Friday, March 29, 2013

Dear Single Lady : On Opposites Attracting

Dear Single Lady,

I know that you've heard that opposites attract.  Heck, you've seen opposites attract everywhere.  In Cinderella, the Prince got to live a fancy-schmancy life while Cinderella scrubbed fireplaces and made friends with mice.  In Aladdin, Jasmine was a rich princess, Aladdin was a street rat.  And in my favorite, Beauty and the Beast, Belle was a poor, passionate bookworm, and the Beast was, well...a beast.  You get the picture.

I dated a lot of boys throughout my single lady years.  Most of them were opposite of me.  The opposites were always fun for a while - they kept life more interesting.  At the same time, though, the opposites always ended up ruining things.  In the end, we just couldn't see eye to eye on important stuff.  We were coming from such different life experiences, we would never work.  I figured opposites did attract initially, but they did not lead to happy endings, like in all the movies.  Thanks a lot, Disney.

Lesson learned.  

With my new-found wisdom, I decided to date a boy that was not so opposite and more the same as me.  Certainly things would go much more smoothly if we agreed on so many things.  

Things did go smoothly for quite a while.  We liked to do the same things, we liked the same movies, we liked the same music, we liked the same sort of style, we saw eye-to-eye on a lot of similar things, we had similar life experiences - smooth sailing.

...until I started realizing that there were a lot of underlying things that we were NOT in agreement on.  We had pretty different thoughts on the Lord, on how to live a full Christian life, on ministry, on gender roles, on the friends we surrounded ourselves with...  Though we could spend a delightful afternoon enjoying the same activities and hobbies together, the more we got into deep conversations about things that really mattered, the more my heart said, "Something is NOT right, here..."

I will skip a lot of dramatic details and tell you the end of the story.  I dumped him.

Fast forward to meeting Mr. Mark DeYounge.  (Spoiler alert: He is my husband.)

I was so convinced that Mark was SO completely different than me, I never even gave him the time of day.  He was never on my list of "eligible" bachelors that I would even consider dating.

He was a star-athlete, I was a musician.  His hobbies were adventurous and daring, I liked to read books.  He seemed pastoral and super polite, I came from a crude and rude family that felt free to burp at the dinner table and say "shit" when we stubbed our toe.  He was muscular and toned, and I was an artist with lots of cellulite that couldn't run a block without huffing and puffing.  His friends were popular and athletic, my friends were not-so-popular band geeks.  He was super outgoing and energetic.  I was an introvert to the max.  AND, he was younger than me.  

But then he asked me out for coffee.  I was stunned. 

"What the heck?!" I said.

Nope.  Just kidding.  I said, "Yes."

I think it was because he was so good-looking.  

Anyway, I found out that we were ridiculously opposite in many, many ways.  But, because Mark was super direct and willing to ask tough questions early on, I also quickly learned that we believed the same things about the Lord, about marriage, about gender roles, about raising kids, about worship, about finances, about friends - about everything that was really important.  And you know what?  It turned out to be a match made in heaven.  Like, literally.

So what if Mark would rather play basketball or go climb a mountain, than sit in a coffee shop and read a book on a Saturday afternoon.  Big flipping deal.  We both stand on the same foundational Truths that hold our marriage together, in the midst of petty things.  We are united on the main, important, big deal sorts of things.  

We would go to war and die for the same things.  We are living our lives for the same things.  ...and there is something beautiful about that that seems to really work.

The best part about this is that, in our opposites, we compliment each other.  In our sameness, we experience a pretty sturdy, unshakable form of unity that is only from the Lord.  We both admire each other and challenge each other to grow.

So, dear single lady, though opposites do attract, what things are the important things you need to find similarly in your match?  Take some advice from my years and years of the crazy dating scene - don't waste your time on fluffy conversation.  Ask tough questions and talk about deep and "big deal" sorts of things right away.

Here are some great questions from the Desiring God blog to consider with your significant other...  Use your own discernment as you use or toss them.

Let me preface them by saying that they are deep and a little invasive sorts of questions.  It might be uncomfortable to ask some of them.  But...if you are scared to talk about these questions with your honey, ask yourself "WHY?"  In my not-so-good relationships, deep down, I didn't want to know the answers to these questions because I had a sneaking suspicion they would be not-so-great answers, which would leave me alone, lonely and desperately single...again.  Friends, let me tell is so much better to be single than to be in relationship with a boy that you are fighting with, or distant from, or bitter about.  Yuck.  Do yourself a favor and ask about the things that are important to you early on.  Your time is precious, your heart is precious, and you certainly don't want to waste either of them.  

