Married Monday: How to Pray for Your Husband

CBP-Laura-Dan-Juneau-2017-113

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!

prayer

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?

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

21042217_1937899263134182_7278647592966160384_n.jpg

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?

20 Questions for 2018

Laura&Daniel-86

What was the best thing that happened this year?
I honestly can’t pick between helping throw my sweet grandparents a 60th anniversary party, welcoming my nephew Luke into the world, going to Florida with the Simma fam, throwing my favorite party to date, taking family photos with the Hendricksons, our Caribbean cruise with the McCains, or getting asked to be a bridesmaid in BOTH of my sisters’ weddings next year. It’s been a great year! ♥

What was the most challenging thing that happened this year?
Accepting the fact that God’s timeline is not my timeline by (1) remembering that God’s ideas are more profound than mine and He doesn’t owe me anything, and (2) acknowledging that I haven’t trusted Him enough to conform my own limited idea of a timeline to His perfect, unfailing Will.

Who were your most valuable friendships with?
Our community group, without a single hesitation. We’ve done so much life together in the last two years, more than I think any of us could have ever imagined. Together, we’ve faced nearly every major life event shoulder-to-shoulder: graduations, death of loved ones, new jobs, moving, family drama, pregnancies, new babies, loss of friendships, chronic illnesses, infertility, miscarriages, and a wide variety of struggles within marriage. I get misty-eyed and lose my words when I think about how thankful I am that God helped us find each other and become a weird little family.

What are some new skills that you learned?
Hmmm. I got way more comfortable with party-planning! I learned how to pack more stuff in a carry-on suitcase. I found out that I actually kind of like lifting weights, and I got better at celebrating others getting their breakthrough/answer/miracle while still waiting for one of my own.

Pick three words to describe this year.
Fun. Restoring. Enlightening.

What was your biggest personal change from January to December?
This is going to sound way more “hippie” than I mean for it to, but after almost 29 years, I think I’m finally starting to find myself, to figure myself out. I’m in a season of learning in regards to self-awareness and self-acceptance, in virtually every area of my life: my personality, marriage, personal style, how I decorate and care for my home, my worldview, work ethic, community, etc. I’m more aware than ever of how deeply self-focused I am, how much I don’t know, and how much I have left to learn. But I also desire really strongly to make peace with the things I consider ‘flaws’ about myself that really aren’t, and to believe the truths that God says about me instead of spending so much time telling Him (and the people in my life) why I don’t really deserve that kind of love. I want to find the line between “I’ll never be good enough” and “I’m perfect the way I am, and people just need to accept that,” because at their cores, neither of those attitudes are healthy. I want to view myself and the way I make choices through a biblical lens, through the eyes of God.

What was the best book you read this year?
One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp. Literally changed my life. It will change everything you think about what counts as a “good gift” from God.

What did you do to serve others this year?
I did a lot for my mom friends – hosting baby showers, taking them food, and helping around the house. I also tried to be a lot more intentional about keeping in touch with long-distance friends this year, asking how they were doing in marriage/parenthood and how I could pray for them.

Name a couple of positive memory-making experiences from 2018.
In addition to everything I mentioned in the first question…spending every Monday with our community group. The Merrill Lynch client conference in Scottsdale, Arizona. Watching Jennifer graduate from med school and spending Mother’s Day in Tulsa. My birthday when Daniel cut off the top of a bottle of champagne with a sword. Disneyworld. Celebrating the births of Abraham Burke, Nolan Savage, and Laeklyn Wesberry. Our anniversary dinner at Del Frisco’s Double Eagle. Y’all, 2018 has been LIT.

What 2018 accomplishments are you most proud of?
Completing some major projects at work (launching Naturally Slim, creating a Performance Appraisal/Salary Administration communication schedule from scratch), having a really good performance review, and getting 95% of my Christmas shopping done before Thanksgiving!

What are some things you’ve learned to accept this year?
That I am a mess. A total, complete mess. I’m still working on the whole “accepting that God STILL loves me without reservation in spite of the fact that I’m a mess” part, but getting past my self-righteousness, pride, and lack of self-awareness has been a big first step.

In what ways did you grow spiritually?
WHOA, how much time do you have??? Wow. I honestly don’t know if I can explain the stirring that happened in my heart when I read that question. This year forced me to rely on God more than any other year of my entire life. I have been broken by loss, health issues that were out of my control, and my own sinfulness, and God continued to show up. And He taught me to keep showing up.

