New Year, New Goals

Happy New Year, everyone!

I hope your holidays were full of fun, love, and peace these past couple of months. I have been quite busy myself with work and the holidays, but it is nice to take a moment just to sit and think.

Like many other people, the year of 2016 has been a pretty crazy one for me. I had a stressful time with school, I struggled with food, and I was overcoming some insecurities. To top it off, this year was pretty crazy with the national election and not really knowing how to process many of the things done and said by people close to me.

However, there have been many good things that have happened this year. I graduated college with my Bachelor’s of Science, Mr. Yell and I have started new camping adventures and rescued a cat, and I started a new job which I love. Personally, I have overcome many fears and issues that developed in my heart and mind, and overcoming those alone are enough for me to celebrate this year.

With all that being said, I have been trying to think of a new “Word of the Year” for 2017. If you have been following me for a little while, you know that last year my word was “Kind”. I wanted desperately to work on being kind to myself and to others. I believe that over the course of the year I was stretched in this area in many ways and that having the simple mantra of “kindness” helped me to remember my goal for the year.

This year there are so many things I want to accomplish. I want to love more, learn valuable skills at my job, be warm and encouraging, and I want to be content with life. After thinking about the things I hope to accomplish in 2017, the word “Peace” has been laid on my heart.

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I need to find peace in the busy moments.

I need to seek peace in times of anger or sadness.

I need to have peace with what I am doing and how I am able to do it at a point in time.

Peace is what I need to seek.

After about a week of praying and thinking, I am learning that this type of peace comes from wisdom. A righteous, pure, wisdom is what brings true peace.

James 3:13-18

13 Who is wise and understanding among you? Let them show it by their good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom. 14 But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth.15 Such “wisdom” does not come down from heaven but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic. 16 For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice.

17 But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving,considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere.18 Peacemakers who sow in peace reap a harvest of righteousness.

I hope you will join me this year as I yearn to remember peace in my life and peace in my relationships with others. I hope that I can live by the wisdom the Lord gives. I pray that the simple word of “peace” will bring to mind what wisdom looks like for this upcoming year.

Bring it on 2017, I am ready for ya.

Much love. Much grace.

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This Summer: Come Home

Home… Such a funny word. For some, this brings memories of family in cozy rooms, yummy food, and welcoming smells. Memories of fights between siblings, traditions for holidays, and getting ready for school. For many people, home is wear they grew up; a town, a house, a school, or a city. To “come home” is what a person does to visit their childhood room and show visitors their teenage haunts around town.

Home [hohm] noun
1.a house, apartment, or other shelter that is the usual residence of a person, family, or household.

2.the place in which one’s domestic affections are centered.

For me (and many others)… home is different.

In the traditional sense I don’t have a “home”… and I never have. I have never experienced the giddy feeling that one attaches to a building. I moved around several times in my childhood so houses, even towns, don’t really provide me with warm, fuzzy feelings of “being home.”

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The closest I have ever come to feeling at “home” in a place is with climates. I feel at home in cool mountain air or when smelling a cool, salty ocean. Smelling evergreens and feeling cool breezes through my hair are things that feel at home to me. I am not entirely sure why, but places with these things are places where I feel not just relaxed, but a sense of belonging and purpose.

Since I haven’t lived in that type of a climate since I was very young, home to me has since become the people in my life.

Not family as much as the friends who have surrounded me. My family has always been very spread out, so while that family is obviously there and loving, the friends I have made have become family.  Those who have taken the time to know me and love me, even at my worst, these are the people who enable feelings of comfort and “coming home”.

So this summer, take some time to figure out with whom your home lies, and come home. Take time to visit with those who love you and care for your well-being, and be home to those people as well.

Much love. Much grace.

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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.

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Give A Little: Marriage

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


 

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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.

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Why I Love Being Married Young

There are different ways  and different stages of growth.

Being married is one of them.

Let me just preface this post by saying that I got married at the age of 22 years old. I am not as young as my parents were when they were married nor am I as young as my grandparents were. However… the average marrying age in my generation is 27 for women and 29 for men. So for Mr. Yell and I to get married at 22 years old is considered marrying very young in today’s world.

Marrying young is not something I planned on happening, nor did I particularly hope it would. Being married at 22 is something that has worked out in the best way possible for my life… and honestly my husband and I love it. 

People have asked me about why I would settle at the young age of 22 so I made a list of some of my favorite things!

  • New adventures for both of us. Zach and I love traveling, hiking, road trips, and any type of adventure. We did a bit of international travel separately when we were just dating, but being able to have a travel buddy is the best thing ever! We not only get to experience amazing things, now we get to experience them together.

 

  • New habits formed together. Let’s just be real. We all have our quirky habits and as we get older we tend to get less compromising about them. Whether it’s how you put toilet paper on the roll or how often you wash dishes, when you are younger you are more likely to alter your habits because you haven’t been living on your own as long. Being married young means that Zach and I have been able to work out more compromises about day-to-day habits than if we had been older, because let’s be honest… I would be ten times more stubborn than I am now.

 

  • Lots of dreamer talk. I am a BIG dreamer. I love making plans, researching fun trips, and just thinking about possibilities. Being only 22, Zach and I can talk about the fun things we would like to try, cities we would love to move to, and dream of building our own tiny house. When you are younger there is a sense of possibility even if these dreams don’t end up happening how we want, we are able to enjoy a fun, restful stage of life where we can dream together.

 

  • No rush to do anything! I think this is one of the biggest pros of being married a bit younger. We are in absolutely no rush to do anything. We can take our time figuring out what we want to do career wise. We are able to talk about getting Master’s degrees, the possibilities of moving, and even switching careers altogether. We can also take our time when deciding when we want a family. Zach and I feel fairly unique in this regard living in the South because many of our friends are already wanting to (or actually are) starting families at our age. While we love children, we are able to think through about what we would want for our future family and can plan accordingly. With the earlier start, we are able to  work on building our relationship together before feeling the need to add kiddos to the mix.

 

  • Learn about the Lord together. This one is obviously a biggie. No matter what, God should be the center of our lives. We each have our own walks with the Lord and that is absolutely important, but there is something to be said about being a unit. Zach and I are able to journey together in this new walk. We are learning about the Lord everyday, and what He has planned for us. Since we are younger as a couple, we don’t have solidified of ideas of who we should be or even what God wants us to do. We are learning together how the Lord wants to use our individual talents… and as a team.

 

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Photo cred: Jessica Bennett

Obviously these are all pros of young married life. I know there are cons, I am not naive or oblivious, but for those who just can’t see the appeal of young couples, here ya go! 🙂

I know we are still in the “honeymoon stage” so these points may feel a bit biased, but I am loving this stage and part of marriage. That’s the beauty of new relationships and marriage; there are so many different stages of growth. As long as we are both growing towards Christ and towards each other… there is no reason for the “honeymooning” to discontinue.

Much love. Much grace.

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