Sunrise Love

Ethan and I are very fortunate to have a wonderful friend who also happens to be a phenomenal photographer.

Kate is a graduate of the University of Valley Forge’s Digital Media department and the main gal of Freckled Perspective. I have oogled at her work for years. You can imagine my excitement at having the chance to have her do our engagement pictures. It also helps that her hubby Jon is one of Ethan’s best friends. Being that they live in New Jersey, we decided to make it a whole weekend adventure!

Since we were going to be on their “turf,” I let Kate take the creative lead. Knowing her portfolio, I put complete trust and faith in her decisions. She decided that sunrise on the beach would be perfect! In the month of March, New Jersey had been having some great warm weather. The week leading up to our date had been in the 70s. When we woke up Saturday morning at 5:15 it was 30 degrees out. By the time we left around 6, it had made its way up to 35. Leaving the beach, it was 37. A snow storm was apparently on its way. Gotta love spring weather!

Our shoot was a whole whopping 35 minutes. It was breezy. It was (literally) freezing. Kate only got splashed once or twice. No one ended up in the ocean. We couldn’t be happier with how they all turned out. For the sake of us all, I am not posting all of the pictures we received after edits. I’m just posting some of my favorites.

PS- The black and whites are going to look AMAZING in our future green and gray livingroom. 😉 Dress credit to my dad for picking it out and getting it for me! Haha

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I am so lucky to be marrying my best friend, and total trooper. Ethan is not one for pictures, but he braved the chill and posing for me anyway!

It’s funny when you post pictures of yourself. Everyone tells you how amazing they are, but truly, other than braving the cold, the real MVP is the person behind the lens! To see more of Kate’s work or to book her yourself (which I HIGHLY recommend); like her on Facebook at Freckled Perspective, follower her on Instagram at @katelovesthekey, or check out her site freckledperspective.com.

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Finding an Old Friend

The title may be misleading. This is very metaphorical. Having been an English ed major, general book worm, and readaholic, an old friend to me is usually a good book. Though I’ve graduated I’ve been subbing everywhere and anywhere I can. Monday, I had the joy of being a librarian for the day. Sitting in a very nice middle school library, I got the itch to walk around and stretch my legs.

As I made my promenade through the shelves and around the room, I came across a dear friend. A friend that helped lead me to where I am today. A friend that I hadn’t seen in a number of years; that brought back all of the memories of the first time I saw it, all of the feelings of wonder and questions that I had.

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It’s part of the Royal Diaries series, the same people who do the Dear America books. Elizabeth I, Red Rose of the House of Tudor. I was fortunate enough to grow up 2 blocks away from the library. I read through the entire Princess Diaries series and the Dear America books. I’ve also read all of the Magic Treehouse books. Though I love them dearly, none of them compared to this. Something about this book struck a chord. Sitting on the front porch of our little house, in the sunshine of summer, I was infatuated.

Fast forward 16 years and now I’m teaching. I’ve taught freshmen about Queen Elizabeth I twice during pre-reading for Shakespeare. I’m preparing to take the history praxis. I am encouraging students to read, hoping that one of them will find “the book.” The one that turns their life upside down. The book that years after they have me, they’ll see on a shelf, or their own child will bring home, and they’ll remember. I hope they will think “I remember you, hello my dear, old, friend.”

Pantry Stocker Bridal Shower Basket

I graduated from a Christian college. Cue the looks, laughs, jokes, and eye rolling.

Miraculously, I made it all of the way through 4 ½ years of Christian college without going to a single wedding. True story. This also means that now everyone is finally getting married and that also means bridal shower gifts.

As per usual, the dishes, the linens, the crock pots, the door mats, the silver ware, and cups all go on the registry. Couples sign up for all of the stuff to stock their homes and it’s lovely. But then they actually get their homes. They move in. And there’s nothing to put on those beautiful new plates. And, the bathroom needs cleaned before anyone will use it. Heaven forbid someone cuts a finger and you have to rummage through boxes, hoping SOMEWHERE there is a band-aide.

First shopping trips are expensive. On top of regular groceries, you have to stock your cabinets. There’s the medicine cabinet, the pantry, the cleaning shelf…..It doesn’t seem like a lot but it adds up very quickly. More often than not, families get a lot of the stuff. It’s useful; don’t get me wrong. When I have my shower one day, I will love those pots and pans like there’s no tomorrow. The “stuff” is needed and practical. But so often, things are double bought, or you realize after you get something that it’s not as needed as you once thought and you end up exchanging, returning, or regifting. It happens to everyone.

In recent months, my friends and I have had conversations with statements like:

“Can someone buy my pantry? I love everything on my registry, but really, I don’t need 6 sets of sheets. That grocery bill is going to be killer.”

“Why do people not buy things like Advil for bridal showers? They do it at baby showers. That should be a thing.”

My friend Liv and I went in together to help stock our friend Katie’s pantry for her bridal shower.

What we got:

Flour

Granulated sugar

Brown Sugar

Powdered Sugar

Cookie Mix

Brownie Mix

Bisquick

Minute Rice

Mac n Cheese

Pronto Pasta

Baking Soda

Baking Powder

Salt

Pepper

Peanut Butter

Jelly

Cooking Spray

Vegetable Oil

Chocolate chips

Basket

Using LOTS of coupons, we were able to make this super useful basket for under $50. We got the groceries from Target (we have a problem, we openly admit it), and the basket from JoAnn Fabrics. I had a wicked good coupon. Using LOTS of coupons, we were able to make basket for under $50. I simply wrapped each piece with tissue paper and stuffed a few extra in to help cover some tops and give it some style.

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The Power of a Praying Wife-Part II

At the beginning of February, I started the book/devotional The Power of a Praying Wife by Stormie Omartian. Three days in I wrote a post about how much I was loving it. Now that I have read all 31 chapters, I was not disappointed. For those of you who are thinking “But you’re not married!” Let me direct you to the first post HERE, where I explain why I’m doing this.

It’s always been hard for me to do daily devotionals. I end up getting sucked in and just reading large chunks at a time. It took a few days to discipline myself to only do one chapter a night. Once I had set a schedule, it was easy to keep it. It was the last thing I did every night before I went to bed. The few times I accidentally forgot my book whilst traveling, I was super annoyed and felt like my day just wasn’t complete! Now that it’s done, I am fervently trying to pick my next one!

As I read, I realized that the majority of the devotions and prayers could and do apply to not only my better half, but my father and brother as well. I must say, it’s been quite a blessing and eye opening seeing how the power of prayer is working in their lives and they don’t even know it! Along with each (very) short chapter, Omartian provides guided prayers that go with that chapter. In the beginning, I definitely used those guided prayers. As I went through, and “learned how to pray” in accordance with the chapter, I found that I didn’t rely on them as much. The words would already be there.

Though the point of this was to pray for my fiancé, I ended up praying for the other men in my life, and my general prayer life has gotten better. I was setting aside very specific time every night to pray. I have become more bold in my prayers. I have become more consistent. I am conscious of the answered prayers around me in a way I wasn’t before. This is the kind of book that helps establish a routine and shows you how to pray for your husband in ways you never thought of before. It’s the kind of book that I know that I will revisit for years to come, and will pass on to friends through the many seasons of life.

If you are almost married or have been married for 60 years, this book is for you. If you have a solid prayer life or are seeking to help deepen it, this book is for you. If you are already a Stormie Omartian fan, having read her other prayer devotions, then this book is for you.

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For more of Stormie’s books and about her, check out https://stormieomartian.com/ You can also Like her on Facebook and follow her on instagram @stormieomartian.