30 Days of Thankfulness, Day 15: A Handy Husband

Today, I am thankful for a super handy husband.

It’s nice having Ben around. He knows how to do stuff — stuff that requires the use of tools, most of which I don’t know the names of.

Since we got possession of our house on Sept. 1, he has been busy working on it so that we can move in. Replacing electrical outlets, installing new gas line, removing wallpaper, and all sorts of other things have been on his tick list.

I think I’ll go work on a new Honey-Do List … Wouldn’t want him running out of projects 😉


30 Days of Thankfulness, Day 2: My Husband

Today, I am thankful for my husband.

1 Corinthians 13:4-7 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

Ben’s a real good guy. He strives to glorify God, and he is conscious of his responsibility as the spiritual leader of our family. He always has made me feel special and loved, and he’s funny, too. He makes me laugh often. He’s also handy around the house. I’ll keep him.

Photo below by Levenhagen Photography.

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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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My Brother and His Wife are Famous!

Okay, maybe they’re not like I-live-in-Hollywood type of famous, but close.

My brother and his wife have a really cool company called Sparkvites. They do custom invitations (and other stuff). Remember the Little Man birthday party I planned for my guy when he turned one? They designed some stuff for me, and it was awesome.

couple with mustaches on sticks

Blake and Irene take their jobs very seriously, like when they were modeling mustaches at my son’s birthday party.

Anyways, Blake and Irene were married in October 2012, and their wedding was featured recently on Emmaline Bride! Check it out, especially if you’re looking for some DIY wedding ideas for a fall wedding!

Irene and Blake

Irene and Blake

Elias, Ben, Brie

Elias, Ben and me

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?

She Stays, He Goes: Everyone is Happier

Every year, Ben’s extended family take a five-hour car ride to Houghton Lake, Mich., for a week. They’ve been doing it for years — many more years than I’ve been part of the clan.

They stay in very basic, un-air conditioned cabins. And although I love board games, a boat ride, a good campfire and a s’more, I’m not a big fan of this trip. It’s hot. Really hot. It’s a lot of work just to get there (and let’s not even talk about the unpacking when we get home). You have to take your own toilet paper, and towels, and sheets. The mattresses are original (in a bad way). I have a baby and a toddler, both still in diapers.

So, knowing I would have a seven-month-old and a two-and-a-half-year-old this summer, I opted out of the trip very early. Ben wasn’t thrilled at first, but I was done, and I know myself enough to recognize it. Best. Decision. Ever.

Who knew that separate vacations were actually quite enjoyable? Sure, I miss Ben and Elias (who both love every minute of this trip), but everyone is much happier with me not there.

kid on swing

The one thing that I miss about going camping: seeing my little guy enjoy himself! This was him last year.

I’m happier, obviously, because I am taking care of my baby girl in the air conditioned comfort of my own (well, my in-law’s) home.

Ben is happier because he’s not spending the entire week trying to make me not be miserable, as I melt in the heat. (I am a fragile little flower, what can I say?) And bless his heart, he really did try. We even left early last year; my pregnant body just could not take another night.

You know that saying, “If Mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy”? It’s true.

Have you ever taken a vacation apart from your spouse? What was your experience like?

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.