The 7 Year Itch

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Tony and I are celebrating our 7 year anniversary of marriage today, January 9th. It’s hard to believe that 7 years will have passed since we said I do on that very cold, January day in the little chapel at First Baptist Dallas. It was a very exciting day full of celebration, love, and anticipation as I waited *patiently* for a little less than 5 years for the day I officially became his wife. The ceremony was at 2:30pm, and we were announced husband and wife, roughly 30 minutes from that minute. We walked down the aisle hand in hand, into marital bliss!

I just looked up “7 year itch” in google, as I’ve heard it many times before but thought it had something to do with boredom, giving up, or staleness. This is what Wikipedia said:

The seven-year itch is a psychological term that suggests that happiness in a relationship declines after around year seven of a marriage.[1] The phrase originated as a name for irritating and contagious skin complaints of a long duration”

Isn’t that just a beautiful picture of love?!

Tony and I started our marriage off in Nashville, TN. I was just finishing up my last semester in school, and since he had just moved up to the area the summer before, he was working at Jersey Mikes (sub shop) just to have some sort of income coming in. He also picked up some sound jobs as he was trying to establish himself all over again in the Tennessee entertainment business. We made simple dinners (mostly of chicken or spam and rice), went on a lot of walks, and our date nights were mostly at home renting a $1 Red Box movie for the weekend. I graduated in May of that year, took a temp job at the music publishing company I had interned at, and the good Lord blessed me with a full time job in June in the music business industry. We went to Chipotle to celebrate.

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Tony started to pick up more sound gigs, dropped Jersey Mikes and was able to focus more on the sound engineer positions. Eventually we moved to downtown Franklin, TN through a Craigslist ad and lived in tiny, yet adorable, loft above a dentist office right on the square. Tony built an island to go in our kitchen area, and shelves for our dishes. We didn’t have a dishwasher so we hand washed everything and had to wait for the hot water to build back up after about 20 minutes, or Tony would have to take a break because the way the roof line was, he was always in an awkward position. We indulged a little more on coffee dates, and trying to new restaurants as Tony started to build his resume in TN, and we were within walking distance of a lot of good stuff. We found a village (small group) through the new church we had been attending (Journey), and found community. Tony mostly worked at the Franklin theater on the square while also picking up out of town corporate or sound gigs, while I moved into a different position with the same company I had started with.

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We moved out of our cozy little loft after about 2 years, and moved back into a regular apartment. It was the nicest places we’ve lived in since we moved to Nashville, and some good friends had moved into the same apartment (that’s how we found it), and were able to walk/drive over for visits. We got a dog! Tony had successfully established himself in the Nashville scene and picked up a lot more gigs, a lot of them out of town tours, or late night shows. I had found an amazing community/family from my work, and we had gotten to know our village group a lot more, enjoying the vulnerability and life sharing.

Just when it seemed like everything was going really well, we decided to make the move back to Dallas to be near family with our little one on the way. We moved in with my parents in January of 2014, and I had no job. Tony toured for 3ish months that Spring, and I cried a lot. We welcomed Nella in July of 2014! Tony had to re-establish himself in the Dallas market, taking more installation jobs. He got back in touch with a company he had worked with before moving out to Dallas and started to pick up more gigs through them. The good Lord, again, blessed me with a full time job that was 15 minutes away from my parents house, with wonderful people to work with. Tony picked up a few more freelance jobs, as well as out of town corporate jobs that allowed him to travel, even internationally. I received a promotion at my job and very happily accepted. We have been blessed again, as we were able to purchase our first home just 2 minutes down the road from my parents, two and half years since we moved back. Tony received a full time position at the company he had been working with since we’ve been back.

And here we are, 7 years later, in our first home, with our 2.5 year old daughter, and silly 4 legged fur baby.

Over these last 7 years, we’ve definitely had our share of arguments, disagreements, and difference of opinions. We don’t see eye to eye on every single thing, and I absolutely try to persuade him to thinking that my way makes completely more sense than his way. I’ve learned that I kind of really like things a certain way around the house (i.e. how to put dishes in the dishwasher, no shoes in the house). I’ve learned that I think it’s OK if I get upset about something with him but it’s just wrong if he gets upset about something with me. I realized I really don’t like when he goes out of town, even if he truly enjoys it and especially gets to travel to cool places…it was hard for me to be completely happy he had this opportunity. I’ve found out that I love eating out, while he loves a good home cooked meal. I’ve learned how to communicate what I was feeling instead of giving the silent treatment.