What did you gain in 2018? What did you lose?
Gained = a stronger marriage, deeper existing friendships, and an up-close-and-personal perspective of what biblical community really looks like.
Lost = hope (temporarily), my patience, my temper, my keys…remember that other question when I said I was a mess??

Name a difficult situation you overcame.
Out of respect to Daniel, I don’t want to go into too much detail, but we encountered some major marriage hurdles and had to cope with a devastating loss this year. Praise God for His grace, our friends, and a truly wonderful husband. ♥

What is something you want to do better in 2019?
Worry less about things I don’t have any control over. Also, I want to talk on the phone more when I can’t see someone in person, like my parents, my grandparents, and my long-distance friends. I just had this thought the other day and I haven’t been able to shake it ever since – I’m pretty sure that when I’m at one of my best friend’s funerals someday, I won’t be thinking, “Man, I wish I had texted her more.”

What was the best thing you did with your time this year?
TRAVEL. I visited multiple new states and got to spend uninterrupted time with Daniel, my parents and siblings, and some of our best friends!

What was the single biggest time-waster in your life this year?
Social media.

What are you most grateful for in 2018?
Daniel’s selflessness, financial stability, and the genuineness of my friendships.

What do you want to leave behind in 2018?
My short temper, my sharp tongue, and my unwillingness to change.

Who do you want to be in 2019?
A woman known for her contagious joy. ♥

Maybe 2018 was an amazing year and all your dreams came true! (And if so, just shut up and enjoy being a Disney princess.) Or maybe this year completely sucked, and you’ve been ready for 2019 since June. Either way, we can’t successfully walk into the future without making peace with our past, whether it was good or bad. I can’t think of a better way to close the book on 2018. Feel free to join in and answer them for yourself!

Listicle Series: Currently

Laura&Daniel-58

Anticipating… the rest of the holiday season!! October through December is my favorite time of the year, every year. Happy Hallowthanksmas.

Buying… shoes from Target! Or trying to, anyway. I’ve been playing this game for almost a week. The shoes I want were out of stock in my size, so I signed up to get notified when they are back in stock. But I never see the notification on time, which means the shoes are out of stock again by the time I go back and look. That exact process probably happened six times. It doesn’t help that I am also the most indecisive shopper of all time, so by the time I finally manage to get the dang shoes, I’ll probably get buyer’s remorse. *eyeroll*

Cooking… these chocolate chip oatmeal bars. Pretty much all the time.

Drinking… not nearly as much water as I should be. Any tips for keeping yourself hydrated? I’m craving homemade apple cider too!

Enjoying… cooler weather! I love cloudy, rainy days and when there’s just enough of a nip in the air that all you need is a warm jacket to feel cozy.

Feeling… so good about life. I’m so thankful for our families, our best friends, our home, our dog, our jobs, our church – we are the luckiest!

Going… crazy over the fact that I get to be a bridesmaid for my sister Robyn’s and my sister-in-law Amanda’s weddings next year!! Double the fun! ♥♥

Hoarding… alllllllll the sentimental things. I did a huge house-wide purge a couple weeks ago. I went through all of our closets and drawers and got rid of a ton of stuff. But I just couldn’t bear to get rid of some of my mementos.

Imagining… how amazing it would be if our German shepherd would stop marking in the house overnight. *facepalm*

Joking… about killing the German shepherd for marking in the house overnight.

Keeping… the German shepherd even though he keeps marking in the house overnight.  (Okay I’m done now)

Listening… to Christmas music NONSTOPPPPP.

Making… stovetop potpourri for a few Christmas gifties!

Neglecting… my health. :( It’s hard during the holidays.

Organizing… my to-do lists on my phone and updating my wish list.

Packing… for a Christmas weekend at my in-laws’ house with (almost) all the sibs – missing you, Amanda and Ryan!

Quitting… snacking at work. It’s turned into a bit of a problem…lol.

Reading… Crazy Rich Asians and Emotional Intelligence 2.0.

Saving… box tops for education. I have a big handful in a drawer that I need to send off!

Thinking… about throwing a Galentine’s Day party a la Leslie Knope, come February…!

Using… a lot of my free time to Insta-stalk Carly Jean Los Angeles because their stuff is so. dang. cute.

Valuing… sweet Christmas cards we’ve gotten in the mail from loved ones.

Wanting… to fast forward to my next vacation with Daniel because #wanderlust.

Wearing… new jeans from Madewell and Loft, thanks to some good advice from friends on Facebook and Instagram! I’m officially obsessed.

