Monday, November 18, 2013

News, News, News!

Wow! It has been SO long since I've blogged. :) So much to share, now that I finally have a little more energy to get on here... since I'm 12 weeks Pregnant!!! :) We are so very excited and so happy and blessed to be the parents to this little one! Spending lots of time praying and researching names... there is so much in a name and Leif and I really take the meaning of names so seriously, and so enjoy that aspect of naming our baby! 

I am SO happy about being almost through my first trimester!! (Seriously, you have no idea...) It's been pretty rough with the sickness and nausea and trying everything to try to feel better. I seriously have the most amazing husband on the planet taking care of me. I haven't been able to do hardly anything in the kitchen without being sick, and grocery shopping is totally out- so he has really picked up my slack in those areas... actually, every area. I really haven't felt well enough most of the time to do anything. I guess it runs in the family- my mom had it even worse with me! Thanks, Mom for all you went through with me.... I seriously had no idea what you meant when you told me you were really nauseous having me.... 

12 weeks- size of baby!
Yesterday and today I have felt really good and have had a bit more energy. I can't wait to get started organizing stuff... I have so much in my closet that needs to GO! At 6 weeks- I gave away most of my clothes that already weren't working for my body... but I feel like I'm getting a little bigger everyday and I have even more to put in boxes, that I don't feel comfortable in now. I'm loving my maternity pants already- so so comfy on my tummy! :)  I really am enjoying seeing my belly really be a cute pregnant belly instead of just feeling fat- like I have for most of the first trimester. My baby's the size of a plum- about 2 inches! :)

Would really appreciate prayers- as I try to keep good food, and my prenatal vitamins down and for the nausea to totally go away soon! I would love to start craving things- right now pretty much everything just sounds really bad. Thanks so much!

1st Prenatal Appointment is December 2nd! Can't wait to hear the heartbeat!


Monday, August 5, 2013

He Ain't No Liar!

Leif and I took a week off last week to have an adventure and take time away with the Lord and HE met us in an amazing way! So excited about the freedom and the crazy love for God that He's renewed in my heart! Another awesome part about that is that I feel like before this week, when Leif told me that he loved me, I felt like it was filling the "love cup" in my heart up from the bottom. It was really good, but he had to fill me up a lot more, I felt so so needy. I realized about half-way through the week, that when Leif told me that he loved me, it felt like my "love cup" was already full and his, "I love you" was just a whip-cream and cherry on-top of the already full "love cup" ... it was so awesome! I feel less needy and more full. Not depressed and SO excited about life! God is so good! 

The Lord also brought to my attention how when I don't believe that He has made a good  thing when He made me, and have self-esteem issues and don't love who He made me to be- I'm calling Him liar. When He made man in the beginning and said, "It is good!" I'm essentially saying... "Actually, no. You messed up here and here and here, and I don't like this and this and this... I'm not the cool kid." 
I don't want to be calling GOD a liar! So, I repented for doing that for my whole life and He has given me this gift of realizing the amazing creation that He's made me to be! I AM the cool kid! I'm His cool kid! :) I'm beautiful and made in His image! 

Loving my Father and enjoying life,

Thursday, June 6, 2013


This week has just been amazing... On Monday I felt that the Lord was telling me to give the best of myself to my husband this week. Not in a "try harder for him to love me" way, but just in making conscious choices to not take offense at things, to be excited for him to have the opportunity to work instead of feeling sorry for myself that he's not home, etc.... There are so many more opportunities to chose peace than I ever thought. It's not like this week has been easier, it has offered plenty of moments of growth. But this week I just decided not to go with my first reaction.

What started out as a gift to my husband this week, has really come back to bless me. I have had the best week! I'm so much happier and I feel closer to Leif because I decide not focus on telling him about all the hard things that happened in my day, and we get to talk about other things! (I know! What a concept!) I'm so in love with him and I really like myself a lot better when I focus on the positive things. I also feel closer and more excited about my walk with the Lord- as I feel like I've needed the Lord's strength more.

I've also been working on simplifying our home, my life, my purse, closet etc. :) Ah... I feel so much lighter! Asking myself as I go though the house, "does this help me make my life simpler and more peaceful?" Reduced clutter in our bedroom (I try to make that the focus in cleaning- as that is our little sanctuary) and all over the house brings stress levels down. It also is very restful for Leif to come home to. I know this is easy for me to say as we only have a living room, bedroom, hallway, bathroom and kitchen.... :) but just start where you can and keep at it! I'm struggling with keeping up with my kitchen, but I keep working at it!

