Happiness Stamped | 12 Months of Bliss

Can you believe it’s almost July?! We’re half way to 2016! Geeeeez!

At the end of May Emily from Ember Grey introduced her 12 Months of Bliss challenge. This year-long “challenge” is rooted in self-reflection and love. Through monthly activities participants are encouraged to perform intentional and random acts of kindness and love toward one’s self and others.

This month consisted of letter writing. One note to one person once a week in June.

12MoB June

Personally, I loved this challenge!

When my Great Aunt was living in Colorado I often sent her letters (and texts) to catch up and spread some cheer. This month I took advantage of the challenge and sent some notes to friends living far away from me.

Writing a weekly note forced me to slow down, reflect, and genuinely engage in a (one-sided) conversation with people I care about. I would seriously encourage you to try and send a handwritten note once or twice a month to someone you love- whether you see them often or not. Who doesn’t love personalized mail?!

I’m very very excited for July’s challenge- I can’t wait to find out what it is! Care to join in on 12 Months of Bliss? It’s not too late to start! You can even send a letter next week as we wrap up June!

Stay tuned for next month’s July wrap up!

EG's Twelve Months of Bliss

-Louise

 

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My Guard Dog

Last week Chelsea at The New Wifestyle posted a thought-provoking question to her Facebook page:

“What do you think people want to get out of their marriage, in your opinion/experience?”

I didn’t comment on her post because I didn’t have a good answer. I love my marriage and I super love my husband, but I had no idea what I wanted to get out of my marriage (or why I got married verses dating forever).

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Then something happened to me this weekend and I realized something about my marriage and about my husband.

Kyle is my guard dog. When someone hurts me his teeth come out and he’s ready to attack. My husband is a low key, easy going, friendly guy… but when he senses that I’ve been offended or hurt he is in my corner, ready to fight for me. (Honestly, I cry when I think about his loyalty to me.)

He knows that I can handle my own troubles and he’s very good at butting out, but when I’m so crippled by my emotions that I can’t function he stands up and tries to protect my heart and fix the problem.

I got married to become a member of my favorite team. Kyle isn’t super expressive but when he goes to bat for me I feel more loved than anything. He is my German Shepard. He is my body guard. He is the coach in the corner, wiping the sweat off my brow and giving me a pep talk. I love that guy so much.

We’ve been married for two years and I just made this discovery. I love learning new things about myself and about Kyle and about our relationship. Have you learned anything new about your relationships within the last few month?

When I was down in the dumps this weekend I prayed for a silver lining. I’m very sure that God made this protective trait obvious to give me my silver lining. All is good now; I know it takes lows to reveal highs. The weekend ended up being pretty great!

-Louise

Grateful Heart w/ Ember Grey

Summer Cleaning…?

It’s the moment of truth… Yesterday was the first day of summer (UGH) so it’s time to visit the Spring Cleaning List (originally posted here) and see what I didn’t did do…

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Here’s the original list with my comments.

Clean out all 3 closets and donate clothes to local church (yeah, three closest… two belong to K) I actually did this!
– Organize craft room and finish almost-done scrapbooks Well poop… this would’ve been a fun task.
– Start & finish “Year 2” scrapbook I took a scrapbook hiatus I guess…
– Scrub the greasy build-up off kitchen cabinets and decor Eww… I didn’t do this but I really should.
Wash dog harnesses/leashes and replace Lylee’s harness Her harness was nearly broken so this actually got done!
Buy duvet cover and bed skirt for new bed CHECK! (Now I just need to put it on…)
Organize Pinterest boards I did about half of my boards so we’ll check it off… hehe
– Landscape the house/get out of the flood zone Ugh, this needs to happened but we didn’t get it done yet.
Paint the spare bedroom YESSS! Check it out here!
Finish the basement bathroom YEP!
Finish decorating the dining room I’d say it’s about how I want it to look.
– Figure out photo collage for stairwell No… I just can’t decide on this.
– Build a firepit and purchase patio furniture Ugh, part of the landscaping project.
– Throw out old/dried up pens, glue, art supplies, office stuff This would’ve been an easy one to complete.
– Shred all the random grocery bags of bills and documents No… oops.

Ok, so honestly, I didn’t do too badly. I can probably tackle most of these things this summer!

Did you get any major tasks done this spring? What chore have you been putting off? How often do you scrub the grease build-up in your kitchen (and what’s your secret weapon??)?

