Love Languages

In my post the other day pertaining to marriage, I mentioned that it's important to find out one another's love language.

Chris and I took the test this weekend and it was spot on!
I think it's an awesome tool, so I wanted to share some more information with you.

There are 5 love languages. And these languages are factors in every relationship - so this includes whether you're single, married, a parent, etc....
You should definitely take the time to do the assessment. It's 30 questions and takes about 10 minutes to complete. There are assessments for husbands, wives, single, parents of teenagers, for children and for languages of apology.

1. Words of Affirmation: 
Actions don’t always speak louder than words. If this is your love language, unsolicited compliments mean the world to you. Hearing the words, “I love you,” are important—hearing the reasons behind that love sends your spirits skyward. Insults can leave you shattered and are not easily forgotten. 
2. Quality Time:
In the vernacular of Quality Time, nothing says, “I love you,” like full, undivided attention. Being there for this type of person is critical, but really being there—with the TV off, fork and knife down, and all chores and tasks on standby—makes your significant other feel truly special and loved. Distractions, postponed dates, or the failure to listen can be especially hurtful.
3. Receiving Gifts:
Don’t mistake this love language for materialism; the receiver of gifts thrives on the love, thoughtfulness, and effort behind the gift. If you speak this language, the perfect gift or gesture shows that you are known, you are cared for, and you are prized above whatever was sacrificed to bring the gift to you. A missed birthday, anniversary, or a hasty, thoughtless gift would be disastrous—so would the absence of everyday gestures.
4. Acts of Service:
Can vacuuming the floors really be an expression of love? Absolutely! Anything you do to ease the burden of responsibilities weighing on an “Acts of Service” person will speak volumes. The words he or she most want to hear: “Let me do that for you.” Laziness, broken commitments, and making more work for them tell speakers of this language their feelings don’t matter.
5. Physical Touch:
This language isn’t all about the bedroom. A person whose primary language is Physical Touch is, not surprisingly, very touchy. Hugs, pats on the back, holding hands, and thoughtful touches on the arm, shoulder, or face—they can all be ways to show excitement, concern, care, and love. Physical presence and accessibility are crucial, while neglect or abuse can be unforgivable and destructive.

So my #1 love language is Acts of Service. It's so true. Seriously, cleaning efforts are one of the biggest items we argue about. It was pretty comical and so perfect!

Chris's #1 love language is Physical Touch. So true for him too.

So our date night Friday we talked about how to incorporate these needs into our daily life. And I can tell you it had been quite evident the areas that we need to work on.
It's funny how things are magnified once your attention is focused on it.
Random things would happen and one of us would respond with some stupid remark about how the other could improve their love language skills.
But, attention isn't necessarily a bad thing.
If you really want to make a change in your marriage, you have to accept the problem areas instead of living in denial!
So seriously....take the test. It'll be good for you to understand what makes you tick!


Simply Saturday

Saturdays are by far, usually, one of our busiest days. With Chris working on Sundays at church (that's a 7 hour stint), Saturday seems to be where we pack in our weekend.

However, this weekend we managed to not have anything planned today.
So we just went as we pleased.
We started with lunch at our most favorite pizza place and had conversations about the daydream of our future.

Then we hit up HomeGoods. Oh my. This place gets me every time.
I'll take one of everything please!
Today my heart was pitter pattering over huge lanterns and glass jars. Neither one related to the other.
I left with nothing.

But then we went and got me a Kindle.
Super excited about this.
See, we just got a new iPad and Chris promised to share so I could use the Kindle app.
I've been asking for a Kindle for a year.
But no, the iPad would be better.
Hmm. Well the iPad would be great if Chris shared, but he's not a sharer.
And the thought of him going a day without the iPad almost shattered him.
So now we're both happy.....I think.

We finished the day off with a trip to the Walmart for some new cleaning supplies (I seriously love cleaning supplies)!

And then......a surprise trip to the driving range.
Now, I've never hit a golf ball in my life.
Until today.
I did pretty good....I got air a couple of times!

Back in the day, Chris gave golf lessons. So he tried to use his old tricks on me.
We don't work well together when teaching one another.
At one point I threatened to pummel him to death with the golf club.
But we persevered and survived!

I think it might be a new hobby for us. We literally live right down the road from a golf course and it was only $10 total. That's a cheap date!


4 Weeks and Counting!

No, no not 4 weeks pregnant hahaha!!! Oh I'm funny!

