30 Days of Thankfulness, Day 11: Having a Home Church

Today, I am thankful for a church family and a church home.

Over the past several years, Ben and I have made Gateway Church our church home, and the people there are our church family.

We appreciate that the messages are Bible centered. (Yes, believe it or not, there are some churches who offer non-Bible-centered messages.)

We appreciate the children’s programming.

We appreciate the life groups.

We appreciate the many other activities that bring us closer together.

If you live in our area, check it out!


30 Days of Thankfulness, Day 9: Air Conditioning

Today, I am thankful for air conditioning.

Yes, I know it’s November.

Yes, I know it’s cold.

Yes, I know people lived without air conditioning for a long, long time.

Yes, I know people all over the world live without it every day.

But this girl has gotten seriously spoiled by having it. In September – during an unseasonably warm week – the air conditioning in my car was broken. I was melting.

During the summer, Ben and I lived with his parents, and they only have window units. I was melting.

It’s Fall Family Photo Time!

I love, love, love family photos – mine, yours, everyone’s. At my house, you won’t find “fine art” on the walls; you’ll find photos of my family, lots of them.

Recently, we had our family photos taken by Tiffany Levenhagen of Levenhagen Photography.

She is great, and I’m thrilled with how the pictures turned out.

We did a mini session, which means 15 minutes and DONE. If you have a husband and/or small children, I’m sure you can appreciate the awesomeness of this approach.

Here’s how they turned out. If you’re in the Findlay area and need some pictures taken, contact Tiffany!

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How to Make Living With Your In-Laws Work

If you’ve been following along here, you’ll know that since we sold our house so quickly, Ben and I (and our littles) are living with my in-laws until our new place is ready.

Whenever I tell anyone this, I generally either get looks of horror or looks of sympathy, with the same tentative ”So, how’s it going?“


You live with your in-laws???

I promise you (and not just because my mother-in-law reads my blog) that it’s going fine. Really, it is.

I know what you’re thinking (because people say these things to me): “Really? Really it’s going fine? How is that possible? I couldn’t take it!”

My in-laws are great. They’re easy going and fun, and they have good perspective on life in general. I started dating Ben when I was 16, so I’ve been around a while (nearly 16 years), and they put up with me really well. I am, by far, the most high maintenance person living in the house at the moment (and at the moment, there are eight people).

Maybe I just have the World’s Best In-Laws. In the case that I do, and you are stuck with the Second Best In-Laws, here are some suggestions for how you can make your situation work:

  • Be flexible. You can’t go imposing your schedule on other people when you’re living in their house. You like to eat at 5:30 p.m. on the dot? Well, you may need to bend the rules a little bit.
  • Accept that people do things differently than you do. Maybe they don’t do laundry like you would, or dishes like you would, or clean like you would. Maybe they only brush their teeth in the middle of the day, and you brush yours in the morning. Whatever. It’s okay.
  • Maintain perspective. Do you have a roof over your head and a warm (or cool, whatever your preference) bed to sleep in? Yes? Oh, okay. Then maybe it doesn’t matter so much that you had to wait 10 minutes to use the restroom.
  • Keep communication open. Something really bothering you? Then talk about it, nicely, before it escalates into a very avoidable tense situation. You’re not going to win every battle; pick them wisely.
  • Remember Colossians 3:23-24

23 Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, 24 since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.

Have you ever lived with your in-laws (or your parents)? How did it go? What advice would you give to someone going through the same situation?

It’s Official: We Found a New Place

pretty backyard

It’s official! This backyard view will soon be ours to enjoy!

I’ve been cautiously optimistic about sharing too much too soon, but with closing scheduled for the end of July, Ben and I are feeling quite optimistic about the new house we found!

We sold our house in April, moved in with Ben’s parents in May and learned about this house soon after. It was a for-sale-by-owner situation, and it wasn’t advertised. In fact, we found out it was going to be for sale through a coworker, and we were blessed to make a deal on it before it went on the market!

As soon as we saw the location, we were sold: five acres on a quiet road, conveniently located from my job, the school and our church.

The house was built in the late ’60s and only had one owner. Though it is in dire need of an update and some routine maintenance, it’s been well cared for by the family who owns it.

The woman who owns the house wanted to meet us before the sale was final. Ben and I met her this week, and although she is sad about leaving her family home, she is a sweet lady who wants us to pay special attention to her columbine plants, asparagus plot and a beautiful tree by the driveway. We’re more than happy to oblige, and in fact, we love fresh asparagus!

We are feeling very blessed with this situation, and it has been so obvious throughout this entire process that God has His hand in it. From the way a buyer for our house fell into our laps, to the graciousness of Ben’s parents in welcoming us into their home, to the way in which we found our new place, we’ve experienced God’s favor.

Celebrating 10 Years of Marital Bliss (Mostly)

Today, Ben and I are celebrating our 10-year wedding anniversary. 10!

Ben and Brie

Ben and me during a recent weekend trip to the lake

It’s been one heck of a 10th year:

I guess we like to lump all of life’s major events into a single year. You know, to get all of the really stressful life events out of the way all at once.

Ten years ago, back in 2003, it was a similar scene. Here’s what was happening:

  • My parents split up.
  • Ben and I bought our first house! (We were young and dumb. It was a great learning experience.)
  • I graduated from college.
  • I started a brand new full-time job.
  • Ben and I got married!
  • We both moved for the first time out of our parents’ houses.

It’s hard to believe 10 years has already flown by. When people tell you time flies, believe them. It does.

After one decade of marriage, we’ve certainly learned a lot about each other, ourselves and life in general. I won’t bore you with a long list of Lessons Learned. There’s really only one that’s important:

Put God first.


When you follow this rule, everything else falls naturally into place. Ben and I didn’t start out that way, and sometimes, we still need reminded. But when God opened our eyes and hearts to this simple Rule for a Successful Marriage, things changed, for the better. Way better.