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I’ve also realized I love going on walks before or after dinner just around our neighborhood. We learned we both really like good coffee and coffee shops. When we travel, chain restaurants are off limits and we love going to local spots to eat and when we are by the ocean, we have a rule of not eating any land animals. Only the freshest fish! We’ve started to read a chapter in Proverbs together at night before we go to bed and pray together. We like to tag team on Saturday morning making breakfast, I make the main meal and he makes the coffee, and other sides. We love watching crime tv shows together! We keep no secrets, no matter how small, big, dumb they are. We’ve learned to communicate in a way that the other person can receive and interpret. We’ve realized each other’s love languages. We love hosting and love to have people over for a meal or dinner party or holiday party. He truly enjoys my cooking and baking! We never go to bed angry. He is the most patient person I have ever known. His style has evolved, which has made it easy and fun for me to shop. We love to travel together and explore new towns/cities together. We’re really proud of our budget and plugging away at our student loans. We’ve encountered Jesus and His people in the most authentic way that we never have before. We’ve learned to be our own family, moving away from Dallas. We’ve learned marriage is WORK but so worth it.

I think it’s pretty safe to say there are no signs of a 7 year itch here. There’s a lot that we have gone through and learned in just a few years, and as we move forward into our 7th year I cannot wait to see how our lives unfold. As we are now responsible for a human (and animal) life, our lives have been changed once again and we are not the same as when we first got married. And our love for each other has truly grown since that moment in ways we didn’t know was possible. We absolutely still go through our struggles and differences, but WOW, the Lord is so good to us and to our marriage.

There is truly nothing better than being married to your best friend. So, my love, cheers to 7 years and here’s to 77 more!

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So what are you guyses hopes and dreams?

That’s one of my favorite movie lines from “Never Been Kissed” and it’s not even a super memorable or witty line. It’s just the way Drew asks the girls that, so full of hope herself.

But 2017..what do I hope for 2017?

What I hope for 2017 is world peace.

I’m just kidding…sort of. Because honestly, this world needs peace and a good shaking.

But I don’t plan on making New Years resolutions, mostly for fear of failing them, but hopefully they are just “lifestyle changes” that are not temporary. Here are a few lifestyle changes I hope to make:

To stop comparing myself and my life to others. We live in a world where we are glued to our glowing screens, scrolling through picture after picture, post after post. I am completely and fully aware and absolutely admit that sometimes I get immediately jealous of either a perfectly staged picture of someone’s fresh new house décor or their perfectly toned arms or beautifully baked pie. But WOW, how unhealthy is it to live against the glass screen attached to our hands. I don’t think it’s wrong to have Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter. I don’t think it’s wrong to post pictures, like pictures, or admire pictures. I do think it’s wrong to decrease the value of our life based on what we scroll through. Each of our lives has its’ own struggles and trials, but it also has its’ own wonderful aspects that don’t need to be compared to. We’re all in different stages of life and a mom of 3 trying kids, can’t look at her single friend partying all night and sleeping in the morning thinking “HER LIFE IS AMAZING”. Because it’s simply not true. I mean her life might be amazing, but not in the way you’re thinking because she’s literally just in a different stage of life. God has placed certain people, certain circumstances, certain situations in each of our lives for a specific reason and we go through life with our own ups and downs and blessings and curses. We cannot compare what we have or don’t have to others. And this is something I constantly have to remind myself of. Our worth should not be compared to others. We all have our own, individual strengths and weaknesses that beautifully make up who we are and that is something SO incredible that we tend to overlook. And side note..I realize this is not a problem for everyone. And I truly admire you all, and hope to get to that place sometime soon! Now..does that mean I’ll never let the green monster of jealousy get the best of me? No. I’m human. But I do want to be aware of my thoughts the next time I scroll through social media. To remember that my identity does not rely on what I see or what I imagine. And that who I am, is ME, wonderfully and beautifully made by the Lord.

