A Mile A Day: Day 13


What. a. day!

In the morning, I took the birthday bicycle to the bike shop to get properly fitted. The surprise gift from my husband was essentially a big gift card; he arranged for me to come try out a few models before completing the deal and although I loved the matte black, I ended up with a steely blue that fits oh-so-right and keeps the pressure off my bogus right knee.

We celebrated the fitting at a delicious Bosnian restaurant. It’s that’s been on my list for a while so the impromptu stop was a very welcome food break. After a splitting some gyro-styled fries and a spicy gyro sandwich, we headed home in time for some relaxation and my daily mile.

That’s when the fun really began.

It was date night. My birthday date night, to be exact. And despite asking Freddy to pick anything for our date night except going out to eat, he told me a few weeks ago that we were going out to eat.

I wasn’t exactly thrilled about the news. In fact, every single one of my friends heard about it leading up to the night (a reminder that I need to quit running my mouth about minor things). But by the time the evening rolled around, I was just excited for sunshine with my beau!

We started driving and he told me he had pushed back our reservation largely because I love chatting with our babysitter and we talked through the first reservation. He was so cool and collected about it. “No worries. We have plenty of time now. What do you say to grabbing a drink before dinner?”

Sounds great!

We pulled up to a cider mill that I had mentioned earlier in the week. There were some white table cloths at the stand up tables outside, white and turquoise balloons, and a beautifully set long table so I turned to Fred and said, “Are you sure they’re open? It looks like they’re having a private party.”

“It does looks like that. They’re open though.”

“It’s okay,” I told him. “A guy just walked out in a tank top and shorts and he does not looked dressed up. Oh, the open sign is out. We’re good!”

We walked up the steps toward the door and I swear I saw my sister’s reflection through the glass. My sister happens to live over 2 hours away and was currently in a southern state in the US so my mind went racing into how that person looked so much like my sister and then how that person was my sister and why would my sister be here without telling…


My sister, my brother-in-law, my mother-in-law, my parents, my friends from college, my friends from church, Freddy and my friends, my people. They were lined up in front of the bar with party hats and noise makers for me!

I had a quick thought that I might burst into tears and Kim-Kardashian-ugly-cry in front of everyone but the fear of being ridiculed for life was enough to keep me semi-locked up. And if I had gotten to have drinks or dinner surrounded by my people, it would have been enough…but it was so much more!

That beautiful, long table that was filled with place settings? In each napkin was a menu, pre-selected with the most delicious foods. At the top of the menu was written “Happy birthday, Megan!”

I celebrated my 30th with friends and family under the sun, drinking delicious cider and eating delicious food, and being overwhelmed with these people’s love for me and my love for them.


Thank you.

Thank you to my wonderfully planned husband who surpassed all expectations and loved on me in such a tangible way this week and weekend. Thank you to family who traveled from opposite ends of the state or even from several states away just to spend the evening with me. Thank you to my dear friends who mingled and meshed over donuts and prosciutto, apples and blue cheese, bratwurst and hot mustard, spring hash, and banana cream pie. And thank you to those of you who wished you could have been there in more than spirit. You are so deeply loved.

Resolute in 2016

The New Year always holds promise for me. Isn’t there something wonderful about reaching the end of a calendar and opening a brand new page, new agenda, new possibilities?

I’ve made a few resolutions this year, as I do most years. Drinking more H20 didn’t make the list this time but Meatless Mondays did. As did replacing more household items. They’re little resolutions but they have a big family impact. Because whether he likes it or not, my resolutions are very much Fred’s resolutions.

Which got me thinking, “Does Fred have any resolutions?”

So I asked him.

His answer surprised me; he said this:

Love my wife better.


Happy 5 Month, Emma Josephine!

Emma, dear, you are over 5 months old today!

Over the past few weeks you’ve been growing like a weed, turning pants into capris after one trip through the wash. You’re active. You roll across the room and scoot backwards across the floor, but not quite at a crawl. You push and pull and spin and turn to get a better view of mom and dad or a better grip on toys and textures. And oh, how you laugh! You laugh at belly kisses and repeat movements and squeaky smooches against those chubby cheeks. You are always moving, feeling, discovering.