-Louise

Happy Birthday, Bear!

Today is our oldest fur-baby’s birthday. She is 4 years young today and handling the milestone quite well.

Lylee

A few weeks ago I did a post for Enzo (read it here) but today will be all about Lylee.

Name || Lylee
DOB || June 17, 2011
Gotcha Date || December 7, 2012
Heritage || Husky, Boxer, Lab?
Eye Color || Brown
Fur Color || Golden blonde
Weight || +65lbs.
Nicknames || Ly, Lylee Bear, Bear, Bearface, Wy-wee, Big Bear, Wy-wee Bear, Lyler, Fluffy butt, Wywer

Adoption Story
Lylee was originally adopted from a local Ohio shelter, but not by us. She spent her first year with friends of ours (Kelsey & Andy). Unforeseen circumstances forced them to make the heartbreaking decision to re-home Lylee, but Kelsey was determined to keep her out of the shelter. After pleading with my parents (& Kyle, since we’d be married in less than a year) I told Kelsey that we would take her. On December 7, 2012 we drove an hour north to meet Kelsey and load up Lylee, her dog house, and everything else that came with her.

I remember it was storming that night but Lylee hopped right into my car, laid down, and fell asleep.

Hunting for a Dog House
We adopted Ly in December, got married in April, and I moved into the apartment with Kyle right away. Unfortunately Lylee stayed at my parents’ house. Since they’re gone most of the day, she was tied out a lot. (If you know Lylee you know that she does not like being tied out.) These days of isolation brought out a new personality in her- she became fearful of storms, aggressive toward some dogs, and very anxious.

We could see the transformation and knew something had to be done… so we bought a house. Lylee was the first one to move in.

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Growing the Family
After we bought our house I started casually browsing PetFinder. (I still tend to casual browse PetFinder……) Lylee was getting more dog-aggressive/anxious and needed a sibling. I finally convinced K of this and on December 7, 2013 (yes, one year after taking in Ly) we set out for a boxer-mix. Instead, we found Enzo.

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We knew the deciding factor would be Lylee. When we introduced them in our driveway Lylee gave him a few sniffs, pushed him around with her nose, and decided he would do as a brother.

The Good, the Bad, & the Ugly
Lylee is a very anxious dog. She’s also very friendly & loyal, but when she gets scared (other dogs, loud children, etc.) she reacts with fight rather than flight… Since we brought her home we’ve been working on this- she has been to obedience school, seen a dog trainer/whisperer, and taken medication. She still quivers in a bad storm and barks at foreign dogs, but she has a few dogs that she gets along with and she’s starting to relax on her own. (She’s been medication-free for over a year now, with the exception of occasional Benadryl.)

She’s a handful but she’s my favorite handful.

#ThrowbackWednesday? A puppy-pic from Ly's first owners.
#ThrowbackWednesday? A puppy-pic from Ly’s first owners.

Princess Lylee
The best part about Lylee is her personality. Some people have one-sided conversations with their pets; my dog actually talks back. She will ask for a walk (daily), she’ll demand food, she will tell you if her ball is stuck under the couch, and she will come find you and tell you when she’d like to go outside. She sits on her brother to get him to move. She tricks him into giving up his toys. She snuggled into the bed, all by herself.

She is the smartest dog I have ever come across. She knows more than a few words and her reasoning skills are incredible. She associates my tennis shoes with a walk, a chain link fence with dogs, and steam/smoke from the stove with smoke detectors (my bad).

I am so grateful that Lylee crossed our path and enter our life when she did- she’s an amazing critter. Happy Birthday, Big Bear! Love you!

Dog food + Whipped Cream!
Dog food + Whipped Cream!

(Am I the only one that gets puppy fever when looking through old photos??)

-Louise

Are You a Worrywart?

I’m sure it comes as absolutely no surprise, but I am a worrier. I worry about everything and I always have. I can remember being a kid and hearing my mom say, “Stop worrying about it.”

Worrywart

When I’m especially troubled & there’s no way for me to physically solve the problem I find that crying or writing is the best outlet. (Or crying while I write. Hey, it happens.)

Before my wedding I remember being physically sick with worry; not about getting married, but about getting everything done in time for the wedding. I actually took days off for mental health. In hindsight, it went great and it was going to happen no matter what, but I still worried.

Sometimes I get so anxious my ears pulse. It’s actually incredibly annoying. (Does that happen to anyone else?!)

