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To my dear Husband: Happy First Anniversary!


My dear husband,

Falling in love with you was quick and easy. A whirlwind romance. Our wedding day was full of joy, laughter, and love. God’s presence was so evident as we declared our vows to love and cherish one another.

And here we are, already celebrating our first year together. You have been the happiest man ever, declaring you have the most beautiful and amazing wife in the world. While I would not trade our first year of marriage for anything, for me it has been of a combination of feelings. Such joy and growth in marriage, changes and transitions, and the ups and downs that happen along the journey.

All I can say is thank you!

Thank you for showing me such grace and forgiveness. I know more of God’s grace now than I ever did in all the years of Sunday School.

Thank you for loving me so well. I am one of the luckiest women. Thank you for how very often you tell me that you love me, you find me beautiful, and speak words of affirmation into my heart and life.

Thank you for how you challenge and grow me. Two stubborn people in love. Yet we are stronger together, better together, and truly compliment one another.

Thank you for how you take care of me. Whether attending school events with me, making me dinner, or just holding me when I feel sad. You have loved and cared for me throughout this year.

Thank you for the times you are silly and make me laugh.

Thank you for all the memories we have made together this first year. Quiet Saturday mornings, buying our first Christmas tree, watching the World Cup, our first time traveling together, watching ocean storms, the Noah movie, your graduation, Easter Sunday baptisms, our picnic on the beach, and so much more.

Thank you for waiting forty years for me. For allowing God to prepare you as you trusted in His timing. Thank you for living your life fully for God while you waited.

Thank you for being you. You are beyond everything I hoped, dreamed, and prayed for during all the years of waiting. You complete me.

I love you so very much.

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Welcome to our Home!


For a girl who likes to be settled and organized, a year has been a long time to feel in transition. It took us months and months to unpack all the boxes. The first few months of marriage, our free time was spent going to Bed, Bath, and Beyond. We had items to return, gift cards to use, and things we still needed for our home. We had one very successful Craigslist run. Which I give all credit to God.

For our first month of marriage, we had only a few pieces of furniture. We ate dinner sitting in our two computer chairs while using boxes as our table. When I was tempted to complain about our lack of furniture, I looked to my right and saw my husband who loved me more than I could grasp. I looked out and saw the beauty of the ocean. All I could think was “Wow, I am blessed.”

Then I started work. After the first week, I came home and declared that we needed a couch. I spent a few hours on Craigslist and the next day we drove around Boston to discover some great finds. A couch, coffee table, a large chair for our study (someone gave to us for free!), and a dresser and nightstand for our guest bedroom. All God. Thanks to my husband’s prompting, we were able to bargain and get better deals.

Our home has come together in waves. Every time someone came to visit, a few more boxes were unpacked and our home became a little more organized. When we had friends over, more pictures were hung.

We had friends and family visit for Stephen’s graduation in May. That was our motivation to get the final things done in our home, like putting together our dining room table!

My husband has been super helpful. He has a great eye and we have a similar tastes in decorating. One evening during our first few months of shopping and returns, Stephen spotted a perfect accent table. We were able to use the money that a good friend gave us to purchase it for our kitchen.

We are so grateful for the many gifts we received from wedding showers and our wedding. SO very grateful! 

Below are a few of my favorite things…


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Our kitchen is full of the accent colors turquoise, teal, and aqua blue. I love the canisters. I added them to our registry as a last minute whim! I was excited to find this decoration on sale “Love builds a happy home.” The tea kettle got lots of use during our long Boston winter! What is better than using a kitchen aid mixer to make chocolate chip cookies? Using one that is aqua blue! The accent table my husband found for our kitchen. Did I mention how thankful I am for all of our wedding gifts?

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We got married in Vienna, Virginia and I love how unique this decoration is in our home. Some friends saw it in a random store window and knew they had to get it for us! The Mr. & Mrs. decoration was also a gift and full of timeless reminders for our marriage.

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This dresser is one of our great Craigslist finds! My cousin Priscilla dried my wedding flowers. They are in the pitcher Stephen used to wash my feet during our wedding ceremony. This is part of our guest bedroom…. who wants to come visit us in Boston?

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The free chair someone gave us while Craigslist shopping. Perfect for our study!

What are a few of your favorite things in your home?

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What is lurking below the surface?


 My life does not have to be completely together because my identity is not based on my performance or appearance. What freedom in those glorious truths.

Moments of insecurity often arise when I am tired and running late. Just the fact I am running late is enough for me to hear the old and familiar accusations.”You are not enough. Look you can’t even get ready on time. What is wrong with you?”

As I raced around trying to get ready, I questioned my outfit. Doubts raced through my mind. “Do I like this outfit? Do I look beautiful? Does this outfit make me look fat?”

