Book Review | Love That Lasts

I’ve never done anything like this before, but I’m so excited to share this with you because this book is seriously good! I came across the Bethke’s (the husband/wife author duo of Love That Lasts) initially through Jeff’s spoken word videos that were blowing up on YouTube. Many spoken word videos, books, and other videos later, I’m still following and learning from the Bethke’s.

Love That Lasts is full of heart, light, honesty, and truth. It’s about “how we discovered God’s better way for love, dating, marriage, and sex” and it certainly delivers. Every single one of us has been through a situation (or many) and/or picked up different beliefs along the way that aren’t aligned with truth. We’ve been broken and hurt by the world and that can lead to disfunctional ways of going about relationships. This book highlights the struggles we face as imperfect men and women, but it doesn’t stop there — it gives hope.

img_6010

This isn’t a marriage book or a dating book or even a singles book — it’s a relationship book. To have healthy relationships (with ourself and with our partner), we have to identify and reconstruct the damaging beliefs and patterns. No matter where you are in terms of dating or marriage, you will get valuable insight from this book. It speaks to every life stage — take what you need and store away the extra for what’s to come.

I’m planning on rereading this book since I got through it so quickly the first time! It’s filled with personal stories, encouragement, and God’s truth — I had a hard time putting it down. I appreciate how vulnerable Jeff and Alyssa were with their stories and I love how they tooks turns writing each chapter. I was able to relate to both authors throughout the book and it was interesting to hear both sides of the relationship story.

Love That Lasts challenged me and pointed out old wounds and past hurts that maybe I had been avoiding. I was able to work through this book and apply their wisdom to help make my marriage more fruitful and bring peace to my past.

There was one part in particular that jumped out at me. Growing up with Disney and fairytale, we develop this belief that each girl has her Prince Charming. The idea of soulmates and “the one” become a heavy burden. What if I can’t find my “one”?? Jeff hit the nail on the head with this topic. He lifted that burden and helped me see the real picture of being and finding “the one” in marriage.

 

I’d love to see a movie where at the altar the two people say, “I could marry someone else, I don’t believe in the concept of ‘the one,’ but I do believe in choosing one person to love and serve for the rest of my life, and I choose you.”

– Jeff Bethke, Love That Lasts

It may not be romantic, but doesn’t that seem a lot more life giving!? When we take the weight off of finding the one, we can focus on finding a great person that we will love and serve well who will strive to do the same in exchange. That’s a better expectation of marriage. I look forward to reading through this book again and uncovering other truth bombs. The right things will hit you when you need them, so lets see how much growth

******

Do you have a relationship you’d like to improve? Do you have old beliefs about relationships or marriage that you’d like to work through? Do you want raw and honest instead of sugar coated when it comes to love, dating, marriage, and sex?

Pick up this book and learn through it. If somehow I’ve led you wrong, Jeff said he’ll personally refund your money. What do you have to lose?

unnamed-1

** This book was sent to me free of charge for my honest review from the publisher.
All opinions are my own. **

Advertisements

September Progress & October Goals

Raise your hand if you’re in the fall spirit! Mine is up in the air! October 1st came and it’s like the weather realized what season it is — cooler temps and cozier vibes. I’m so excited for this new month and shift in season! Sweaters, hot tea, blankets, oh my!

The fall candle came out just in time to work on my PowerSheets. It only took about 20 minutes to recap what happened in September and set my intentions for October — it was time well spent!

Setting aside that time makes all the difference. There is power in being intentional and it’s what makes me feel prepared and empowered to go after what matters most! It can be easy to just float along, but I’m sure most of us want a say in where we’re headed.