To be healthy and active. Tony loves being outdoors. If we could, he would probably choose his home of choice as somewhere that has endless access to bike paths, hiking trails, grass. He loves being active and doing, and moving. He could camp for days on end. Or..well..maybe at least a few nights, because his ole’ back does love his own bed. And while I enjoy a nice walk here and there and love to be out in the beautiful scenery…I also love binge watching my favorite show on Netflix or could be completely content being indoors for more like two days straight. So to compromise in our marriage, I hope to be more active. To take Rhody on more walks with Nella, and if Tony’s schedule allows..having him come with us. I hope to chose a bike ride over TV show. And to go along with that, to be more cautious of what we eat. I’m not saying going out and buying only organic ingredients but to eat with intent and not out of boredom. To indulge in things that are good for our body, along with things that aren’t necessarily good for you BUT OH SO GOOD (all in moderation, right?!). But I think above all just to know what we eat, especially with Nella. It really is truth that if you eat awful, you won’t feel like being active. But if you fuel your body with good and healthy stuff, you’ll want to go on that walk after dinner, or play outside for that extra hour. It’s also a great chance to connect with another human being when you take a walk around the neighborhood, or when you travel and explore new paths in new cities. To chose dates or family days that have some sort of activity and not just trying out a new restaurant. 🙂 Gotta keep moving, right?!

To read more. And journal. Reading is always on my new years list. I actually have a huge stack of books that I have acquired over the year(s) that I can’t wait to read but I’m much slower than I’d like in getting through my books. And it’s not because I’m a slow reader but I tend to do something else than dive into the book at times. Like browse on my phone or something random. I LOVE reading, and I would love to read all the books that are stacked up! A lot of my books now are more non-fiction/study/think-outside-the box books. Since I’ve finished up my Twilight and Hunger Games series (don’t judge..) I’ve gone in the direction of the more life-application, brain food path of reading. I’m still trying to finish up the last book in the Divergent series, so I still love a good story..but also very much appreciate the real, nitty-gritty, thought -provoking reads as well.

I am currently reading these books and I loving them so far!:

“Allegiant” – Veronica Roth (trying to finish this up considering the movie is already out)

“A Kingdom Called Desire: Confronted by the Love of a Risen King” – Rick McKinley (I am loving this so far. It’s not an intense read where I feel live I’ve stepped into a theological class at seminary but every chapter I ended up with those OK THAT’S GOOD moments. Highly recommend)

These three I alternate between, as they’re not totally connected chapter books:

“One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are – Ann Voskamp; “On Becoming Toddler Wise – Gary Ezzo, Robert Bucknam (Note: I do not base my parenting on books, but this one has a few good points, as their other book “On Becoming Baby Wise”); “My Utmost for His Highest” – Oswald Chambers (a daily 1 pg devo)

I currently have these, among a few others, waiting to be read:

“Audacious” – Beth Moore (I actually just got this for Christmas a few days ago but I’ve heard so many good things about it so it’s at the top of my stack)

“Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear” – Elizabeth Gilbert

“The Meaning of Marriage” – Tim Keller

“Chasing Francis” – Ian Cron

And of course…I have quite a few more books still on my wish that I’ll need to acquire..but I guess I should “crack open a book” of mine that I have now.

I have also always loved journaling. I’ve written in a diary since elementary school, that mostly went into online blogging in high school, and now back to writing in an actual journal from college till now. Writing out my thoughts, fears, hopes, prayers, and dreams is so therapeutic and helpful! It clears my mind and gets it in the right mindset. It’s also nice to go back through my past entries and see what I’ve been through and how much I’ve grown and stretched. The past year or more than that I haven’t been as diligent in my journaling and I want to make it my goal to journal more as it also is part of my quiet time with the Lord.

Try new recipes. So this could be considered my “New Years Resolution” if I wanted to make one, because this could be a fun one. Since I have my own kitchen again, and a couple of new cook books, I’m SO excited to try out new recipes throughout the year. I also look forward to practicing a lot of my baking methods and hopefully making more scratch-made items (i.e. crusts, breads, sauces..)

So cheers to 2016 and I pray your 2017 is a year of love, growth, and beautiful things. May you be healthy, stay safe, and do good.

 

 

New York, New York!