Before dashing out the door, I realized I had almost forgotten the present we had for our friends we would see later that evening. While I had bought the gift far in advance, I had not taken time to wrap it. As I tried to quickly find a gift bag, the accusations that screamed at me were “This room is a mess. Why can’t you get organized so you can find things quickly? Why didn’t you wrap this ahead of time? You are a failure.

All of these doubts and accusations happened in a very short amount of time. They all boiled down to the deep fear of “I am not enough. I am a failure.”

If you had asked me last night if I was struggling with insecurity, my answer would have been no. I felt content and at peace with myself. Yet, all it took was one hurried morning to bring out some insecurities and lies that still lurked below the surface.

God has been incredibly faithful. He has brought me so far in this journey. A journey towards wholeness and freedom. A journey towards to my identity as His Beloved.

When I stop and take a moment to reflect on what I know to be true, the fears and accusations are silenced.

The truth sets us free. The truth that God, my Abba Father, declares over my life is that I am His beloved daughter. He says that I am enough. He loves me, delights in me, and accepts me completely. Simply because I am His child. It is not based on anything that I can do. I am free from striving. I am whole, complete, and free in Him.

May I declare and truly live in my identity as His beloved!

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Lake Tahoe: Trusting God


We just got home from an amazing vacation in Lake Tahoe. We hiked by Emerald Bay, went kayaking on Donner’s Lake, visited Yosemite National Park, saw the giant Sequoia trees, and that was just the beginning! The weather was absolutely perfect. Sunshine and in the 70s every day. We were so grateful for my aunt and uncle’s generosity as they allowed us to join their family vacation.

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Yet this vacation never would happened if I hadn’t waited upon God’s timing. Why is it so hard to wait on God? Oh yes, because I like to know what is going to happen in the future. I often want to feel a sense of control. I have been realizing that waiting on God requires me to trust Him. And when I start to worry, I remember that He is the God of the Universe. He loves me and nothing is impossible for Him. Then I can take a sigh of relief and allow myself to wait and see what He has in store.

Last spring, I had several friends tell me about their summer vacation plans. I honestly hadn’t even thought about what we were going to do this summer. But as I listened to their vacation plans, I suddenly felt the need to have a plan. Now my husband assured me that we did have a vacation plan. We were going to fly out to Washington State to visit his family. In his mind we were all set. However, in my mind this was just an idea and not a plan.  We hadn’t purchased the plane tickets. What if we waited and the prices were too high and we couldn’t afford to go? We would be stuck home without a vacation plan.

I wanted to urge my husband to find plane tickets for us, yet I realized he was incredibly busy with working full time and finishing grad school. He did not have the time. I had a choice to make. I could nag my husband, I could worry, or I could simply trust God. After a little bit of worry, I realized the best choice was to trust God. He already knew what was in store for us this summer. He knew when we would visit Washington State. I could lay my worry down and rest in Him.

Months later we found out that my aunt and uncle were looking for two more people to join them in their vacation to Lake Tahoe.  Would we be interested?

My wonderful husband knew how much I wanted to go. He spent hours researching and found a great deal on plane tickets. A month before the trip, he surprised me with the plane tickets as an early birthday present. We flew out the day after my birthday. And from Lake Tahoe we were able to travel to Washington State.

I realized that if I hadn’t trusted God, if I had insisted that we book the plane tickets to Washington months ago, we would have missed out on this incredible opportunity. Our vacation to Lake Tahoe was full of fun family memories, stunning views, and lots of adventure.

Do you ever have a hard time trusting God? What helps you to wait on Him?

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God in the details


God cares about the details of our lives. I am reminded of this truth again and again. God cares not only about the big decisions of your life, He is also interested in all the little details that make up your everyday life.

The last few days in Boston have been hot and humid. Summer is here. This evening when I stepped outside, I noticed that the temperature had dropped. I felt a cool ocean breeze. It was a perfect summer evening. My husband and I quickly decided to go for a walk and enjoy some time together. At one point early on in our walk, we passed a middle age man who was talking with a younger man as they walked. After we passed them, Stephen declared he had seen the taller gentleman before at Gordon Conwell Theological Seminary. The seminary that my husband graduated from is an hour away from where we live.

We walked for a few miles and made a stop at a local ice cream shop to share some ice cream. Because what is a perfect summer evening without some ice cream? Towards the end of our walk, we happened to pass the same two men again. When Stephen spoke to them, connections were discovered and introductions were made. As we talked, it quickly became apparent that God was using our conversation to encourage each one of us.

Later as we walked home, I had a huge smile on my face. Wow, how God loves us! What I thought was simply a spontaneous walk on a summer evening, had a much greater purpose. God is in the details of our life!

