Thursday, December 29, 2011

What A Year!

As we think back on this past year, one word that immediately comes to mind is BLESSED. There are many other words that could also describe the year: transition, growth, trust, faith, and the list goes on. Thinking back on this time last year, we were in a cabin in West Virginia putting together a list of "Goals for 2011" and one of them was to start a blog with some of the "marriage moments" that we experience and grow closer to the Lord and each other through. We want to thank YOU for being so encouraging and supportive of us during our first blogging year! It's neat how the Lord takes something that started off as a simple thought and turns it into a story that He is using in more ways than we even know. From some of the texts, emails, Facebook messages we get when we post -- to the sweet friend that I met at a Christian camp growing up and had not seen in 5+ years who pulled over in her car when she spotted us at the Auburn vs. Alabama game this year to tell us what a blessing the blog is to her, God has used your encouraging words as just the right time to remind us that this blog is the Lord's...we are simply His vessels. 

Our hearts are full of JOY as we look forward to what the Lord has in store in us and through us in 2012. One of my pastors from growing up in Chattanooga was at the Christmas Eve dinner we attended the other night and he prayed that we could each experience "peace with God and the confidence that comes from knowing we will be spending eternal life with Him"...not merely just having a "Happy New Year". I loved that word picture. We pray that you, too, would have a year full of confidence knowing that you will be spending eternal life with Jesus matter what your 2012 looks like. 

May we always remember that Psalm 46:1-3 says: "God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging." 

Blessings to you as you reflect what the Lord has done in 2011 and as you anticipate what He is going to do in 2012! Thankful for you!!! In His Grip, Whitney & Brandon

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Rejoice, Rejoice!

No words can do it justice to try and describe to you how blessed we have been by the teaching of the WORD at our new church, Church at Brook Hills. As you know if you have moved, leaving your church is one of the hardest things. You've built a community, a trust, a common bond with people who are like family -- and then to leave them does not feel natural. So don't get me wrong, we will always miss our dear family at our church in Nashville...but it has been a real answer to prayer to see how the Lord has provided a new church family for us in our new city. 

This past Sunday we were singing, "O Come O Come Emmanuel" and I just lost it when we got to the part at the end that says: Christ has come, Christ has died, Christ has risen. We are studying Matthew right now and were in Chapter 2 this past week. Verses 10 and 11 have stuck with me all week: "When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy. And going into the house they saw the child with Mary his mother, and they fell down and worshiped him" WOW! First off, our pastor pointed out that rejoicing "exceedingly with great joy" is A LOT of joy! The same kind of joy that I want to celebrate His birth this Christmas! Then the next thing he pointed out was that these "high up officials" (known to us as the "wise men") fell down and worshiped this baby! When you kneel before someone, you are saying that I am low and you are high. That's what they were saying to a baby! Not just any baby...the King of KINGS! 

Our pastor closed by challenging us to "Joyfully offer your life as a worshiper" and "Passionately spend your life as a witness". There is nothing more that my heart desires this Christmas than these two things. I have not been able to get this off my mind all week. What a blessing to be reminded of the true reason we are celebrating Christmas in the first place. As you read the words to this song, I pray that it will calm your spirit in the same way it did mine as we sang at the top of our lungs on Sunday!!! It has been a blessing to our marriage to be at this church for this time in our lives AND to chew on the teaching from Sunday throughout the week. This week especially, we want to stop and take a moment to publicly thank the Lord for answering our prayers for a church home in Birmingham. We are so very thankful and blessed!

O Come O Come Emmanuel

by Henry Sloane Coffin, John Mason Neale, Thomas Helmore; Arrangement by Codie Gibbons

O come O come Emmanuel
And ransom captive Israel
That mourns in lonely exile here
Until the Son of God appear

Rejoice Rejoice Emmanuel 
Shall come to thee O Israel

O come Thou Rod of Jesse free
Thine own from Satan’s tyranny
From depths of hell Thy people save
And give them victory over the grave

O come Desire of nations bind
In one the hearts of all mankind
Bid Thou our sad divisions cease
And be Thyself our King of Peace

Rejoice Rejoice
Christ has come
Christ has died 
Christ has risen
Rejoice Rejoice
Christ has come 

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Relaxation Is Possible, Even Two Weeks Before Christmas

"Lord Jesus, Master of both light and darkness, send your Holy Spirit upon our preparations for Christmas. We who have so much to do seek quiet spaces to hear your voice each day. We who are anxious over many things look forward to Your coming among us. We who are blessed in so many ways long for the complete joy of your kingdom. We whose hearts are heavy seek the joy of your presence. We are your people, walking in darkness, yet seeking the light. To you we say, COME, Lord Jesus!" -Henri Nouwen

December 2008, our first married Christmas, I remember receiving an email from my home church with the Henri Nouwen quote featured above. It spoke to me so personally that I printed it out and put it on my desk at work and it stays there year round. No matter what is going on at the point I read it, I always feel encouraged and at peace when I take the words to heart. Specifically during this wonderful time of year, there are so many "preparations for Christmas" that our culture has put on us. For example, putting up the Christmas tree, sending out Christmas cards, attending Christmas parties, Christmas shopping and wrapping, and so on and so forth. Where in that list does it mention SLOWING DOWN and focusing on the true reason for the season in the first place, Jesus Christ. 

