I did a thing.

Last night, we played a little game over on the ol’ Facebook page.  And y’all had some pretty good guesses!  Some of you thought I had a make-over! Veneers, teeth-whitening, hair extensions… ha! Maybe I should add that to the list.

One of you suggested that I painted myself. Ha! um… not my thing.

Of course, a married woman can never ever play this guessing game without someone hoping the answer is that another baby is coming… And, no. I’m not pregnant.

But other business-related guesses were inspiring: I got a studio, I created an art gallery, shot a beautiful wedding (which I’ve done a lot already!), or got a new website or sponsorship.

But one of you actually guessed correctly.  Amanda, you made ONE guess and it was correct!

Ladies and gentlemen, I’m delighted to present to you my new logo! Squeeeeee!

I actually have butterflies in my tummy about it! I’m so giddy with excitement!  I love it!  I contacted a fabulous design firm, told them what my business is all about (celebrating and preserving love and legacies), and I really felt like he listened to what I wanted out of a logo.  If you zoom waaaaaaaay in, you’ll notice the confetti has some subtle shapes in it.  Do you see them? I also took this opportunity to do what I’ve been wanting to do with my brand for a while: add another color!  I absolutely LOVE pink.  And gray has been my go-to accent color.  But I wanted another color that was both bold and reflected me.  And I love blue.  So, my design man added in a pretty awesome blue.  And there you have it! :)  This was seriously overdue.  I mean, as much as I enjoyed making my own logo, hiring someone was truly awesome and the experience was great!  My design guy worked with me and kept tweaking my design about a billion times until I absolutely loved it.  :) I’m so pumped!

Thanks for playing the guessing game, guys.  Over the next few weeks, you’ll see me adding my new logo and colors to my branding.  Slowly, but surely.  I’m in love, I’m in love, and I don’t care who knows it!

I Almost Died

I almost died.I’m going out on a limb here.  I don’t know how to confirm this, but I’m willing to bet that most of us haven’t had a near-death experience.  I’m not talking “that almost-car-wreck could have ended my life,” or “that nearly scared the livin’ daylights out of me” moments. I’m talking about those times when you can legitimately say, “I almost died.” Like, medically speaking, you almost died.

But I have.

For the sake of my own privacy, I’m going to spare you the details of my near-death experience.  I almost died.  But suffice it to say this: 1) I have legitimate, undeniable proof that I do not cuss.  2) It’s good to know that I turn to Jesus when my actual life is in danger. 3) That was the most pain I could ever imagine experiencing in my life.

Sorry if that’s not enough information for ya.  But really, #sorrynotsorry.

But there aren’t words that quite explain how a person’s life changes after this happens.  It’s true.  Sometimes people make immediate drastic changes to their own lives.  I’ve heard of this happening after someone survives a massive heart attack. They change their diet, their jobs, their stress management techniques.

Here’s my thing, though: I want to spend my life instead of letting life spend me.  Spend my life watching my kiddo grow up.  Spend my life getting old with The Hunk.  Spend my time working to be spiritually healthy.  Spend my energy making healthy physical choices.  Spend some time creating pretty things. Spend dinner time eating foods I won’t regret. Spending time making memories and capturing them.

And that means I don’t want to pour my life out wastefully.  I don’t want to waste my energy on things that aren’t building up something: like working with people who are selfish or abusive, or arguing about something with a stranger, or allowing someone to speak into my life if they are toxic.

My mom always said we’re not promised tomorrow.  It’s a scary thought, but it’s a terrifying reality.

So, now I’m on a mission: Honor the Lord, love my little family, practice gratitude, and be kind to myself.

Will you join me? How are you living a life on a mission?

Book Recommendation: Love and Respect

Love and Respect

When I think back to when The Hunk and I were dating, I know that, without a doubt, the best decision we made as a couple was reading Love and Respect by Emerson Eggerichs. Neither of us had previously experienced successful romantic relationships but we hadn’t failed miserably at being decent human beings.  We had friends and served Jesus.  But I’m telling you, for real, this book changed us. It changed how we related to one another, how we treated one another, and how we interpreted the way we were being treated. I highly recommend this book with the following single disclaimer.


Skim the first third of the book.

Seriously.  Have you ever read a book about improving your life before? It seems like all of them start out convincing you to buy the book.  The very book you have in your hands. I’m sure they have their reasons for writing it this way, but I was sold before I started reading it.  If you’re not, maybe read a bit and then start skimming as you become convinced.

Otherwise, this book is based on two things: scientific research and the Bible.  In fact, scientific research has been done to support the Bible.  Ephesians 5.33 says, “To sum up, each one of you is to love his wife as himself, and the wife is to respect her husband.” To some, this is a polarizing verse.  But the book definitely flushes it out.  Eggerichs explains how his research proves that the majority of men would rather be respected than loved and the majority of women would choose being loved over respected.  What he is clear to say is that this doesn’t mean we shouldn’t love our husbands or that we shouldn’t respect our wives.  He also flushes out what “respect” means and how it should be as unconditional as love is.

