Category Archives: Marriage

wild washerwomen

Our laundry piles up, stacks up, backs up, blocking light and joy. Nothing makes me feel like a failure as a keeper of my home like laundry too long ignored, taunting me from its piles. Just like the piles and dirty laundry of my heart.

There is joy in the dealing with the pile, in the methodical rhythms of cleaning, folding, putting away, healing. Piles shrink, feathers and sheets and souls are smoothed. Discipline and order create space and light. Grace found in even laundry.

The washerwomen hang in the laundry room, reminding me of wild grace.


I opened the dishwasher to find it empty

full of love
full of grace

from a man who saw my weary soul and rose early in my place. Humility washes me, suds on a plate, tears and water rinsing away my pride.

my fifty-first song

Humility hates a secret, I read. Pondered over leaves, kept company in the darkness of night, tears falling.

For I know my transgressions,
and my sin is always before me.

My adultery is not against husband. My fear hasn’t shed man’s blood; my shame hasn’t buried a child.

Surely I was sinful at birth,
sinful from the time my mother conceived me.

My heart betrays Truth. My wicked tongue tires of being trapped silent, springs forth, spewing venom. My covetous eyes search, seek, pine, Pin for what others have. My pride puffs up, covers my sin, covers my secrets. My dirt looks a little cleaner, from the outside.

Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean;
wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.

Humility hates a secret. Draw near and search me, know me. Clean me.

Create in me a pure heart, O God,
and renew a steadfast spirit within me.
Do not cast me from your presence
or take your Holy Spirit from me.

Restore to me the joy of your salvation
and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.

Keeping things hot

This post is rated G, I promise

Neither Chad nor I are big V-Day celebrators. I have been single nearly ever February 14 of my life and Chad sort of tends to push back against traditional ideas of romance.

Except when he proposed. He knocked that one out of the park. Man, I’m a lucky girl.

Anyway, we had discussed not celebrating and decided not to buy gifts. We planned on steak for dinner (not that special for us, really – we are both total carnivores) and called it good.

But the day started out special when the alarm went off at 6 AM and Chad turned it off and said “let’s skip the gym and snuggle.” Well, duh.

Then, we found out about

Aw. The only thing sweeter would have been if I was wearing my I live in Omaha shirt in that picture.

I came home to steaks ready to go on the grill, some yummy wine and, wait for it, dark chocolate covered pretzels. Ah! I die. LOVE those things. And him.

I made berry parfaits for dessert. Fresh strawberries + frozen blueberries and raspberries layered with cream cheese + vanilla greek yogurt = yummy and safe. I say safe because I am a total chicken when it comes to baking. Not even joking. I make brownies out of a box, and I can rock a “hot dish” like a Mennonite Girl Who Can Cook, but when it comes to ingredients with actual chemistry, like baking powder and soda and yeast…yikes. No thanks.

Thus, the parfaits. I did, however, buy some pie crust to make little hearts to stick in the top of the parfaits. Cause I’m cute like that.

Cutting them free hand was not my smartest idea ever, nor was leaving them to cool on a few paper towels on the stove. I’ve done that a million times, but I never will again. I bumped the burner dial with my hip and lit the whole darn thing on fire.

I pulled the hearts off the paper towels – priorities, people – then screamed for Chad, then did the only thing I could think of and put the pot lid on top of the burning paper towel. Good idea, except there was oxygen flowing in from the bottom and it didn’t put out the flames. Chad took care of it with a couple glass of water (my fireman is sexy) and the whole thing was over in a minute. The stove cleaned up fine but the kitchen still smelled like smoke a little this morning. Life goes on and I’m smarter for it.

And he loves me still.

Just the tip of the iceberg

I love that you know about things like the stock market and metabolisms and carburetors.

I love that your shoulders are so broad I can completely hide behind you.

I love how easily you can make me laugh.

I love that you have gotten to know my friends and family and are willing to spend time with them.

I love that you give my nieces silly nicknames, even before they’re born.

I love that you give me lots of snuggles and that you don’t make (too much) fun of me for my excessive need for blankets.

I love that you understand and support the need for occasional time with my girls.

I love that you manage our budget and finances well. Spreadsheets = sexy.

I love that you dream big dreams and invite me along for the ride.

I love how cherished you make me feel every day.

Beauty matters

“Every experience of beauty points to [eternity].” – Hans Urs von Balthasar

“A woman knows, down in her soul, that she longs to bring beauty to the world. She might be mistaken on how, but she longs for a beauty to unveil. This is in her heart, part of her design.”

I love those lines from Captivating, the companion book to Wild at Heart. The author’s words about beauty resonate deep in my soul. But to be really honest, it’s part of my heart that Chad doesn’t share. He doesn’t understand yet why picking out the perfect earrings in the morning, or sprinkling fresh herbs on a dinner plate, or wanting to hang art on our walls or arranging books on a shelf just so is important to me. I don’t expect him to share that, but I do have a desire, a longing, for him to get a piece of it, to see the joy that simple beauty brings to my life, to support my small pursuits of making things lovely.

