Posted in Forever Friday

Forever Friday: Kindness

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In light of events this past week in Orlando, Florida, I think it’s pretty safe to say this little series on love–and specifically this post on kindness–is coming at the right time. My heart aches for those families who have lost loved ones, for those who are laying in the hospital physically healing but emotionally scarred for life, for the first responders who had to witness such horror. And yes…my heart also aches for those who believe such lies as the murderer believed. This world needs hope. This world needs Jesus.

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I think I can safely assume that you all know the meaning of kindness. But let me give you a quick rundown. “Kind” means to be “of a good or benevolent nature or disposition, as a person: a kind and loving person; having, showing, or proceeding from benevolence: kind words; indulgent, considerate, or helpful, humane: to be kind to animals; mild, gentle, clement” (from Dictionary.com).

In marriage–in all of life, this really just means to care for your spouse. Be good natured, use kind words, be considerate and helpful, be mild and gentle. I won’t lie. I’m not always kind (shocker, right? Ha!). But I try, and my husband tries (he does a much better job of it, I think). Being kind really paves the way for more patience with one another and even a deeper love. It’s not a guarantee, but it can’t hurt.

As for what happened at the nightclub in Orlando…it’s hard to process when anything of this nature happens. But look around and you’ll see kindness happening, even in the midst of incredible evil and sorrow.

This is a short post, I know. I just don’t have the words. And kindness, well…it’s simple. Be kind.

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Posted in Wedding Wednesday

Wedding Wednesday: A Plantation Wedding

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I’m in the South this week (Central Florida, to be exact) and thought of doing a post on a Florida-style wedding. But in looking at those (mostly beach, which I’ve done recently) weddings, I saw one done on a plantation…hence this Plantation Wedding post!

As always, let’s start with the dress! Because who doesn’t love the bride’s dress???

The dress:

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From Nordstrom

I bet you expected me to go with a big, ol’ southern-belle-type dress. 😉 I looooove the simplicity of this dress in a plantation setting, though! I think it’s so sweetly elegant.

The venue:

I. Die.

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From Southern Oaks Plantation

How incredibly gorgeous is this New Orleans plantation? A perfect, gorgeous, stunning (because one can never have too many adjectives for this location) place for your ceremony (and reception!). (And look at that Spanish Moss!!!! It adds so much to the atmosphere.)

The gifts:

A little gift for the guests, because the South is hot…and humid. (Ask my hair how it knows.)

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From Weddingomania

Is that not brilliant??? Some misters for the guests to spray on themselves to cool off during the ceremony and/or reception. These ones look to be straight up cucumber and lavender-mint. I love!

The cake:

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From Style Me Pretty

A sweet, simple cake to go with the sweet, simple dress. I love that it’s all white with some pretty plantation greenery to bring out its beauty. ❤

The guest book:

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From Wedding Photo USA

While I’m not actually the biggest fan of quilts, how simply beautiful (and memorable!) is this guest book?? The guests each sign a square, all of which are later sewn into a quilt. Such an heirloom treasure! (Honestly, I think the bride had a stroke of brilliance!)

So how did you like that? Would you ever do a plantation-style wedding? I have to admit, it’s more beautiful than I thought it would be!!

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Posted in Wedding Wednesday

Wedding Wednesday: A Book Lover’s Dream

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Oh you guys. You’re probably all going to wonder what took me so long to get to this Wedding Wednesday.

I don’t know. I haven’t had enough coffee, apparently. I need more.

Lots more.

But today. Today is the day. Today…I present, a Book Lover’s Wedding.

Yes. ALL THE YESES!

The dress:

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From Belle the Magazine

Isn’t this dress sweet? I love the classic lines and deep sweetheart neckline, but you know what I adore?? How the color reminds me of vintage book paper, and the layers remind me of falling book pages. I love this. For reals.

And bonus jewelry:

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From BuzzFeed

Because who doesn’t want Pride & Prejudice earrings?! (I may actually go find these and buy them just because. Don’t tell the husband though, k?)

The bouquet:

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From Huffington Post

Because YES. Even though these are pages from a book, which kinda hurts my heart. BUT I HAVE A SOLUTION! You can download images of book pages, print them out on both sides of a piece of paper, and then create this bouquet with those printed pages! See? IT’S A GOOD PLAN.

For the Groom:

Yeah, for once I’m including him in this. Nice, eh?

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From Etsy

 

*snicker*

The invitation:

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From BuzzFeed

How cute is this?! With the most important dates listed on the library card, then the wedding date? As an invitation?? I’m in love.

The decor:

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From BuzzFeed

Because who doesn’t want to be married under a book arch?! I die.

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From Mod Wedding

For the guest book table? How cute!

The cake:

I admit it, I couldn’t decide. One is less literal and two are, well, more literal. And I love them all.