This past weekend, our sweet marriage moment occurred when we headed out of town to sunny California! Brandon's company is based out of San Diego -- so we got to fly out there for his company's Christmas party! {Ya don't have to twist my arm to go!!!} It was the most relaxing, wonderful time and we kept saying how it reminded us of a Honeymoon Part 2. The resort we stayed in was delightful and the quality time we spent together was such a blessing. I had to pinch myself to see if this was really real! It's not everyday you see Christmas trees and the ocean at the same time. We spent the day by the Pacific Ocean, two weeks before Christmas. It was truly a gift from God to have that time to be still in the midst of the comings and goings of this time of year and seek true joy, peace, and rest from the LORD. His blessings are all around us...we just have to open our eyes to see them! Brandon and I certainly saw His hand of blessings all around us this past weekend, and our prayer now is to take that restful mindset into these next couple of weeks as so many distractions beckon for our attention. Don't get me wrong, wonderful distractions...yet still distractions. Wanting to keep our focus on the KING of KINGS. May this be a reminder to all of us to not get caught up in the chaotic scurrying around {even though I'm sure we mean well}, but be the one that speaks peace into the storm! May we truly focus our own hearts, marriages, families on the one that gives us LIFE...Jesus!

**Thought you'd enjoy a few pics from our getaway! 

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

What We REALLY Think About The Red Crocs

Steadman Nall here, brother and sister-in-law of B and Whit ANDI am the guest blogger for this week's post!  Just to give you a brief background: I am Brandon's older brother by 13 months. We have been best friends since birth and I am very fortunate to have both B and Whit in my life.  For the past 3 1/2 years I have been the road manager for Reach Records going around the world with the biggest Christian Hip Hop artists in the country… and that is where this week's blog begins for me...halfway around the world in Zimbabwe, Africa.

Steadman in Africa!!!

Thanksgiving is a special holiday for many people. Traditions, family and food. So many fun and memorable moments are made during this special time. This year I had the incredible opportunity to travel the continent of Africa for 16 days doing shows and spreading the Gospel of Jesus to 8 different nations. Unfortunately I had to miss the traditional Thanksgiving our family does together. This was a bit disappointing, but thankfully via the internet, iPhone and Facebook I was able to keep up with my family and their festivities. When I did a check in Saturday, with the limited internet access we had, one particular photo of my brother and sister-in-law stuck out at me. The moment I saw it a swirl of emotions and feelings hit me like no other. It's hard to describe and certainly unrepeatable. It was a picture of Brandon and Whitney at the Iron Bowl (a football matchup between Auburn and Alabama). In this picture, the two of them were posing on a beautiful Autumn day right in front of Samford Hall in the heart of the Auburn campus. Whitney was dressed in her game day finest - an Auburn colored dress with her cowboy boots - a wonderful football outfit.  B on the other-hand was in an LSU shirt (mad props for that GEAUX TIGERS) but to go along with that awesome shirt he had on...sweatpants and RED CROCS!! They were hideous!!  That's all I could think and I could not wait to travel 12,000 to tell him my thoughts on his outfit!

B & Whit at the Iron Bowl - November 2011
So I get back to Atlanta last week and stay with my cousin for a few days. She and I are catching up on life and football when she proceeds to tell me a story that I couldn't help but share with you! One of her friends was at the Iron Bowl and posted a picture on Facebook entitled 'typical LSU Fan' and low and behold the picture was of Brandon!! This girl snuck up and took a picture of Brandon when he wasn't looking. Just like me, she was appalled at his sweatpants and RED CROCS. Needless to say, I had plenty to say about Brandon's 'Wardrobe Malfunction' whenever I saw him in Birmingham.

After a looonnnnng lengthy discussion about this with Team Nall back at the casa, this is what we came up with:  Whitney has learned to choose her battles and she said that football attire is not one she wants to fight for.  B - first off - doesn't care what anyone thinks about his wardrobe during is free time and secondly, he says he wears a suit 40+ hours a week and won't be caught in one on the weekend. He wants to be 'comfortable'. To which I say...bologna!!! The biggest football game AND social event of the year deserves a husband to dress appropriately to support his wife.

Up close & personal of the red crocs...B's absolute fav!!!