Yes, in exactly 4 weeks my happy behind will be sitting right there on that white sandy beach of goodness! And I intend to stay in that same spot for the week we'll be there!
Who am I kidding, we all know I'll get bored.
But for 1 whole day for SURE I will be a complete beach bum.

This vacation is soooo overdue. We've been going non-stop since our last vacation in September, so it's time for a break. I'm pumped.

AND the week we're there is this music festival on the beach. So there will be live music every night. Ahhh I love it! This is SO us!

We're packing up and heading to Gulf Shores, AL this year. Slightly less commercialized than Destin and Panama City but still keeping the beautiful beaches.

Where are you going on vacation this year?


Mix and Match

Did you have a Mr. Potato Head when you were a kid?
I'm pretty sure I did not.
That is straight up deprivation!

So, we're in this series at church called Stuck in a Rut.
And this coming Sunday we're talking about marriage and relationships.
Last night I helped Chris with a video for the service that was all about Mr. & Mrs. Potato Head.
Look how happy they are!

But after a while, things get stagnant and you find yourself wishing your hubby had different characteristics.
Like maybe you hate his mustache.
Or his puny arms.
Or his big ears.
Or his buck-tooth smile.
In your mind you have a vast selection of things you'd like to switch out.
Just like Mr. Potato Head.
Look at all of the options to make him whatever you want!
You could trade in his smile, eyes, clothes, arms, nose, ears, and on and on.

Couples tend to forget that the looks they have are part of what made you fall in love with him in the first place.
But it's not just looks.
I think a lot of couples have tons of characteristics, whether physical or mental, that they'd like to change in their spouse.
Sometimes we think - if I could make him more like me, then I'd be happier.
Really, do you think you'd be happier if you lived with someone just like you.
And how would you feel if your hubby was having the same thoughts about you?

Personally, if I lived with someone just like me, I'd slit my wrists.
That's why Chris and I are so perfect together - we balance each other out.

I guess this has just really been on my mind a lot lately, you know, the importance of marriage and what that commitment means.
I have come to learn that love is a choice and an action, not some oooey gooey feeling.
Now don't get me wrong, I madly love my husband, but so many marriages end because "I just didn't feel the spark anymore".
Not an excuse people.

Several weeks ago, it came out that a friend of ours had been having an affair on his pregnant wife for almost a year. When it hits so close to home, you find yourself reevaluating everything.
How do we fireproof our own marriage from such trauma?

And then on the other hand we have a friend who is in a very critical condition in ICU and his wife is just making it through each day, praying that he makes it out of this.

And in an instance, everything can be gone. The one you pledged to spend the rest of your life with is no longer there.

So what do we do on a daily basis to strive to have the best marriage you can make it?
I don't have all the answers on this one...I've really been working through this though and I've come up with a few things.

1. God Centered. There's a big difference in being Christians and having a God-centered marriage. When HE is first and most important, everything else falls into place.

2. Mutual respect. The bible specifically speaks on respect in a marriage. Studies show that the number one thing men need from their spouse is respect (and then sex haha). Men want to be esteemed...and so do we. How often do you get frustrated and spout off some pretty hurtful words. I'm very guilty of this.
So this week I've been trying to take a deep breath BEFORE reacting.

3. Care about each other's interests. You both may have different hobbies and that's ok. But we each need to take an interest in what makes our other half happy.

4. Quality time. Ah, this is so important. So, so important. Sometimes you just need to have cuddle time together with no interruptions. Just real conversations. Just being present with one another.

5. Find out each other's love language. Here's the link so you can do it right now! After you figure out where each of you are, brainstorm on ways to tap into them. If your love language is completely opposite of your hubby's, chances are you're both feeling neglected in some way.

In a perfect world, I'd like to think I have a marriage that will last forever and will never be threatened.
But the truth is, we live in an imperfect world and we are imperfect people.
So imperfections in our marriages are inevitable.
But you can instill specific things in your marriage to overcome those imperfections and live in a happy home.

What are some things you could do in your relationship to be a better wife/girlfriend?
Sometimes, if he sees you trying, he might be a little more inclined to make some changes too.


A Little Known Fact

Over the past several months I've been quite vocal about my fertility struggles.
One thing I haven't been quite as vocal here about is my desire for adoption.
I long for it.
God has really been stirring in my heart over the past several years a strong desire to adopt.
And I feel confident that we will adopt one day, whether or not I am ever to have biological children of my own.

But the desire of my heart is not to just adopt any old kid.
No, the desire of my heart is to rescue a precious child from not so nice conditions.
Yes, domestic adoption would be much cheaper.
But I've had a very strange place in my heart for children with down syndrome for as long as I can remember.
And that place in my heart has always played in the back of my mind that I would in fact have a child with a disability some day.