The second third and the last portion of the book reviews some practical ways to implement love and respect in a relationship.  This is, perhaps, the section of the book that a couple could read together and discuss.  I wish we’d start doing this earlier in the book, but we still benefited greatly from having an unstructured discussion on these two sections of the book.

After you read the book and realize its impact on your view of healthy relationships, go ahead and check out the Love and Respect Ministries.  If you’re single, check out Love and Respect NOW, a sister ministry which, as you might have guessed, is great for people who are not in a romantic relationship but would still like to learn about these principles–I mean, I wish I’d known about Love and Respect much earlier in my life.

Interested in purchasing the book? Consider using this affiliate link to make your purchase: Love and Respect

Bedtime Habits | Marriage Hack

One of my favorite things about being married is bedtime.  I mean, I don’t think there’s anything better than snuggling up in my man’s arms and falling asleep.  And, well, sometimes, not falling asleep for a little while.  Wink, wink!  Bedtime habits are some of the best habits to cultivate in any marriage whenever possible.

Bedtime Habits for Married Folk

Bedtime Habits: Set a bedtime

Life can get pretty hectic.  Am I right?  Some seasons are more hectic than others.  One way to combat a hectic life messing with your marriage is to work to set a common bedtime–or at least aim to go to bed at the same time.

At the beginning of our marriage, The Hunk was in graduate school, full-time ministry, and interning as a counselor.  Sometimes, he had to stay up late to write papers–even pulling all-nighters.  Some nights, we couldn’t go to bed at the same time.  When it couldn’t happen, we still touched base before I went to sleep.

In general, having a shared ritual in a marriage improve a marriage relationship.  Going to bed at the same time can be a simple way to incorporate a shared ritual which creates a sense of unity in a marriage.  According to Dr. John Gottman, marriage research expert, shared rituals increase marriage satisfaction overall.

Bedtime Habits: Three Compliments

If we do a quick search engine search, we’ll see a myriad of answers to the question, “How many compliments does it take to undo an insult?”  In my quick search, I saw anything from 60 to a million.  I’m no expert, but I’m not sure insults can ever be undone.  I like to compare this to trying to put all the toothpaste back into the tube.  It’s difficult if not impossible!

So, whether your day was spent together all day or you were apart all day working, volunteering, having social engagements, and general busyness, aim to go to bed at the same time.  And as part of your bedtime ritual, give each other three compliments.  If it has to be forced at first, that’s fine.  After practice, it should become second nature.

Focus on complimenting one another’s accomplishments, appearance, and intellect.  Maybe he rocked at hanging up that canvas for you.  Tell him.  Maybe she came up with an epic solution to the kitchen organization debacle of 2013.  Tell her that you admire her skill.

Seal these compliments with a kiss. Or even more fun stuff.

Bedtime Habits: Debrief

If your life isn’t already crazy together, it will be.  Before going to bed, go through a quick debrief.  This debrief is clothing optional.

Take turns sharing a high and a low of the day, being sure to end with a high.  “So, dear, what was your favorite part of today?” “My favorite part was when you came home so glad to see me! What was yours?”  Complete the interchange.  Then, discuss a low: “What was the low point of your day?” “I was really sad to learn that my friend’s husband died in an unexpected car accident.  She’s my age with two kids!” “Oh, I’m sorry to hear that…” And this gives a good opportunity to bond and share with one another, offering comfort or a listening ear.  Then, complete the cycle and finish up with another high.  “Okay, what was another part of the day you enjoyed?” “I enjoyed my dinner with Tami.  She is a great friend and mentor.”

What’s great about the nightly debrief, according to Drs. Emerson and Sarah Eggerichs, is that it gives a chance for the two of you to learn more about one another–the things our beloved likes to do or experience and what makes life difficult or a challenge.

Bedtime is the best time.  Make it count with your spouse!

Kyle and Justina | Married in Columbus, Ohio

Kyle and Justina,

I just know that your lives together will be a fabulous reflection of the joy of Christ.  Continue leaning into Christ, reading books by wise Christ-followers, and seeking wisdom from those around you who emulate Christ in their own marriages.

Because I believe in them, I want to throw my three big pieces of advice to you:

  1. Love one another, even when you don’t feel like it.  Because we all get tired, irritated, and busy.  But even during those moments, love one another.
  2. Fight for “we” instead of “me.” Because conflict is part of a healthy marriage, make sure that in every disagreement, the end goal is to grow closer together, stronger together.
  3. Outdo one another in love.  Because you can never love one another too much in a marriage.  You can never do too much to make your marriage the best, most Christ-loving pair in the history of love.


Kyle and Justina Kyle and Justina Kyle and Justina Kyle and Justina Kyle and Justina Kyle and Justina Kyle and Justina

Kyle and Justina’s Vendors

Florist: The Flowerman
Caterer: Bosc + Brie