Married Christmas

I am loving this Christmas season! I mean I do every year, so that isn’t much of a surprise. I just really love the holidays. I love the decorations, the food, and all the joy. Around Thanksgiving and Christmas, I feel like the joy is just contagious and people can’t help but to feel a bit of happiness.

This Christmas marks Mr. Yell and I’s second holiday season as a family and it has already been such fun! Yes; the holidays are always stressful trying to figure out whose house to go to and what times we need to see everyone; but this year has still been wonderful. This year we decided to dive into the Christmas spirit by making some new Yell family traditions. Making these traditions has been one of my favorite parts of being a “newlywed”. By making these fun little things to do each year, we feel like we are becoming more like our own little family and it literally makes me giggle with excitement!

It’s been an interesting process trying to find things we want to carry over from our own families into our new one. My family has several traditions that I have enjoyed putting into Mr. Yell and mine’s holidays; and Zach has some new ones he has invented for us to do.

screen-shot-2016-12-06-at-9-28-25-pm

Decorating for Christmas

Mr. Yell and I started decorating the Saturday right after Thanksgiving. We put up Christmas lights, decorated our (live!) Christmas tree, and decorated the kitchen with cute little towels and other little Christmas things. It has been such fun getting to decorate together in our new home and it looks so cozy now! We even managed to get Mru, our cat, a little stocking for Christmas this year. Too cute, right? 😉

12 Dates of Christmas

This year we each created 6 different dates and put them into envelopes. Each day that we open an envelope, we get a surprise date that is Christmas themed. It has been such fun so far! Some of our dates have included: driving to see Christmas lights, getting hot chocolate from Starbucks, and …

Christmas Party

For the past couple of years Mr. Yell and I have hosted a small Christmas party in our home. It is a fun time of sharing Christmas cheer and just spending time with friends before the holidays. It also helps me get some good practice on making Christmas goodies and deserts!

I hope this Christmas season fills you with warmth and love and joy.

Much love. Much grace.

wpid-2015-10-30-20.27.24.png.png

Advertisements

What My First Year of Marriage Has Taught Me

It’s so crazy to me that Mr. Yell and I have been married for a full year already!

In one way, the time has flown quickly; in another way, the time has moved slowly. Not slowly in a bad way, but in a way that makes our marriage feel like it has always been a part of each of us. It’s hard to remember a time when Mr. Yell and I weren’t together, and I am so thankful.

This first year of marriage has been full of lessons in our lives; both individually and as a couple. We have dealt with my school issues, the exciting times of “firsts”, and learning how to blend our families together. Like I said, I have learned so much, but today I want to share just a few of the things I learned.

Communication is HARD.

A while back, I wrote a blog post about communication, and how I thought I was good at it… until I got married of course! I have a really hard time sharing my emotions (because I have a ridiculous amount, let’s be real) and that has taken a toll on how Mr. Yell and I communicate. If I don’t share what is wrong, the situation becomes way worse and my husband remains clueless. Communicating on a more transparent level is something I am still working on and I have to put forth an effort everyday.

There is no such thing as giving 50/50.

Really, there is no such thing. I’ve even heard about how a relationship is 100/100, about giving all that you have all the time, and that isn’t true either. This past year has been one of the hardest personally and I couldn’t give near my best to my new marriage. I was struggling enough to keep myself sane, let alone work on communication or other things. I am not proud of this, obviously, but this was were I was during our first year. So instead of giving 100%, I was only able to give about 40% and Mr. Yell had to pick up the slack. And there will be times in the future when I will have to give way more than planned when Mr. Yell needs me too. That is what our partnership and a relationship does.

Love really does grow deeper.

“I love him more and more each day” Blah, Blah, Blah… I know what you are thinking, “How cliche.” and to that I just have to say… YEAH. Because this is one of the truest and hardest things to explain. I thought I loved Mr. Yell on our wedding day, on our engagement day, and when we first told each other that we loved the other person; but that doesn’t even compare to how much I love that man today, in this very second. I don’t know how to explain it, and I don’t think anyone does, but it is the most real love. No matter how irrational I am or tired he becomes, I love him more and more and he loves me more and more each day.

It’s TOTALLY worth the effort.

