To My Friends & Family

I am head-over-heels in love with this season. I enjoy dreary weather, I like the cold, and I live for the last three months of every year. I know there are plenty of people like me out there, but I also know there are not.

In addition to the daily chaos and hardships of life, the holidays add stress for people. Moms and dads feel pressure to make their homes magical for their kids. Bloggers see pictures of other bloggers’ decorated trees and hearths and homes. Instagram is filled with tightly wrapped presents and perfectly decorate cookies. I saw Bad Moms Christmas in theaters a few weeks ago and the premise- people (moms) are under a ton of stress to make the holidays perfect- is so true. Hell, people are under stress 365 days a year to make their lives (seem) perfect!

Right now I feel like a lot of my friends- real life and in the blog world- are fighting their way through tough ass seasons. Unfortunate health diagnoses or slow healing-injuries, parents pulling their hair out over rebellious toddlers or cranky babies, sick pets and struggling friendships or relationships and turmoil within the family… Everyone is going through something and it hurts my heart to see my loved ones plagued with these struggles.

I struggle with that fact that some people just aren’t happy. We only get one life to live and the idea of mucking our way through in a state of constant unhappiness makes me so upset. No one can be sunshine and rainbows all the time, but in general I want people to be joyful. I’m one of those people who feels like the weight of everyone’s happiness falls on my shoulders and, while I know that’s untrue and unhealthy, it affects me deeply when my friends are down and out.

I can’t control you or your life or the things that happen to you, but I do know that what you’re going through is a season and seasons pass. The Christmas season is a wonderful one for me, but it won’t stick around forever. The next season will be better or worse and have it’s own arsenal of curveballs, but it will arrive and I will deal with it and, eventually, it will pass. And with every season we learn something new.

So, my friends, don’t fret. This season will pass. Whether you wait it out or turn the page yourself, you will come out on the other side and things will be different. Perfect? No. But it’ll be different and you can look back (or not look back), and be grateful for where you are now. Love yourself and give yourself grace along the way. Practice kindness and accept help from others. I guarantee you are loved by someone (possibly me!) and that person is rooting for you- whether you know it or not.

If you’re reading this and you’re a close friend and you feel like you’re struggling, I hope you’ll reach out. I know the holidays can get dark and overwhelming but I promise I’m always free for a phone call or text exchange or mailed Christmas greeting. There’s always room around our holiday table and I definitely don’t mind a dinner date with a friend ❤︎

Try not to spend the holidays (or your life) faking a smile- find a way to crack a genuine one. You don’t have to have a perfect tree or a perfect home or a perfect Instagram. You’re loved just the way you are and you’re doing a great job. Life is difficult and you’re doing it- be proud of yourself.

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10 Years Ago

10 years ago today I was not dating a boy because my parents weren’t totally on board with it. About 6 months prior I had approached them and asked to go out for ice cream with a young man who happened to be 3 years and 7 months older than me (which is a big deal when you’re 16). They’d said yes to ice cream, but no to having a boyfriend.

So 10 years ago today, I still didn’t have a boyfriend- but then October 21st happened. After half a year of going on afternoon dates, getting to know my parents, and proving his overall trustworthiness to both me and my parental units, my mom and dad gave in to the relationship. On October 21st, 2007 “Audrey and Kyle” became a thing.

I’ve written about our relationship a dozen times, but for me it never gets old.

I’ve now spent a decade hanging out with my favorite person.

Through brown hair, red hair, orange hair, near-black hair, and blonde hair, we’ve been a thing.

Through lost-and-found cats, adopted dogs, rescued kittens, and elderly pets, we’ve been a thing.

Through high school dances and college presentations, graduation ceremonies and musical performances, we’ve been a thing.

Through new jobs, resignation letters, lay offs, and exciting business ventures, we’ve been a thing.

Through open bedroom doors, shared college apartments, tiny first-home duplexes, and two houses, we’ve been a thing.

Through cross-country travel, out of town jobs, study abroad, and family vacations, we’ve been a thing.

Through new friendships, lost relationships, weddings, births, divorces, and deaths, we’ve been a strong and united thing.

Through the good and bad, sick and healthy days, heartbreak and triumph, we’ve been a thing.

I can’t imagine life without Kyle; I haven’t had to for the last 10 years. Every prayer I send up at the end of the day has a special sentence in there thanking God for the person I sleep next to each night. We’re not perfect and we squabble, but I’d like to reserve my spot next to that guy for the next forty decades.

Happy Original Anniversary, babe. Thanks for loving me ❤︎

-A

No Room for Hate.

I know it’s all over the internet and many of us have the same opinions and are saying the same things, but that’s the point.

Hate isn’t ok. You aren’t born with hate in your heart and your children aren’t either. From a Christian perspective, hate is extremely toxic to your body. (If you’re a racist “Christian” you can GTFO or pray on it and change your tune.)