I want our home to be beautiful. Not necessarily in the classic sense, with fancy appliances and stainless steel rails and exposed beams…oh. That is our house. But really, I want there to be a softness there, a welcoming, a sense of invitation into our lives. I want our home to reflect us.

I think Chad got a taste of how big the little things can be over the weekend, when we finally got a piece of art hung on the wall between the kitchen and living room. Smiles all over! My sister made it for us for Christmas – it’s a paper-collage nod to all the awesome doors we saw in Tallinn. It’s not anything overly special, but I like that Sar made it; I like that it references other places in the world that I love; I like that it goes well with colors in our house. But I really love that there’s a pretty little something hanging on our wall now, something that reflects who we are. I really love that I did something to make our home beautiful.

Isn’t it pretty?

And, just because it’s so good, I’m sharing some more of Stasi Eldredge’s thoughts on beauty. The following is totally ripped/paraphrased from Captivating, pages 37-42.

Beauty speaks. Think of what it’s like to be caught in traffic – horns blaring, exhaust billowing, suffocating…Then remember what it’s like to come into a beautiful place, a garden or meadow or quiet beach. There is room for your soul…You can rest. It is good. All is well. That’s what beauty says, All shall be well.

Beauty invites. A truly beautiful piece of music captures you; you want to sit and drink it in. The same is true of a beautiful garden or scene in nature. You want to enter in, explore, partake of it.

Beauty inspires. A teacher in the inner city explained to us why he insisted on putting a fountain and flowers in the courtyard of the building. “Because these children need to be inspired; to know that life can be better.”

Beauty is transcendent. Beauty reminds us of an Eden we have never known, but somehow know our hearts were created for. Beauty speaks of heaven to come, when all shall be beautiful. It haunts us with eternity. Beauty draws us to God.

There is a radiance hidden in your heart that the world desperately needs.

Chad’s wedding speech

Several people have requested the text to Chad’s wedding speech…so here you go!

. . .

A few of you that have been around me know that sometimes I will confess things at what is, socially, a very unexpected or potentially inappropriate time. I believe I might have even developed a reputation for this propensity. A marriage changes you, but not that much.

I have a confession to make… this day is not about Anna and I; it is about you. As I have been thinking about what a wedding actually is, I have come to a realization: your wedding is the one time in your entire life that you can invite everyone that you love and they actually come from all corners of the world to see you.

Thank you for coming tonight; thank you for being a part of our lives; thank you for loving us and being loved by us; thank you for accepting our invitation to join us.

I have a confession to make… this day has been generations in the making. Words may understate the actuality of our gratitude to our grandparents, our parents, and our siblings. Simply, thank you.

I have a confession to make… I have been writing this speech for years. For as long as I can remember, I have been pondering this moment, this right now moment, and with all of the money, all of the time, all of the resources, and all of the planning, from multiple people and multiple families, I want to say, God has brought me here. I love Him and He has transformed my life and that He is the most important thing.

I have a confession to make… Anna, I have no idea how to be a husband, and I have no idea if I will be good at it, but I know I don’t want to try this adventure with anyone other than you. I was wrong when I repeatedly told you I would never date you; you have captured my heart, and here is that story.

When I was very young I told my mother that I would marry Anna Banana, and my life up until now has been a journey toward that prophecy. In my early dating career I dated girls that had names that began with L. As my journey continued, I bounced around in the first three letters of the alphabet, and there were times that I thought I had found the girl but I was always at least one letter off. Then I found you.

I did not know what I was saying when I was young. When we first started dating I wept because in you, God showed me an overwhelming amount of grace. I had and have done everything to not deserve you, and in that moment I was realizing how well and intricately well we fit together and that I couldn’t have imagined you or created you any better for myself if I had tried. I wept because of God‘s immense and lavishing grace in giving me a sojourning companion that I didn’t deserve and who is indescribably perfect for me.

Happiness hangover

Getting married was so ridiculously amazing, but also totally exhausting. I think I underestimated how emotionally draining the week would be. Also totally exhausting? Putting the house together and figuring out where in the world we’re going to store everything. Chad’s Our house is amazing, but a bit short on storage space. Plus, we got a ton of amazing gifts, but we (admittedly, I) registered for a few things that we don’t really need. Or have room to store. So, like I told a girlfriend last week, I’ve had to have a couple of hard conversations with myself about things like a panini press.

The conversations went sort of like this.

Reasonable Adult Self: Anna. Seriously, how many times a year are you going to make a panini?
Likes Fancy Kitchen Stuff Self: Um, hello, sandwiches with stripes. How cute are they?RSS: Also, let’s talk about your severe lack of kitchen storage space. Where is that thing going to live? And wouldn’t you rather buy a new bath towel or three?
LFKSS: Sandwiches. With stripes.
RAS: [Rolls eyes]
LFKSS: Please?
RAS: No.