In closing:  Ladies, do learn from Whit - choose your battles. You can't fight for everything and have a healthy relationship. Choose what is most important to you and certainly go to bat on those. Men - you have to remember every time you go out in public is NOT just a reflection on you, but on your spouse. Oftentimes your lady is sacrificing to even come to the football game (!!) so at least look presentable. Yeah it's really nice to feel comfortable in your "Sunday lounge around the house clothes", but jeans and boat shoes can be just as nice. So guys, next time you want to go out in your pajamas...think AGAIN! 

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

What Did You Expect??

There is an awesome book called "What Did You Expect??" that was given to us last year for Christmas. Brandon's brother gave us the book because a group of guys he knew that were married had studied this with their wives. I don't think he even knew how great the book was when he gave it to us, and we honestly didn't know how great it was until just the other week. One night when I was sitting out in our living room before bed, I spotted the book on the shelf. Curious about what was inside, I began reading. The next thing you know, I had been reading for close to two hours. Needless to say, the chapter that I flipped to first was right on. Funny enough, I didn't start at chapter one. I flipped right to chapter thirteen titled "Amazing Grace". There was a quote at the beginning of the chapter that sums up exactly what Brandon and I have been learning: 

"The more we love any that are not as we are, the less we love as men and the more as God." -John Saltmarsh

I feel like that just sums it all up! We are realizing all the more that God has purposely intersected our two {different} stories for a reason. There is a reason he is the way he is. There is a reason I am the way I am. God made him that way for a purpose. God made me the way I am for a purpose. As it says in the book, "We will deal with our differences with appreciation and grace." That sounds so nice but is oftentimes a hard pill to swallow. I am the type who wants to talk and debrief about the day - if Brandon knows me well, won't he initiate this face-to-face time to hear? Brandon is the type that needs "cave" time and to not be talked to - if I know him well, won't I take note that he's had a long day and doesn't really want to talk about it right now? Whoooo! Just a little window into our worlds. At the end of the day, we look at each other with smiles on our faces as we marvel at the fact that God is the one writing our stories and chose to put us together for HIS glory. If Brandon did everything the way I would do it, I would think he was perfect and wouldn't see my need for the Lord...and vice versa. Through our imperfections, we are reminded that we need the LORD and only HE can satisfy our every desire. Thus we long for Him more today than ever. 

Brings a tear to my eye to remember the song lyrics of our first dance at our wedding: "When God Made You He Must Have Been Thinking About Me." No doubt in my mind that God purposely made Brandon for me. It may rub me the wrong way sometimes when we are the first to leave a get together (and my whole life I was the last to leave!!) or he wants to watch a football game in the background at a wedding shower...these are just a few tangible examples of things that aren't always my favorite! On the other hand, I know there are tendencies I have that probably aren't his favorite! After flipping through Paul David Tripp's book and talking to my parents who just went to the "What Did You Expect" Marriage Conference with this author...Brandon and I are reminded that God is with us and will be the one to give us realistic expectations for our marriage. So neat to see how God wired marriage to bring us back to our need for HIM! 

Closing statement from the man of the house: “Simply put...I am crazy about my wife. No matter what she does...I am always going to be crazy about her. I daily thank the Lord that we walk in a state of forgiveness towards one another and are open about our differences... as they do point us to the place we want to be...seeing our need for the Lord more than anything else."

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Getting Our Needs Met

Believe it or not, I actually prayed for a husband that loved to eat!! I had been around some guys from time to time who did not eat that much and I didn't want to ever be in the position to eat MORE than my husband. Needless to say, God answered my prayers over and abundantly in so many areas...but for now we're talking about the area of big appetites! There is not one thing I make for B that he does not like. His love language is "Acts Of Service" and that translates more often than not into "Dinner On The Table". He absolutely loves when I cook. Since I am going on three months of being back into the work routine, I can definitely say that it's hard to cook every night. On the nights that I work, we're just doing well if we find something at the house to eat.

We've gotten into a routine of putting something in the crock-pot on Monday mornings so that dinner will be ready when both of us get home from our long Mondays. The other week, Brandon did a huge Costco run. We love having a full refrigerator and freezer - and fortunately we have been able to freeze a lot of the meats and items that we knew we wouldn't be eaten all of right away. 

With this wonderfully busy time of year upon us, we find ourselves a lot of nights just needing to eat dinner...get something quick, affordable, and not have to clean dishes afterwards. A recent scenario looked a lot like this:

Chipotle Dinner On The Couch!
B: What do you want to do for dinner tonight, babe?
W: Hmmm...what about CHUY's??!
B: Umm...I was thinking more like Chipotle or something...
W: Well, I do love Chipotle but I just had that yesterday for lunch...
B: We could use our gift card to Cheesecake Factory.
W: Yah, I was thinking about that, too...but that's more of a "nice night on the town type of meal"..
B: True
W: And tonight is really just about getting our needs met!
B: [As B's eyes pop out of his head]...Whoaaaaa baby! Go update my Facebook status or something with the fact that you just said that!! Babe, you're really getting it!