| What do you believe about...well, everything? | How do you handle the Bible? | What sorts of doctrines or beliefs do you feel the most passionately about? | How important is corporate worship?  Participation in church life? | How important is it to be a part of an accountability/support group? | What are your daily personal devotional practices? | Who will lead our family devotions? | What is the meaning of headship and submission in the Bible and in our relationship? | What are expectations about situations where one of us might be along with someone of the opposite sex? | How are tasks shared in the home? | What are the expectations for togetherness and quality time? | Who does the checkbook?  Are there two accounts? | If and when, should we have children?  Why?  How many? | What are appropriate ways to discipline them? | What about school?  Home school?  Christian school?  Public school? |  What's your view of money?  Tithing? | How should families spend money? | What sorts of vacations, toys, and "splurges" are appropriate and helpful for us? | What makes you angry?  How do you deal with your frustration? | Who should be the main bread winner? | Should your wife work outside the home? | How will you incorporate your friends into your marriage? |

Much Love,
Married Lady Who Wish She Would Have Learned These Things Earlier in Her Single Lady Years

Monday, March 25, 2013

Emily Invitations

I've been so excited to show you these invitations!  I love this bride's style!  

My favorite thing about custom design is finding a way for the design to work for YOU.  This particular bride needed to stay on a strict budget, so we found a way to print FOUR invitations on one sheet of paper (vs. a usual two).  And, we only printed using black ink (vs. color).  Did you know printing in black can cut your printing expenses by at least 50%?  It's the way to go!  We spruced up the plain black by printing on kraft paper.  So cute.

Check out my Etsy shop for more customizable wedding designs!

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Nursery Tour

Our baby's nursery is almost done.  Yes, I know mamas.  He probably won't spend much time enjoying all the little details.  Maybe this is more for me than him.  It is a testament to how excited we are have him around.

These are two of the frames above his crib.  "I Love Everything About You" was a free printable online that I colored with colored pencils.  The mountain pic is a bunch of triangles cut from some magazines I had laying around.  The lattice frame was a $5 deal at Saver's!  Double heart thrift stores.

Timmy Mouse, Hello Rock, Poky Little Puppy - All books I had memorized and could "read" to my gramma back in the day.  Timmy Mouse even has my mama's handwriting in it from when she was a little girl.

Baby's first outfit and freshly washed blankies.  All ready to go.

Baby's crib.  Mark thinks polka dots are too feminine...  I beg to differ.  They are blue, people.

This is an unfinished wall.  I need some cute fabric scraps for the embroidery hoops.  Anybody have some?  I'm digging through Mark's baby trunks to find cute things to put on the bulletin board.  Stay tuned, friends.

I found this picture at a little vintage store.  It is an old paint-by-number and it reminded me of the Dawn Treader ship in the Narnia books.  Here's to little boy adventures on the high seas!

My gramma made the brown corduroy teddy bear years and years ago, and my mom made the two others.    And, side note, I am praying our baby will love to read books.

There it is!  Baby, we are ready for you to come!  Hurry the heck up!

38 weeks

We're getting close, folks!


Thursday, March 14, 2013

The Baby's Favorite Aunt

My two sisters made a video to show at my Animal Cracker Baby Shower.  They are still fighting over who gets to be the FAVORITE aunt.  They even took a vote.  So sorry, Naomi and Micah, but Sara and Amanda (from Mark's side) had more votes than either of you.  All four of you can continue to compete all you want.  The baby will accept all forms of chocolate in bribes.

I promise this video is worth your time.  HILARIOUS.


Tuesday, March 5, 2013

New Name Meaning Prints in the Shop!

Check out more designs in the ELLE JAY Etsy shop HERE.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Animal Cracker Baby Shower

My mama and sisters threw me and the little buddy a baby shower!  They are the greatest.  Do you want to see pictures of the goodness?  Yes.  I thought you did.  It's your lucky day.

The shower had a classy neutral color palette and an animal cracker theme.  Fun.

My mom made these stuffy animals.  Talented, right?  They are pretty animal cracker-esque.

Giraffe animal cracker stuffy.

Teddy animal cracker stuffy.  This little guy has rice inside, so he doubles as a heat pack!

Neutral place settings.

Brunch goodies!

These turnovers hold a special place in my heart.  I used to sneak out of study hall and run down town for these guys.  Yum-o.

More brunch!  My mouth is watering.  I could eat breakfast for every meal.

We will be referring to these words of wisdom often.  We are somewhat clueless when it comes to raising a kid.  Watch out, world!

Tons and tons of generous gifts.  Wow.  We are so blessed!  Thank you, family friends for such great goodies!

After a long day's work.  Thanks, family!  You spoiled me!  

PS - There was one fun twist to this baby shower.  It has to do with picking favorites.  More on this later. :)

Friday, March 1, 2013

Maternity Pictures - All of 'Em!

Here they all are!  So excited to share with you!  Special thanks to my super duper fantastic sister, Naomi, who took them all!  I owe her big time.

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