On the first day of November, my mom and I took a quick little trip to the Big Apple. Fall in New York City is beautiful, and busy. The leaves have turned, shops are in between their Autumn décor into Christmas window displays, and the streets are full of Manhattanites. Southwest Airlines had an AMAZING sale that was too good to pass up – $39 one way from Dallas to New York. So with the blessing of our spouses, we were able to make it a mother and daughter trip!

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We boarded the plane on a very warm Tuesday in Dallas and arrived to New York with a refreshing wind to greet us. We were also able to find a great deal on a clean, and convenient hotel located in Manhattan about a few blocks from Times Square and a block from Grand Central Station. The day we got in, we wasted no time after checking in and dropping off our luggage. The first stop we hit was food – Shake Shack. And then to Bryant Park for the magical winter village they just started setting up. It was a beautiful night for watching families ice skate outside, with Christmas music in the air. This was THE SCENE I always had in my head whenever I thought of the holidays in New York. The last time I went to New York it was the beginning of December and it was MUCH colder, so this time it was nice to enjoy being outside without freezing our butts off. We ended the night with a quick walk through the New York Public library and headed over to the Top of the Rock to take in the beautiful city lights at night. The library was absolutely gorgeous with all the detailed architecture and design. I’ve seen it in a lot of movies and it was every bit beautiful seeing all of it in person. My only regret is that I didn’t think to do Top of the Rock during the day time since it’s known for its gorgeous Central Park views…especially with the leaves changing!! I guess we can leave that for next time 🙂

 

 

Our first full day in New York started at 6:30 the next morning. We were able to reserve tickets to The Chew. The weather, by the way, was absolutely wonderful the entire time we were there. I think it was a tad bit warm for that time of year and to me, but it was sunny clear skies pretty much the entire time. So when we got to ABC studios, we had no problem waiting outside for a little bit before they escorted everyone inside. There was another 15 minutes in the audience holding room and then we were all ushered into the actual studio. It was so much fun! There is a coordinator that really does tell us when to laugh, clap, OOOO and Ahhhh. He was probably one of the most energetic people I have ever met. I guess you need that energy for that job! But wow..I was exhausted when it was all said and done. I heard that we did get a little bit of screen time when the episode aired the next day 😉 After the taping, we walked to a nice little brunch place. What I love about New York is trying all the local eateries and coffee shops around the city. I truly love eating and drinking my way around the City just because I love finding places that are different, not a chain, and places that locals love. We enjoyed brunch in the warmth before we ventured off to our next adventure. A walk through Central Park.

 

 

Central Park is one of those places you could absolutely spend the whole day at. Not only because of its’ size but because of the beauty and peacefulness of it smack dab in the middle of the bustling city. We walked through the park and made it to The Mall and Literary Walk. It’s one of those iconic areas that we see a lot in the movies and tv shows. Park benches lined up on both sides of the pathway, perfect for a moment to rest and listen to the sax player delivering classic tunes, echoing up and down the path. While my mom rested, I walked around the area, taking in all the vendors and people and the fountain at the end of the path that overlooks the boathouse restaurant I’ve seen in so many movies. It was the perfect little rest stop to just enjoy the beauty.

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After that we headed back to the hotel to get ready for the night. On our way to Times Square, we walked past and through the St. Patricks Cathedral. I’m always amazed at the architecture and design and detail of these beautiful, majestic churches. It’s another landmark where pictures don’t do it justice (unless you have a very nice, very expensive camera). From there we went ahead and headed to Times Square to do some shopping and find a dinner spot before the show. We found a sushi spot that we caught the tail end of Happy Hour for and was seated right away. As the hour went on, the restaurant started filling up with hungry patrons and it was nice to be able to enjoy our meal in the corner and people watch.

That night we went to see “Something Rotten!” at the St. James Theater. We got a couple of good seats for a great price and it was a pretty good show! It was witty and cute and a great end to the day, with a quick stroll through Time Square at night. It’s hard to believe thousands and thousands of people will be packed in for the New Years festivities!

For our last full day, we ventured out to the south part of Manhattan. It was a gloomy and cold start as we headed out to the 9/11 Memorial. The somber tone actually felt a little fitting to remember those who’s lives were lost on that day. But through tragedy, hope and strength eventually follow, and that day I was reminded of that.