You left one daycare and began another and, despite my fears, you didn’t spend a moment looking back. Crawling-confusion aside, you are always moving forward, teaching your mom to fear less and trust God more. At your new daycare, you claimed your title of easiest sleeper and took a bottle by yourself. You sit up tall, with a little help, and put your paci in your mouth.

You made your way to your first wedding dance floor and became grandpa’s favorite dance partner. You wooed momma’s high school friends and enchanted daddy’s coworkers.  You dined at dinner parties and lunch dates, dipping your hands in plates along the way. But when those hands reach up and your arm wraps tightly around our necks? We are hugged in happiness and joy!

Your dad and I would love to slow the clock with you and soak in every precious moment. We are living for the weekends and our hours uninterrupted. Our family of four. Full of love and time fast-moving.

Happy 5 month, Emma Josephine. You are a blessing to this family and a joy.

Fall & Food

Oh, sweet Fall! How we’ve patiently awaited your cooler temperatures, your color palate of oranges and reds, your pumpkin patches, leaves to play in, cider & donuts. For children, you are a new beginning, never-been-used pencils, and fresh-faced teachers. For parents, a gentle reprieve from the summer madness, hustle & bustle. For my family, you are God’s loving reminder to appreciate the moments, to go for walks hand-in-hand, and to sip pumpkin spice lattes while laughing about everything and nothing at all.

Any weatherman would tell you that there’s a change in the air during this season but isn’t it oh-so-much-more than cooled temperatures and crisp breezes? It’s a season of preparation for everything around us to get a little bit tougher for the next few months. But Fall isn’t signaled by a battening down of hatches, no. Rather it begins with the most beautiful array of colors that the forests have ever seen. It’s signaled by rosy cheeks and the smell of crinkling leaves underfoot. It’s moves all of the senses in a rush of sensations. Sight, touch, sound, smell, and taste.

Mmm, the taste of Fall! Marketers have been gleefully awaiting the drop of temperature to display their pumpkin-flavored everythings: lattes, cookies, breads, cupcakes, pancakes & pies. And we, the consumers, gladly eat it up. The cider mills open their big red doors and we rush to stand in line for our cider & donuts. And I am not ashamed. Today, in fact, I stood in line at Robinette’s Apple Haus with a slew of anxious others. We shuffled to the front counter in glee, hoping that our donuts would still be piping hot. When I approached the counter, I pointed to a tray of donuts and said “I’ll take 2 dozen of the sugar & cinnamon, please.”

Before you judge, 1) these donuts are so good that I would indeed be tempted to buy 2 dozen for Freddy & me but more importantly, 2) I was buying for Freddy’s staff who was up bright and early to cater to the Art Prize crowd that has overtaken Grand Rapids.

The girl behind the counter pointed to the donuts I had just referenced and said, “Those are pumpkin spice donuts. Did you want those or the sugar & cinnamon? We have more of the sugar & cinnamon if you’d like.”

Ha, of course they were pumpkin spice donuts! What was I thinking…

I assured her that I wanted the cinnamon & sugar donuts and she turned to the back to bring back (what else but) piping hot donuts, fresh off the line! *GLEE*

She boxed them up and sent me on my way to pick up a gallon of cider. I barely made it a mile off the orchard when I took my first bite. If heaven has a taste, it tastes like Robinette’s cinnamon & sugar donuts. The bite was perfect! The doughnut resisted for a crisp second before giving way to the most delicate, melt-in-your-mouth inside imaginable. The perfect mix of cinnamon & sugar danced on my tongue. This is bliss, I thought.

And so begins this year’s love affair with Fall. On the eve of its arrival, I have already donned my big sweater and riding boots, sipped cider & tasted the sweetness of a Robinette’s doughnut. I started the morning with a walk with my two boys, one full of fur and frenzy and the other full of love and hand-holding. And it is perfect.

Thank you, Lord, for giving Michigan a fall season. For giving us a natural reminder to appreciate the moments and take in the sensations you have provided. You are so good.

