thoughts on love...

I don't really care for Valentine's Day all that much.  It's become very commercialized, overdone, and cliché.  But...I love that it sort of forces me to reflect a little on love, my marriage, and what all that means to me.

This last year has proved so much different for Landon and I than we ever thought possible.  We hit a pretty low spot in our relationship back last late winter.  Having a child threw off a lot of our norms, we were "newly" married (less than 5 years) and still figuring each other out, and both of us being introverts and communicating in completely opposite ways made arguments less than productive.

After hearing some amazing friends share their story of how they got marriage counseling, we decided to seek some out for ourselves.  Best. Decision. Ever.  We are now in a completely better place than ever before.  We talk more, communicate more effectively, and I think I have fallen even deeper in love with Landon as a result.  Praise God!

So, in honor of Valentine's Day, here are some things Landon and I have learned along the way...with many more to come!

This pretty much overlaps on every aspect of marriage, whether it is non-verbal or any other sort of communication.  This one is key!  Keeping those lines open is so important for Landon and I.

*The only argument you should have is over who is going to sacrifice first.
This is the one phrase from our counselor that is burned into my brain.  And I love it!  As Landon and I have come to an understanding of mutuality in our marriage vs. the traditional view, this has proven so true for us.  It's not about who is in charge or who has the final word, it's about self-sacrifice on both sides.

*Talk through the hard things.
I have a bad habit of trying to will Landon to read my thoughts when I am frustrated. :)  I now know that's just not possible!  Now, we try to share how we are feeling, even if it may sting a little.  The more honest and open we are, the more fights we avoid.  Communication, folks.

*Find encouragement from other marriages.
We are so fortunate to be surrounded by a large group of people who have awesome marriages.  And the beautiful part?  They are all different and unique!  We love learning from and hearing couples that have got some things figured out.
We love how my boss and her husband seriously make each other laugh...like for real!  And they have been married twice as long as us.
-We love how our friends from small group finish each others' sentences and share stories like none other.
-We love how Landon's parents still go to high school basketball games on a Friday night even though they don't have any kids at home anymore.
-We love how some of our other friends from small group who have been married less than a year are cuddly and take little moments for a quick kiss or a quick hug.  It's a great reminder to keep doing those things even though we've been married a bit longer.

*Keep faith at the center of our marriage.
For us, this one is big.  Our faith plays a vital role in our relationship and we each are taking time to make sure we are focusing on a relationship with God.

We are looking forward to many more years of marriage, growing closer, and trying to be good examples for our kids.  It hasn't been easy, and it won't necessarily get easier, but we are bound and determined to stick it through together.

Happy Valentine's Day!!


so many reasons...


I am finding this so true these last few days.

*Landon bringing home cookies to bake together.

*Watching Finn sled down a hill with his Gramps and me racing beside them.

*Spending the weekend with some amazing friends sharing thoughts and food.

*Hearing a lot more birds singing this morning as I woke up.

*Making music with some talented folks.

*Having a heavenly Father I can talk to about the things on my heart.

*Listening to Finn talk to people and explain that he is hungry for pizza.

*Feeling this wee one kick over and over again.

*Looking ahead to a wonderful week as Landon and I celebrate together.

*Watching Finn get so excited when Landon gets home from work.

In the moments when it seems like life is too crazy, all I need to do is step back and see what really matters.


fair trade february: sweet treats...

As I mentioned in this post, Landon and I are focusing on fair trade chocolate, cocoa, and coffee for the month of February.  Our main goal is to become more aware of where these products come from, and challenging ourselves to learn about the production processes of each.

To start with, we bought some fair trade coffee and cocoa at a local health grocery store.  The options were surprisingly limited at the store we went to, but we left with products that claimed to be fair trade...and the prices definitely reflected that!

The coffee is SO good!  We love the flavor, and while we don't consider ourselves coffee snobs, it tastes a whole heck of a lot better than the generic brands we are used to.  And even better than Starbucks' fresh brew, which I don't really care for.

We got a can of cocoa since we were hosting a dinner party over the weekend and chocolate cupcakes were on the menu.  Then today, I decided to make these flour-less dark chocolate zucchini brownies, and used cocoa instead of chocolate chips.  Delicious!

Buying fair trade will definitely cut down on our cocoa and chocolate consumption this month, as the price is higher.  But I think that's a good thing in the long run.  We don't need to be eating a lot of sweets anyway, and being intentional about something as simple as cocoa powder really makes me start thinking about other things in my life.

My next goal is to watch this documentary.  I'm sickened by the thought that maybe there are sides to our favorite candy and chocolate bars that are inhumane and oppressive.  But I want Landon and I to learn about it and be aware of what exactly goes into the cocoa industry.

I also read this post today, and loved the points made.

Do you have any good articles on the fair trade industry, or cocoa or coffee production?  I'd love to hear about them!


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