Friday Links {Valentine’s Edition}

Friday Links are a round-up of my favorite posts/videos/projects/photos from around the web.

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Happy Valentine’s Weekend, people! This weekend is all about love, so this picture was the obvious choice for this edition of Friday Links (RIGHT?!). My husband is abandoning me to go skiing this weekend, so I will most definitely be taking myself on a date to Starbucks and doing some shoe shopping. Because sometimes you just have to show yourself some love. Here’s to a wonderful weekend with someone you love—your husband, your wife, your kid, your friend, your mom, your puppy.

I hope it’s a great one! XO

For your weekend reading pleasure….

  • This awesome parenting advice from Kristen Howerton.  I don’t have kids yet, but I like to think this is kind of mom I’ll be one day. Also, this lady is just hilarious.
  • Adam Lucas is one of my favorite sports writers, and I love this piece on Dean Smith. The Tar Heel family lost a true legend this week, and all of the tributes are well-deserved.
  • This advice in The Washington Post about how to fight with your spouse without ruining your marriage….which seems appropriate for Valentine’s Day and all.
  • This wonderful post from Elizabeth Gilbert on the pressure to do it all and why what you’re doing already is ENOUGH. This is so, so good.
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A Thought on Love

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Being in love is a good thing, but it is not the best thing. There are many things below it, but there are also things above it. You cannot make it the basis of a whole life. It is a noble feeling, but it is still a feeling. Now no feeling can be relied on to last in its full intensity, or even to last at all. Knowledge can last, principles can last, habits can last but feelings come and go. And in fact, whatever people say, the state called “being in love” usually does not last. If the old fairy-tale ending “They lived happily ever after” is taken to mean “They felt for the next fifty years exactly as they felt the day before they were married,” then it says what probably never was nor ever would be true, and would be highly undesirable if it were. Who could bear to live in that excitement for even five years? What would become of your work, your appetite, your sleep, your friendships? But, of course, ceasing to be “in love” need not mean ceasing to love. Love in this second sense — love as distinct from “being in love” — is not merely a feeling. It is a deep unity, maintained by the will and deliberately strengthened by habit; reinforced by (in Christian marriages) the grace which both partners ask, and receive, from God. They can have this love for each other even at those moments when they do not like each other; as you love yourself even when you do not like yourself. They can retain this love even when each would easily, if they allowed themselves, be “in love” with someone else. “Being in love” first moved them to promise fidelity: this quieter love enables them to keep the promise. it is on this love that the engine of marriage is run: being in love was the explosion that started it.

-C.S. Lewis

On Love And Boundaries

10396272_10102363090449618_4654556018052806825_n With Valentine’s Day quickly approaching, it seems fitting to write a little about love. Truth be told, I actually love Valentine’s Day. I understand the grumblings about it being a Hallmark holiday and that you shouldn’t need a special occasion to tell someone you love them. That’s true. But we are imperfect people, and sometimes we just need the reminder of a special occasion. I also think we could use a little more celebration. And love, in all its forms, is certainly something to celebrate.

My husband and I went on a date this past Saturday night. That’s not really all that unusual, but on this particular night we really needed it. I had been sick all week, and by Saturday afternoon I was finally ready to pull my tired, lazy self off of the couch and leave the house. I even took a shower and put on real clothes for the first time in about four days, which was a pretty major deal. I got to introduce Bryan to one of my favorite places, and we laughed and ate Spanish food—croquetas, tortilla espanola, and calamari with delicious dipping sauce. And we talked. But we didn’t talk about work or friends or our house or families.

We talked about our dreams.

To be honest, it’s been a long time—too long probably—since we’ve done that. We talked about our dream jobs and doing what we love and how to make it happen. I talked about writing, and he talked about basketball and stats that made no sense to me at all. I left feeling thankful—not so much for the dinner or the conversation, but for those dreams. That they exist and that we can support one another in them. And that those dreams really have nothing to do with each other.

What I’m learning is that the best way I can love my husband (or my friends or my sisters or anyone really) is with boundaries. I love that we both have our own dreams that are just ours. I love that we both feel free to pursue them and to make those things priorities. I love that we both have our own things that make us happy and that we make time for them. I love that we spend time with friends every week apart from each other. Those things are important, and they make us better. Too many movies and books and fictional love stories try to tell us that a romantic relationship is all we need to be happy, to feel complete.  They teach us that if we just put every single thing we’ve got into that one love story, then we’ll have everything we ever need.