September Progress

Monthly Goals

  • Tithe/Budget — We are in a good flow with this and it’s definitely easing financial stresses. I think it may be a good idea to start tracking where our money is going which will be more work, but will help us spend more wisely. Any suggestions on formats or apps to make this easier?
  • Intentional time with Eric — Our job schedules make this absolutely necessary. We’re not perfect at this, but we’ve tried to be intentional to plan time/days together when we can. Doing the best with what we have!
  • Cultivate community — I didn’t make as much progress here as I had hoped, but definitely took steps in the right direction. As you’ll see below in the October goals, I’m excited to share that we’re working on beginning a small group for married couples!
  • Rest — Sleep continues to be of high importance, but also resting throughout my day. I took time to relax whether that be with a bubble bath or a good book. Often times it’s a Netflix session. Giving my mind the space to rest.
  • Contentment — While “no spend” days can be overwhelming and seem impossible, contentment is much more doable! I’m finding contentment in the things I already own, the status of our finances, and the goals we’re setting. This will remain a focus and mission since it’s ever evolving.
  • Learn something new each day at work — There is so much to learn in my role, so this has definitely been achieved for September. I’m pushing myself to seek out new information and ask more questions! Whether it’s a new question or new situation to deal with, I’m learning along the way.
  • Pay off student loans — All the confetti and praise hands for reaching this goal!!! I won’t go into too much detail because you can read all about it here!

Weekly Goals

  • Memorize Scripture verse — This was challenging, but so sweet to carry truth with me. To keep it at the front of my mind and help me memorize the verses, I would choose the verse and then find a nice image to set as my phone background. Encouraging and useful!
  • Friend date — We are not meant to do life alone and I’m loving connecting with girlfriends, new and old. Friendships are being both planted and restored and I’m so grateful!
  • Meditate I’m enjoying this and proud of myself for doing it almost everyday! Sometimes I forget or the day gets away from me, but it’s been so beneficial to be more mindful.
  • H2O only — Hanging on strong to this one! I feel such a difference in my mind and body when I’m hydrated. I’ve been aiming for at least 100oz of water a day which I will continue. I’ll get a soda occasionally if we’re eating out, but we don’t normally buy it. Can’t drink it if it’s not in my house!
  • Meal plan and prep — I’ve gotten into a rhythm with this and it’s so much easier. We buy mostly fruit and veggies at the store with some meat. I love easy meals like Crockpot chili or roasted veggies with sausage, so cooking is much smoother. I prep meals the night before during the week which makes my mornings less hectic.

Daily Goals

  • Quiet time
  • Spanish
  • Exercise
  • No phone AM

Good growth happened in my daily goals in September! I struggled with not checking my phone in the morning. I’m still struggling with it, but I’m going to focus on my morning routine as a whole and see if that makes a difference. My phone can be a huge time suck, so I don’t want to waste precious time in the morning scrolling through apps (although it can be fun). Quiet time and Spanish are very much a part of my routine now. It feels good to see positive habits are being cultivated in my life ❤

We’re 2 days into October and I believe so much goodness is ahead!

October Goals

Monthly Goals

  • Contentment
  • Wise finances
  • Let go! Surrender
  • Blog growth opportunity
  • Cultivate community – friendships
  • Prepare for small group

Weekly Goals

  • Connect with Eric
  • Drink only water – at least 100oz/day
  • Morning routine
  • Enthusiasm & growth at work

Daily Goals

  • Worship & Praise
  • Active body
  • Meditate 
  • Nurture plants

90 days left in 2017 — lets make them the best yet! You are a bright light shining and I know you’re going to use these next 3 months in big, meaningful ways! What goal are you striving to accomplish by December 31st or even before!? Big or small, I’d love to cheer you on!

unnamed-1

One step closer to financial freedom

financial freedom.jpg

I am ecstatic to share that as of September 15th, 2017 at 8:36am…

I AM STUDENT LOAN DEBT FREE!!!

Because I’m over here celebrating and soaking it all up, I wanted to reflect and share with you things I’ve learned along the way and how we got rid of those pesky suckers.

I graduated from North Carolina State University in May 2014 with close to $30,000 of student loans. That may be better or worse than your own student loan start, but regardless, we can all agree: student loans suck. Debt sucks. It’s a current (annoying) payment on a past experience. I absolutely do not regret getting a college education – its molded me and gotten me to where I am today. But I do regret not being very money wise in my younger years.