I know, I know… “The first year is the easiest! Of course you think you’ll be together forever!” Can I just say, I really hope this year wasn’t the “easiest”? It was so hard with all the outside issues that we had to deal with. There are times when quitting seems like the easiest option. I get it. Commitment is a dying ideal, and it’s something that Mr. Yell and I vowed to fight against EACH DAY. Divorce it isn’t an option. NOT AT ALL. We don’t even say the word in our home. We firmly believe that the reason we are together in the first place is because we make a much better team together than we ever could apart. We believe that God brought us together for His glory to be shown, and divorce doesn’t glorify God in our relationship. We promised the Lord, and those present in the ceremony, that commitment was worth our effort. Mr. Yell and I are fighting the battle of non-commitment in a world where almost nothing is worth the fight… and it is something we will fight for everyday in our marriage.

Like I said previously, these are only a few things I have learned. If I could go back to the night before my wedding, these are the things I would tell myself. These are the things that I found so important during my first year, and I can’t wait to see what this second year holds for us!

Is there any newlywed advice you wish you had? Something you wish you would have known before your first year of marriage? Let me know by email or commenting!

Much love. Much grace.

wpid-2015-10-30-20.27.24.png.png

Give A Little: Marriage

These are some of my favorite blog posts, videos, or books about marriage from the past couple of weeks:


 

Screen Shot 2016-04-08 at 4.48.02 PM

Simple Ideas for Each of the 5 Love Languages

I love this post! Learning each other’s “Love Languages” is fun and so helpful in understanding the other person in your relationship. Be sure to take the quiz and see what your’s  are.


 

Establishing Healthy Boundaries With Your In-Laws

This post is full of helpful information regarding not just in-laws but other extended family as well.


 

5 Things

I love this book. It is fairly short and is for both men and women, single and married, and is so encouraging!

 


 

Your Dream Home Might Take Time

A fun video encouraging you that your “dream home” doesn’t have to happen RIGHT NOW. You can wait and that is totally NORMAL.


 

I hope you have a lovely weekend!

Much love. Much grace.

wpid-2015-10-30-20.27.24.png.png

“Patiently” Waiting

Jordan is a sweet soul I met in college and have the pleasure of calling friend. Her spunky spirit and compassion for others are infectious and such a joy to be around. I am so excited to have Jordan be a part of Go Giver’s “Perspective Women”!

Note for the readers: This is for all the planners out there. Those of you who have a need to know where you’re going so that you can start working to get there. I hope this post encourages you to find real peace and inspires you to grab hold of today before it’s gone.  ­- Jordan

Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business, and make money. ” Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.” James 4:13­-15

If you ask me, there’s nothing more refreshing than “getting your life together.” Now, for me, getting my life together might look something like this: Finally finding a major to stick to, getting acquainted with the taste of black coffee, graduating, finding a haircut that flatters the shape of my face after all these years, and even getting engaged and married ­ my number one life goal. For a little while, I had it all going, but moving can really mess things up. Don’t get me wrong. I welcome adventure! I love people, new cultures, new scenery and chances to begin again. Considering these, moving sounded like the perfect opportunity for me. And then God said “Arkansas.”

In my perfect ‘Jordan knows best’ world, we would’ve packed up and headed to Alaska, my favorite place on earth. I would’ve even settled for Washington, Oregon.. Anywhere with deep green forests and more rainy days than you can count. (Yes, I’m a pluviophile. Google it.) But He who knows better than I chose Little Rock to be the new home of the #newlywednortons. That was that. So, Josh and I found a cozy apartment by the river in Little Rock. It took us about 3 days to have it all settled leaving me with endless time to navigate the city,find my favorite coffee shop and job search.

After 2 months of dissecting Indeed.com, I finally was offered a full­time job, on the spot. I was going to be a Customer Service Representative for a great insurance company. It came with the title, an office, a salary and a pencil skirt. (Okay, I bought the skirt.) I was going to be a professional! Then I remembered .. I hate sitting in offices. And answering phones. And skirts. I lasted 3 days. I was a little discouraged and ashamed of being a quitter, but I was confident in God’s promise. He knew the plans He had set out for me. I just had to wait a little longer to find out what those were.

A New Perspective

In the meantime, I worked as a coffee barista at a swanky European Cafe. As a coffee lover, it had always been a dream of mine to learn the art of coffee­making. I loved making lattes and cappuccinos, but as it turns out, it doesn’t take long to master.