This is a real-life scenario! B was out like a light at 8:04pm!!
You see, it has taken some time...and we have learned to meet in the middle...but there are some nights where we are both so exhausted that the thought of getting the meat out of the freezer, thawing the meat, cooking dinner, eating dinner, doing the dishes, and so forth...takes way too much energy than what we have left in us after a long day. Some evenings we are looking for something quick (yet still more healthy than other quick spots) our go-to spot is Chipotle. It is fresh, filling, quick, 5 minutes from our house, and the two of us can eat for less than $!! Now that's a deal. I'll tell ya the truth - I haven't always been one for the "we just need to get our needs met" routine. For so long, if we were going to eat out...I wanted to go somewhere cute, local, with a touch of ambiance! Now I'm just thankful to get fed and, but, quick and not have to do any prep work or dishes. 

And on the nights we can, we both opt for the home cooked meal at the house. Until we have a maid (ha!)...we've come to terms that this is not able to happen every night of the week!!!

Closing statement from the man of the house: “Simply is fuel. As Americans, we tend to focus on the experience and enjoyment of it way too much...when in fact, the thing that matters most is getting our needs met!! The hard part is, as working Americans, this isn't always easy...especially when you're trying to eat healthy. It's good to have Whit thinking that way now. And trust me, I'm all about good food and having a great experience...but real life scenarios involve time, budget, work, and being tired!! When these factors come into play, Chipotle is there!!! By all means, if you are reading this and have any other suggestions of places that fall into the category that we've put Chipotle in...don't hesitate to share. Again...the three factors are 1) getting full, 2) eating decently healthy food, 3) affordability."

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Thanksgiving At The Nall's

Last night was our Third Annual Thanksgiving at the Nall's gathering. This is truly one of our most favorite times of the year! It started two years ago in Nashville when we invited some of our closest friends into our home the week before Thanksgiving and decided at that point that this must be a yearly tradition. Though we miss our Nashville family so much, we are thankful to the Lord to be right where He has us this year in Birmingham. The following three photos are true treasures. Thanking the Lord today for the blessing of family AND friends that are like family!!

Thanksgiving 2009
Thanksgiving 2010
Thanksgiving 2011
We will close with a few verses that Brandon read before the meal last night. Habakkuk 3:17-19 says, "Though the fig tree should not blossom, nor fruit be on the vines, the produce of the olive fail and the fields yield no food, the flock be cut off from the fold and there be no herd in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the LORD; I will take joy in the God of my salvation. GOD, the Lord, is my strength; he makes my feet like the deer’s; he makes me tread on my high places." No matter what you may be going through right now, we pray that this strong affirmation of faith will soothe your soul as you are reminded to trust in God, no matter the circumstance. As we enter into this time of thanksgiving and gather with those closest to us, may we REJOICE in our amazing Savior first and foremost!! He deserves ALL our praise!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

So You Want To Be Married?!

Seeing that Brandon and I are in our twenties, we know a lot of girls that are looking to be wives and we know a handful of guys that are looking to be husbands. Some of our most near and dear family members and closest friends are praying for their mate right this very second.

We read an article this week from “The Gospel Coalition” and wanted to feature it on our blog. There’s no need in trying to re-write all that was written, we just ask that you take a few minutes to read what Kevin Deyoung has to say. Click here to read the awesome post, "Dude, Where's Your Bride?"

It’s been a true time of handing over all the details to the Lord as we pray for some of these dear friends’ and family members’ mates. We know that we are not in control and have the power of PRAYER to lean on for God to bring their future spouses at just the right time. 

Naming our dear single ladies by name, praying for their man!!

I can remember this time four years ago...praying to God, asking for Him to bring me my husband. Many of my closest friends had gotten married the summer after we graduated from college, and I seriously had not a clue in the world who on the planet I would marry. It was truly when I let go of this in all possible areas that the Lord threw me the curve ball of my life (no pun intended, having married a baseball player) by bringing me Brandon. Meanwhile, B had been praying the “single man’s prayer” for the Lord to bring Him his wife. It’s amazing now to look back on his story and my story and see how the two paths not only crossed...but joined up to be Team Nall for life!! Praying today that our testimony of the Lord’s faithfulness and ability to provide in His perfect timing, will be a BLESSING to you wherever you may be in this journey. 