We warmed up inside while we took a tour through Eately! Soooo much good food and treats and what not. After that, we took the subway to the Brooklyn Bridge..because in my opinion, no NY trip is complete without a stroll on that Bridge. And then of course to reward our good walking, we had lunch at Lombardi’s pizza. PERFECT way to fuel up, warm up, and rest. The rest of the time we strolled through Little Italy, Chinatown, and made our way back up to Union Square where we found a delicious Thai and Vietnamese place for dinner for our last night in the city. Afterwards, we stopped by an adorable and delicious dessert shop and happened upon a little BEATBOX show in Union Square. Seriously…#lifegoals.

The weather was so great for a nice stroll after dinner!

For our last morning in NYC, we went back to Central Park. It was such a beautiful morning and we just had to go through the Park one last time. We took the subway to Madison Ave and walked by all the cute little shops we couldn’t afford on the way to the park. And surprise! My mom treated us to a pedi cab ride through the park. It was so fun and a great way to get around the Park in a short amount of time. They were also getting ready for the NY Marathon that weekend, so it was fun to see everyone out and about. After that, we took cab to ABC Kitchen where we were meeting one of my classmates from ELEMENTARY and JUNIOR HIGH from SAIPAN! WOW. What a blast from the past. We met Steve (or Byung is how I knew him) for lunch and we had so much fun catching up on life from the last 15 years and reminiscing on memories. I was so happy we were able to meet for a little bit!

 

After lunch, we headed back to the hotel, got on the blue shuttle and headed to the airport.

Wheewww! What a trip! We packed a LOT into the little time we had in NYC and the best part was being able to make it a mother/daughter trip and explore the city with my mom. We had a lot of laughs and I’ll always remember this trip as a special one! Maybe we can make it a yearly tradition? J If not, it will always be a special memory in my book of life. So thankful to our supporting husbands and loving us well by letting us go on this trip. It was SUCH a blast and can’t wait to be back! There’s so much to do in New York, we’ll have to go a few times to do everything we want 😉

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Another year in the books

As I start to write, I don’t really know where I’m going with this post. All I know is that I haven’t written in about a year and 2016 is on the very edge of being over. In six-ish weeks, we will be bringing in 2017. Can you believe it?! I can’t.

This year has gone by so fast. I actually have a draft of Nella’s 1st birthday that I never got around to posting. So that’s a testament to how fast time truly does fly. So before the end of 2016 gets the best of me, maybe this post will be a recap of life since then…

Yeah, sounds good.

Life since the end of 2015…

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January 2016, we were very fortunate and blessed to take a trip to Hawaii to visit family. It was particularly special because my mom came along with us. We took off on a Wednesday, and Tony, Nella, and I came back a week and a half later. It was SUCH a fun trip. We came back with a little one that the Aunties hoped we would have. A family gathering was planned for everyone to get together to eat, talk story, and visit. Nella got to meet so much family that it could’ve been overwhelming. She took it all in though! And warmed up to a few family members that were more her size. The rest of the Hilo trip was filled with beach time, day trips, family visits and hanging out in the sun. Towards the end of our trip, Tony and I were able to leave Nella with my mom and her sister/family, while we jumped on a plane to the island of Kauai. We had about 2 ½ days on the island, just the two of us! And to this day, I don’t take that time or the ability to do that for granted. It was a time to reconnect as just the two of us, enjoy each others’ company, enjoy food without having to entertain a certain little eater, and just be US. We left Hawaii relaxed, rested, and not ready but willing to head back to reality in Texas.

Spring 2016, we bought our first house! When we got back to Texas, our next adventure was house hunting. We called up a realtor that was related to a good friend back in TN and started the house hunting process. I didn’t know how ridiculous it would be. Ridiculous as in the price of a house increased QUITE a bit since we last looked. Ridiculous as in, if you found something you like, you put a bid in it THAT DAY for way more than it was. Ridiculous as in…our offer was finally accepted on a house about 2 miles down from my parents, in the area we wanted, and had a lot of features that we really liked. We closed in April, painted, cleaned, tore down a wall, and renovated for 4 months before we officially moved in the first weekend in August. So far, we have already experienced a few hiccups but hey! That’s home ownership. And we are very, very happy to have our home and extremely thankful to be a home owner.