Here's what a lot of people don't know.
Children with down syndrome, especially in other countries, are highly looked down upon.
They are shunned.
And in orphanages, if they're not adopted by about age 4 or 5, they are institutionalized and never to be seen again. The option for adoption at that point pretty much is over.

And friends, that absolutely breaks my heart in the worst way.
They're not even given a chance.
I just want to go there and bring them all home.
It's just terrible.

So when I run across something awesome that pertains to this, I feel the need to share.
And while Chris and I are not ready for this adoption journey just yet, I still felt compelled to share this.

Meet Reece's Rainbow.
This organization works to assist with funding for families who long to adopt these precious children.
Wonderful work and wonderful mission.

As a human, I can't fathom turning my back on these children. And there are countless situations like this with children of all types all over the world.
When will it ever end?

So if you're looking for a place to donate this year, might I suggest Reece's Rainbow?


A Night With Jesus

Have you ever heard of the band Jesus Culture?
They're based out of Bethel Church in California and they're pretty awesome.
I've been a fan for a couple of years now.

Just so happens that in February I got word that they were coming to Atlanta for one night only.
It was a no-brainer...tickets were a must.
So I bought them.
And last night, I went!


Chris was supposed to go too, but he's been sick this weekend with the flu and bronchitis (double whammy), so he was out. Instead, I had a girls night out with some pretty cool chicks!

The concert was at a venue called the Tabernacle. It's a classic venue here in the ATL.
In 1910 it was an old baptist church. A pretty big one at that.
In the picture above you can still see the organ pipes.

In 1996 it was turned into the House of Blues.
Then in 1998 it became The Tabernacle.
The venue is now owned by Live Nation, so if you're in the Atlanta area, you should check to see who's playing!
The Tabernacle is located on Luckie Street in the heart of downtown - across from Centennial Olympic Park.

Moving on.
So the whole premise of this group is to encourage this generation to rise up and be game changers.
Game changers in their workplace, their schools, their homes.
That massive change can begin with just a few.

It was truly a night about encountering God....not a flashy concert, although it was fabulous.


I Love Atlanta

I've lived in Georgia my whole entire life.
Over 28 years.
And in those 28 years, I have not even come remotely close to exploring the things my great state has to offer....especially Atlanta!
So my lovely friend Heather and I have decided that it's time we gave this great city the props it deserves!
Enter....I Love Atlanta.
We will both be posting the awesomeness of Atlanta - some together, some on our own. Either way, sharing it all for your viewing pleasure!

Here are the categories we're looking at:


Areas of Interest
Sporting Events
The Great Outdoors

Speaking of which, I went to one of my favorite Atlanta restaurants the other night.
It's called The Vortex.
There are two locations in Atlanta - Midtown and Little 5 Points.

My fave cuz from Texas was in town and that's where I took her. We went to the Little 5 location.
Little 5 is an area of town that deserves a post all on its own, so you'll just have to live in suspense on that one.

The Vortex has been featured on various food shows. They're known for their burgers, which are delicious!
They have this burger called the Double Bypass and a Tripple Bypass. These are double and tripple cheese burgers with grilled cheese sandwiches as the buns! Gross!!!
It's also one of the few cool restaurants that actually serve tater tots!

My favorites on the menu are:
Fried cheese balls - OMG these are heavenly. Little fried balls of cheese....how can that be wrong?
Fried pickles - some of the best in the city!
And the burgers of course! So many to choose from. I usually stick with a boring old cheeseburger. May be boring, but still delicious.

Their menu is hilarious. It's a fun atmosphere full of bikers, bar hoppers and foodies alike.
But beware...you have to be 18 to enter.

Lauren vs. The Bathing Suit

So this weekend I was doing a little magazine reading and came across a handy tear-out for tips of how to find the best swimsuit for your figure. When I read this, I got so tickled and just had to share.

And then I was reminded why I despise bathing suit shopping.

It's because, according to this list, I should probably just avoid swimsuits all together.

I found this to be quite comical.

The "If You Have" column.....yeah, I suffer from 3 of the 4 listed!

Full hips and thighs - CHECK
A large bust - CHECK
A tummy - CHECK

With all that I can't possibly have the only one I'm missing - a straight figure.

I'm convinced that the perfect swimsuit for me is likely to cost hundreds of dollars.

So it just might be shorts and a t-shirt for me this year!