Personal finance should certainly be a required class for all high school seniors. We live in a credit driven world, but many of us don’t learn the consequences of debt until we’re already into it. And then it feels like we’re drowning to get out. But no matter where you’re at with your finances, you CAN get to a place of financial freedom!

If I could go back in time and tell my 18 year old self to apply for scholarships and start actually saving money, I so would! But sometimes lessons need to be learned the hard way. Ever since I could I was working and earning money whether that be by babysitting, working at the YMCA, lifeguard, retail… but that money went anywhere besides staying in my bank account. Whoops! I didn’t even know what was coming for me in the form of student loans a handful of years later.

The biggest way to knock down that debt is to a) make all your payments on time and most importantly b) make higher than minimum payments. It’s so discouraging to make a debt payment only for most of it to go to interest. That’s going to happen, especially if you’re only making the minimum payment, but even if you only have an extra $10 to put towards your payment, do it! Every little bit helps.

I didn’t start taking my debt payments seriously right away. I always paid them on time, but especially when I was a fresh graduate, I didn’t feel like I had a lot of extra money to spare. I also wasn’t closely following a budget… so that was probably the problem. I was continuing with my old ways — my money was going to shopping, out to eat, etc. If you don’t have a budget to tell your money where to go, it’s gonna go wherever it wants. And you’re not going to like it.

February 2015 is when my finances hit the fan and I realized I really needed to make a change. My parents graciously helped me get back on my feet even though I was on my own and that was push I needed. I put together a budget. This helped me recognize the things I was paying for that I didn’t need (Hulu, Netflix, massage membership, online shopping…) I canceled the items I could and made plans to decrease expenses — quick financial victory!

Fast forward to July 9th, 2016. Eric and I get married and with “I do” comes my debt. It became an “us problem” that we needed to tackle together. We got things more straightened out during the rest of 2016 and set up our joint account in January 2017. A family budget came into play and we made a plan to aggressively pay off those student loans. Goal: pay off student loan debt by end of 2017. At the time that seemed way out of reach…

But we rocked it! We started this year with about $22,000 of loans. Like what!? That’s crazy to think about. Now it should be no problem for us to save $10,000, right?? 😉

We got focused, we made sacrifices, and we set goals. It definitely wasn’t easy and we could have gotten them paid off faster had we not eaten out as much (although still much less than we used to) or gone on as many trips earlier this year, but whatever. We still made it happen. It’s important to be realistic about your method of paying off your debt. Build some “fun money” into your budget so you’ll actually stick with it and want to keep going. You can still enjoy your life while making payments, just do it wisely and on budget!

Our budget and payoff goal was absolutely crucial. We had to work together towards the same goal otherwise it wasn’t going to work. We would throw any extra money to the debt including bonuses from work. It would’ve been easy to just consider that play money and blow it, but now that the loans are paid off we have a lot more play money anyways! And don’t feel guilty about using it.

I’ve become pretty obsessed with our finances. I check our budget and accounts daily (read multiple times a day). I aim to stay on top of it so that we know what’s coming and can plan accordingly. This helps us to not go into more debt on our credit cards and I can keep an eye on any unusual activity. A few months ago we did have fraud payments ran on our card of $1000s — I’m so grateful our credit card company is awesome about handling fraud and that we noticed it the day it happened.

We went above and beyond to make this payoff happen. Any babysitting opportunity that came up was an automatic yes assuming I was in town. I had a good size 401k built up when I left my old job in June – that got cashed out and put all of that towards my loans. Of course we want to save for the future, so a new 401k plan is up and running. Eric picked up extra work and hustled (and he still does). He is the hardest working person I know and has been the best partner in all of this.

Along the way I’ve learned about contentment. We are beyond blessed and really there’s nothing extra we need. Yet my heart would still crave “the things”. The things Pinterest, Instagram, people show me that I needed. I’m working on breaking the chains of materialism. Of course I will continue to buy, but with a different heart behind it. I am already loved and made whole by the One who created me – no amount of stuff can change that. I will buy things that are useful, necessary, beautiful, spark joy – not just because the world tells me I “have to have it.”