Boundaries in relationships are about making your own happiness and sense of worth priority, because it’s not fair to depend entirely on someone else for that. They’re about learning how to share your life without losing who you are. I can’t give the people who matter most to me the best of my time and energy if I’m not caring for myself along the way.

The fairy tale that another person can complete us and make our life whole is a dangerous lie, and it’s certainly not love.  Bryan’s life is his life and his dreams are his dreams and mine are mine. What we have together is a relationship and a marriage, and we’re growing it together every single day.  We both put things into it so that it gets stronger and steadier with the more we learn and the more grace we choose to give. But it doesn’t have to rely on fear or guilt or desperation, because there’s something stronger to anchor it. A love with boundaries is a love that invites us to grow as individuals and as a couple, and it’s a love that enables us to be better for one another. And that is certainly a love worth celebrating.

Currently {February}

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Reading: All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr. There has been a lot of buzz about this book, and so far I’m loving it. It’s not an easy read by any means, but the story is so captivating and the writing is fantastic.  I’ll be writing a more detailed review for my February Reading List post next week!

Listening: Ingrid Michaelson. Joshua Radin. Sara Bareilles. All of my slow, beautiful gray winter days music is on repeat around here. And, of course, Taylor Swift. Always Taylor Swift.

Watching: Right now Bryan and I are watching The Americans together, and I’m binge-watching The Good Wife on my own. Plus, all of my Thursday shows are FINALLY back, so I can be completely worthless on Thursday nights again. Pure bliss, my friends.

Creating: I’ve been in a crafty mood lately, especially with Valentine’s Day coming up on Saturday (see my cute Valentine’s Day wreath here). I’ve got some other fun projects in the works for later this month—stay tuned 🙂

Remembering: On Saturday, the UNC community lost a hero and a legend with the passing of Dean Smith. Dean Smith was an exceptional coach who changed the game of basketball, as well as a human rights activist and a true embodiment of the “Carolina Way.” When I tell my kids about why I love Carolina and why I love basketball, I will tell them about Dean Smith.

Friday Links

 Friday Links are a round-up of my favorite posts/videos/projects/photos from around the web.

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Happy Friday! It has been a rough week over here. I’ve had some nasty cough thing all week, so I’ll most likely be spending the weekend exactly where I spent the majority of my week—on the couch. I did get to see one of my all-time favorites, Ingrid Michaelson, this week (and she was FANTASTIC!), so all was not lost.

I hope you all have a happy and healthy weekend! XO

For your weekend reading pleasure…

  • This insightful excerpt from Donald Miller’s new book on the danger of relying on someone else to complete us. I completely agree with him. You are responsible for your own self, your own happiness, your own soul. You need your own soul space and so does your partner—so true!
  • This exciting news that has literary nerds buzzing. I’m super excited (and a little nervous) about this book. Can’t wait!
  • Some really good advice from Jen Hatmaker on becoming a writer. Writers don’t wait for someone to tell them they should or can. You should and you can. 
  • One of the best skits I have EVER seen. And yes, I still have a crush on Zack Morris.

DIY Valentine’s Day Wreath

So I really, really love decorating our home for the holidays—any holiday. Bryan makes fun of me, but I think it’s so fun to change up things around the house and celebrate the seasons. I decided to craft a cute little wreath for Valentine’s Day, and I love how it turned out! photo-11 You will need:

  • Foam Wreath (You can find these at Michaels’s or any craft store)
  • Yarn
  • Glue Gun
  • Scissors
  • Felt Flowers

I started by measuring and marking my wreath so I would know how wide to make the stripes.  The next step is wrapping your wreath. I do about an inch at a time so that the glue doesn’t dry out while I’m wrapping.  This step is pretty easy, but it can definitely be very time consuming. I suggest getting cozy with your glue gun and your favorite tv show. I watched two more episodes of The Good Wife while I made this—that’s what I call a productive afternoon! photo 5 photo 3 Next, use a glue gun to attach your decorative elements. I added felt flowers that I found in the dollar section at Target, but you could really do anything. Felt hearts would also be cute for Valentine’s day or even photographs. Get creative! I made a small hook out of yarn and hung it on our front door. Done and Done.  All in under two hours—that’s my kind of crafting!

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