Are You Willing to Hike?

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I had a moment with the Lord today, on Pinterest of all places.

I was looking through my friend Jordan King’s boards, and since I was in a particularly wanderlust-y mood, I went to her ‘Adventure’ board. As I scrolled, something about the photo above caught my eye, so I stopped and clicked on it. As I looked at it more closely, a quiet, whispered thought filled my head:

“Some of the most beautiful places in the world can’t be seen unless you hike to them.”

Whoa. What?

Let’s just clarify now that I know absolutely nothing about hiking. And up to this point, I really haven’t had any desire to learn anything about hiking. I’ve heard enough stories (including the one about Daniel’s four-day, rain-soaked, 40-pound-pack nightmare on Eagle Rock Loop) to know that trekking uphill for hours on end doesn’t sound quite like my cup of tea.

But for some reason, I couldn’t take my eyes away from this picture.

Who knows when that photo was taken? It could have been right as he reached his destination, or it could have been before he even started his journey. But regardless, it’s obvious that he is ready to work. He’s got the boots, the pack, the poles – he knows this is going to be more than a leisurely stroll. He’s prepared. And he’s willing to put in the time and effort because he knows what’s coming at the end.

“Some of the most beautiful places in the world can’t be seen unless you hike to them.”

It has always amazed me that God has the ability to speak with a still, small, quiet voice, and yet it has the impact of a strong, powerful, roaring voice that you can’t ignore. I stared at the mountains, the river, the rocks – dumbfounded. How many beautiful places have I never seen because I haven’t WANTED to hike to them? A simple thought, but a dagger to the heart.

How many times had I given up on something because it just felt too hard to do?

How many times had I not even attempted something because it sounded like too much work?

How many times had I been unwilling to put in the effort for something I knew would be beneficial in the long run?

It’s no secret that I struggle with self-discipline, especially when it comes to maintaining a healthy lifestyle, but this truth bomb really hurt. Genuinely mature adults are willing to not only work, but work HARD, and they don’t make excuses like ‘I just don’t want to’ and ‘That’s just how I am’. 1 Corinthians 13:11 really drives this point home: “When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways.” Did you catch it? That action verb, gave. Maturity didn’t simply happen naturally. A decision was made to give up childish ways. We aren’t doomed to stay exactly the way we are for the rest of our lives, but we can’t just sit around and wait for magic lightning to strike us and make us grow up. True adults recognize that their actions affect people they love, and they take responsibility for figuring out what parts of their character are ugly, lazy, or immature, and then learn how to fix them.

But isn’t that exactly how life is supposed to be? Why are we so surprised when something requires work from us? After all, pretty much everything good in life comes as a result of a lot of time and effort:

A thriving family.
Publishing a book.
Building a house.
A healthy marriage.
Good eating habits.
Exercising consistently.
Starting a business.
A flourishing church.
Lasting friendships.

None of these things happen without a lot of perseverance and commitment, and they will always require a sacrifice of self – your time, money, energy, emotion, and preferences. All truly good things will cost you something. Maturity means deciding that those ‘good things’ are worth the hike.

Pinterest and Jesus never cease to inspire me. ♥

Married Monday: How to Pray for Your Husband

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As a young wife, I like to think about ways to show Daniel how much I love him. Some things are easy, like hiding a note in his wallet or taking his favorite snack to work. Some are a little more subtle, like always folding his laundry first so that if I run out of time and can’t finish it all, at least his stuff is done and he has access to everything he needs. But probably one of the absolute best things we can do for our spouses – if not THE very best thing – is to pray for them. It seems very simple, and I think Satan tries to convince us that it doesn’t really make much of a difference a lot of the time. But if we are faithful to do it and trust that God works powerfully through prayer, it can be life-changing.

I was convicted this year about how little time I was spending lifting Daniel up to the Lord in prayer, and to help keep myself on track, I did what I always do: I made a list! And I decided to share it with you all, because I know there are other people like me out there who love looking at someone else’s pre-written lists. They make tasks seem so much easier to accomplish, am I right??

Each number correlates to the day of the month, and for the months that have 31 days, I just pick a random one from the list, or whichever one I think he needs most at the time. Please feel free to use this as inspiration and add any of your own unique prayer needs for your spouse!

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Did I leave off anything important? Let me know in the comments!