A New Life Schedule

Ok, so in a response to the events that occurred on Tuesday, I decided to be proactive on some changes.

I've made a schedule for my daily activities and a list of things to change.
The goal is for me to make things fit into my schedule rather than work my schedule around things that come up. My life is too chaotic and unpredictable.

I'm going to be dedicated to working out 3 times a week in the mornings
I'm not going to be overzealous. Last time I did that I burned out quick.
So just 3 times a week is plenty. It will at least get me to the "active" status of life.
Breakfast every day is a must and that doesn't = a fast food biscuit!
My goal is for at least one day of the weekend to do something active with Chris. Like break a little sweat active.
I downloaded a butt-load of preaching podcasts, so my goal is to listen to those while working out. Kill 2 birds with 1 stone. Jesus and a workout. Spiritual/mental wellness and physical wellness all in one!

And through all of my other research, I'm making a few other changes.
While these seem to be good for fertility help, they seem like they're good changes to make for overall wellness. So why not? Win win.

I'm cutting the caffeine.
Luckily I'm not hugely addicted, so this just means no tea or chocolate for me.
I can do that.

I'm making the switch to organic eco-friendly household cleaners and air fresheners.

I'm adding more fruits and veggies. Increasing vitamins and antioxidants.

I think I want to go back to the life of shopping at Whole Foods...or trying to by locally grown and organic more often than not.

I definitely want to try and cut out a big chunk of the amount of processed flours and sugars that we eat. So that would be cutting waaaay back on white bread, white pasta, sweets and sugary juices.

I feel like that by making the lifestyle and eating changes, this will greatly help me stay on track from a budget standpoint.

And somehow through the craziness that is my life.......decrease stress.

It's worth a try and I'm actually kind of excited about it!


I Finally Understand

It's no secret here that I struggle with infertility.
For years, I've heard about how difficult and tolling it can be on you.
And while I've had my bad days, I've never really felt the stress and pressure on myself or my marriage that you so often hear about.
That is until Tuesday.
For the first time, I went to a very dark place about it and I finally get it.

Tuesday, I completely broke down.
The pressure that the reason we struggle to get pregnant is MY body.
The pressure that maybe I'm not trying hard enough. I'm too fat, etc. etc. etc.
And then the dirty old disgusting Satan threw in the F word.
I'm a failure. It's my fault. I'm not doing something right, or enough, or with the right attitude.
And can I tell you just how much that completely wrecked me?
Mind you, this was all going on in my head. This wasn't a fight with Chris or anything like that.
Chris has never ever once blamed me.
But Tuesday, I blamed me.
And it is by far the most lonely place I've ever been.
The one thing we desire the most is the one thing that we don't know if we'll ever have, because of me.

Now pretty quickly I snapped back to Jesus and I know that all of the above is far from the truth.
But it's like Satan knew just how to attack....just how to hit me in my gut.
And I'd be lying if I said I was A-Ok.
I'm not.
I have been fighting those thoughts of failure all.week.long.
I downloaded a ridiculous amount of church podcasts and have been submersed in preaching the whole work day.
But stupid Satan knows how to slip in and it's just awful.
I know I'm not a failure.
I know that I have the power to overcome because my Jesus always overcomes.
I know that the end of my story is victory.

It's been a week.
I called to talk with a fertility clinic this week.
I don't want to live ignorantly in all this, and while I think there's a fine line in the life of fertility when it comes to treatment options, I still don't just want to sit back and wait.
So I decided I would at least set up a consultation just to see what options we had.
Yeah...that has the potential to cost $315 because we don't know what insurance will cover.

Then in doing some research, I decided that I would see a chiropractor to help. I mean it makes sense...if your back is jacked up, which mine is, then the brain can't send the nerve signals where they need to go. So if I straighten that out, it might help get some signals to my ovaries.
Well I had my consultation for that and we're looking at $200 a month.
Cha-Ching. Cha-Ching.

I am in no way ready for all these financial commitments to get the help I need.
And if I can't do those amounts, we surely can't even consider adopting.
I feel like I am holding on to a tree in the center of a tornado.
And I have no idea which way to go....so I don't go at all.

And then to top it all off....I burned all of the curl out of my hair!
It's true.
And in a lot of ways, my curls are a huge part of my identity.
And now they're gone because I straightened it and got the curling iron too hot and now I look like a lion that has been in the wilderness for weeks with no grooming.
So now my treatment is to let my hair air dry with no heat for at least a week.
Do you have any idea how out of control that is???????
So hopefully the treatment will work! I need a break some where!