So now what? 

We will set new goals.

I’ve been inspired by Dave Ramsey’s teachings throughout this journey, so we’re loosely following his 7 baby steps to financial peace. We’ve gone a bit out of order to start, but I love the simplicity and framework of it. We may adjust it so that it fits for us, but I think it’ll be a great guide to us as we’re moving forward.

Baby-Steps-horizontal21

I’m so grateful to those that have encouraged me and given great advice along the way. I have super smart friends and the internet is full of finance savvy people! I’m a huge fan of Dave Ramsey, Pennies into Pearls YouTube channel, and whatever other budget videos/blogs I can get my hands on. Soak up the wisdom of others and learn from their mistakes. I’ve gotten so many good ideas and inspiration by watching how others handle their money.

I hope my story will be inspiration for your financial freedom and that you’ll continue along the journey with me! YOU CAN DO IT!!! Share this post with a friend to encourage them on their way.

I’d love to hear from you! What are your thoughts about finances? Do you have student loan debt you’re paying off? What are your tips and tricks when it comes to finances? Lets chat in the comments below ❤

Love you! You are AMAZING!

unnamed-1

August Progress & September Goals

Hello, friend!! A few apologies for ya — 1) sorry it’s been a month since the last blog post (which was actually last month’s PowerSheets update!)  and 2) sorry this one is later than usual. But better late than never, right!?

Is it just me or do the months seem to go faster and faster?? Regardless, I’m so grateful I’m being intentional and focusing on the things that matter. I don’t always get it right and some days are just plain difficult, but little by little progress adds up yall! Good goals were set and good progress was made through a crazy August.

August Progress

IMG_5640

Monthly Goals

  • SJ’s 21st Birthday Celebration — My baby sister is 21!! We were able to have a celebratory dinner with our parents and I surprised her with a birthday gift waiting for her before she left for her trip to New York! And I’m sure the celebrations will continue 🙂
  • Learn at work — This will be a constant goal because there’s so much to learn! But each day is getting a little better. Slow and steady progress here.
  • Budget — We are doing well with this! Spending got a little out of hand and I’d like to have more face to face “financial meetings” with Eric (most of it occurs via text because of our schedules), but we’re doing a good job overall.
  • Tithe — We’ve figured out a system that works for tithing! I was having a hard time since Eric gets his tips paid daily so we overcame that by tracking his earnings on our budget spreadsheet and then I’ll give each week based on 10% of what he earned.
  • Gratitude — I’ve gotten into the habit of giving thanks to God for our many blessings, big and small. I also worked on seeing the silver lining in challenging situations.
  • Intentional time with Eric — As I mentioned, our schedules are pretty funky, so time spent together has to be intentional. It’s not like what it used to be, but that’s okay! We’re making the most of it in this season and taking advantage of those “pockets of time” we have together. It takes time to get into a rhythm and we’re getting there ❤

Weekly Goals

  • Meal plan and prep — I’ve gotten back into the swing of this and I’m so glad!! I’m using Pinterest and healthy Youtubers for inspiration. I enjoy simple recipes and ingredients that I can easily mix up depending on what I’m feeling and what we have on hand.
  • Meditate — I started using a different app that I randomly came across called Simple Habit. It’s still guided mediation which I love, but they’re mostly just 5 minutes which I can totally fit into my day!
  • Friend date — I felt kinda silly putting this one on my tending list, but I’m so glad I did. It can be really easy to go weeks or months without seeing friends because of schedule coordination, demands at work and home, etc. But it’s super important to carve out time for those relationships! Dinners, coffee dates, group hangouts: good for the soul.
  • Unplug — I’m not really feeling the need for this one anymore since life has shifted. I’m unplugging and unwinding a bit each day, so I don’t feel it’s necessary for me to be as intentional about this and I think that’s a good thing!
  • H2O only — I’m not a huge soda/coffee/whatever drinker, but my water consumption has definitely been slacking. I bought a new glass water bottle that I love and since I’ve started tracking my water with the Fitbit app, I’m drinking a lot more and feeling good!