“Anyone who claims to be in the light but hates a brother or sister is still in the darkness.”
1 John 2:9

“Hatred stirs up conflict, but love covers over all wrongs.”
Proverbs 10:12

This isn’t going to be a long post because I don’t think it needs to be. I don’t tolerate racism. I don’t tolerate religion-based hatred. I don’t tolerate homophobia. I won’t tolerate it on my blog or in my life. Love is stronger than hate, especially when there’s no room for hate here.

I know I have the privileged (for now) to do nothing and sit on my behind. But I won’t.

Also, if you think this POS president isn’t somehow directly related to the increase in domestic terrorism and hate crimes then you need to open your eyes. These vermin have crawled out from under their neo-nazi and racist rocks because they believe it’s safe for their hate under this presidency. Don’t prove them right.

Borrowed this from Chelsea’s post.

-Audrey

THIRTY YEARS OLD

On Sunday my favorite human is turning 30 years old. THIRTY YEARS OLD. I met him when he was 18. That blows my mind.

Once again I was going to share the details of our Texas trip on here today. But then I decided I should write something about Kyle. But I don’t really know what to say…

I often mention K on this blog so there’s not much I haven’t said. (This birthday post is one of my favorites.) Today I’m making him answer some questions in honor of his birthday. Spoiler alert: He dodged most of them.

We’ll start with the hardest question: Peach pie or yellow cake with chocolate frosting?
It depends. Just a generic pie and cake, the yellow cake with chocolate frosting. If it’s your grandma’s peach pie, I’d pick that.

What’s the most important lesson you’ve learned in the last 30 years?
That’s too deep.
Answer it.
What the hell. (He’s technically not being a smartass… A few weeks ago we realized that we live our lives in a very “what the hell” kind of way. I’ll blog about that some other day. Essential when an opportunity presents itself we say “what the hell” and go for it.)

What age has been your favorite?
My favorite pizza is JNG.
That’s not an acceptable answer.
It IS an acceptable answer. That’s not an acceptable question.

If you didn’t play drums what instrument would you play?
Probably nothing.
You’re so boring.
I didn’t ask you to ask me these…

Who would play you in a movie about your life?
Enzo.
That’s not an answer.
I don’t knooooow. I’m not a casting agent… I guess, with my language, Samuel L. Jackson.

Advice for a 20 year old?
Drop out of school and start a business.
That’s not good advice, dear.

Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
I don’t know.
You could at least be nice and say with me.
Well, yeah. Duh.

circa 2010

Annnnnnnd there you have it. *eyeroll*

So happy birthday, Boo. I can’t wait to see what this decade brings. You can accomplish anything ❤︎ I love you.

                                          – A

The Galentine’s Blogger Exchange

Happy Thursday, my friends.

The link-up for this post (with the beautifully talented Mattie & Olya) is scheduled for tomorrow, but by now we’re all aware that I switched my posting-days to only include Tuesday and Thursday. (Jury’s still out on how I’m liking that… )

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To begin, I sent a package to Miss Maryrose in New York. (It shipped out a little late, but it should’ve arrive by last Friday. Plenty of time but my apologies, nonetheless!)

In return, last week I was greeted at the door by two packages- one in the shape of a book (😄!!!) and one from Uncommon Goods. Once I ripped gently cut them open I discovered that my gift-er was Ashley from Bits & Pieces of Me.

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Ashley sent me Yes Please by Amy Poehler as well as this little note:

I love that this book was on your wish list, because it’s been on mine as well! I hope you enjoy it! -Ashley

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She also sent me a beer + food pairing dish towel (from Uncommon Goods) that’s been on my wish list for quite a while. The colors (which are a little skewed from my filtered picture below) look great with our kitchen!

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. . .

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Thank you so much, Ashley!! And thanks to Mattie & Olya for hosting ❤︎

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Happy Not-Valentine’s Day

FYI, Last week I took a semi-planned hiatus from the blog because I’ve been feeling directionless and angry and trite. K and I were in Texas for business, too, so I just took the week off. (I still read posts when I could. )

On Tuesday I talked about books and skipped over the Valentine’s Day obligations, so today I want to backtrack. I don’t know how you feel about Valentine’s Day, but I’m OK with having a random day in February to remind me to show some love. (In 2015 I shared the love with all sorts of people.)

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This year K gets all my attention. I met Kyle almost twelve years ago.

❤︎ In all that time he has never made me feel like I couldn’t do something, ability-wise or permission-wise. He doesn’t doubt me.

❤︎ We will celebrate four years of marriage in April. Two years ago some stupid drama knocked me off my horse and made me breakdown mentally. K picked me back up and made sure I knew he was on my side no matter what. It sounds silly, but I didn’t realize his loyalty to me until that moment. He’d pick me first for dodgeball. He’s the co-captain of my Quidditch team. I’d be his “one choice” as far as deserted island companions go.