This post is part of “Married Monday,” a series I started in order to expose myths and lies we’ve been told about married life, celebrate moments of joy and growth, chew on hard truths and sprinkle them with grace, and remind others (and myself!) that marriage doesn’t work without Christ in it. I have lots of ideas, but I’d love your input too! What topics would you like to see covered?

The 7-Year Itch (and 7 things I’ve learned)

Daniel James Hendrickson and I have officially been married 7 years this weekend.

7 YEARS.

Wow.

I think it feels like an accomplishment because of the “7-Year Itch” people always talk about – that stereotypical rough season in a marriage when things can start to fall apart if you aren’t careful. Don’t get me wrong, marriage is hard no matter how long you’ve been married. But I think the 7-year mark was stigmatized for good reason. The honeymoon season is over, and you’ve probably entered parenthood and learned how challenging it is. In the busyness of life, you might feel like your relationship is on autopilot. You may start to feel distant from each other and wonder if this is all you have to look forward to for the rest of your life.

For anyone wondering: it doesn’t have to be that way.

In some ways, I kind of feel like we’ve beat the odds. There are so many things stacked against marriage in the world today, especially biblical marriage, and I’ve watched A LOT of marriages end in my lifetime. In my honest human moments, I’m proud of us for sticking together through the good times, the really good times, the boring times, and the really really really NOT good times. But at the end of the day, I have no right to be proud, because we couldn’t have done it in our own strength. Without God writing our story and guiding our steps, one or both of us probably would have called it quits a long time ago.

I am really thankful that Daniel and I have a healthy friendship after almost 10 years together and 7 years of marriage, but the two of us – the selfish, broken pieces of the puzzle – could not have manufactured enough of our own warm bubbly love feelings to survive the valleys we have dragged each other through, things that tear many couples apart. We aren’t still together because we’re amazing at relationships (although…I mean…come on, we’re pretty great). God has been very good to us. Not to say that bad things haven’t happened, but in the hard seasons, He has humbled us, refreshed us, and sustained us, and we are so much better for it. ♥


7 things I’ve learned in 7 years of married life:

#1.

Marriage was designed to last for a lifetime, and a lifetime is (Lord-willing) a really long time. Make sure you pick someone who makes you laugh!

#2.

Keeping score (even if it’s only mentally) is a terrible idea, because nothing in marriage is equal at all times. One person is almost always giving more. That’s just how it is. Chores probably won’t be divided up 50/50. Neither will child-rearing, or cooking, or money-making. And you know what? That’s okay. Marriages aren’t supposed to be each person giving 50%. The best marriages come from couples who both give 100/100. And yeah, your spouse may be giving 45% on one particular day, but you still need to give 100%, because that’s what you promised you would do on your wedding day. I’m willing to bet that you didn’t say, “I promise to keep my vows as long as you keep yours.” You can’t control what your spouse is doing, but you can control what you do.

#3.

Conflict does not mean something is permanently wrong with your relationship. Conflict is just a natural byproduct of two sinful people blending their lives together. Remember that you are teammates: you’re both on the same team! It’s “the couple vs. the problem,” not “the husband vs. the wife.”

#4.

Some things are worth getting upset about (harsh words during an argument). Some aren’t (eating the last brownie). Learn what’s worth having a discussion about, pray for a soft heart and willingness to admit when you’re wrong, and let the rest go.

#5.

You aren’t just marrying one person. You’re marrying dozens of people. You might think you’re only marrying the person who’s standing across from you on the stage on your wedding day, but you’re also marrying the person he is with his family members, the person he is at work, and the person he will be 15 years from now. It’s about much more than loving who is in front of you right this minute. “That’s the unspoken miracle of marriage: you vow to keep loving someone who keeps growing into a mysterious stranger” (Ann Voskamp). Your vows are not just a promise of current love, but a promise of enduring love.

#6.

If your goal in marriage is to make yourself happy, you will literally never be happy. Sorry to disappoint you, but when you sign that marriage license, you aren’t signing up for a lifetime of someone else meeting all of your needs and fulfilling of all of your desires while you run around doing whatever you want. Marriage is meant to be a lifetime of intentional, loving service from BOTH people. The point should never be to ‘get something out of it’. Dare to be the one who does more, the one who outserves, the one who outdoes the other in showing honor (Romans 12:10).

#7.