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From Mod Wedding

I love how clean this one is, except for the “ink print” on a couple of the layers. Very simple and elegant!

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From Weddingbells.ca via Indulgy

This one is sweet and simple, and could be personalized to the bride and groom specifically. Love.

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From Bustle

So this one is definitely more colorful, but I adore the idea of having book titles on the cake that both the bride and groom love. I mean, this. is. fab.

The favors:

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From Instagram

Okay, so this is actually an idea from a bookstore. But really, this could easily be done as wedding favors for guests! Do this and let the guests each choose one. You can go to a used bookstore to find these books, so you’d not only be saving a bit of money, but supporting a local business. What could be better?

***

Well? What did you think? Would you be all over a book wedding?

Confession: I kinda want to renew my wedding vows just so I can have this wedding. Whoops.

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Posted in Forever Friday

Forever Friday: Peace

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I’m continuing on with my 1 Corinthians 13 series today. You can read Love here and Joy here. Today is all about peace.

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Confession: I love a peaceful home. Quiet, calm, not much activity. My cat sleeps on my legs during the day, I drink coffee (duh) and write…and not just on Facebook. 😉 But then my kiddos come home from school and my husband comes home from work. The quiet house? Not so much anymore. (Okay, another confession: it’s still quieter than a lot of my friend’s homes when their kids come home.)

Peace isn’t just quiet and calm. In my mind, it’s also trust.

My husband (Donkey is his call sign…Shrek anyone? Nonstop chatter? Yep. My husband is Donkey.) is away from home quite often due to his job. His job requires him to fly various missions around the world. The problem with his job? If his plane goes down, so does everyone on that jet, including Donkey. I’ve seen tragedy and I know we’re not immune to that possibility. I do get nervous sometimes, especially if he’s flying out of the country rather than just a simple mission for a few hours. But that’s where trust comes in.

          When I am afraid,
              I put my trust in you.
           In God, whose word I praise,
              in God I trust; I shall not be afraid.
              What can flesh do to me?
~Psalm 56:3-4, ESV

When I have trust in the Lord, peace follows.

          You keep him in perfect peace
              whose mind is stayed on you,
              because he trusts in you.
~Isaiah 26:3, ESV

Peace in marriage is so vital. Donkey and I do argue, though his absences make us more conscientious about enjoying one another. When we argue, however, we still try to keep peace between us. We try not to raise our voices (I think we do a good job of that, but I don’t record our arguments, so really, I have no idea), and we try to work our arguments out quickly, and always before going to sleep. Only once have we gone to bed mad at one another, and it was not fun…nor was it a good sleep.

Disagreements, arguments, fights…they can happen in a marriage. Well, in any relationship. Keeping the peace, trusting in God…those can be hard. But pray together, spend time with God, keep Him your focus, and peace will follow.

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I know that no marriage is perfect, and believe me, I am so preaching to the choir when I write these posts! So help a girl out. 🙂 How do you keep peace within your relationships? Do you have any Bible verses you focus on? I’d love to hear (okay, read) your thoughts, so feel free to comment below!

 

 

 

Posted in Wedding Wednesday

Wedding Wednesday: Belle

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Hello. My name is Mikal and I’m a fairy tale addict.

Yes. It’s true.

Yeah, I’m a nerd. So anyway, Belle, that little book-lovin’ lady, was always my favorite. Who wouldn’t want a Belle-inspired wedding? Right? Right???

The dress:

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From Belle The Magazine

Okay, so this may look more like a Cinderella dress, but I could totally see a Belle-lover wearing this, too. 🙂

The shoes:

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From VintageRomance2015 (Etsy)

Okay, so I’m not really looking at the shoes here. I mean yes, these are the shoes, but the design on the back of the shoes are actually vinyl decals. Go figure! Pretty ingenious, if you ask me. I can’t help but love these just a little.

The table centerpieces:

These. I love these. Probably my favorite part of this post. 🙂

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From Wedding Chicks
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From Wedding Stuff Ideas

The cake:

So, this isn’t really a cake. However, the trend this year is moving away from cakes. And really, Belle is more about the tea (poor girl…coffee is way better), and what goes best with tea? Cookies, of course! Macaron cookies. Isn’t this so fun??

 

 

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From Glamour

What do you think? Would you do a fairy tale-inspired wedding? If so, what fairy tale would you be inspired by?

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Posted in Forever Friday

Forever Friday: Joy

 

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Keeping up with the Fruits of the Spirit in marriage today. 🙂 Next up: Joy.

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When I was younger, I used to think that joy was all about feeling happy, having fun, and laughing a lot. It is that, but it’s more than that when we invite God into things.