❤︎ I have always said that I don’t need K and he doesn’t need me. But I will openly admit that my life would suck so much without him. He’s my favorite human. I feel my best when I stand next to him.

❤︎ My husband loves dogs as much as I do. That’s not a learned characteristic. He is a bleeding-heart dog lover and that is my favorite quality in a person. (A direct quote from him on Tuesday: “Dogs aren’t a hobby. They’re a lifestyle.” Lol.)

❤︎ I have been angry and feisty and prayerful these last few weeks. I am an unapologetic feminist and sometimes that means angry rants at the dinner table and frustrated fact-sharing in the car wash queue. And K has endured it all with an occasional mumbled, “Yep” or head nod. I’m politically vocal and he’s reserved, but we’re both unapologetic.

And just for fun…

Who’s older? Kyle.
Who was interested first? My guess is me…
More sarcastic? Neither one of us are sarcastic.
Who makes the biggest mess? K.
What are your middle names? Louise & Geoffrey
Do you have any children together? Ly & Enzo. One was even adopted out of wedlock! *gasp*
Did you go to the same school? Yes, at different times.
Who is the most sensitive? Me.
Where do you eat out most as a couple? JNG. Hands down.
Where is the furthest you two have traveled together as a couple? Jamaica, I think.
Who does the cooking? Me.
Who is more social? K.
Who is the neat freak? I’m not necessarily a neat freak, but I like things to be where they’re supposed to be.
Who is the most stubborn? He says me. I disagree.
Who wakes up earlier? K.
Who drives when you are together? Mostly him, but I do on occasion.
Who eats more sweets? K.

I got through all of that without saying I love Kyle, but I do. We’ve been busy this month with the business and dogs and travel, but I’m never too busy to say I love my husband, even and especially on an average day like February 16th.

Happy Late Valentine’s Day ❤︎

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I’ll Be Home For Christmas…

Everyone’s posted a holiday home tour but me (or so it seems ). Let’s fix that!
(Check out other people’s houses, too! Mattie, Emily, Taylor, Michelle)

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Typically the decorations go up mid-November, but we don’t get our tree until December. This year we really procrastinated. I knew I wanted a smaller one this year (and we set up a larger one in K’s company office), but I don’t know that I was picturing it this small… Perks to buying your tiny tree the Saturday before the holiday weekend? We got it half off. Say hello to $10 ‘Ronald Trees-ley”:

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Yep, he’s real. Both of them.

Ok… on to the house tour.

No house light this year. Just my sled & fox.
No house light this year. Just my sled & fox.
Favorite holiday spot in the house
Favorite holiday spot
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K and I are the snowmen, Ly is the “woof”, & Enzo is the fox

Ronald, Enzo, & Ly

If you missed it on IG here's one of my favorite ornaments!
If you missed it on Instagram here’s one of my favorite ornaments!
I think we have five nativity sets in our house...
I think we have five nativity sets…
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I love this little cutout in our house

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What a Christmas wreck... ha.
What a Christmas wreck… ha.

Where all the magic happens ;)

And there ya have it. We only decorate the first floor, although there is a pine candle in the basement. Sorry my pictures aren’t high quality… that’s just life!

. . .

I’m going to get religious for a minute.

I am a firm believer in faith by example. Rarely do I mention religion here on my blog, but I don’t shy away from identifying as a Christian. It’s my hope that through acts of kindness and openminded-ness toward others I get across what I believe to be the important parts of being a Christian. I think that being ‘Christian’ means knowing that you are flawed, seeking forgiveness and wisdom, and spreading kindness and love to the other flawed humans (and animals) on this planet. We’re meant to love and take care of one another. I don’t think Jesus cares if you voted Republican or Democrat (or Independent). That doesn’t make you a better Christian. I don’t think Jesus cares where (or if) you got an education. That doesn’t make you a better Christian. I don’t think Jesus cares about your skin color, gender, pay grade, criminal record, or hobbies. I think that Christianity is about serving Christ- and since we have no idea what He looks like or when He’ll appear, it’s best to serve one another with a happy, genuine heart.

All that to say, Merry Christmas, friends! (And if you celebrate a holiday other than Christmas, I welcome your festive greeting! I do not feel like there is a war being waged on me or the holidays I celebrate, and I hope you feel the same.) If you’ve ever thought about visiting a church you should slip into one on Christmas Eve and listen to the story of the birth of Jesus. If you live near me and you’d like someone to go with I’d be more than happy to have you along!

If you are not a Christian or you celebrate another event this time of year: Happy Holidays!  ❤︎

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Regardless of your beliefs, spread a little love and cheer and kindness this weekend, friends! Thank you for your friendship here in Blogland ❤︎

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