This week I’ve been worrying about my pets, other people’s pets (in this heat), my work load, the household chores, my family/friends health, parenting (keep in mind I’m not a parent…), racial issues, the safety of traveling friends, and whether or not I’ll remember to watch the TV shows on this week.

I mean, it’s fairly ridiculous. And that’s only off the top of my head. Sometimes I get the worrying under control and it’s all good, but every once in a while it just gets away from me and I become angry and prickly and frustrated with everything.

When there’s no other solution I turn to writing and quotes and the Bible. Some helpful sayings or scripture have been:

“Our anxiety does not coming from thinking about the future, but from wanting to control it.” -Kahlil Gibran

“Don’t be anxious about anything, but pray in everything with thanksgiving. Then the uncomprehensible peace of God will guard your heart and mind in Jesus Christ.” Philippians 4:6-7

“Worrying does not take away tomorrow’s troubles, it takes away today’s peace.”

I know there are plenty of ways to deal with anxiety (yoga, breathing exercises, medication, etc.) but when it’s just a long list of “worries” I try to combat it with easier remedies.

What do you do what worry clouds your mind? Do you ever find yourself worrying about silly things or things so far out of your control it’s ridiculous? What are your coping mechanisms?

-Louise

 

Faith & Church & Fellowship

I rarely blog about religion, but it’s been very heavy on my heart lately. I attend a church that is hurting & I feel like I have done everything I can to help heal, but the resistance in my church is very strong and I feel nothing but anger and distance when I walk through the doors on Sunday mornings.

I’ve prayed many time about my predicament- by feeling so distant from my church I know I am suffering in my relationship with God. Monday night, after our monthly church council meeting, I sat in my car and prayed about the conflict in my heart. Afterward I felt the need to ask Siri (on my iPhone) for a random Bible verse. This is what a got:

“And your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, “This is the way, walk in it,” when you turn to the right or when you turn to the left.” Isaiah 30:21

Well dang. Sometimes God is a subtle man and sometimes He’s not. I’d say He was fairly straight forward with me Monday night.

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To be less vague, our church is comprised of very few millennial. Actually, there’s only a handful of folks under the age of 60. Some people see this as a problem and some do not. To attract a younger crowd there needs to be some change and, again, some people see this as a problem and some people do not.

The real problems lies within my own heart. I grew up in this church… but I am one of two left from my “generation.” I don’t feel fellowship, I don’t feel closer to God, I don’t feel anything. Sundays were once my favorite day but now they’re a bummer.

Over the last 5 years there has been a mass exodus from our church, so leaving wouldn’t be unheard of… but for a long time it was unthinkable for me. (Our family is deeply rooted in my church.) Now I just don’t know.

I’d like to blame someone, but there’s no one to blame. My anger has no target and that makes me even more frustrated. I know that K gets nothing from our church services and we’ve discussed the lack of child/youth opportunities that will one day strongly effect us.

“I appeal to you, brothers and sisters, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another in what you say and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly united in mind and thought.” 1 Corinthians 1:10

I feel like I’m not united in mind and thought with anyone right now. I’m craving fellowship and growth and just not finding it. Obviously I will continue to pray about it, but beyond that I am stuck. I’m not looking for resolution with this post; I just needed an outlet.

We all struggle with ourselves and our faith and our community- this is just a struggle that God will led me through. I have faith.

-Louise

This post is a part of The Peony Project’s monthly link-up. We would love to have you join! The Peony Project is a community for women who love Jesus, love blogging, and are looking for a common space to share ideas, encourage one another, and make real, honest friendships with one another.

Meh Monday

I’m really dragging today, guys. I guess you could say I have a case of the mondays? I’m not even 100% sure what this post is going to be about… Let’s call it a weekend recap, k?

My weekend was absolutely, positively, without a doubt uneventful. I had two days of nothing. After a crazy April and a slightly less crazy May (and two future weekends filled to the brim), I am so grateful for this lackadaisical weekend.

Friday night I spent a laid-back evening with my best friend & favorite infant, Saturday I played with kittens, and Sunday I volunteered at the local humane society, took Enzo to the dog park, and spent the evening lounging at home with K (who worked all weekend).

I did very few chores, made very few plans, and have no complaints. Sometimes you just need a BLAH weekend.

How was your weekend?

-Louise

Grateful Heart w/ Ember Grey