Reducing the number of products that I buy for us in cleaning, cooking, cosmetics etc. (not just saying food- but other things)... and have found three wonderful all natural products that are just awesome for everything around the house! Apple Cider vinegar is amazing for... everything. Here is an article on the health benefits of it and here is one on the uses of it. The big thing that I feel that it does is having 1-2 tbs of it in the a.m. dramatically helps me with energy for the day. It also helps fight infection, is great as a toner on my face at night (zits begone!) and can be used as a shampoo too... I haven't tried that yet, but would like to!

Regular White Vinegar (cheapo at the grocery store!) is my go-to cleaner for everything. My mom taught me this and I used to really dislike the smell... it doesn't bother me as much now, but for a general house cleaner (it the bathrooms I use it straight up), I mix a couple drops of essential oils (I like sweet orange and lavender), water and 1/4 cup of vinegar in a spray bottle. Smells great!

The last one is my favorite at the moment... Coconut oil. Here's an article on 101 uses for it. I've been using it as a substitute for butter in recipes, frying, greasing cookie sheets, mascara remover, body moisturizer, massage oil (not greasy- like baby oil and all natural) ... it is so awesome! I got a large container of it at Walmart in the oil section for about $5.50 - make sure that it's 100% pure Coconut Oil.

Well... I'm off to drop a load of ... stuff... off at Goodwill (make sure you get a receipt and save it for the tax write off!) ... making my house more peaceful, one goodwill drop off at a time. :)

Hope you all have a great week and I will be praying that you all will, with me, ask the Lord for the strength each moment to chose His peace.


P.S. Some of these tips really helped me in simplifying- I don't agree with everything, but some of it was really thought provoking.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

"So How Is Married Life?!" ....

It happens a lot, people asking how the newlywed life is going, and even though I married the most
amazing man on the planet (no lie), I struggle with how to answer. I am trying to break out of the habit of saying that everything is fine and wonderful... that answer may glorify me, but maybe by sharing the truth of the ups and downs, that would glorify the Lord more.

Leif and I went to a Swing Dancing evening last weekend and a friend we hadn't seen in a while asked us if we dance all of the time. I said no, but we'd like to dance more... and another friend chimed in (tongue in cheek) that we do dance all the time, because we're newly weds, and I sing while I do house work and have little birds help me fold sheets.... (anyone seen the movie Enchanted?) :) Although said in a teasing way, since we all know that's not how it works, it just brought to mind some of my thoughts about marriage before I got married.

I knew everything there was to know about relationships and marriage before I turned 18. Because I would be 18 when I got married.... I'd read so many courtship stories, and had looked at the average age and it was usually about 18. Of course, I'd be married at 18. I owned every courtship book and had read some great marriage books as well and I pretty much had this thing down. I'd heard people say that  my husband could not being my everything- but that God should be and I thought, "well, of course!" I also knew that we really wouldn't have all of those problems that some of the couples faced in those books. I was a Christian, I would marry a Christian... and I'm pretty much perfect (I was working so hard to do everything on the Proverbs 31 "list"), and I would marry someone who was pretty much perfect and we wouldn't have problems like that, we would have lovely children, raise them up in the fear and admonition of the Lord and life would be a bed of roses. I know, I'm full of it, aren't I?  :)

Well- marriage is truly wonderful, but as crazy as this sounds... I'm not as perfect and put together as I thought I was, and I didn't marry an entirely perfect man. I love how this quote sums this up: 
"A successful marriage isn't the union of two perfect people. It's that of two imperfect people who have learned the value of forgiveness and grace" - Darlene Schacht 
So... How is married life? It is wonderful, but it is also (and I say this very seriously) the most packed season of growing that I have every experienced. To learn how to communicate well, graciously, and lovingly is a lot harder than it sounds. I'm learning to lovingly tell him when I'm struggling with something that he's done or made a decision to do, instead of bottling up emotions and words which that's not a real solution. It works for a very short amount of time- but it will always come spewing up and will cause much more damage in the long-run for you and your spouse. I'm learning how to remember how I felt after we came back from our honeymoon and I did laundry for the first time. I was so delighted to do it! I have decided that I would much rather have this man in my life and have to pick up all the things he leaves on the floor, than to not be married to him and have an immaculate apartment. :)

I do not have this perfected. I do not have birds helping me fold sheets, and I don't always sing when I do house work. I am not naturally a good communicator, but I am learning from the Lord and from the beautiful example that my husband, Leif, is to me.

That's how married life is right now. Learning, growing, and have a TON of fun with my best- friend!


Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Dear Lord....


