It’s Mrs. Smith now.

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Photo by Sarah Warden Photography

Hello! Sorry for the time off, I was a little busy getting married and going on my honeymoon. It was a busy week before the wedding, we had a house guest and we had a lot of prep work to do. But despite any stress leading up to the event the wedding itself was perfect. It was everything I could have ever imagined. My only complaint is that it went by too fast! I wish I could go back and relive it.

Marriage is a big life event, it’s one I’ve been waiting and praying for. I have responsibility for more than myself now. I am two parts of a whole and I am 100% in. There is no half-assing anything at this point. I’m excited to go on this adventure with Chris and I’m excited to take on the world with him at my side. It feels exactly like it’s supposed to. Or at least, how I imagine it is supposed to. It’s hard to say for sure, I’ve never been married before and I’ll never be married again.

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Learning hobbies and skills as adults:

 

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I’m currently reading The Letters of Vincent Van Gogh (along with about five other books, but I regress). I was struck last night while reading by the adult drive to master a craft. I think we all have a tendency to believe that creativity is something formed when we are young. We either had it nourished or we didn’t. It’s easy to believe that when we ask amazing artists when they started painting and they answer elementary school, or the novelist that answers high school.

Maybe it’s because kids don’t fear failing, maybe it’s because if you’re bad at art in elementary school nobody is going to ask why you still bother to draw. You have permission to enjoy something even if the output isn’t worthy. It’s one of  the most amazing things about being young. We have room to fail and with that we have room to grow.

We still do some of this as adults, we all take on tasks at our jobs that we don’t know how to do and flounder around with it until we figure it out, and we keep figuring it out until we master it. But when it comes to things that are vastly seen as hobbies, our drive to work on them seems to be stunted. It suddenly becomes a waste of time. It’s not making money and it’s not getting things done so it’s not worth it.

But we all know it’s not true, we all know what creative outlets do for the soul. We all know that you could in fact turn this into something that profits later on (or not, but it’s an option). You’re not wasting time because as you produce bad works over and over again you are improving, slowly, but steadily.

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Appreciating the little things creates a better big picture.

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You know when you have a cold and you regret not being amazed by the fact that you can breathe out of your nose 99% of the time. It’s crazy how much of life is like that- over looked, under valued honest to God gifts.

I think we take too much for granted. I think I take too much for granted.

We all begrudgingly admit that we’ve taken people and larger opportunities for granted, we can see them easily with clear eyes. We tend to see those when they hit us in the face. We hate it when it happens and it makes us try to reorganize our lives so we don’t do it again. We think big picture, and it helps our mental health, to think about everything on a larger scale, to know how important these people and opportunities are to your life.

But even if we are trying to take care and appreciate all our big items, even if we are cherishing our loved ones and trying to take every hand that’s reached down to us, we can still be stuck. We can still feel overwhelmed. We can still feel like we’re on the losing end. Maybe we don’t have that many loved ones, maybe the tasks before us are too big or simply not enough. Things happen and life often falls short of what we want it to be, even if we are trying to appreciate the big things. Even if we’re trying not to take anything for granted, but the fact is, when we’re doing these things we aren’t being overwhelmed with how amazing the little things are.

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Five ways to make your new house feel more like a home:

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We’ve moved into a new house, I know I’ve mentioned it a time or two, but I’ve been surprised at what it takes to make a house feel like home. Obviously a lot of it is time, those first few nights there you’re still waking up wondering where you are, but even after that passes and it starts to feel like home, you notice that certain things are missing. It’s a layering process, and it’s been interesting to learn. So here are somethings I’ve noticed help make a house feel more like a home:

  • Rugs, blankets, and textiles galore: One of the big things I knew I wanted but couldn’t get for a few weeks was a rug for our living space. The room felt incomplete without it, because with an open floor plan, there was nothing defining the space. I didn’t think getting a rug would make it feel more like home, but it did. It did so because it made it feel finished, sure, but also because it added a layer of personality and comfort. There was something softer about the space that made you feel more relaxed once it dampened the echo and gave your bare feet a break. I also picked the rug, so it felt like me, and that helped it feel like my home. I think pillows and blankets can do the same thing. Things that bring us comfort help make a room feel cozy. They’re important.
  • Bring personal items front and center: It’s easy to want to buy all new stuff for a space, most of us can’t afford that, so we like to decorate with the new stuff. Decorative items are cheaper than new furniture so it’s easy to replace them and change them out, but a lot of our decorative items from the past help make our place feel like our own. I’m not saying not to buy new, I’m just saying to put those personal items in the front and use the new stuff to fill in. The amount of people I see run off to Hobby Lobby and come back with all their house decorations is startling. There is nothing wrong with pieces from chain stores, but you need to make sure you have your memories mixed in.