Not long into my caffeine career,a door was opened for me to be a College Intern for Josh’s and my new church home. Being offered a ministry job was truly a dream come true! So, I was newly married, employed with an amazing job and was beginning to make friends. It should’ve been another one of those “getting my life together” times. But something was off. I couldn’t sleep. When I had days off, I’d rest but still feel restless. I had bursts of uninvited tears and a heavy feeling of hopelessness. For weeks, I’d ask myself why I felt like I was falling apart even while my many blessings were evident. It took a little roadtrip to wake me up.

Last week, I drove back down to Ruston to see my college friends and the missionary family from Alaska who had come back to visit and recruit. I brought my stubborn heart with me not knowing that God was about to shatter it to pieces.

After seeing all my people, I went to stay with a close friend. We stayed up late sharing our hearts with each other. Somewhere in between my tired sentences, I realized that my exhaustion wasn’t only physical. It was mental, emotional and spiritual. My wrestling with God about where I was and where I wanted to be had slowly broken me down. I had given the the enemy permission to use a good thing to steal my joy and to replace my peace with anxiety.

My discontent was my own fault.

When I lived in East Texas, I wanted to leave and never go back. Once I did leave, I realized it wasn’t so bad. In North Louisiana, I was itching to get out. I loved my friends and the ministry teams I served on, but I was over the humidity and flat terrain. I wanted Alaska or just some place better than where I had been. My eyes and my heart were always on what might come next. But in a conversation with a friend, through my own words, I saw a piece of God’s heart. There was nothing else for me to do but surrender. I decided that it was time for me to stop wrestling with God about my future and be faithful in my present.

You don’t have to cash in your dreams to be faithful. You just have to be a little less selfish. Be willing to die to yourself so that you can really start living for Jesus. I may never be a Razorback fan, but I am choosing to open my heart to Little Rock ­ a beautiful city with great opportunities and even greater people that I can’t wait to meet.

11125255_10205230211614027_7747744961352472210_o

Jordan is a Louisiana Tech graduate with a degree in Speech Communication. She loves Jesus, coffee, and music. Jordan lives in Little Rock, Arkansas with her new husband Josh and works as a college intern with Immanuel Baptist Church.

Needing Contentment

“I just want to see you content”

Seven words. Words that cut me to the core, and yet are loving at the same time. A phrase that says, “hey, I not only care about you, but I want to see you happy where you are and with what you have.”

But that word… Content… it is just so foreign.

I need more. More time. More money. More friends. More sucess. More adventures.

“Content” and “more” don’t go together. A person can’t live with both.

image

I have been struggling with wanting to go to a new place to live for a while now. With marrying Mr. Yell and seeing most of our friends leave, it has been very hard to stay in our small town. I have been angry, jealous, and hurt; with myself for graduating late, and with God for not taking us to another place. He has been silent for almost a year now; and that has been the hardest thing to experience.

Then just this week my husband said something that woke me up. It made me rethink this past year’s emotions, complications, and stress.

“I just want to see you content.”

That’s it. That was the moment I realized that maybe, God wasn’t silent, at least not at first. Instead of listening to what He wanted me to do, I have been trying to push myself to do things that I feel I need to do. Things that will make me likable, smarter, or bring my life more meaning. I have been trying to make my life “better”, when instead I just  needed to learn how to be content.

Contentment is hard, guys. So hard. It is very hard to live in a world that is built on comparing ourselves to others and yet seek contentment. It is hard to see people in your same place in life who seem like they are doing it all, or that they are more likeable or needed or whatever. But can I just say that finding a way to be content is just so much better?

Even if you aren’t a believer in Christ, I challenge you just to take this week and find ways not to want more.  I want you to think about the things and people you have, and I want you to think everyday that you have enough. That you are fine where you are, and that the desire for more is not needed. For me, this is made infinitely easier when I remember that my relationship with God is all I need. I can lose everything and still know that He is good. He is enough.

This year has been rough, that is for sure. But this week has been the best week I have had in such a long time just on the basis of seeking contentment. I am learning, like I am sure much of you are, that I am pretty enough, strong enough, smart enough, loved enough, and happy enough.

I am doing my best to help those in need and make the part of the world I am in a brighter place to be. And that thought can only come from being content.

image

Friends, are you content? If it means anything… I not only think you can be, but I want to see that happen for you.

Much love. Much grace.

image