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Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Better With The Lights Out

This past weekend I had it all planned out. We had invited various friends and family members to come see our new house since we are finally, pretty much settled in.

It was going to be sunny, but not too hot and not because that was the forecast, but because I would will it to be so. We were going to have a taco bar and a bonfire with s'mores. We had bought brand new sets of games for the yard and coolers to keep all the drinks cold. I had made the perfect playlist.

If you didn't know already, I am a planner, but because of this, I have often been told the cliche quote, "People plan and God laughs." Oh, how he must have laughed on Saturday. 

That morning I checked the weather only to find that it was supposed to thunderstorm starting in the afternoon and going on through the night. By that point, I had already set up everything in the yard. Trying not to begin panicking, I moved everything into the house or the garage just in case.

I spent the afternoon preparing the food, organizing chairs, and trying to figure out where people would fit if we did all end up having to be inside. My friend and her new boyfriend came early to help us set up.

About a half hour after they came, just as we finished filling up the coolers with ice and drinks (which were now in the kitchen instead of on the planned patio), the forecasted storm blew in. Rain coming down sideways. Lightening illuminating black skies. Roaring thunder.

And then... a flicker. The lights. They went off. Then immediately back on. We laughed, thanking God it was just a flicker of the lights.

And then... they flickered again, but this time they didn't come back on. We had no power. No lights. No electricity to the crockpot my taco meat was cooking in. No air conditioning to keep all our guests, who would now be inside our house instead of able to come and go, cool.

By that point, people were already on their way. My friend's family ended up turning around because the storm was so bad where they were coming from they couldn't see the roads. People trickled in, talking about how scary the storms were.

I thought about how blessed I was that these people battled a thunderstorm to drive to Wisconsin to see us. Ironically enough, it ended up being my family and the majority of our bridal party. Which really makes sense and affirms our having chosen them to stand by us on our wedding day.

None seemed to care all too much about the lack of power. We ate tacos that had stayed warm despite the lack of electricity and drank beer that had been kept cool in our brand new coolers. Brandon gave candlelit tours of our new house. We listened to my perfect playlist off of my phone (thank God for battery saver mode)! We laughed and played drinking games by candlelight.

By 11:30, the power came back on. Just in time for the house to cool down before people started getting ready for bed. It was if it were planned that way, power off just long enough for all of us to hang out together in the dark, but back on in time for us to sleep comfortably.

Though things didn't go as I had envisioned them, everything turned out perfect. We were surrounded by friends who cared about us enough to, as Peter put it, drive into the movie Twister, so they could come celebrate our new house with us. We ate and sang and laughed and played and everybody was safe.

Though I don't know if I will ever stop being a planner, I think it is getting easier as I get older to laugh along with God when things don't go as planned. Moments like these prove that even though you envision things going one way, it can be even better if they take a completely different turn.

Monday, July 11, 2016

Marriage is...

I sit here, on the morning of our first anniversary, reflecting. I have written already of the many things that have been happening for Brandon and I in the last year. I have written already of the many things we have been through that make us a strong team. 

Today, I am thinking about all the things we were told marriage would or would not be. Marriage is life changing. Marriage is hard. Marriage is not a compromise. It is either a lose-lose or a win-win. Marriage is not something to be taken lightly. Marriage is a blessing. 

Today, I am reflecting on all the things we have found marriage to be in our first year. Some align with the advice we had been given and some are far from it.

First, marriage is a compromise. A friend of ours told us, quite passionately, about a retreat he had gone on that preached how marriage was not a compromise, it was always a win-win or a lose-lose. He was so adamant about that making sense, but I remember leaving his apartment with Brandon and trying to sort through that logic.

Going into marriage thinking that every decision you make together will end in a loss for both of you or a win for both of you is going to set you up for frustration. Sure, its a nice sentiment to think that if your spouse doesn't get exactly what they wanted and take a "loss" you will also be taking a "loss" because marriage is a partnership. The reality however, is that marriage is a partnership, but if you go through life thinking that unless your partner is "winning" you will not be, you will find yourself very conflicted.

You are two different people. I have different ideas than Brandon does about a lot of things. If we always go with what I want or always go with what he wants, where does that leave the other person? Sometimes you have to take a loss for your partner to win. Sometimes you have to let yourself win and accept that your partner is losing. Sometimes you both don't get what you want, but end up with something just as good. That is a partnership.

Second, marriage is not something to be taken lightly. Brandon and I knew for a long time that we would marry each other. When we did, we were young newlyweds for this generation. He was twenty-three and I was still twenty-two and I am sure that many people questioned why we were getting married so young.

Here's the thing, when you find someone who you can see being your partner through life, through the good and the really really bad, life might get hard sometimes, but your marriage will not be. So often people decide to marry solely because of love. Love is only part of a marriage. Brandon and I love each other very much, but we also know that whatever life throws at us, we can handle and will handle together.

Finally, a year goes by really fast. Some weeks you will feel like they are being dragged out, but by the end of it, you will question what happened to all your time. In one year, Brandon and I accomplished A LOT and looking back there are so many moments I wish we could slow down. Our honeymoon. Hunting for our first house together. Our wedding day.

Marriage is life changing because you get to spend your life with someone who loves you, supports you, and will be there with you through it all. The biggest thing I have learned this year is to be present in every moment together because they go so quickly. Take time to just be together and continue to view your marriage and your time together as a blessing because it is.
July 11, 2015