Can you say ma-ma?” She just gives me a cheesy grin. “Da-da-da!”

“Say ma-ma-ma!” Again the sweet grin with upturned eye, her eyelashes nearly touching her eyebrows. She refuses to make a noise. As soon as I turn around I hear her sweet voice: “da-da-da! Ga-ga!”

She babbles all day long, and even though she won’t say “mama,” I think it’s the sweetest noise in the world.

Mae is growing so fast, so I thought it might be time for another Mae update.

Mae is doing great in the world of eating solids! I puree most of her foods, but she is getting started with finger foods as well. So far her favorites are toast, cantaloupe, and cucumber. She will eat just about anything if I feed it to her from my own fork! It is funny how she will act like she isn’t hungry when I give her something from her plastic baby spoon, but she will gobble up the same food from my fork, especially if I let her sit in my lap instead of the high chair.

She also loves smoothies! She will drink from a cup or from a straw. Again, these are her preferences over a baby spoon 😉

Mae is quite an active baby. She can move all across a room, though perhaps not in the most efficient way. She is so close to crawling. She hasn’t figured out the proper coordination with both of her legs, but I keep saying she’ll figure it out any day now. She certainly gets closer and closer every day.

She is busy all the time, but sometimes I still get precious moments like this when she sleeps on me. Mae has the sweetest personality and she is already so loving, joyful, and generous (she’ll try to put whatever toy she’s been chewing on in my mouth to share). She’s growing too fast, but it is such a delight to watch her grow and develop.

She’s our little sunshine girl!