Daily Goals

  • Exercise
  • No extra spending
  • Devotional 
  • Pray with Eric
  • Journal
  • Spanish
  • No phone AM

Overall I’m feeling really proud! There was a lot more going on this month tending list wise as compared to last and I feel like I’m getting into the swing of things again. I made progress in every single area, some “perfect” or almost perfect. No phone in the morning (at least not until after my morning routine) and no extra spending were harder than I thought.

No extra spending felt extreme, but it was helpful to see where I had those impulses to spend and what types of things we were spending extra on (I’m talking about outside of the necessities here). I ended up creating a list of “wishes” — items I’d love to purchase, but not now. I reevaluated the list throughout the month and will continue to do so until either I purchase it because it’s serving a purpose at that time or it gets deleted from the list.

September Goals

IMG_5639.JPG

Monthly Goals

  • Tithe/Budget
  • Intentional time with Eric
  • Cultivate community
  • Rest
  • Contentment
  • Learn something new each day at work
  • Pay off student loans!

Weekly Goals

  • Memorize Scripture verse
  • Friend date
  • Meditate
  • H2O only
  • Meal plan and prep

Daily Goals

  • Quiet time
  • Spanish
  • Exercise
  • No phone AM

This feels like such a wonderful blend of meaningful, exciting, important goals and I’m so eager to make progress. September is going to be amazing and it’s already off to a strong start! I’m giving myself grace for not always being “productive.” A time for rest and peace is so important. I already have everything I need, the rest is extra. I want what I’ve been graciously given to flourish, but that can only happen when I give it the care and space to grow. 

Do you have goals for September? What is one you’re most excited about!? Share it with us in the comments below ❤

unnamed-1

July Progress & August Goals

Welp July felt like it lasted 4 seconds.

There was a lot that happened in 31 days. My tending list was lighter than usual which had me feeling a little uneasy to start the month. But doesn’t it mean I’m not making as much progress if I only have a handful of things on my list?! Maybe. It also meant that I was focusing on what was most important and being intentional about not burning myself out.

IMG_5315

With a more focused mindset, I was able to accomplish some big things and dedicate the time and energy I had towards what was most important.

July Progress

FullSizeRender

Monthly Goals

  • Anniversary Celebration — Eric and I celebrated our 1 year wedding anniversary on July 9th! I cannot believe how quickly that first year flew by!! It’s been quite the journey so far. Unfortunately the celebration came smack dab in the middle of school and studying, but we still were able to go out for a date night. We had dinner (and champagne of course!) at a yummy spot in Apex and enjoyed the time together. When we got married we decided that we would take an anniversary trip each year… that didn’t happen this year, so hopefully for year 2 we can do that!
  • Pass Real Estate school — check! Did it!! I’m so grateful I was able to pass both the class and the state exam on the first try. It was no easy feat, but it’s now behind me and the hard work definitely paid off!
  • Budget & Tithe — Our finances have been a big focus as we’ve gotten married and are learning how to do life well together. It’s important to us that we’re setting ourselves up for a flourishing financial future. Budgeting isn’t much fun or exciting, but it’s worth it.

Weekly Goals

  • Unplug — I’m still making it a point to unplug, even if just for a couple hours. This was very beneficial when I was studying and in class because I wasn’t distracted by the dings and notifications happening on my phone. It’s so good to step away from that regularly and be present.
  • Meditate — I didn’t do this as often as I would like, but I was still able to do it a bit. Quieting my mind and bringing peace into my world was challenging in July with everything I had going on. I could feel the difference when I was able to meditate and I look forward to doing more of it in August.
  • Encourage a friend — I was definitely needing encouragement in July and it was given abundantly. I believe we should give more of what we’re needing (love, encouragement, time, etc).
  • Learn at work — There is still so much to learn, but with another month under my belt I’m feeling a lot more comfortable and confident at work. I understand it’s going to take time, so I’m doing what I can to learn and absorb.