Summer 2016, we went on our first annual(?) Williams family vacation! We all loaded up across Texas, and from TN and met in the middle in Heber Springs, Arkansas. 10 adults and 4 kids in a big ol’ cabin in the woods for 3 full days. We ate, ate, ate, played games, went on walks, went to the ‘beach’, and most of all, enjoyed an ample amount of family time all together. We all don’t get together as one whole family very often at all since we are spread across 3 different states, currently (Texas, Utah, and Tennessee). It was especially fun for me to see Nella play with her cousins. I look forward to these vacations year after year, as we continue to add to the Williams clan (no, I’m not pregnant), and make new memories.

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So here it is..fall into winter of 2016. Two of my best girl friends have also gotten engaged recently, so the weekends are filling fast with bridal showers, bachelorette parties, dress fittings, and other various wedding festivities. I also know a few lovely ladies who will be bringing in a bundle of joy either for their 1st or 2nd time within the next several months. So I would say life right now is busy but oh SO fun and exciting!

The one constant? The Lord is steadfast, and He remains unchanged. Through lifes ups and downs. He remains a rock. Through all the joy and celebration, and through all the sorrow and pain. He does not let go. And through another presidential election…He is unshakeable (And that is about the extent of my political discussion). Month after month, year after year, I am constantly reminded and thankful for a God that HEARS me, that He does not shutter in fear or the unknown…but that HE knows all. I cling to hope for friends who have trudged through a loss, that out of deep heartache, grows beauty and hope. I pray to a God who has risen and defeated death and is ALIVE and who truly desires a relationship with little old me. I lift my voice and hands and worship a Father who pours out unconditional love. Who knows I am far, far, FAR from perfect, yet accepts, welcomes, LOVES me through my imperfections.

So as we close out 2016 and enter 2017. I pray that you know this too. That you ARE loved and you ARE cherished. I also pray that we be kind to one another. There will always be disagreements. There will always be opinionated arguments. There will always be tragedy. Because the world does not stop turning and no matter how hard we try, evil seeps in sometimes. But…what can keep us going is showing love. Serving one another. Encouraging. Reaching across the dividing line and extending that hand to others.

One common denominator for sure between all of us? We’re all human. How amazing would it be to unite in that fact for the good, for the positive, for the sake of our children who grow up in this world…

So I pray that 2017 is good to you, and that you are good to it.

The end of 2015

I think it’s been nearly a year (well almost but not quite) since I last wrote and what’s funny is that I have a draft sitting on my desktop about Nella’s 1st birthday back in July! The year keeps speeding up as we get older and life is filled with different events and happenings. Here we are at the end of 2015, about to get ready for 2016 with all of it’s newness and readiness. Ready to make 2016 THE year.

What 2015 has taught me was to be in the present. I feel I’m very much a planner. It might not show up in my every day life, but that I like to see things a week from now, a month, a few months from now. I like to have little milestones through the 12 months of the year so being in the present can sometimes get away from me. But now, especially having Nella, being in the present is a gift in itself.

About a month after Nella’s first birthday, we all went on our first real family vacation. I say real because the very first time we travelled as a family was when Nella was just about 4 1/2 months old and she basically slept, squirmed and chilled the entire time. This time she was 13 months old and walking and toddling and taking everything in. We ventured off to Portland, Oregon and Seattle, Washington for a week. Tony and I had never been there before and we have always wanted to go, so right around Christmastime last year purchased Virgin Air tickets and booked our AirBnB’s for our two locations. We spent 2-3 days in Portland and the rest of the time in Seattle. It will probably go down as one of my favorite trips so far.

Everything was unfamiliar in the most beautiful of ways. Traveling with a baby toddler, trying out an AirBnb, adventuring through uncharted lands of lush greens and majestic mountains. We certainly were far, far away from Texas. And it was so wonderful. Nella did AMAZING throughout the whole trip. She did great flying and since everything we did while we were in the PNW required driving at least 2 hours she was in her car seat a lot and she was a trooper. By the end of the trip she realized she didn’t like being put in her car seat but she would suck it up and remember she loved staring out the window once we hit the pavement. The scenery was beautiful and the culture was so different. One of my greatest joys was seeing it all through Nella’s eyes. She took EVERY. SINGLE. THING. in and truly appreciated it. She was fascinated. Perplexed. Awed. It was so fun just watching her explore this big world around her.