Wedding Season and Marriage Advice

Anyone who has been through it before will tell you that there is a season in life when the majority of your friends get married. And while I can’t definitively say that this is it for Freddy and me, I’m thinking this it! So far this year, Freddy and I have been honored to receive 8+ wedding invitations. We aren’t able to attend every single one, unfortunately, but the commitments being made among our friends are awesome! Freddy and I are huge advocates of marriage and will be the first ones to tell anyone that marriage can be an incredible blessing when you put the work into it!

The number of upcoming nuptials has really gotten me thinking about marriage; the wedding process; choosing a life partner; and the power of centering that marriage on a strong, shared faith. There are so many opinions regarding marriage out there and what make up the keys to success but I’m going to ignore all that research and tell you about my experience – albeit young experience.

Our preparation for the big day started with a 6 week marriage prep course at our church. We met with other couples preparing for the plunge and talked about all of the hot topics: money, family, expectations, roles, sex, children, etc. We covered it all in a faith-filled environment and I highly encourage anyone considering marriage to do the same! Of course some of the assignments seemed tedious or better geared for some other couple at times, but in the end, those courses are what you make them. Freddy and I decided up front that we would take the course seriously instead of view it as a check box on the wedding list and it led us into some deep discussions as well as a ton of lighthearted laughter.

We shared our wedding day with the friends and family that could attend and vowed to God, each other, and our guests that we would have a God-centered marriage until one of us is called home. Begin our year+ of chaos. Despite our discussions about expectations early on, those expectations still managed to overshadow reality and create conflict. We butted heads over a lot over topics that ranged from clothes on the floor, to organization vs. cleaning, and how to love each other in a way that filled the recipient. We stormed out and came back, yelled and got quiet but we continued to go to church on Sundays to keep us in line. This is important because although God is with you in the week, it can be difficult to see that connected triangle between God, you, and your spouse when you’re fighting with him. When Sunday morning rolls around and you share the same ride home from the church, however, you cannot help but be humbled and connected. (That’s the amazing thing about a God-filled marriage – God is more powerful than our pettiness or hurt or sin and He will work to grow your relationship with your spouse).

Along with the difficulties of year one, Freddy and I also had more laughs than you could count, more learning and growing, and a new look into love. Falling in love is awesome but it can be clumsy and haphazard and full of fleeting emotion. Developing love takes more time and effort but it has become one of my favorite activities. Another way to look at it is this: Falling in love is all about the rapid movement; admittedly, developing love can feel like you’re in the same spot until suddenly you wake up and look at your spouse and think, “Lord, you have blessed me through my partner in a way that I could never imagine. I love him more deeply than I have ever loved him yet and I love the person that I am becoming while sharing this life with him.”

And it always goes back to God. It has to. I don’t know how people can commit to a relationship that requires you to be as selfless and giving as marriage should without the example that Jesus set before us. It doesn’t make sense! I had someone tell me recently that he thinks (Christian) religion is for the weak but I tell you that it’s for the strong! It challenges us to seek a counter culture – one that puts aside our selfishness for a partnership – with God and with our spouse (if we are called to marriage).

But please don’t think that you have time to develop that counter cultural relationship later on after you’ve lived the life you want to live. The God foundation of your relationship is so important; you need to dig in and seek to understand starting now because there will come a time when you are so shaken by something that you need that solid foundation in God, those hours of deep conversation with your partner, of learning and growing, of taking pride in your commitment, of love and of faith to get you through. We aren’t promised an earthly forever. We aren’t promised the health of our parents or our partners. But I can promise you that if you build your foundation of God, you will find blessing. And I can promise you that if you build your foundation on God, you will begin to live the life that is full of cherished memories instead of hidden regrets. I can promise you that because it’s been promised to me and I am living the proof right now.

Freddy and I are honored to celebrate the marriages of our friends in this coming year and we are praying for each and every couple as they commit to this rewarding life in marriage!

I love him.

Some days, you feel annoyed and stressed about things or tired and ready to take out your frustration on your spouse.
Some days, you have the clarity to see that those things are separate from your beautiful life with your blessing of a husband.
I am so in love.

