When you almost miss your soul mate

Monday, August 31

This past week, Kevin had an intensive surgery (due to a sports related injury, not his heart…thanks goodness!). Hours after his surgery, as the clocked ticked in the hospital room, I simply stared at him with intense wonder and awe, heart filling up with emotional waters, ready to burst at the seams. The love was flowing, people!  How did I ever get to be his wife? Honestly, he is perfect for me.  

Simply put, Kevin is everything I never knew I wanted.

You see, growing up, I had made this list of everything I wanted in a future husband. Besides the obvious qualities of funny, kind, compassionate, etc. (all those things that Kevin excels at), I envisioned this crazy extrovert who loved public speaking, working a crowd, and being the life of the party. Someone, I guess….like me. 

When I first met Kevin I was instantly attracted to him. Tall…dark…handsome…CHECK. And I really loved being with him. He was chill, up for anything, easy going, and hilarious. So we started dating, and had a lot of fun adventuring.

But in the recesses of my mind, the mold I had always envisioned my "future husband" would fill, wasn't there with Kevin. I so desperately wanted him to be what I had planned for my mate. I expected him to act a certain way, and when he didn't, I'd give him the cold shoulder, or confront him with his obvious lack of reading my mind (why do we women do that?!?!?).

And here's the thing, I was so focused on wanting Kevin to be what I had concocted for my spouse, that I missed the pure beautiful goodness of enjoying exactly the way God made him. There was a defining moment for me when I realized I destroying our relationship by expecting Kevin to be who he was not.

He was not a crazy extrovert who loved to public speak.
He was a conversational introvert who loved serving behind the scenes and doing whatever people needed him to do.

In short, he was A ROCK. A man that loved generously and freely, that held no expectation over others (which allowed him to still adore me for all my quirks, support my dreams, and BE ME).

When I allowed God to change my heart, throw my "husband list" out of the proverbial window, and choose to embrace Kevin for the amazing man of God that he was, our relationship blossomed in a way it never had before. Shortly after, we were engaged and married, and I've never for a second doubted or  looked back.  In fact, since that very day, I have literally thought Kevin was the most amazing man i'd ever met, and I still believe that.

The bottom line here is that I almost missed my soul mate because I was too into my own plans. I actually broke up with Kevin for a little while because I felt there was someone better for me, someone that fulfilled my "list" to a greater degree. I praise the good Lord that He led me right back to Kevin, and took those blinders off!

Friends, our plans are not always the best for us. God's are. God is the only one who can see the future, and the only one who loves us fully and perfectly. He desires the best for us. TRUST HIM. I literally wake up every morning and thank Jesus for the gift of my sweet husband. There is no greater joy, short of salvation, than being married to my sweet Kevin.

I'm so grateful I tossed my plans for some better ones, and didn't miss out on the man that loves me better than anyone else in the world. So I didn't get my crazy extrovert. But I did get the most faithful, loving, kind, compassionate, Godly, humble, servant-hearted, hilarious, fun and adventurous man I've ever known. And for that, I have much to be thankful for.

Happy Monday sweet ones. Today may you drop your expectations for others, embrace them fully, and trade your modest plans for God's incredible ones!! 

Swedish Style - how I adore thee...

Wednesday, August 26

No matter what way you slice it…Sweden is stylish, through and through. Scandinavian design, which started to emerge as an actual term in the 1950's, is characterized by simplicity, minimalism, and functionality. 

Essentially…. what's been trendy in Sweden for over 50 years is finally becoming super hip and trendy in the USA…white walls, white couches, plants, wood and mixed metals. (how did we not catch on sooner??). Swedish style is the epitome of simplicity and serenity. Here are the things I noticed at all my family members homes in Sweden (these pics are all taken at friends or family's homes on our trip a few weeks ago!)

- Plants, plants and MORE plants!! Goodness gracious, I was struck with the fact that EVERYONE {and I mean everyone} had a literal green house as their living space. God forbid a window sill have no plant! *gasp* {Is there a secret unspoken rule in Sweden that your window sill must have a potted plant sitting on, and you get extra points if you also had a lamp next to the plant?? haha} But truly, as a country that is cold most of the year (i.e.: you can't exactly spend too much time outdoors when it's freezing and dark in the winter), I can see how adding some greenery could be so beneficial to your well being! Bravo, Sweden…you plant lovers, you!  