It was a busy trip but such a good one for all of us. It truly reminded me to be in the present. Of course, we all can’t have epic trips all the time to put us in that mindset but it is really is so important to be in the present.

Psalm 118:24, ESV “This is the day that the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.”

This verse is one that I’ve heard a lot and such a ‘simple’ verse but I love it. Because it tells you exactly what we should be doing. Rejoicing for THIS day. When I stop to think about what this verse is truly saying, I realize that this specific day is one that the Lord has made. I wake up and the day as begun and it began with the Lord’s creation. HE has opened my eyes. HE has given me life. HE has given me movement. And I REJOICE.

It’s so easy to get wrapped up in the weeks and moments and busyness of life that we forget to stop and be GLAD in today. Especially now that we’ve hit the holiday season, November-December just FLIES by. We had a Christmas party at the beginning of December and I was busy getting ready for it the couple hours leading up to it and the house was buzzing as people came in but there were a few moments where I stole myself away and just thanked the Lord for the people he’s put in our life and at this moment we were just rejoicing and fellowshipping and enJOYing each others’ presence. 

So as we start to wrap up this year, I pray that these last few weeks and going into 2016 are filled with beautiful moments. Moments that bring you joy and celebration. Rest and Rejoice in the Lord!

2014

What better way to start 2015 (or 3 months in..) with a reflection post of 2014.

2014 was a big year for us, no doubt about that. We started the new year in Tennessee and ended it in Texas. The beginning of 2014 was bittersweet. We moved from our home of 6-ish years to our home state at the end of January. There were a lot of “see you laters” between my work, Tony’s work, and our church families. BMI had a little baby/going away dessert reception that was a surprise. Our sweet, sweet friends threw us a going away texas bbq dinner. And our church family prayed over us in our last service.

Moving back to Texas was and still is an adjustment. We moved into my parents house, to save money as I didn’t have a job lined up and just to help save money for a house. I was in my 2nd trimester and Tony just booked up his spring plans with a tour. I applied for a few jobs but never got one, which I was actually thankful for because it allowed me to rest and get ready for our baby girl.

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The spring felt like eternity to me since I wasn’t working and Tony was on the road full time from February to April. It was a blessing because that was our main source of income as I wasn’t working, but it was a little lonely at times since he was out traveling so much. In May I was able to tag along on one of his work trips and we made it a mini babymoon.

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Summer time came and the heat welcomed us with open arms. I am so thankful I was due more in the beginning of the summer than in August or September. Once Tony was home, we began working on the nursery. We antique shopped and craiglisted for several items that included her dresser, nightstand and crib. We were able to paint her room and furniture and put it all together. I love the way her nursery turned it out. It was a mix of old and new, Tennessee and Texas and full of love. That last month of my pregnancy, I would go in there a lot and just sit in the rocker imagining how life would be with a baby. I knew I would be spending a lot of time in that rocker for the next couple of months at least.  I day dreamed of what our daughter would be like. I couldn’t wait to see what she looked like.

Nella was born two days before my actual due date and it was a beautiful weekend to have a baby. She just turned 8 months this past weekend (a new post coming soon) and I can NOT believe it. This past summer was filled with newness and sweetness. We became parents to a beautiful baby girl and began a new chapter in our story.

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In the start of the fall, Tony booked himself on a 2-3 week international gig. My mother-in-law traveled to Italy for a month. My parents went on an alaskan cruise and vacationed around the united states for a month. It just so happened, all these trips happened at the same time and it was just Nella and I at home.  I learned a lot during this time together. I had been pretty anxious about this week or so alone with her because just before this, she hadn’t been sleeping through the night, which meant I hadn’t either and it started to take a toll on me. But just when I thought I didn’t know how I’d be able to take care of her by myself, she started sleeping through the night and looking back, I’m so thankful for that time alone. She relied completely on me to take care of her and I welcomed that opportunity. I kept reminding myself that she wouldn’t be that little forever and this was a sweet sweet time that would go by all too fast. She was amazing during that 1 week. She slept through the night, kept to a pretty good schedule and was just learning how to smile, so her sweetness level jumped even higher. But I will say, I didn’t do it alone. A few of my dearest friends would come over in the evenings so that I could shower and walk Rhody, keep me company and/or would stay the night so I wouldn’t be alone. I am SO thankful for these sweet friends that took their time to help serve my daughter and I.