Waiting… impatiently to have Christmas at my house so Daniel and I can exchange our own gifts!!!

Come on, gimme a break – X, Y, and Z were impossible, so you get extra W’s instead. :)

Listicle Series: 16 Things That Make Me Feel Pretty

View More: http://savannahashleyphotography.pass.us/laura-styled-bridal

The world we live in is ROUGH, y’all. Especially because of social media. Day in and day out, we are inundated with verbal and virtual opinions. No matter what we’re doing or not doing, the message is the same: we are either too much or not enough.

“You need to work out more.”
“Don’t lift too much or you’ll look like a man.”
“Your makeup should look flawless.”
“You’re wearing way too much makeup.”
“You should wear more makeup.”
“Stop eating so much or you’ll get fluffy.”
“You eat like a bird, are you anorexic?”
“You should always strive to be better.”
“You should like yourself the way you are.”
“You should be more like ____.”
“Don’t be so emotional.”
“You’re so cold, don’t you have feelings?”
“Make sure you always look pretty and put-together.”
“Stop trying so hard – who are you trying to impress?”
“If you got it, flaunt it!”
“You should cover that up, you look desperate.”
“Take more pictures, people want to see the real you.”
“Too many selfies – obsessed with yourself much?”
“Your style is too boring.”
“Your style is too crazy.”
“Do you even know what your style is?”
“You post on social media too much.”
“You don’t post on social media enough.”
“Don’t post anything too controversial.”
“Don’t you care what other people think?”
“You shouldn’t care what others think.”

Yiiiiiiiiiiiiiikes. I’m pretty sure nobody can ever measure up to all of that.

It’s startling to realize that I’ve spent years – literal years – of my life worrying what other people think. “Do people like me? Do they think I’m funny? Do they think I’m pretty? Do they think I’m weird/a prude/too loud/too honest/a good friend/a bad friend/etc.?” In actuality, most of the time, ‘those people’ probably haven’t been thinking about me at all. And meanwhile, I’ve been making decisions and tailoring my actions based on what ‘those people’ (the ones who aren’t even thinking about me) are supposedly thinking about me.

………uh.

You do the same thing too, though. Right?

Here’s the cold hard truth. You can’t make everyone happy. You are not a jar of Nutella or a basket of puppies. There are even people out there who don’t like Nutella or puppies (although I find that fundamentally strange and will probably never relate to those people because HELLO, Nutella and puppies are everything).

No matter what you do or don’t do, somebody will be able to find something wrong with it. But it’s pretty freeing when you are finally able to just do your thing without being so tied up in what everybody else thinks about it. In light of that, I want to share a list of things that make me feel pretty. Not things that “should” make me or anybody else feel pretty. Not shallow, hollow constructs that I use to hide who I really am. Just…things that make me feel pretty!


THE PRETTY LIST

Good hair days.

Painted toenails.

Neutral colors and jewel tones.

That delicious feeling of crawling between clean sheets after you shave your legs.

Wearing high heels.

Taking professional photos.

Yoga. I don’t ALWAYS feel pretty, but it makes me feel strong. Which is pretty dang close.

Floor-length dresses.

Eating better, exercising, and seeing the difference in the mirror.

Red lipstick.

The way my skin feels after a face mask.

Putting together new outfits from pieces in my closet.

My wedding rings.

Getting my teeth cleaned. Weird, I know, but I seriously feel like I could conquer the world after my dentist appointments.

Wearing perfume. Not body spray; real perfume.

Going out with Daniel or with one of my girl gangs.


I think it’s important to know what things give your heart a little joy, especially if they are things you have control over. Who cares what other people think?? Taking care of yourself in simple ways is important, and just because someone else says something is shallow/lame/weird doesn’t mean that it actually is.  Girl, listen – as long as the things that make you happy are God-glorifying, healthy, legal, and not dangerous to yourself or others……YOU. DO. YOU. ♥

What kinds of things make YOU feel pretty?

Listicle Series: Movies I Never Get Tired of Watching

Want to know how to make me really happy? Gimme a big pile of snacks, plop down on the couch with me, and tell me that we’re going to spend all day watching movies. Some people might see that as a waste of time, but not me. Time you enjoy wasting is not wasted time, and watching movies all day would be a day very well spent. There’s something totally delicious about losing yourself in the plot of someone else’s story and getting swept away into their adventure, joy, melancholy, romance, laughter, action, and emotion.