How have you seen God recently in the details of your everyday life?

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Icecream dates, ocean storms, and pretty plates

 32 things

32 things I am grateful for during this past year. (There’s no particular order to my list!)
1. Pretty plates
2. Running along the Charles River
3. Ocean storms
4. Our home by the ocean
5. Boston Red Sox winning the World Series
6. Stephen’s graduation
7. Ice cream dates
8. Visits from friends and family
9. Working out with my husband
10. Spring in Boston (when it finally came!)
11. Hiking in New Hampshire
12. Crane beach school trip
13. Surprise Starbucks drinks
14. Long distance travel over
15. Creating a home together
16. Writing once again
17. Daily praises
18. Husband’s African tea
19. first Christmas together
20. Creating traditions
21. Jesus Culture concert
22. Sunrises and sunsets over the ocean
23. Visiting dear friends in Virginia
24. Phone and skype conversations
25. Our wedding- my husband!
26. Beautiful honeymoon
27. Lunch breaks in the public gardens
28. Shirley church family
29. Husband driving me to work every morning
30. Birthday wishes
31. Love letters
32. My identity as God’s beloved

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Why do I love celebrating birthdays?


It is a well known fact that I love to celebrate my birthday. I mean how could you not want to celebrate your birthday when it falls on the first day of summer and the longest day of the year? My birthday also marks the glorious start of summer vacation.

My husband says that I become an extrovert on my birthday as I love attention from others. I love knowing that people love and care for me. Whether it’s a phone call, a birthday card, a Facebook post, or a “happy birthday” greeting I feel blessed by all the people God has put into my life.

Growing up, my mom made us simple birthday posters and hung them around the house. We were able to choose our birthday dinner and dessert. Strawberry shortcake was the natural choice as my birthday was during our town’s local Strawberry Festival.

I truly embraced celebrating my birthday in my twenties. I loved my twenty-fifth birthday celebration. One of my best friends knew my love of birthdays and gifts and she indulged me. A large bouquet of balloons, collection of small gifts, and a thoughtful birthday card greeted me a the start of our evening. Throughout the rest of the evening, additional birthday cards continued to appear. We went to a fancy Italian restaurant that was located in a beautiful, old Victorian house. Our leisurely dinner was full of friends, laughter, and stories. I had never felt so loved.

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Growing up, I did not have many friendships. I often felt lonely, awkward, and out of place in my school. While other girls had big birthday parties when they turned sixteen, I was acutely aware of my lack of friends and social status when I turned sixteen.

While I enjoy attention and gifts on my birthday, what I truly treasure is the fact that God has now given me with so many meaningful friendships. I am overwhelmed by the sense of community He has blessed me with and the people who have influenced my life.

During my twenties, I began to fully embrace and live in my identity as God’s beloved. Every year on my birthday, I enjoy going to a quiet park to spend time with my Abba Father. I reflect on the past year, soak in His love for me, and look forward to all that He has in store for me during the coming year. The God of the Universe is my Beloved King. He delights in me. Wow.

I believe each birthday is worth celebrating. God created each person “fearfully and wonderfully made”. He crafted you and declares that you are marvelous. While I enjoy celebrating birthdays, God actually celebrates us each and every day. It tells us in Zephaniah that God “rejoices over us with singing”.

As my thirty-second birthday approached, I realized this birthday would look a little different. It would be the first time I had to work on my birthday. I was thousands of miles away from most of my friends. This allowed me to step back and realize the most important thing I had not changed. Time with my Abba Father during a beautiful summer day.

God was in the details of my birthday. I got out of work early. I enjoyed lunch at the Public Gardens. Thanks to technology I felt loved by so many people. This year, God had given me one of His very best gifts. My wonderful husband. A man who I had dreamed about, prayed for, and desired. And like any good gift, God shows me just how well He knows me through the gift of my husband. How lavish His love is for me!

I hope you fully enjoy celebrating your next birthday. May you know how deeply God loves and delights in you!

How do you celebrate your birthday? Do you have any favorite birthday memories?

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Only God


“Only God”. These words sum up for me this past school year.

It was “Only God” that I found myself teaching in Boston. Last Spring as I was preparing to get married and move to Boston, a common question I received was “where would I be working in the Fall?” An innocent, well meaning question reminded me again and again that I had absolutely no idea where I would be teaching the following the year. Between moving, wrapping up a busy school year, long- distance travel to visit my fiance, I barely had time to plan a wedding. I was extremely busy and I did not have the time to job search. I only managed to submit one or two job applications.