- Mixing Wood and Metal: I loved all the natural wood in people's homes. Between hard wood floors, wooden tables, and sweet wooden chairs, it just seemed so fresh…so outdoorsy! But what I loved even more is that Swedes are not afraid to mix natural woods with all sorts of mixed metals! Copper light shades over wooden tables, metal baskets on glass, wooden trunks with brass candlesticks on top. It was so delightfully simple but added such a pulled together feel.  

- White, white, and more white, please! For the most part, every wall in every home is painted white. Now that may sound plain and boring to you, but it allowed the space to feel so open and free…with natural light pouring in. It also allowed the designer to use pops of color here and there without making it look crowded. 

- Red and Yellow Houses: Literally, the majority of houses in Sweden are either red or yellow. It's adorable, and even though I've visited so many times, i've never been able to get over the cuteness factor! My cousins were telling me there is actually one particular shade of red, called Falu Red, that was originally made from shades of red out of a copper mine. People get this particular color when they paint their house! 

Essentially, I adore Swedish style, and can't wait to furnish our next home in this style! What do you think about Swedish style?? 

5 unexpected travel items I bring on every trip

Monday, August 24

I get a lot of emails asking me exactly what I pack on trips. Mostly, my suitcase and carry-on are filled with the usual items…clothes, toiletries, camera, snacks, passport/documents, credit cards, etc! However, there are a few items that I naturally carry with me on every trip that may not be so obvious! I thought i'd share some of them below:

1. Thank You Cards: Kevin and I do not travel without these!! Traveling opens a whole new realm of relationship, whether you are staying in a friend/family member's home, or even using AirBnB or couch surfing. When people open their home to you, they are doing more than offering a place to sleep. They are opening a very intimate space in their life, and inviting you in! What a privilege that is! Before every trip I buy a pack of Thank You cards and throw them in my suitcase! Before we leave, we always take a few minutes to jot down our appreciation and leave it for our hosts! (Can you tell how much I'm passionate about this?!?!…#exclamationmarkhoarder)

2. Ear Phone Splitter: This one is clutch when you are traveling with a buddy! Kevin and I tend to download a bunch of shows on our Kindle that we'll watch while we ride on long bus or train trips! While in Turkey last year, Kevin and I had numerous over night buses. We downloaded Sherlock onto our Kindle, and then utilized our ear phone splitter so we could both watch the same show at once! It sure beat having to share a set of ear phones!

3. Deck of Cards: The honest truth about traveling is that sometimes you have to wait. You wait in the airport, you wait in bus terminals, and you wait in lines…lots of them! One of the best ways to have a good attitude and forget about the incessant waiting is to play cards! We'll grab a deck of cards out of our backpack, pick a game, and soon forget that we were waiting for something! Card games are also a great way to meet new people! A few years ago my sister and I were in Greece just hanging out at a restaurant, enjoying the ocean view. We were playing cards, and soon a few British guys came to join our game and a few hours later, we had made new friends and new memories!

4. Zip Lock Bags: This one sounds random, but can be So helpful in a bind. I usually try to throw a few zip locks (one gallon bag as well as a few smaller bags) in my suitcase. Things I've used them for on previous trips….wet swimsuits, dirty shoes, dirty underwear,  cosmetic or skincare products if they break or explode, and for extra food I might want to keep and take with me! Having an extra bag can come in so handy!

5. Sunscreen: Ok, so this one might seem like a no-brainer, but you have NO idea how many times Kevin and I have forgotten sunscreen and had to buy it abroad. We now have a cupboard at home filled with sunscreens we've picked up all over the world, haha! So... moral of the story is, don't forget your sunscreen in the first place! Even if you don't think you'll need it, bring it!

Any other random items YOU bring when traveling? I'm so curious!!

Happy Monday lovelies!!