Closing statement from the man of the house: “You're probably wondering what the 'single man's prayer" is...! It's based off of Paul's words in the New Testament where he talks about it being better for man to be single, solely because he doesn't have any other responsibilities and can do more with reckless abandonment for the gospel so to speak because there is nothing holding him back. One of my favorite pastors, Tom Nelson, said something a long time ago that always stood out to me: 'If you want to live for Christ, don't get married. If you want to be like Christ, get married.' So when I prayed the 'single man's prayer', I simply prayed: 'Lord, I don't want to be single. I want to love and be loved by my wife. I want to be like Christ and I want to be married. I want to know you through marriage. Bring her to me because I don't want to be alone anymore.' ...Then came WHIT!"

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Life Lessons With Kombucha Tea

We've all heard it said, "The best things in life take time." Well...a few weeks back I started brewing our own Kombucha Tea. A friend first told me about Kombucha a few years ago in Nashville and I have bought it by the bottle at Whole Foods ever since. The whole process to brew your own takes about 7-10 days for the tea to ferment. All that to say, by the time the 7-10 days are up...we are always so excited to drink the tea! We got a glass "honey jar" that we keep in the refrigerator and the goal has been to fill up the jar with kombucha. Each time you make a batch, the tea multiplies. So this past time we were sure to have a full "honey jar" of our recent concoction. The time had come to take the jars of our fermented tea and pour it all into the one jar - and sure enough - it was filling to the TOP! We were pumped!! {If you're curious about the whole Kombucha making process, you can google it and there's a lot of info on i!}
Oh what a night!!
After the tea was poured, I was in the living room working on a project and Brandon was sitting on the couch with me. A little time had passed and then B got up to go get something in the kitchen. The next thing I hear is, "Oh no. Babe, oh no. Oh my goodness..." I was thinking to myself, "What in the world could it be?" Sure enough, I get up and walk towards the kitchen and notice that the floor is completely SOAKED with our Kombucha Tea!! Oh my GOODNESS was right. We opened the refrigerator and it was POURING out of our (once full) honey jar. The kale, broccoli, quinoa, ketchup, barbecue sauce, carrots, hummus, almond milk, mustard...everything was SOAKED with kombucha. When the refrigerator was closed last, the side of the frig tapped the knob on the jar and literally poured out ever since we went into the living room. 
Here is all that was left in our honey jar!!
It was quite overwhelming to say the least when we realized 1) what a mess had been made and 2) how the very thing that we had worked so hard towards and waited so patiently for was now GONE. Instead of letting out words of frustration, my precious husband leaned against the counter and started praying...asking God to give us patience!! Slowly my frustration from the long day PLUS the kombucha spilling turned towards a peace and a revelation. Peace from the Lord and a revelation that this is life. Sometimes you can't help to prevent big messes...!! It reminds me of how my Mom has always said that she once had a neat house and a place for everything...and then she had kids!! She realized when she had children that she could either focus on keeping every little thing perfect OR investing in relationships. Needless to say, I don't remember ever thinking the house was out of control but I DO remember my parents always being there for me. Even though we do not have kids yet, I feel like the Lord is using this "teachable moments" to open our eyes that things aren't always going to be perfect...there's just no way! Instead, take things as they come and put on your cleaning gloves and the tunes and do as Dad always said, "Enjoy the journey!!" SO thankful for the great teammate the Lord has given me in Brandon. Even with the major spill the other night, I used this opportunity to do a deep cleaning of the refrigerator and only put back in the clean items. Then Brandon mopped the floor! Bless him!!

Closing statement from the man of the house: “Sometimes it's hard to pray when all you're thinking of is cuss words. It usually starts like this: 'Lord, I don't want to pray. I'm mad. Help!' And the root of it all is really selfishness. I've had a long day and this is the last thing I want to deal with. [Note: Everything seems to always break at once!! Car, washing machine, etc!] Cool to see how the Lord uses each of these things to humble us and bring us back to our need for Him."

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Two Feet In Alabama

Ever since we moved to Birmingham and realized that we live in Jefferson County, we have heard nothing but bad news about the lines at the Courthouse to get your new car tags. We moved here in June, but since my car tags don't expire until October 31st, I was in no hurry to give three hours of my life away to standing in lines. Brandon's car has had Alabama tags throughout his whole time in Tennessee, so his car was good to go for living in Alabama. This Tennessee girl on the other hand, held on to her tags as long as possible. Since Thursday is my day off, I have been planning to get up at the crack of dawn and face the inevitable. Last Wednesday night, as I was hearing the forecast for cold weather on Thursday morning on top of all the other reasons I didn't want to go, I looked Brandon in the eyes and said: "Babe, do you think there's ANY chance we'll be moving back to Tennessee in the near future? 'Cause if so, I think it may even be best for me to just keep my tags." All it took was Brandon looking at me for a split second and saying, "Sweetheart, I'm not even going to answer that!" HA! 