The world’s definition of joy is: “1. the emotion of great delight or happiness caused by something exceptionally good or satisfying; keen pleasure; elation. 2. a source or cause of keen pleasure or delight; something or someone greatly valued or appreciated. 3. the expression or display of glad feeling; festive gaiety. 4. a state of happiness or felicity” (Dictionary.com).

The Bible, however, says a couple of things about joy. “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing” (James 1:2-4, English Standard Version). And “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice” (Philippians 4:4, ESV).

Have you ever known someone who has gone through something terrible–a death in the family, cancer, abuse, etc.–but has still somehow maintained joy? I’ve been so fortunate to know such people. Honestly, on my side of things, I don’t know how they do it. But I know what they would say: it’s all God, not them. It’s a supernatural thing, something that, until you go through it, you probably won’t understand.

Joy is something that lasts. It endures, even through painful times. It’s different than happy. Happy is a feeling that comes and goes–joy sticks with us. I have joy because of God, but I’m not always a happy camper. Ask my husband and kids. (…Actually, don’t ask them. I don’t want your perception of me ruined. HA!!) The best explanation on the difference between happiness and joy that I’ve read can be found at GotQuestions.org.

So how does this relate to marriage? I believe when both people in the marriage have joy–the enduring kind of joy–their marriage is stronger. They may not always be happy, but they’re not as tempted to find that joy outside the marriage. Their love deepens and endures They can forgive more easily (note I’m not saying they can forgive easily, just more easily, in my experience). They rely on God first for their worth and are more complete, not looking to their spouse to make them complete or happy or to give them joy.

Does that make sense? (And oh, please know I’m talking to myself here, too!)

How do we get joy? The only time I’ve truly experienced joy is when I’ve given up my self: my desires, my ambitions, my goals, my dreams, my own fulfillment, and I’ve sought God: His desires for me, His ambitions for me, His goals for me, His dreams for me, His fulfillment in me. When I seek Him and find Him, I find joy.

For more verses on joy (and what it means and entails), visit Faith Gateway.

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Posted in Wedding Wednesday

Wedding Wednesday: Boho

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Don’t you love weddings? I do. Oh-so much. I might even be a little…obsessive. But only a little.

One of my friends tagged me in a photo today of the most beautiful boho wedding cake and said that’s what she wants for her wedding! (I wonder if she knows she’s already married??) So I thought I would take that and run with it! (Thanks, B!)

So let’s start with the cake, since that’s what I’m basing this wedding around!

The cake:

Incredible Edibles
From Incredible Edibles

Uh, yeah. That. Is. A. Cake. Isn’t it completely stunning??? What incredible craftsmanship!

The dress:

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From Bridal Musings: Lihi Hod
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From Bridal Musings: Lihi Hod

Bohemian chic, people!

The reception:

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From Funny Wedding Media

The flowers:

With a bonus headpiece!

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From DustJacket Attic

And because I adore jewelry:

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From One to Wed

The set is so unique, but isn’t it G-O-R-G-E-O-U-S??? I die.

So what do you think? Is boho your style?

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Posted in Forever Friday

Forever Friday: Love

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I’ve been thinking long and hard about marriage and what it all entails. Can I just tell you? It entails a lot. There are so many characteristics and traits we need to bring to our marriages to make them work and balance one another out. I think the best list, however, outside of 1 Corinthians 13 (which I wrote about here), is Galatians 5:22-23. The Fruits of the Spirit.

I hope you all know that I don’t write from a place of expertise. I write from a place of learning. When I sit down to read things and study for these posts, it’s because they’re things I need to learn, not just for my marriage’s benefit, but for my own growth.

Because sometimes, I’m a lousy person.

So why don’t we sit on these two verses for the next number of weeks? And first, look at love.

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First, I think the best definition of love is actually not found in the dictionary, but in 1 Corinthians 13:4-7. Do you notice something when you read those Bible verses? Every description of love in there is a verb. An action.

My husband is a good example of love in action. He doesn’t just think of me and maybe buy me something when he’s out of the country. When he’s home, he’ll pick up the broomplate-629970_640 and sweep. He’ll put the dishes away (it’s my chore) to give me a break. He’ll take the kids out to give me a quiet house so I can write. He’s patient with me when I’m irritable. He’s kind to me when I’m not kind to myself. And so.much.more.

He’s showing me love in action.

I think it’s normal to be selfish and want someone to love you in action but not giving too much thought to how you can love them in action. At least, it can be normal for me. Sadly. (I’m trying to change, I promise!)

Christ is the perfect example–way better than my husband (don’t worry, the hubs would cross-1149878_640agree). He died on the cross (Matthew 27:32-56). Went through unfathomable agony. Then He defeated death and walked out of that grave (Luke 24:1-12). He showed Himself to people for 40 days (Acts 1:3) before He ascended to heaven (Acts 1:6-11) where He sits at the right hand of God (Mark 16:19), waiting for the day when we each face God. Jesus will either intercede and say, “I knew him/her, and s/he knew Me,” or He’ll say, “I never knew him/her” (Matthew 7:21-23).