Daily Goals

  • Study!
  • Pray with Eric
  • Journal
  • Spanish

Paring down my daily goals to just 4 helped me make progress. I did great with studying and praying with Eric. Once I passed my exams, that opened up a lot more time and brain space! I still have more progress to make with journaling and practicing Spanish, but I can see that those habits are becoming more established.

I’m so excited for what’s going to be cultivated in August!

August Goals

IMG_5316

Monthly Goals

  • SJ’s 21st Birthday Celebration
  • Learn at work
  • Budget
  • Tithe
  • Gratitude
  • Intentional time with Eric

Weekly Goals

  • Meal plan and prep
  • Meditate
  • Friend date
  • Unplug
  • H2O only

Daily Goals

  • Exercise
  • No extra spending
  • Devotional
  • Pray with Eric
  • Journal
  • Spanish
  • No phone AM

Sometimes we need to bring it back to basics and bare bones like I did in July. If you’re struggling setting goals and accomplishing them could it be possible that you’re trying to do too much? Are you spreading yourself too thin and then becoming frustrated when it doesn’t happen? Narrow your list down to the most critical items. What will make the biggest impact in your month?

So often I’m trying to think so big picture that I miss what is right in front of me — this day, this month. Our days and months add up and bring us to those future goals. Focus on taking the smaller, meaningful steps that’ll guide you towards what you want 1 year, 3 years, 5 years down the road.

There’s more on my list for August, but I made sure that each item was going to move me closer to my major goals for the year. I’m trying something new by color coding the goals to coordinate with my 2017 goal list — little by little progress adds up! ❤

unnamed-1

First Anniversary — 7 Lessons

July 9, 2016.

That date will forever be etched into my mind and heart. It was the biggest day of our lives up to this point and I still have beautiful flashbacks to that gorgeous summer day.

_DSC5908 copy.jpg

It blows my mind how much planning, stress, anticipation, excitement, and coordination goes into one day. One huge day. But often times much less thought goes into the marriage. If you’re not careful it’s real easy to dream and discuss your wedding day, but what about all the days to come??

We grew so much during our engagement, but have grown even more in our first year as husband and wife. We’ve celebrated, we’ve fought, we’ve loved, we’ve cried and that’s what I want to share with you — some lessons we’ve learned so far in our journey.

P7090080 copy.jpg

#1: Communication is key

This has been and always will be the biggest factor when it comes to marriage, but even relationships in general. Communication is so key! Everything is rooted in communication and often your marriage will be a reflection of how well (or poorly) you and your spouse are handling this critical component.

During our premarital discipleship, we identified communication as a major area to focus and work on improving. We still struggle at times, but have made great progress in the way we communicate with one another. As a married couple, I believe nothing is off limits to communcation — you should be able to talk about any subject, no matter how uncomfortable or seemingly insignificant it may seem. Two people chose to become one, so everything you do affects your spouse. You should be making decisions together and in order to do this, communication needs to happen.

This tends to have a negative connotation with it — if a husband needs to check with his wife he’s “whipped” or vice versa, she’s being “controlled.” Whatever the case may be, I don’t think it’s a negative thing at all! A team can only work when communication is involved. I want my husband and I to be the best team. This is a partnership.

#2: God must stay at the center

Marriage can be challenging. It’s a daily choice to love, serve, and support your partner. Some days are much easier than other, lets be honest. I am selfish and imperfect. If it was just up to me, I would not be able to honor and serve my husband well. But Jesus. He is the perfect example of how to selflessly love, honor, and serve one another and I strive to follow His example. I mess up. A lot. But He is quick to forgive and guide me.

Faith has been an important area to both my husband and I and we wanted to be sure that God remained at the center of our marriage. The world can try to tell us many things and try to pull us in many directions, but we strive to keep our eyes fixed on Jesus.