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Don’t underestimate average everyday memories.

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When I was packing my childhood bedroom, before moving into my wonderful new house a few weeks ago, I was drowning in nostalgia. I kept finding little bits and pieces of my past, of everyday things that meant the world to me as a child. It was an interesting experience because it opened my eyes to what I remember most for the past and what memories really mattered to me.

I have a lot more memories of playing with my mom as a child then I do of going to Disney as a child, that isn’t surprising, because we only went to Disney once and played on the regular, but those Disney memories hardly even show up. They meant a lot to me in the moment, but looking back? A scattered memory or two made it through, and none of them stand a chance against my mom and I’s weekly tea party.

We make a big deal out of these once in a lifetime experiences, and some of them really are truly remarkable. I’ll never forget visiting Rome, just like I’m sure I’ll never forget my wedding day. But the everyday moments can mean that much too. We don’t realize how much we enjoyed our crafts with our grandmothers until we are no longer doing crafts with our grandmothers, then we realize that it was some of our most valuable time spent together.

This might not be news, in fact, I hope it isn’t. I hope you’ve looked back at life enough to really enjoy those amazing and seemingly average memories. But that isn’t all that this post is about. It’s not about just looking back, it’s about how we are living right now. How we are making use of our time at this moment.

Chances are we are looking forward to the next big thing and letting the day to day grind get lost in the mix. Chances are even if we know that our daily memories are important, we are still neglecting them, because we’re busy. We have a lot to do, sometimes too much. So we let them pass as if they are unremarkable. We don’t enjoy them for being the special and wonderful things that they are.

And honestly it’s tragic to only enjoy these memories in the past tense when they are here to be enjoyed in the present.

So I pose this challenge to both myself and others, enjoy the mundane, find wonder in the everyday, don’t let these beautiful things only be enjoyed years from now. Embrace them. Rejoice in them. And love them now, while they are in front of you.

The process of loving someone teaches you a lot about yourself.

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Photography by: Sarah Warden Photography

I feel like I’ve been learning a lot about myself lately, every corner I turn I’m faced with either a reality that  should have been obvious or something I had never even considered about myself. These revelations have been both good things and bad things and a lot of things that don’t really categorize as either, but one thing that has proven true is most of these revelations come in relation to Chris.

He’s marrying me, so obviously he pays a lot of attention to me, in some ways he pays more attention to me than I pay to myself. He catches small mood changes that hardly register in my mind. He notices repeated habits that are so normal to me I don’t even realize I’m doing them. He speaks on them a lot, pointing them out or asking what’s wrong. It makes me realize how much of my everyday life and being I dismiss because they’re normal to me. That doesn’t make them any less a part of me though, in fact, maybe it makes them a bigger part of me than the intrusive acts or emotions. Maybe these small things, are the foundation on which my personality is laid.

Now, most of these things are neutral acts or positive acts, they aren’t things I feel the need to change, rather they just make me think, but that doesn’t mean that the act of loving someone doesn’t make you notice your flaws. Love may be blind, but it sure opens your eyes to yourself.

You see love makes you want to be a better person for the person you love, and in my case, it has made me critical on some aspects of myself. It’s not negative and I don’t mean it to sound that way. Seeing these flaws are a good thing, because it gives me the chance to approve upon myself, for both him and me. It’s room for growth, which we all desperately need no matter how good we already are.

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Let’s face it, you’re probably making it worse.

I know I am. It doesn’t really matter what it is, I’m probably self sabotaging in some way or another, and this especially goes for problems of the mental health variety. It’s not an unusual thing, we have a tendency to get in our own way, to trip ourselves up on strong emotions, doubts, or disastrous thoughts.

It’s hard to admit when we’re doing it though, we don’t want to be at fault, especially if we didn’t create the problem, but that doesn’t mean our way of “fixing it” isn’t making it worse. Nobody wants the blame, nobody wants to be the reason things aren’t getting better or moving forward, so we blame it on others, or outside things, but whatever we blame it on we try and make sure it is out of our control.

It’s easier that way and it certainly feels better, but owning up to the fact that you’re not helping yourself move forward is often one of the only things that can set you in motion again.

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