Bye Bye, Tennessee License Plate!!
I knew in that moment that it was time for me to decide in my mind to be ALL here. More so now than ever are we feeling like we're in a routine here in our new city. The Lord has led us to a church home, we're surrounded by dear friends, God has provided many like-minded friends who are into the wellness lifestyle, all is well with our jobs, and so on and so forth...and the simple "finding a new dentist" and "choosing the best grocery store for us" type of thing is different than what we were used to but still no major change. It's been more of a HEART thing all along for me. It's as if Brandon never skipped a beat. He's moved many more times in his life than I have. I grew up in Chattanooga, moved to Auburn for college, then moved to Nashville. So this is really the third major move I've had. Needless to say, my heart is still processing all that this kind of transition includes. I've heard that it takes some people a year or two years to really get into the new groove.

We waited in this line outside until they opened the courthouse at 8am!!
As I've told people who've asked, "How's life in Birmingham?" ... Birmingham is great! It's a fun, Southern city that truly feels like the Alabama version of Nashville. On paper, all is well. Our jobs, church, friends, apartment, and so forth. It's been more of me realizing how much I was in my "comfort zone" in Nashville, and here I am not. Meanwhile, the Lord is teaching me so much. When I take in all that He is teaching me, I realize that I probably wouldn't have learned all this if I had still been in the groove of my comfort zone back in Nashville for this season. This is why I can truly say with confidence that I know I am right where the Lord wants  me. Is it always easy? No! Do I miss things about and people in Nashville? Absolutely! Am I praying everyday to live in the moment and bloom where I am planted? YES!! I realize more and more each day that this life is not about me in my comfort zone. All that matters is Jesus! So whether I am living for him in Birmingham or tim buck two, it really doesn't matter if I am in my comfort zone. I would much rather be pulled out of my comfort zone and seeing firsthand the things the Lord has to teach me, than rocking and rolling in my comfort zone and not seeing my need for the Lord as clearly. 

The line INSIDE! Not complaining at this point... just happy to finally be warm!
So back to the car tags. Last Wednesday night was a wake up call for me. It was time for me to face it that just like it was time for me to switch out my Tennessee tags and go get the Alabama ones, it was also time for me to commit in my heart to being all here. Time to unclench my fists (that I don't even like admit must have still been clenched) and say, "Lord, I'm all yours. I'm here for you. Give me the strength with each day to be all here. What do you have for me today?" I can honestly say that when we first got here, I had half a foot on the ground. Then it got to the point where I probably had one foot here and one foot there. Now I can tell you, I have two feet on the ground in Birmingham, Alabama. This is where the Lord has me. This is my mission field. This is where I get up each day knowing that God has a purpose for me right here and now. As my Dad reminds me often, there was a teacher at Auburn that used to say, "When you're in the in the room!" This is my prayer.

Closing statement from the man of the house: “A lightbulb definitely went off this past week. I'm proud of Whit for processing through these thoughts and being honest with herself and the Lord. It's meant the world to me all this time for her to follow my lead in moving here, and it's meant a lot to see her want to be all here. Not to mention...what a champ for waiting in that long line for three hours!! I kept telling her she can go back another day....but she's persistent and a real go-getter! One of the many things that attracted me to her from the start. We are thankful to be right where the Lord has us!"

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Root Canals and Newlyweds

There are some days when you look back and you are so thankful that you did not know when you woke up, what the day ahead would hold. Last Friday was one of those days for me!! Earlier in the week I had chipped a tooth - but it was nothing urgent so I waited to be seen at the dentist at the first available appointment on Friday morning. I went in at 8am thinking that they would fix my tooth and I’d go on with my day as normal. 
Turns out that an 8am “fix the tooth” appointment turned into the whole right side of my face becoming numb for the temporary crown to be put on - in hopes that this would do the trick and prevent me from having to have a root canal (phew!) !!! Around 12pm when the numbness started going away and I was beginning to feel my mouth again, with one hand on my forehead and the other hand on the right side of my face/chin...I was quickly realizing that I was in some serious pain!! I called the dentist to see if this was “normal” and got their answering machine since they close at 12pm on Fridays! A few minutes later when I called back out of desperation to get their emergency line, a lady at the front desk answered, spoke to my dentist about the throbbing pain I was experiencing, and they made a way for me to be seen immediately with the endodontist downstairs. 
I got there within ten minutes and after seeing one x-ray of my mouth, they informed me that I would be having a root canal...right now. At this point, I had already been numb for four hours and was becoming numb already at the stuff they were giving me for this second procedure of the day. My shaky hands could barely type a text to Brandon, “Gotta have root canal” which he responds, “Now?”...then called me and told me he’d be there in 15 minutes. It was a God-thing that he was in the Birmingham area on Friday, because his territory is Northern Alabama - so he can be hours away on any given day.