Forks in the Road Don't Have to Have a Right and Wrong

I’m not entirely sure the purpose of nostalgia. Is it a longing for something we no longer have? A happy remembrance of what brought us to where we are today? An opportunity to laugh about your mistakes or relish in the distant praise of your few successes?

I’ve been caught up in sweet dreams of nostalgia lately. Laughter over some of my inexplicable past and a yearning for the rush that followed some of my small victories; I mull it over with an understanding that I did not have before and a clarity that comes with age.

What is the purpose of nostalgia?

Perhaps these feelings of nostalgia simply precede the next great thing.


When you get married, do you know what they say? They say things like, “Everyone is in such a rush to get married lately! I’m taking my time and enjoying my independence.”

“I couldn’t imagine tying myself down at this point in my life.”

“We are so happy as boyfriend and girlfriend; why would we want to ruin that?”

They don’t say it to you as a warning, rather they say it at you while thinking to themselves aloud. They are lost in their own thoughts… In their personal journey of love, of relationships, of independence. Yet though they do not speak to but only at you, you hear them. And it stings to know that your friendships will inevitably change in this next chapter of life.

Suddenly, you are lost in the sweet nostalgia of an unbridled life. An ability to leave. To be tough. To stand up to anyone… And then you take the leap.


There are choices each day that define you. A series of crossroads. And if you choose wisely, you will find more happiness in the fork you choose than you will leave behind. And as you continue to move forward with your choices, you will begin to cherish nostalgia. It is no longer a longing for the past. It is a keen awareness and acceptance of the choices that have brought you forward.


The next time people speak aloud and tell you that a spouse is a chain and a house is an anchor or a child is the end of fun as you know it, you must keep silent. Do not retaliate or defend your choice. Do not hesitate or hurt. Remind yourself that you are happier on this turn because of the direction you chose… That this is your path and that the people speaking to themselves aloud have made the equally important choice for themselves to be single or unwed, un-mortgaged, or without attempt for children. And you must honor their choices as well.

We need to start a revolution. To fight human nature, which tells us that the grass is greener on the other side. We must not pull others toward feelings of regret to protect us from those feelings ourselves. And we must also watch ourselves when we are tempted to react to some news of a friend’s new direction following a fork in the road.

Do not compare their choices to those of your own. Just listen, love, and accept.


We need more advocates for love in this world. For inclusiveness. For appreciation of these crossroads and the opportunities these choices make. For those that follow different paths and for those who go in an expected direction.

You are not better because you are different. You are not better because you are the same. You are you and your “you” is beautiful. I am me and that is beautiful too.

6 Months and Counting

This coming Sunday, Freddy and I will be marking our 6th month of marriage by teaching small group at our church, catching our Sunday service after, and meeting up with friends at a Whitecaps baseball game. Freddy thinks celebrating “month-marker anniversaries” is foolish, so I’ve arranged the game as the perfect “unassuming” way to make the day a little special for us.

Truth is? 6 months is a big deal to me. It is not a big deal in the sense that I didn’t think we would make it this long or I can’t believe how quickly time has gone. A) We’ve made a life commitment that we intent to keep until death do us part and B) we are painfully aware of how much faster life becomes the older we get. That being said, 6 months is significant to me because… (don’t judge here)… I think it’s taken us this long to find our groove.

When Freddy first added his words to this blog, I felt a little slighted. Although he did take the time to explain that he didn’t really feel like he was floating belly up during the first 6 weeks of our marriage, he implied that married life was comparatively as jolting as the Meijer fish plunged into new and frigid waters. Ouch!

Yet despite my best efforts to be as honest as I can be about the ups and downs of newlywed life, my husband was the one to cut right to the punchline while I found myself dancing around it. The first six weeks were hard. And when the first six weeks turned into the first three months and then the first five months, I kept thinking to myself: “This is amazing, but when does it stop being so hard?”

Please keep this in mind: Living together is a challenge. It’s a brilliant, exciting challenge but it’s a challenge all the same.