This last one is probably the hardest one. Sometimes, YOU are the one who needs to change. Movies and TV shows have given us unrealistic expectations for the things our spouse is ‘supposed’ to do and say and be, and you need to know that for every expectation you have for them, they will have one for you too. Just because you feel very strongly about something does not automatically mean that you are right. If your pattern in marriage is finger-pointing and never accepting responsibility for your own failures and mistakes, you have effectively put a cardboard box over a plant, starving it of any chance to grow. Pray for humility and maturity, and ask God for the strength to apologize to your spouse and ask for forgiveness. He WILL give you that strength. He’s in the business of reconciliation, after all!


Thanks for putting up with my sass for 7 years, Daniel. You’ll always be #1 in my heart! ♥

If you’re married, which of these lessons has been the hardest for you to learn?

Note to Self: Do More of This

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I have a confession to make. I have a huge girl crush on Caroline Joy Rector of Unfancy. Her approach to personal style, a minimalist wardrobe, and shopping smart is #GOALS, and I spent probably a week straight binge-ing on her blog posts and Pinterest boards. In particular, the aesthetic and concept of her Pinterest board called “LIFE / do more of this” really inspired me, and I decided to come up with my own list of things to do more of.

A few days ago, I read a really interesting post about JOMO vs. FOMO – the JOY of missing out, rather than the FEAR of missing out. I have been feeling especially addicted to technology lately, and I’m about two steps away from getting rid of social media for awhile. I don’t want to spend my life posting and scrolling and judging and comparing. When I thought about creating this list, I made a point of picking things that get me away from a screen and into really enjoying my life instead. I encourage you to do the same!

friends.

Backyard dinner parties.

Social media breaks.

The Prettiest Road Trip in the Pacific Northwest | Seattle Met

Road trips.

Simplify my home.

fall farmers market

Farmer’s Markets.

♥︎→  #fashionphotographer #fashionphotography #trendy #womensfashion #fashiondesigner #couture #trends #fashionindustry #mua #makeupforever

Laugh with friends.

You don't have to match to take a good picture.

Downtown dates.

18 Embroidery Instagram Feeds to Follow – Design*Sponge

Make something.

Dream about the future.


What would you add to the list?

Community and Why You Need It

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WHY YOU NEED COMMUNITY:

You need people to have fun with and to laugh with.

You need people who love you enough to speak the truth to you and challenge you.

You need people to encourage and support you.

You need people to remind you of God’s fierce love and grace when you forget it.

You need people to hold you accountable.

You need people smarter than you who can offer wisdom and advice.

You need people to lean on when you’re struggling.

You need people to celebrate with you AND cry with you.

You need people who are good at the things you’re bad at so you can learn from them.

You need people to serve alongside because there’s way too much work for just one person to try to do alone.

And guess what else? Other people need you, too! God created every single person with talents, abilities, insights, and gifts, and His intent is that we would use them to build up others. The church has so much to gain from you investing in your community and blessing others through your strengths.

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From the very beginning, God designed humans for connection. In the book of Genesis, Adam was tasked with naming and caring for every animal in the garden, and it probably didn’t take long before he realized something was missing.

“Boy elephant, girl elephant. Boy lion…girl lion. Boy giraffe…………girl giraffe……………….hang on a second……..”

Every creature in the garden had a mate, except for him. But God already had a plan for that, because He knew that it wasn’t good for Adam to be alone. Adam needed a partner, a family, a community. And just like him, we were never meant to do life alone either. You might try really hard to push everyone away and survive as a lone wolf, but the deep-down truth is that you need people. We all need a group of someones to be OUR PEOPLE.

I sincerely hope you have people like mine. ♥♥

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The best is yet to come.

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On my sister’s phone.

Walking through Target.

Listening to a radio show.

Scrolling on Pinterest.

In the mail.

Think God might be trying to tell me something? ♥


“He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” — Philippians 1:6b

“Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.” — Isaiah 43:19

“[The righteous man] is not afraid of bad news; his heart is firm, trusting in the Lord. His heart is steady; he will not be afraid.” — Psalm 112:7-8a

“And the effect of righteousness will be peace, and the result of righteousness, quietness and trust forever. My people will abide in a peaceful habitation, in secure dwellings, and in quiet resting places.” — Isaiah 32:17-18

Listicle Series: Fictional Characters I’d Totally Have a Game Night With

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Jim and Pam from the Office…or the whole group from the dinner party episode

The entire cast of New Girl

Harry, Ron, & Hermione

Mrs. Frizzle

Olive from Easy A

Marshall Eriksen

Lizzie, Miranda, and Gordo

The Bluth family

Maria and the von Trapp children

Pretty much all of the fairytale characters from Once Upon a Time

Leslie Knope

Sherlock Holmes

The twins from the Parent Trap (the Hayley Mills version)

Chandler Bing

Who would you invite to a game night, if you could?