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After Tony and my parents came home, the rest of the fall flew by. Tony and I enjoyed lots of free days going on walks, going on picnics and just enjoying ourselves. I knew I was going to start looking for a job around the end of fall so we cherished these last moments before I went back to work.

The holidays were so wonderful. It’s so special to be able to spend it with family and friends. It was our first holidays with Nella and they were so special. She is too young to remember them or even realize what’s going on but I’ll never forget this Thanksgiving and Christmas with her.

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We ended the year with a new tradition. Dinner at Cracker Barrel and back at home on the couch with pajamas.

2014 was such an amazing year. We grew, we stretched, we celebrated life, and we cherished each moment. It was almost sad to see 2014 go but I can’t wait to see what 2015 will hold! Nella will turn 1, which is hard to believe, and we’ve got a couple of family trips already planned. So 2015..the Williams are ready for you!


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New moms and moms-to-be

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I recently read this article (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jenny-studenroth-gerson/they-shouldve-warned-me_b_6471948.html) and this was pretty on point. Here’s my version:

When I announced I was pregnant, I had a lot of mothers express their advice. It was helpful, honest, and some of it a little daunting at times. A lot of them concluded “get your sleep now” and then followed with a small laugh and a “but it’s so worth it.”

But really..it is SO worth it.

When I first had Nella, it was an emotional 2 weeks. These are some of the thoughts that I had on a regular basis:

Oh my gosh..can I really do this? What the heck am I supposed to do? I just want to sleep. Tony gets the easy part because he doesn’t have to do these every 2 hour feedings. I can’t imagine feeling normal after this. I just need help. Please go to sleep, pleeease go to sleep. She doesn’t get enough milk from me, I’m a terrible mom.

No one told me that I would cry uncontrollably at the drop of a hat. Or that it was just plain HARD. Those first two weeks (and maybe more) are all about adjustment and challenge and newness. You’ve just brought in this miracle into the world. Your body goes through a ridiculously amazing journey. Your hormones and emotions are heightened. You have no idea what to do with this little baby.

But…at the same time you do. At least I did. I didn’t necessarily know what to do in certain situations but I knew that I became a mom and that I was HER mom. I knew that even though I hadn’t gotten the glorious amount of sleep that I used to get, it was more than okay. It was more than okay because looking down at this little babe, my heart felt like it was going to burst every time. I didn’t think it was possible to feel so full and whole than when you become a mother to a precious precious child. The exhaustion fades away when you pick up your child from her crib and rock her in your arms. Because in that moment you switch from all about me to all about her. My priority in life changed and she was my priority. To comfort her when she was cried because she didn’t know this new world she was brought into. To hold her in my arms and show her I am a safe place that she can always turn to. The joy of knowing that she was my daughter overpowered any challenge I faced with rocking emotions and uncontrollable hormones.

A friend of mine once told me that after she had her son and someone asked her how it was going, she would burst out of happiness. She said that it was truly a joy to serve him. And that’s what I learned. It’s an absolute joy to serve my daughter. To put her needs before mine is a no-brainer. I realized I stepped into the motherhood role not knowing anything but gained such a reward of being a mother. I had no idea motherhood would be such an amazing privilege. In the moments where I would wake up incredibly tired and pleading she would sleep for just a few more minutes, it all melted away as soon as I stepped into her room and looked at her sweet sweet face. As soon as I picked her up, I didn’t care too much about what time it was in the morning. Those sweet early morning moments where it was just me and her, were one of the greatest memories I’ll hold dear. Because in those moments, my heart was full and I couldn’t imagine loving her even more than I did before.

So yes, everyone says get your sleep now! And resting while you can is definitely a great idea if you have the opportunity..but enjoy these first few moments and weeks where you and your child get to know each other. This exhausting newness is just a season but it is just such an amazing season. You will get your rest back and feel normal again. But these first few weeks are heart filling and satisfying. I am so grateful the Lord made me a mother and cannot wait to see Nella grow up..well I can 😉 but I look forward to seeing her grow and experiencing everything new.

Moms..This miracle of a baby is yours by the grace of God and ultimately, His. And I praise the Lord you are about to experience this wonderful, life-giving journey.

And I know I’m only nearly 7 months in and am incredibly blessed to have the help from my parents and Tony’s.