We recently have gotten back into the habit of praying together every night before bed. It just takes a few minutes, but it makes such a difference! I love hearing Eric’s prayer requests, especially when he’s praying for something specifically for me. It’s such a gift to be able to serve and support one another in this way.

#3: Choose your battles, but fight fair

Fights will happen. There has been no way we’re able to avoid this fact, but I’ve noticed fights happen a lot less often when we’re understanding and not quick to become offended. Easier said than done, right?

I’ve learned more about myself. When I’m stressed I’m much quicker to become offended — I’m not as understanding and it’s not a good combo for peace. Sometimes stress will pop up unknowingly, but if there’s a stressful situation approaching I try to keep my cool and distance. Doesn’t always work, but that’s a huge part where communication comes in.

Most every fight we’ve ever had has been productive in the sense that we’re able to move forward from it. Each one teaches us something and molds our relationship. I’m not saying it’s fun or preferable, but it’s a necessary evil at times. I’m still learning how to bite my tongue and let things go — not everything is worth an argument. But when it’s something important I’m willing to set aside that comfort and get into the mess if it means we will ultimately be better for it. It’s can be a tough call to make, especially in the moment, so don’t be afraid to take a step back.

#4: Maintain your individuality

In a marriage I believe it’s important to be focused on your spouse. It’s great to spend time together and find things you enjoy doing together to bond and create memories. Just as important, though, is continuing to do your own things. Having your very own hobbies and interests allows you both to continue to explore your own uniqueness while ultimately allows you to grow as a couple.

It’s beautiful to allow that space to grow and explore — it builds trust. You’re able to see different qualities in your spouse (and yourself!) We can get so caught up in the “normal” day to day, but don’t be afraid to step out and try something new that’s just for you!

DSC_0427 copy.jpg

#5: Date nights!

There’s the cliche “date your spouse,” but it’s so true! There are times we fall into the rut of work, bills, chores, errands. We get tired and it can be easy for date nights to fall to the wayside. We decided early on that we would strive for a weekly date night. There are seasons where this has become more challenging and we may not make it happen, but we do our best.

Intentional time spent together is crucial. Sometimes it’s grabbing Chinese from our favorite spot and enjoying a relaxing night in or maybe it’s going out for drinks. One thing you can guarantee is that food will always be involved 😉

Date nights provide the time and focus to really connect. Talk, check in, and learn what’s going on in the other person’s world. There are some nights during the week that we may only have 30 minutes together before bed, so date nights are cherished. If you and your love don’t already have a regular time on the calendar I challenge you to figure out a time to set aside just for the two of you ❤

#6: Lean into your circle

We were not made to do life alone and the same is true for marriage. Remember those loved ones at your wedding?? They were there to celebrate for your special day, but they are also the ones to walk the marriage journey with you. Don’t hesitate to ask for help and share the journey.

Seek out their wisdom. Ask for their prayers. Share the moments. Life is sweeter when we’re in community. 

There will also be many amazing people that come into your life after the wedding day. Each person comes along your path for a reason, so cultivate those relationships. Eric and I have been immensely blessed with new friendships that have come into our lives over the past year. We may not have known them long, but they are impacting our lives and strengthening our marriage by encouraging us and being great support systems.

_DSC6921 copy

#7: We are a team

At the end of the day no matter what happens, we are a team. #TeamTorres

I have a best friend for life — that’s what I agreed to on our wedding day. That means he will always have my back and I will always have his. Early on, this wasn’t easy. We would feel against each other if a fight would arise and that only made things worse.

He affects me and I affect him. We are both playing for the same team and we want each other to win. That mindset helps us when things are challenging. I trust that we will be able to make it through anything because we are working as a team. We each have individual gifts, talents, and abilities that God placed together and I’m so grateful.


Thank you for coming alongside us on this journey! My hope is that this will be an encouragement to you and your current/future love. It’s not an easy ride, but it’s definitely one that’s worth it!