Married Monday: My New Wedding Vows

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Dear Daniel,

Remember that sweet June evening when we said our vows under those beautiful trees in Love County? We decided not to write our own because, knowing the two of us, you probably would have struggled to get five full sentences down and I probably would have still been furiously writing after six or seven pages. ;) We’re very different, you and I, but in the midst of all the messes we’ve waded through together, we always come back to those vows. Those covenant promises we made to walk shoulder to shoulder and hand in hand until death separates us. For better or for worse, it’s you and me.

I think we can both admit, though, that saying vows is much easier than keeping vows. Since the moment we stepped off of that stage, we’ve learned that we had and still have a lot of expectations for each other, that sometimes the little things are wayyyy more irritating than the big things, and that serving each other does not come naturally. With that said, I have a few new vows I would like to make to you.


— I vow to keep turning your socks right side out, even when it drives me crazy that you don’t do it yourself.

— I vow to do my best not to use the words “always” and “never” in a fight, because they aren’t realistic.

— I vow to not stick my cold feet on you under the covers when you’re almost asleep.

— I vow to stop judging your Amazon obsession.

— I vow to forget your gross, weird, unattractive moments and keep totally crushing on the sexy beast you are.

— I vow to teach you more about empathy and let you teach me more about logic.

— I vow to try to stop gasping uncontrollably when you go all ‘The Fast & The Furious’ on me in the truck.

— I vow to take your secrets to my grave, including the funny iPhone videos I’ve taken of you when you weren’t paying attention.


I can’t promise that I’ll always love you 100% unconditionally, because I’m a sinner, so I’m pretty much guaranteed to mess this marriage thing up a lot. But I can promise to run toward Jesus with everything I have, to respect you, to apologize when I fail, to trust God’s plans for our marriage, and to love you as hard as I can because He loved us first, and that’s the only way we can love each other in return.

I love you so much, kid. You’re the coolest guy ever, and I can’t believe I get to be married to you. ♥

XOXO,
Your wife

P.S. I also can’t promise that I will stop stealing the covers, because I’m asleep when I do it and literally have no control over that. #sorryyyyyy


This post is part of “Married Monday,” a series I started in order to expose myths and lies we’ve been told about married life, celebrate moments of joy and growth, chew on hard truths and sprinkle them with grace, and remind others (and myself!) that marriage doesn’t work without Christ in it. I have lots of ideas, but I’d love your input too! What topics would you like to see covered?

Friendscation 2018: Caribbean Cruise

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I had a vacation epiphany last fall.

I told Daniel that the way you know a group vacation was a good one is when you get home from your trip and would willingly travel with that group of people again in the near future. That could not be more true for the friendscation we took with Brandon and Ashley in September! We soaked up the sun, we went on the worst excursion EVER in Cozumel, we tried new drinks, we dressed up for dinner and watched Saturday Night Fever, we got massages on the beach, and we played sooooo many card games in the Viking Crown Lounge. I’ll just let the pictures speak for themselves!

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Also, this professional photo from one of the formal nights was actually really good, but there’s no way I was going to pay $25 for it. Don’t judge my sneakiness…haha!

Have you ever taken a friendscation? Where’s your favorite place to visit?

When God Answers Everyone’s Prayer But Yours

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Have you ever spent much time in a doctor’s office waiting room? It’s a simple enough place, but it’s full of expectation. You walk in, fill out paperwork, take a strategically-chosen seat that’s a safe distance away from the guy with the hacking cough and the woman with the cranky kids climbing up and down her legs, pull out your phone to pass the time, and wait. You’re there with a purpose, and so is everyone else. Every single person in that room has the same hope: that when the door opens, they’ll hear their name.

When the door opens, everyone looks up with anticipation.

The nurse calls a name.

It’s not yours.

“It’s okay,” you tell yourself. “I haven’t been here for that long. They’ll call me back soon.” 