Help me to learn how to not take offense,
how to not let things bother me,
and to see things in a longer time perspective, rather than this moment. 
Because... in the scheme of things, the stuff that bothers me right now- doesn't really matter. 

Help me to breath you in and breath the other things out. 

To have a short term memory when it comes to hurts, and to think about a person's character- 
that they don't mean to hurt me (most of the time), and to give them the benefit of the doubt. 
Help me to think of others before myself and to remember that it's not all about me.
Help me to love my husband the way he loves me: selflessly, patiently and humbly. 
Help me to not be the leaky roof wife.... (Proverbs 27:15)

I can't do this alone- and I call on you for your help.


Thursday, March 7, 2013

TRESemmé has me nailed....

I pulled out my hairspray the other day and got a little jolt at what was boldly printed in all caps across the side of the aerosol can. "EXTRA FIRM CONTROL" I felt convicted. That's why the transition from being on my own, independent and single to being married has been a little bumpy at moments. I've always preferred EXTRA FIRM CONTROL over everything.  I won't go into my history of my love affair with control- but it's there and for most of you who know me well - know how firmly this is rooted in me and how I've never really listened to you telling me this same thing for... my whole life. 

So now... things are different. Surrender- not just to my husband, but mostly to the Lord- is something that I'm learning right now. To relinquish my hold on every nook and cranny of my life and letting the Lord have it.... which means that most of the time the Lord then passes it on to my husband. My dad always told me that would be a learning curve for me- and it is... but with the releasing of EXTRA FIRM CONTROL, comes a gaining of a peace and rest that cannot be there in the midst of the control. 

It's a much bigger, longer lesson than this blog post- but it's a process. I'm under construction! 

Enjoy this lovely day!


Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Go make your loved ones BREAD!

I don't know about your families- but Leif loves bread. No, I mean he loves bread. Making artisan (crusty baguette type) bread has being on my bucket list / new year's resolution list for years- probably since Leif and I were friends and I found out what an amazing guy he was and really wanted to impress him with my mad baking skills (not that I ever even attempted- but it was a nice thought).... anywhoo. But I've been reading this book about French cooking and baguettes and chocolate (mostly chocolate... and making amazing truffles is on my bucket list now) .... and it's totally inspired me to bake! I can cook fairly well (my mother is to be given the credit for our amazing "home economics" courses), but I rarely bake and never bake bread since I moved out on my own. (Mom baked whole wheat bread - with a soft crust.... which we totally took for granted growing up and I now miss!) But as Leif and I move in on month three of being married, it's high time for me to bake this man some bread. So yesterday- I found a pin I'd put on my pinterest recipe board about 5 min bread and started into it at about 5 p.m. yesterday. Well.  It's 5 min bread- once you've let it rise for 2 hours, and if you don't count the baking time... so at 8 p.m. I pulled this out of the oven...

We went a little bizerk with my new creation and immediately sunk into buttery, fresh bread heaven.... oh. my. word.... I've been dreaming about fresh baked creations and this soared above my expectations and perched in the tree of my dreams and sang lovely songs to me. It truly was out of this world. And the best part- is that it was SO easy! Here's the link.  Go check it out! Another great thing about this recipe is that once you've made a big batch of it- you stick the dough in the fridge for up to 2 weeks and it really does take 5 min to prep after that initial 2 hour rise. Let me know how yours turns out! Oh- they say to let it cool or the crust will be too tough and the dough spungy... well, we just couldn't wait THAT long- so we didn't and it was divine and it was just as amazing this a.m. as I nibbled left-overs after I made Leif a sandwich out of it with our panni maker (George Forman Grill) 

Enjoy! Go make your loved ones some BREAD!


Monday, February 11, 2013

The Wedding pt. 2

The Kiss!! 

We walked out to The Piano Guys instrumental version of Better Together by the Turtles - a song that a close friend told us is our theme song. ;) Very happy song... and brings back wonderful memories of walking back down the isle looking into my family and friend's faces smiling from ear to ear ... so happy... and we are better together. :)

And.... we are living happily ever after! 

The End

P.S. Pics of reception will be posted at some point... stay tuned! 

The Wedding pt. 1

Finally! The story about our wedding... continued! :) Seems appropriate  as we get ready to celebrate our first Valentine's day as a married couple!

Here are a few photos of right before the wedding- after I arrived with my bridesmaids, parents and grandmother and adopted grandmother.

Wilson, our ring-beror

                    Leif and his best-man and brother, Austin
A moment of prayer together before everything began... I didn't want him to see me! 