So the Panini Press got returned. Sorry, whoever bought that for us. We will indeed buy two point five bath towels with that money. Which is not nearly as fun but quite practical. Sad, grown up day.

Also, Starbucks mugs? I had…38. In pairs of two, of course, because evidently somewhere along my single-girl life, I thought I might marry a coffee drinker. I didn’t. I also didn’t marry a guy who understands things like addictions to Starbucks mugs. I kept 20, which was how many fit on the shelf in the cupboard, plus 8 various holiday mugs that will go in a box with holiday decorations. So goodbye earthy-looking but sort of lumpy mugs with coffee beans pressed into you. Goodbye awkwardly tall and semi-cute but refusing to stack green and pink mugs. Tear.

However, the bright colored oversized margarita/martini glasses (yes, hard to store and not the most practical thing on earth) that Ranae gave me? Those got to stay.

Sorting through my stuff and deciding which things fit into my new married life is way more emotional than I expected. I didn’t really plan on crying over coffee mugs. But, you know. Chad mostly just tries not to laugh at me, and offers hugs and help hauling stuff to the Goodwill pile. Good man.

Honeymoon Report: the long version

Everyday should be like a honeymoon day.

Stop 1: Portland, OR. Where we picked up our sweet Ford Focus rental, rescued Chad’s luggage from the deathgrip of DIA, had an amazing little rainy lunch on a sweet table cloth, took a glorious nap, had cocktails overlooking the city, found Matt & Christina for dinner, and took a picture of ourselves. And oh yeah, we stayed at a Holiday Inn Express.

Then we drove across Oregon. Well, Chad drove, I rode happily and took pictures out the window and occasionally accidentally of myself. It was grey and cloudy and a darn good day to bemoan the complexities of a state where you cannot pump your own gasoline.

Mountains, pretty colors, quirky small towns. And no one died of diphtheria. Win.

Stop 2: Crescent City + Klamath. Whoo! We’re in California. And yep, those are some tall trees. And that sunset sure was purty. Love that Pebble Beach.

We stayed at a Motel in Klamath, where the misty river meets the ocean. We also drove through a tree, which was less impressive than one might think.

Avenue of the Giants was as gorgeous as advertised. Thanks, PD. Drove on down the 101.

Stop 3: San Francisco. Big big bridge, bright bright sun.

Nummy date night at Nob Hill Grille followed by a morning exploring the city, including its crazy hills, marmelade for breakfast, boats, Fisherman’s Wharf, that one famous crooked street, more boats and warm kissy sunshine. I love him.

Then the love of my life drove me along Highway 1 while I held his hand (while he wasn’t confidently – and hotly – handling hairpin turns along a jagged mountain that would’ve scared me off the road) and dreamily watched the sun sink below the horizon just before we got to our destination for the night.

Stop 4: The random tiny town of San Simeon, home of The Morgan – a surprisingly cheap and nice boutique hotel – and bad food at another hotel’s restaurant.

Stop 5: Santa Barbara. I met Russ & June Michaelson while I was at LCC, and they graciously offered us their home during our stay in Santa Barbara, as they were in Guatemala for a wedding. Check out the ahhhhhhh-mazing backyard. Seriously, love.

We relaxed and walked and beached and read and napped and enjoyed honeymooning.

And we wined. Oh, we wined. I know very little about wine, really only what I’ve learned from Wine Club (it’s educational), so as long as I enjoy what I’m drinking, I don’t really care what it is. I know. I make the hearts of all you real wine drinkers out there very very sad. It’s okay.

Map in hand, off we went. First stop: Rusak. Second stop: somewhere I didn’t take a picture of. Kenneth Someone, I think? Third stop: Rancho Sisquoc, where we ate a yummy, yummy picnic (pictured below).

Fourth stop: Foxen, which is featured in Sideways, directed by Alexander Payne, who lives in the Paxton building in Omaha.

Fifth stop: Koehler. Hi, Tara! Hi, Jane!
What, like you’ve never made funny faces after a day of wine tasting?

And look! I even helped drive. And we got In-n-Out. They love Jesus. Just like the pretty Mission building in Santa Barbara.

And after 8 days and 1200+ miles, it was over. We had a great time, really. The trip was everything I’d hoped it would be.

See how happy we are?

We did it

We got married! It was every bit as amazing and wonderful as I’d hoped it would be. Also, totally exhausting. We’re resting up this week (while going to work, of course) and we leave Saturday for our moonderhoney, so we’ll try to do some blogging from the road. Until then, we’ll leave you with this little diddy from our oh, so awesome photo booth, courtesy of Jordan Green Productions. Best wedding idea ever.

I love him.