Obviously, it would be impossible to list every movie I love – there are far too many! Instead, here’s a brief list of movies I never get tired of watching, no matter how many times I’ve seen them. Movies I will always stop flipping through channels for, no matter what else is on TV (this is Daniel’s main criteria for a good movie, by the way). Movies I could sit down and thoroughly enjoy at any given moment…….like right now!


My Much-Loved Flicks:

Morning Glory.

The Glass Bottom Boat.

Virtually any Christmas movie.

Inception.

Anne of Green Gables.

Harry Potter.

Singin’ in the Rain.

Mean Girls.

The Dark Knight Rises.

The Sound of Music.

Just Friends.

The Lord of the Rings.

North By Northwest.

Stardust.

Some Like It Hot.

Pretty much all Disney movies. But especially the Hayley Mills version of The Parent Trap, Anastasia, Inside Out, Beauty and the Beast, The Emperor’s New Groove, Swiss Family Robinson, The Princess Diaries, and the Lily James version of Cinderella. And Tangled and Moana and Frozen. And The Absent-Minded Professor. And That Darn Cat.
(Sorry.)


Brb….if you need me, I’ll be curled up on the couch for the rest of the month. ♥

Tell me, what is one of YOUR favorite movies?

Listicle Series: 12 Reasons that Fall is My Favorite Season

img_1739

Darker nail polish colors.

Apple cider.

The early morning / late night chill in the air.

img_1751

Layers, like soft sweaters and leather jackets…yum!

Soup season.

Pumpkins on the front porch.

12106152_1221579054525437_565679192_n

Candy corn.

The leaves changing colors.

Bonfires, corn mazes, and hayrides.

IMG_4695[1]

Boots, beanies, and scarves.

Friendsgiving.

The knowledge that there are only 11 Mondays until Christmas. ♥

New Listicle Series + 7 Places to Find Good Eats

In the last decade, the internet (arguably Buzzfeed, more than anyone else) has popularized the “listicle,” or an article that appears in the form of a list. According to research, lists help organize our brains and save us time by breaking information down into bite-size pieces. Plus, to be honest, they are fun to read and share because they are typically more conversational than a traditional “article” or blog post.

To be even more honest, I LOVE LISTS! I have wanted to do a list series for a long time, and I finally decided to just do it! My goal is to share at least two listicles per month through the rest of the year. I thought it might be a fun way to share a little more about myself, and I’d love topic ideas from the audience, so please feel free to ask questions or offer suggestions in the comments. In the meantime, to kick it off, here’s a list of my favorite restaurants (in no particular order) and what I usually order!


Restaurants

  1. Hopdoddy Burger Bar. The Goodnight is usually my go-to burger, but the real hero is the Parmesan Truffle Fries with truffle aioli. I kind of want to cry every time I eat them.
  2. Braum’s. Hands down, my absolute favorite chocolate ice cream to date.
  3. The original Ceviche in Durant. It’s since been bought out and turned into another Mexican place, but the old Ceviche from when Daniel and I first got married was AMAZING. I’m still mourning the fact that I can’t ever have that grilled chicken salad dressing or the chicken + black bean ravioli again. RIP, Ceviche. :(
  4. Torchy’s Tacos. Holy WOW is this place good. I’ve tried several tacos but I love the Trailer Park the most. The chips and green chili queso are BOMB. And the Lil’ Nookies are to die for – fried chocolate chip cookie dough, guys. *drool*
  5. Shake Shack. Their cheese fries and salted caramel shakes give me life.
  6. Roma Italian in Durant. Tbh, I’ve had better pasta other places (like Scarpetta in Las Vegas), but I have had actual cravings for Roma’s Alla Pana sauce. I love to dip their warm rolls in it, and the Chicken Alla Panna Pizza is my current go-to.
  7. Chick Fil A. Don’t roll your eyes; y’all already know this is my place. My order is the same literally every time: #1, no pickles, fries, and a gallon of Chick Fil A sauce. #theLordschicken #itismypleasuretoserveyou

There’s about 112 other places that I also love, ranging from hipster to fancy to kinda trashy (Barrio’s in OKC, Hideaway Pizza, Rick’s Chophouse, Chili’s, Kobe Express, Hula Hut, Chuy’s, Buffalo Wild Wings, Asian Gourmet, Del Frisco’s Double Eagle), but I figured I’d better start small with my first list or people might quit reading. ;) More listicles coming soon!

Tell me two of your favorite spots: one local and one chain!