My bridesmaids ditched me for picture time- so my dad helped me!

My mother-in-law and my lovely bridesmaids and maid of honour

(left to right: my mother-in-law: Amber, Ring beror: Wilson, the flower girls, 
father-in-law: Bryan 

My parents: Patrick and Beverly L.
Leif's Parents: Bryan and Amber A. 

And then it all started... Everyone lined up - I saw my former landlords wave through the little chapel window and heard the sounds of the wedding party's processional start. It was a recording of some of Leif's instrumental guitar music. I wanted to incorporate music from my favorite artist! Val- my wedding coordinator (and life-saver!!) handed us our bouquets that we had all  made the day before (I bought the flowers bulk through Sam's Club) and Savannah P. started down the isle, followed by Anna G., Savannah S. and my sister and maid-of-honour, Emma. Wilson, the ring beror walked down after that and I stood behind my flower-girls wondering if they really were going to walk down the isle. The stood at the entrance  hand-in-hand and peered around the corner at all of the people. I whispered that it was time for them to go... and Val encouraged them as well... and they started walking. :) YEAH! Then time really did stand still as Val closed the door for a moment, the music changed to an instrumental version Me and You by Kenny Chesney by Bryan Rason (click here for the link).... and I was really glad that my dad was walking me down the isle. I held his arm tight and took a picture in my mind of that moment.

The doors opened and (whew, I'm listening to that song right now and it's making me cry... I am so blessed to be married to this man!) ... I saw my grandma, and everyone else who was there for just a moment- and then I saw Leif. I slowed my pace and wanted this moment to last forever...


It didn't go by too fast or too slow. I hung on each word and each moment, trying to memorize it all. This is the day I dreamed of... and it was more perfect and amazing than I imagined. Leif looked stunning, everything was perfect, sunny and most importantly I could feel the Lord there so radiantly. 

We didn't want to do sand combining or a unity candle, so we decided to wash each-other's feet as a symbol of our caring and serving each-other selflessly as Jesus washed each of the disciple's feet in John 13:1-17.

Our vows exchanged- we wrote our own

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Marriage: It's way better than I'd thought

Don't let the title of this post make you think that I never wanted to get married, that I thought it was a drag, a ball and chain ... anything like that. My parents taught by example that they thought marriage was awesome! I remember numerous occasions where my dad would kiss my mom in front of us (A real kiss, not a "honey-the-kids-are-watching" kiss) and then grin at her, look at us and emphatically state that, "You guys are going to LOVE being married!" We were never grossed out. My brothers even would smile and say, "Yeah! I can't wait to be married!" I've planned my wedding since I was 7years old, I've known what style of ring I've wanted for over 10 years (I had this silly idea that the guy would just "know" the perfect ring that I wanted without me telling him. We never talked about rings.... and he bought me the ring that I've wanted and picked out when I was 10 years old.... crazy, eh?)

So, I knew I wanted to be married and I've known that it was going to be awesome for my whole life. But what I didn't know is that as the days go by of newly-married life, you feel more One, more connected, and as you battle through things you feel closer. I'm not just talking about intimacy (which someone should tell you all is far more awesome than you ever imagined) - but the daily stuff of beginning to know someone so well and have them know you.

A year ago today, my best-friend Leif, came over to my apartment porch for hot chocolate and cookies (It's true- the way to a man's heart is through his stomach) :) and asked me a question that started all of this. Before heading over to my house, the Lord told him to ask me:

"Arielle, do you feel cherished by me?"

He struggled with that, because it wasn't a very "friend-ish" thing to say- but he knew that he wanted to pursue a relationship with me (again... long story). So he did. He came over and we chatted, and ate cookies (He still claims that they were the best cookies he'd ever had.... thank you Betty Crocker!) :) There was a bit of silence as we just listened to the porch swing rock, as he swung the swing- because my legs weren't long enough. I remember looking at the rope lighting and realizing how romantic it looked ... and hoped he wasn't offended by that- since we were just friends... for now... I thought, and tried not to think about how much I wanted to spend the rest of my life with this man....

                                          "Arielle, do you feel cherished by me?"

My throat caught, and my heart stopped. This was really happening.... Lord, is this the time? Can I tell him? I felt completely at peace to speak, and knowing that once I opened my mouth- things wouldn't be the same after that. I couldn't believe that he'd used that word... I'd been studying it- and had just told a friend the day before that I had never felt more cherished by anyone than Leif. I opened my mouth and began to tell him all of the ways that I felt cherished.

Who knew that a year from that night... I'd be making chili for my sweetie and we'd be celebrating the cherished night in our own little home. God is so good.