And you continue to wait semi-patiently as two, three, four more people go in for their appointments. All of them were here before you, and you assume you’ll be next.

But then the door opens again and the nose-blower’s name gets called. Not yours. You’re confused. Haven’t you been waiting longer than him? More names are called. None of them are yours. The waiting room grows emptier, and you’re still waiting.

Now you’re frustrated. “This wasn’t supposed to take this long. When is it going to be my turn??” you wonder. But you’re not really the type to make a scene, and although you are starting to feel forgotten, you know that your name is on the list. So you sit and wait, because that’s all you can do.


Our life is full of metaphorical waiting rooms. Every season presents a new set of crossroads and questions that need answers, like… What do you want to be when you grow up? Where are you going to college? What are you going to major in? What if you realize you hate your major and you want to start over but you have no clue where to start? Where do you want to work? Who are you going to marry? Are you going to have kids? When? How many? What if you can’t have them? What town should you live in? How do you know what your ‘dream job’ is? How much money should you save for retirement?? Is anyone else overwhelmed???

If you’re a Christian, you’ve probably taken at least one of those questions to the Lord in prayer and waited for Him to answer. I have asked all of those questions myself, and it never fails – as soon as I find myself in a season of not-knowing-the-answers and not-moving-forward, I am suddenly surrounded by people who DO seem to know their answers and who ARE moving forward. It’s hard to feel like the only person standing still in a sea of people who are going and doing and knowing.

When we ask God things like “When?” or “How long?”, we hope that His answer will be “Now!” But a lot of times, it isn’t. God operates outside of time, and every single thing He does is done at exactly the right moment. Trying to force God to follow our schedule and demanding an answer from Him by a certain time only leads to our own frustration, because we’re expecting God to behave like a human when He isn’t one. He can’t be manipulated into doing what we want. Waiting on God to answer forces us to slow down, and it’s one of the ways God draws us closer to Him. Choosing to trust Him even though we aren’t sure what’s going to happen next is hard, but that’s the whole point – it’s about putting your faith in God, not in whatever it is you’re waiting for. Waiting is more about experiencing God than simply enduring a delay (paraphrased, written by Wendy Pope in Wait and See).

Here are some practical ways to keep trusting in the Lord when you want to give up:

  1. Nurture an attitude of gratitude. You may have a lot of unanswered questions, but there are a few things we can always be sure of. First of all, you are seen, understood, and loved by God. Second, there is ALWAYS something to be grateful for. Make the intentional choice to focus on those things, rather than spending all of your time thinking about that *one thing* that God hasn’t given you (yet).
  2. Start praying for the other people in your life who are waitingDo you know someone else who is waiting for the same thing you’re waiting for? Take your eyes off of yourself and focus your energy on your friend. Start lifting her up to God in prayer daily, and ask that she would receive her miracle/answer/breakthrough while you’re waiting for yours.
  3. Reframe your situation. Try to stop thinking of yourself as waiting, and just think of yourself as living. Do you really want to spend your entire life on standby? In a constant state of waiting for the next thing to come along? If you have a growing relationship with the Lord, you are already as fulfilled and complete as you’ll ever be on earth, RIGHT NOW. You are not lacking anything, friend. In every season, in every life situation, you can be wholly satisfied in Him. God doesn’t withhold things from us to be cruel. He cares for us and only gives us good things. As we speak, He is working all things together for our benefit, and when we have Him, we already have everything.

You know what else is important? The end of the story. Never, ever, ever forget the end of your story. As believers in Christ, we win! WE WIN! It is guaranteed that we will get our happy ending someday, because the ultimate happy ending isn’t a new job or a spouse or a baby or more money or a cured disease or world peace. The happy ending is spending eternity with Jesus.

Are you waiting for something right now? Do you feel overlooked? Are you starting to lose patience and endurance, wondering just how long you’ll have to keep waiting? I understand, my friend. And you are so incredibly normal. The most important thing for you to remember is this: We are held steady by a God who knows what He is doing. He has not forgotten about you, and He doesn’t run out of blessings. He may be giving that other person a spouse, a new house, or their dream job right now, but that doesn’t mean you accidentally got left off of His list and He won’t have anything left by the time He gets to you.

God loves you, and so do I! ♥

This post was inspired by Kaylie Ragsdale.