The root canal procedure began and then I remember a nurse walking over to me saying, “Whitney, your husband is in the lobby. He just wanted me to make sure you knew that he was here.” Tears filled my eyes with happiness to know that my precious husband was only a few feet away. The endodontist laughingly said, “Y’all must be newlyweds”!! I had so much in my mouth at that point that I could not clearly respond with the fact that we had been married over three years!! It warmed my heart, that by God’s grace, we love each other more today than when we said “I do” over three years ago. May this always be true!! 
Closing statement from the man of the house: “This was not the only time last week that someone asked if we were newlyweds. The other time was when I surprised Whit at her office and one of the girls she works with said that we looked at each other with the excitement of a couple that's dating...she couldn't believe we'd been married over three years. As Whit said, it's by God's grace that we love each other the way that we do. Our prayer is that the Lord would continue to draw us closer to Himself and to each other for all the days of our lives. We are so thankful that God has given us each other to do life with!! Will close with Colossians 2:6-7, 'Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him, rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving.' "

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

I Love You But Please Leave Me Alone

We like to keep it real on this blog. The title of this week’s post is nothing we made up...this is a scenario that happened since our last post.
This weekend was full of fun times!! Friday night was The Civil Wars concert, Saturday night was the Lecrae concert, and Sunday morning was an incredible service at The Church at Brook Hills. We came home from church and had some great together time over lunch and then it was time for the palette to be spread out over the couch for the routine Sunday afternoon nap. After three years of marriage, I can honestly say that the Sunday afternoon nap drill does not get me riled up like it used to. I find it awfully cozy to get out our favorite pillows, blankets, and so forth and nest down for awhile. I rested for a little bit and then got up for a grocery run while B still slept. When I returned, I found B reading and this continued while I made us a yummy, homemade dinner. We had a delicious dinner which must have recharged my batteries to be in a place where I was ready to chat!! 

Given Brandon’s post-dinner body language and lack of words, I should have put two and two together that he did not want to chat!! However, I was trying to draw words out of him. He finally communicated to me that he had a lot on his mind and he did not want to talk about it. He did not want to verbally process it because he had already internally processed it and did not want to go through it all again. The guy in him was fine to absorb it and keep it in. The girl in me wanted to get it out of him and have him express it. He eventually got off the couch and onto his knees and started praying. It was at this time that I realized there is a huge difference between relationships outside of marriage and the relationship you have with your spouse inside of marriage. With most people I know (friends and family), I am used to verbally processing through things. Inside of marriage, I am learning that there are times that my dear husband does not want to process things with words. It was at this time on Sunday that I learned that the best gift to Brandon at this time would be to let him be and stop prodding. Next time I will not wait for him to ask me to leave him alone for the time being, I will be able to tell from his body language and lack of words that he just needs some time alone. 

Closing statement from the man of the house: “You’ve probably heard of the book, Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus. It talks a lot about men needing to retreat to their “cave” and this being hard for women to understand because they have such a strong desire to talk through the issues that they are in conflict over. It’s hard for Whit to understand at times that I am fine, just need some alone time. We grew stronger from this moment, as I reiterated how much I love her and there was nothing bothering me about the two of us - just had a lot on my mind in general. Knowing how differently we are wired is half the battle. Once we see eye-to-eye on that, the rest of our differences seem to make a little more sense!!” 

Here is a blurb from Wikipedia with more information about Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus. This put into words exactly what we experienced on Sunday evening!! Live and learn!  ...“Another major idea in John Gray’s books are the differences he believes operate in terms of the way the genders react under stress. He believes that many men withdraw until they find a solution to the problem. He refers to this as “retreating into their cave”. In some cases they may literally retreat, for example, to the garage or spend time with friends. The point of retreating is to take time to determine a solution. In these “caves”, men (writes Gray) are not necessarily focused on the problem at hand; many times this is a “time-out” of sorts to allow them to distance themselves from the problems so their brains can focus on something else. Gray posits that this allows them to revisit the problem later with a fresh perspective. 
Gray holds that this retreat into the cave has historically been hard for women to understand because when they are stressed their natural reaction is to talk about issues (even if talking does not solve the problem). This leads to a natural dynamic of the man retreating as the woman tries to grow closer”...

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Our Prayer

We want to be known. Each of us wants the other person to know what makes us tick...when we’re ready to be still and quiet and when we’re ready to sit and chat. We come home from long days ready to be fed and go to sleep. Then we wake up the next day and do it all over again. God has given us each other as a helper - yet some days we feel so totally different from the other that we wonder how we’re helping. It’s in those moments that we realize that no one can satisfy our deepest desires but JESUS. No perfect meal, bedtime, walk, talk, moment of silence, flowers, week at the beach, bubble bath, baseball game....NOTHING CAN SATISFY US BUT JESUS. It’s humbling to come back to that realization day in and day out. This week our marriage moment is a glimpse into one of our prayers to the Lord: 

“Lord, you are the only one that truly knows us. You not only know what makes us know the number of hairs on our head. You are with us all the day long and already know what we’re thinking before we even know that’s what we’re feeling. Please forgive us for not coming to you first and foremost to have our needs met in each moment. Thank you for loving us and continuing to reveal yourself to us. Thank you for giving us each other to show us our sin more and in return, show us our dire need for you. Draw us closer to YOU and closer to each other. May we love each other out of pure motives with the unselfish love in which you first loved us.”