I had a friend tell me that when she and her man moved in together, it took them 5 months to stop the petty arguments and find a peace with their new living situation. When 5 months came and went, I cried. I nearly sobbed. I broke down in a grandiose and childish way, citing everything that wasn’t going according to my perfect plan for my marriage to my bewildered and frustrated husband. He wasn’t thrilled about our current state either but you wouldn’t find him crying about it.

You see, we couldn’t have guessed that transitioning in work would put such a strain on this perfect image we were trying to create. We couldn’t have guessed that the very image we deemed perfect was actually flawed from the start because it required a plan, our plan, and the world’s willingness to play by our rules. (Okay, so we probably could have figured out that last one, but there was a lot going on to distract us and aren’t we entitled to that? Ha. So much to learn…)

In the many conversations that followed my dramatic fallout, we talked about things like: expectations for us as individuals and expectations for us as a couple, scheduling time for each other – the necessity of intimate time, the benefits of “sharing space” together while working on our individual tasks, and the need for alone time. We talked about career goals, work demands, and healthy hours to spend at our jobs. We admitted to one another that some days we needed to fake it until we made it (ex. when bringing the stresses of our days home with us and suddenly being asked to give each other our best, we needed to slap on that smile and deliver). We talked about the malleability of husband/wife roles with regard to different periods of life. We covered A LOT of ground.

Here is a cliff notes version of one those discussion that led to my biggest “light bulb” moments:

Work demands started taking up more and more of our schedules on both sides, making me desperate for Freddy’s attention every minute that I had him in front of me. I not only wanted him to be focused when I had my time with him but I wanted every free minute of his time. Yipes! Okay, I can see how that looks when I write it out now, but I promise you that when you are in the midst of feeling disconnected and alone, you think that it’s the only solution!

During one of our conversations, I offered up that I knew he needed more personal time and more friend time. In that same breath, I was also explaining that I felt I couldn’t afford giving it to him. I felt hurt if he asked to go golfing on our one free day and I thought that it was my job to fight for our time together.

Are you ready? Queue the light bulb:

My role as Freddy’s partner might involve putting my own needs on the back burner – essentially volunteering for last place when things get hectic.

I agreed to step back. And I asked for a lot of help and consideration from him when I got needy. Time passed and Freddy started to find more time outside of work. He started having more time with friends. And I started feeling less neglected. In fact, the more I let go – the closer I felt to my husband. And the more time we actually had with each other. Or maybe it was just more quality time of the time we had. Whatever. The point is, I had to change the way I was looking at it all. I cited “our relationship” as the reason for my neediness but what I was really saying was “Me! Me! Me!.”

When I started to view our time apart as a way to honor my husband, it became so much easier! And now we’re a week away from our 6 month-marker and we have this new level of peace, understanding, and tolerance. We also have a new level of intimacy. And instead of focusing my thoughts on “Does this get easier?,” I’m enjoying my time with Freddy. He’s fun. And funny. And incredibly sexy. And caring and attentive. I just needed to stop pulling him so close to me so I could see the bigger picture for our marriage.

Happy 6 months! 🙂

The Vow

There’s this new movie coming out. It has Channing Tatum and Rachel McAdams in it; they play a husband and wife. This husband and wife get in an accident and then the wife can’t remember him. So he has to win her back. Make her fall in love again.

See for yourself:

Trailer: The Vow


I asked Fred if he thought he could make me fall in love again if I forgot him. He says he could.

Then I asked him if he thought I could make him fall in love again. He laughed. He knows I could.

I love that husband of mine!  🙂 Married life is fun!

Styles of Communication

Let’s be frank: Freddy and I speak different languages.

French vs. Italian or American English vs. British English. We get the gist of one another but we really have to listen to catch what the other person is saying.

When you live with someone, it’s easy to forget to listen. And when you speak different languages and you don’t listen, it can start to feel…foreign!

What does this mean???

It means a heart-to-heart every once in a while to sync our communication. Maybe someday we’ll make them scheduled events like paying bills or changing the sheets, but for now we’ll play it by ear…or at least by feel.

Just another lesson learned in a newlywed journey.