Talk about action! Talk about love. Unimaginable love. Each day in our marriages, we need to lay down our lives. Maybe give up that five minutes of extra sleep socoffee-983955_640 you can get up and make a cup of coffee for your spouse. Or do something you find yucky to relax your spouse: rub their feet. (Uugghh…I shudder.) The list can go on and on.

So spend some time today thinking on how you can show love better to those around you, whether you’re married or not. And share your ideas in the comments, because I. Need. Help. 🙂

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Posted in Wedding Wednesday

Wedding Wednesday: Vintage Glam

It’s that time again!

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Hm. What kind of wedding are we thinking this week? I have a whole list of ideas, but I just saw a cake on Pinterest, so I’m breaking my norm of building a wedding around a dress: I’m building it around the cake instead!

Ready?

A Vintage Glam Wedding

First, the cake:

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From AmyCakes

Isn’t it devine??

The stunning dress:

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From AislePerfect. The Anna Campbell Gossamer Collection.
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From AislePerfect. The Anna Campbell Gossamer Collection.

I love, love, love how the shoulder and back draping echoes the draping on the cake. How perfect?!

Because wearing a veil over that back would be a shame–in my humble opinion, of course–I present the hairpiece:

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From Jules Bridal Jewelry

Again, the draping. Because apparently that’s what I need to see today.

The outdoor room:

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From lover.ly

This outdoor room is absolutely perfect for photo set-ups, like this one, as well as a quiet spot for the newlyweds to rest–and smooch!–during the reception. I think this is so perfect!

The table setting:

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From Ruffled

Every vintage glam wedding needs some gold!

The bouquet:

(Oh, I’m excited about this one!)

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From ElegantWeddingDesign (Etsy)

I. Adore. This.

Brooch bouquets are so exquisitely beautiful when paired with the right style of wedding. And dress. Okay, so this may be too much to go with the dress I chose, but I don’t care. 😉

So there’s the Vintage Glam Wedding for today! What do you think? What would you keep? Change? What’s your idea of the perfect wedding style?

 

Posted in Book Review

Book Review: The Thorn Keeper

Oh friends. If you go to my Check It Out page, you’ll see a list of authors I think you should, well, check out. On that page is one Pepper D. Basham. And have I got a fabulous book review for you today. Read it, then go buy and read Pepper’s books. Yes. I’m being bossy.

The Thorn Keeper

First, isn’t that cover devine?

Release date: February 28, 2016

Publisher: Vinspire Publishing (http://www.vinspirepublishing.com/#!the-thorn-keeper/ccst)

Author’s Web Site: http://pepperdbasham.com/

Where to Buy: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo

From the publisher:

With her newfound faith, Catherine Dougall hopes to take the remnants of her threadbare life and make something beautiful, even if society shuns every choice she makes.

Dr. David Ross must save his war hospital from ruin, but when his notorious aunt makes an offer he can’t refuse, he must choose between his surprising affection for a reformed flirt or his dreams.

From the beautiful Derbyshire countryside to the trenches of World War One, Catherine and David must learn to trust in a God who never forgets his children and fashions beauty out of the most broken things.

My thoughts:

I don’t even know where to start. Captivating. Sweeping. Swoon-worthy.

Pepper Basham writes historical with such beautiful, poetic prose, you can’t help but be caught up in her sweeping romances. And when I say it’s a romance, I don’t mean it’s just a romance between a man and a woman. It’s a romance between a man, a woman, and God. Pepper weaves faith so naturally into her stories, and The Thorn Keeper is no exception.

From Catherine’s spiritual journey closer to the end of The Thorn Bearer to her continued journey and growth in this book, you’ll experience her transformation from a pretty not-so-great character to a woman who loves and lives passionately, both for the Lord and for her dreams.

Dr. David Ross is a man who loves quietly—albeit also passionately—and not only supports and encourages Catherine in her dreams, but deeply cares for what happens to her. He is there to help her not just overcome, but flourish. A man who truly loves God, people, and, well…Catherine.

I can’t say enough about Pepper’s writing. It’s solid, endearing, and again, so poetic. I seriously can’t do her justice in this review. The only thing I can do is tell you that I loved this book and you need to read this. Start out with The Thorn Bearer if you haven’t already read it, then continue with this one.

And just for your info, there will be a third book later this year, if I’m not mistaken. (WAHOO!!)

*Note: I was actually not asked to post a review on this blog, but I loved this book so much, I had to. And I didn’t receive it free; I bought it. And yes. You should, too.