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Speak LIFE About Your Mate, Part Two

There was so much left to be said after last week’s post, that we decided to continue on the “SPEAK LIFE” topic this week!! Going back to the verse from Ephesians 4:29: "Watch the way you talk. Let nothing foul or dirty come out of your mouth. Say only what helps, each word a gift."
It’s pretty unreal the ‘power’ we have to either jab our mate with our words OR make them feel so special. We still remember in some of our pre-marital counseling when our pastor spoke of the power of our words - and our nonverbal communication as well! For instance, when Brandon walks into a room...I can make him feel loved and respected by welcoming him in with a smile on my face OR cutting him to the ground immediately by rolling my eyes. 
Have you ever heard a friend say something about another person before you even met them? Then when you met them, you already had a negative image in your mind about them? THINK ABOUT how much MORE that applies to your spouse?? On another note, it’s EQUALLY important for you to uplift your spouse around other people (when the two of you are together around others) as it is when you’re uplifting about your spouse when you two are not in the same place (when you’re talking to someone else about your spouse)...
We’d like to challenge YOU this week to see what YOUR default way of describing your mate is. Do you use words that are sarcastic? Do you use the stereotypical descriptions of modern day guy/girl? (ie, is your husband the jock that only wants to drink beer, play video games, watch tv, couch potato that’s lazy and doesn’t care) and (ie, is your wife the woman that is a shopaholic, has to spend money all the time, likes to talk on the phone and gossip all the day long)
After you have pegged what your default way of describing your spouse is...our greatest ENCOURAGEMENT is for you to find 3 THINGS that exemplify who your mate is. Zero in on those and make a BIG deal of those to other people. To name a few about Brandon...he is a lover of God’s Word, disciplined with the budget, helps me get more sleep now than ever because he knows how important it is for our health, loves pouring into younger guys, and is an amazing provider. A few that Brandon wanted to name about me... “Whit is a great homemaker and very hospitable, fabulous cook, really takes care of me, good grocery shopper, hard worker, and wise with our money.” Do you see what a blessing it is (to both of you!) when you PLAY OFF EACH OTHERS’ STRENGTHS...instead of focusing so much on each others’ weaknesses?!! May we all humble ourselves this week and let the Lord show us where we can be more encouraging and truly SPEAK LIFE!!
Closing statement from the man of the house: “One more challenge for YOU: The next time you’re in a public gathering with your spouse, find a way to compliment him/her in front of someone else - see what happens! I guarantee it’s going to bring you two closer! There’s enough negative out there - and as believers - we are called to be LIGHT. Ask the Lord to help you shine bright!!”

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Speak LIFE About Your Mate

This has been a topic on our hearts for a few weeks now - but today is the time for us to share this. From the very beginning of our relationship, we have had mentors and people we look up to share with us the importance of speaking life about each other. This may seem like a simple fact - but it sure goes a long way! As we all know, experience is the best teacher. Through different experiences of being around people (whether married, engaged, or dating) who are NOT speaking life about their significant other - we have seen all the more how important this simple but HUGE point really is for a healthy marriage. 

The English Standard Version of Ephesians 4:29 says, "Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear." And The Message version of this verse puts it like this, "Watch the way you talk. Let nothing foul or dirty come out of your mouth. Say only what helps, each word a gift." I love that word picture...look at each of your words as a GIFT. I know how much I love receiving gifts and giving them. In a day and time where we're looking to save money, put your gift giving dollars away for a minute and use your words as a gift...that's something that's free, but really priceless!!

The reality of all this is that there will be times where you need to resolve conflict with your mate (or significant other) but the thing that Brandon and I continue to see is that the time is not in front of a group. If there is something I need to talk through with Brandon (or vice versa), then we can handle that in private. Also, the time for me to "speak life" to and about Brandon is not always when he is right there in the midst of the crowd with me, but most important -- behind his back!! As we have mentioned time and time again, we are a TEAM...Team Nall to be exact! We are FOR each other. Therefore, we need to choose words that reflect that. Let's all practice this more often and see how it really does change our relationships for the better!

Closing statement from the man of the house: "It's true that the Lord keeps bringing this truth to mind a lot lately. We have seen firsthand how our marriage has been blessed by this - and how much hurt is caused when people don't choose life giving words about their mate...especially when that person is not around to hear all of the negative things. Not only does it hurt that couple, but it leaves a bad taste behind for all who heard the negative remarks."