What have you learned along the way!? I’d love to read your wisdom!

unnamed-1

June Progress & July Goals

Officially halfway through 2017 — how!? Time seriously flies, so I’m grateful that I’m being intentional with what I want to accomplish in these 365 days.

June was much crazier than anticipated. If you’ve been following along with me here you’ll know I started a new job AND started real estate school. Both exciting things, but either one alone would be hectic. Combined?? Crazy! But we’re getting through it!

Day to day during the month felt like I wasn’t getting anywhere. I felt like I was slacking because boxes weren’t getting marked off… until I looked at my progress over the entire month. I realized even though I didn’t do as much as I had originally planned, I did still take steps forward while experiencing some life changes.

June Progress

Screen Shot 2017-07-01 at 9.01.41 PM.png

Monthly Goals

  • Pour into marriage – This month was challenging. Both Eric and I are experiencing changes in schedules and newness that we’re trying to adjust to. We haven’t had the ability to spend a lot of time together, but we have been more intentional about using the time we have. Most days that means a walk with Stella together in the morning and catching up together before bed. We’re making it work and being supportive of one another throughout the process.
  • Budget (pay of Chase) – Finances has been a major focus of ours since we set up our joint bank account. We were both in decent financial places independently and we want to continue to improve as a couple. Chase card was paid off early June! Woohoo!!
  • Biz growth – Well you can see this one got crossed out. Priorities changed and that’s totally okay.
  • Matt & Serena’s wedding – It was such an honor to walk through the engagement journey with Serena and get to stand beside her for their big day. The wedding was gorgeous and we had so much fun!
  • Graceful job transition – This tending item probably had me the most anxious. Starting a new job is stressful and nerve wracking. Leaving a job also feels a bit like breaking up with someone. It was an interesting time, but I couldn’t have asked for it to go better. I had a week in between quitting my old job and beginning the new one which was perfect to reset!
  • Real Estate School – 4 weekends down, 2 weekends to go!!!! I’m powering through it and praying everyday that I absorb the information and do well on the final exams.

Weekly Goals

  • Unplug – This goal has actually been really beneficial when it comes to class and studying. I’ve relied on it more to help me cut distractions and focus.
  • Prayer & meditation – Crucial as I’m experiencing a lot and trying to keep my head on straight!
  • Make plans with friend – Despite the craziness, I’m glad I followed through with this goal. As a busy adult it can be really easy to move through your days without connecting with friends outside of work. Relationships need time and attention to be cultivated. It was so good to reconnect and step outside of my world for some time.
  • Meal plan & prep – So this one was a flop. Honestly, I’ve been much lazier about my nutrition. My focus has been on school and work and really the last thing I want to do is cook. Whoops!

Daily Goals

  • Sleep 7+ hours
  • No snooze
  • Exercise
  • Journal 
  • Handletter/blog
  • Spanish lesson

It’s pretty easy to see what items fell off. I have some daily goals that I feel comfortable discontinuing from my future tending lists because they’ve become habit! Sleeping 7+ hours, no snoozing, and exercise are a part of my routine, so I don’t feel they need to make this list for months to come. That’s an awesome feeling! Although they were on the list for many, many months, the tending has paid off and they’re cultivated habits.

Now, what’s to be tended in July!?

Screen Shot 2017-07-01 at 9.01.29 PM.png

Monthly Goals

  • Anniversary celebration
  • Pass Real Estate School
  • Budget & Tithe

Weekly Goals

  • Unplug
  • Meditate
  • Encourage a friend
  • Learn at work

Daily Goals

  • Study!
  • Pray with Eric
  • Journal
  • Spanish

I’m keeping the tending list light this month by focusing on the few things that are extra important in July. I don’t want to overwhelm myself by trying to do it “all” and then end up burnt out. As my encouraging words for July puts it, I’m going to “do less with more focus.” I want to take what’s in my hands right now and treat it well.

What big goal do you have for July!? Share it below so I can be cheering you on this month.

unnamed-1