One particular day, when my wonderful fiance suggested I spend the evening filling out job applications, I became overwhelmed by all I had to do. I spent time on my knees that evening crying out to God. There were so many unknowns about the future and I did not have the time or resources on my own. How desperately I needed God. I choose to trust Him in the midst of the unknowns.

A couple weeks later, a friend passed along some information about a school located right in Boston. I researched the school and was very impressed. I quickly filled out the application and sent in my resume.  The school contacted me for an interview the weekend I just happened to be up in Boston. My original trip had been postponed. Only God.

I left the interview feeling extremely confident that this was the exact school where God was calling me to teach. I was confident that I had interviewed well and that the administration was interested in me. However my true confidence was in the deep sense of calling I felt from God. As the days and weeks passed, I waited in confidence that God has called me to this particular school. I chose not to doubt or waver in the waiting time. Three weeks later, I received the phone call offering me the teaching position for second grade. Stephen was excited and thrilled. I was a little surprised that my reaction was so calm until I realized God had shown me this was what He had for me. I had already known for weeks now.

I went in the next day to sign my contract. While we were there, we found out about an apartment for rent. In a matter of only a few days, I had a job and we had a place to live. “Only God.”

The school year started all too soon. Shortly after our honeymoon, I was in meetings and working to prepare for the new school year. Parent Orientation came all too quickly. I barely had time to get my classroom ready. Then there was Student Orientation. I personally was not at all ready for the school year to start. Our home was full of boxes and empty of furniture. Yet, the first day of school went smoothly. I breathed a sigh of relief until that evening I found out the shocking news that my cousin Joshua had died unexpectedly. 

Overwhelmed by grief and sorrow. Overwhelmed by all the sudden changes in my life. Overwhelmed by feeling very much like a “new teacher.” Overwhelmed by life. How did I made it through it all? Only God.

I had previously taught for eight years in the same school. I knew that there would be adjustments moving to a new school. Yet, I really had no idea just how very different the two schools would be and how I would need to constantly adjust and adapt. I went from teaching in a large public school to teaching in a small private school. My experience in teaching in a Title One school was challenging, difficult, yet rewarding. I found myself teaching in a very rich, powerful area of Boston. I quickly discovered the unique challenges of teaching in this kind of setting.

The school year held some very unexpected challenges. One particular challenge was when the school was flooded due to a burst pipe. It was then that I experienced the resiliency of Bostonians. We did not miss a single day of school. For two weeks, we walked the students a mile to a church each morning, taught the kids with limited supplies, and walked the students a mile back each afternoon. This was in bitter cold temperatures. I quickly realized that my winter coat was not a true winter coat. I was miserable and cold. When I came back from Christmas Break with a new, long down jacket I was finally prepared for Boston’s winter.

As any teacher knows, even one challenging student can drastically change your school year. How did I deal with the unexpected challenges? Only God.

This last semester was refreshingly joyful. I had made it through the challenges, Spring finally came to Boston, and I was able to enjoy my class of second graders. As the year wraps up, I am so grateful for my students and their families. I am grateful for an incredible team and for their support this year. I am grateful for how God called me to this job. I am grateful for this school year. I am grateful His provision. Only God.


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I want more of You, God!

Lately, I have been listening to the song “Set a Fire” over and over again. The song is a beautiful and passionate cry for more of God.

There’s no place I would rather be.
There’s no place I would rather be.
There’s no place I would rather be.
Than here in your love, here in your love.

So, set a fire down in my soul.
That I can’t contain and I can’t control.
I want more of You, God.
I want more of You, God.
Will Reagan – Set A Fire

Set a fire down in my soul that I can’t contain and I can’t control. I want more of You God!

I love how it’s a cry for GOD to set a fire within us. How He loves to hear and answer this prayer! A fire for God that can’t be contained or controlled. We are left wanting less of us and more of Him.

This echoes John the Baptist. He says of Jesus “He must become greater, I must become less” (John 3:30)

Listen to how David cries out for more of God in Psalm 63. It’s one of my favorite passages of scripture!

“O God, You are my God, I earnestly search for You. My soul thirsts for You, my whole body longs for You in this parched and weary land where there is no water. I have seen You in Your sanctuary and gazed upon Your power and glory.

Your unfailing love is better than life itself, how I praise You! I will praise You as long as I live, lifting up my hands in prayer. You satisfy me more than the richest feast. I will praise You with songs of joy.

I lie awake thinking of you, meditating on You throughout the night. Because You are my helper, I sing for joy in the shadow of Your wings. I cling to You, Your strong right hand holds me securely.”

Oh, may our hearts cry out for more of God! May we be filled with such passion for Him. May God set a fire in us that can’t be contained or controlled.

His Presence has the power to radically transform our lives. His love has the power to heal and bring greater freedom in our hearts. He alone satisfies!