I am so thankful to be married. It's harder than I ever thought, but so much more wonderful and unbelievable than I ever dreamed. To be completely honest, I burst into tears in Leif's arms a lot and just weep at how good the Lord is to bring us together.... that after such a long story, the different trials that went on that shaped and strengthened us.... to be here in each-other's arms is so incredibly lovely.

Don't believe the World's message that marriage is a ball and chain, that it's a drag, old fashioned, or restrictive. I feel more alive, encouraged, inspired, safe, motivated and productive as a married women. We are excited in this season of our marriage to be exploring both of our dreams and ideas for the future. My husband is not restrictive- I LOVE being home when he is home, but he facilitates and encourages my ideas, passions, and thoughts.

I LOVE being married! It is a wonderful season! For those of you not quite in that season yet and looking forward to it- something that the Lord really encouraged me to learn well in the past few years is this: "Love the ..."   The dot dot dot  ... is what comes between two things, the past and the future that you're waiting for. You are always in a ... time. I am now, so are you. I'm in-between being married and having children, a house of our own. In-between my husband leaving for work and coming home, in-between one birthday and the next. You're in-between the beginning of the school year and the end, between fall and spring. Enjoy your ...


P.S. Check out this great article about the benefits of marriage!

Friday, January 18, 2013

Before the wedding...

I finally have a moment where the dishes are clean, floors are swept and washed, laundry done(ish) and my husband is gone golfing. :) ...So I can write all about our wedding day! I just can't believe it's taken me a month and a half to catch you up on one of the most amazing days of my life! :)

I woke up on Saturday, November 24th 2012 slightly nervous about the weather- but very sure that God would have answered my (and many of your!...) prayers for lovely weather on my wedding day. I jumped out of bed, and held my breath as I tugged on the roll-up shade. There wasn't a cloud in the sky- it was chilly, but there was no rain... Even though there where ominous clouds when I fell asleep the night before. :) My joyful heart felt like it could explode as I ran to the guest room (Emma stayed with me for three nights before the wedding- helping me remember everything!!) I shrieked and jumped on Emma's bed. "I'm getting married today!!!!" :) I spun around the room and jumped up and down and tried not to cry. She smiled and rolled her eyes at me at the same time. We decided to go through the Bojangles drive through in our Pajamas - and get coffee at a local coffee shoppe. We giggled and had fun together- and I kept thanking the Lord for the time with her before the business of everything started that day. I really don't think that I've done so much in my life in one day.... :) The lady at the coffee shoppe told me to have a good day- and once outside I said to Emma, "Of COURSE I'm going to have a good day!! I'M GETTING MARRIED TODAY!!" Emma rolled her eyes, but grinned big- and led me back to where she'd parked the car... because we both didn't think it was safe for me to be driving, since I couldn't remember a darn thing. :)

Applying makeup
Everyone started arriving at the house at about 9 (I think?) :) The bridesmaids, the girls that did our photography while we got ready, their sister who was so so awesome to offer to do everyone's hair, my mom, aunt and grandmother with brunch for everyone... When the Mrs. G showed up with Anna- one of my bridesmaids.... I ran out to see them and she shouted at the top of her lungs: "YOU'RE GETTING MARRIED TODAY!!!" :)  Finally someone who was getting the excitement!!

My Maid of Honour and Sister: Emma
A little help from my mom and Emma

Just a peek...

We all got ready, ate, watched everyone get their hair done, did make up, and I realized that I still hadn't trimmed the veil that I made to the right length... so Emma did that for me after she put it on. :) My Dad showed up with Flynn (my brother), my grandmother and Mimi (my adopted Grandmother) and Dad came up and we prayed as a family (but without Liam and although this was the happiest day of my life, I tried so hard not to cry- because I SO wanted him to be here for this). We all went downstairs- and I prayed over the day with everyone - and tried not to cry.

Savannah S. drove all of the bridesmaids in my car, and Mom, Dad, the grandmas, Flynn and I rode in my parent's van. We drove out to the chapel - or almost there.... Because the chapel doesn't have any other rooms to get ready or hide or anything, we had to drive to a little gas station just up the road and wait for the call that they were ready for us. We ended up heading up there at 2:15ish (I think) ....

The Beautiful Day!

The Chapel of Rest

The words on above in the chapel are:
Come unto me all you who are heavy laden and I will give you rest


More to come in Part 2: The Wedding! Hope you all enjoy the pictures! Our photographer, Jennifer Abel (Leif's Aunt) was fabulous!