Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Vacation Expectations

Brandon and I learned early on that it would be best to share about our expectations for vacation at the beginning of the trip. This has blessed us in so many ways and made vacations very enjoyable. I remember last summer when we were on the new Southwest flight from Nashville to Panama City Beach and Brandon said, “Babe, what are your top three expectations for this week?” I just about jumped out of my seat with excitement that he was even wanting to know! He had his top three and I had my top three...and I even remember them to this day. His: 1) Have no plans, 2) Take naps every day, 3) Eat lots of fresh seafood. Mine: 1) Visit the Seaside Chapel where we got married, 2) Take walks on the beach every day, 3) Get dressed up and go to a nice dinner. 

It's been great for us to express these things on the front end of a trip so that we can know what means a lot to the other person and help "speak their love language" by knowing what the other person is really looking forward to. This past week, we headed down to Florida with another couple on Thursday and stayed through Monday. At the beginning of the trip, Brandon led the four of us in sharing our expectations. It was a fun part of the car ride to hear what each person was expecting out of the next four days at the beach. Here are a few pictures that give you a glimpse into our trip and seeing what each person's expectations were!! 

One of B's this time was to setup an "umbrella forest" so that we would have ample shade and be able to stay out on the beach til the sun goes down ... without getting too sunburned!! Notice he has three umbrellas!

Another one of B's for this trip was to take regular "ocean adventures" each day!! Always fun adventures to be had!

This one is a combination of two of my usuals: One, walks on the beach...Two, watch the sunset!!

For anyone that has followed this blog from the know that B loves a good nap!!

This is when we were at one of our fav wedding photo shoot locations... "reenacting" one of our fav photos!

Taking fun photos around Seaside before our nice dinner!

Delicious dinner from Cafe Tango - Truly a treat!!

Closing statement from the man of the house:  We have learned a lot about each other by sharing our expectations for vacation. Now we're to the point where we can usually guess what each other's top three are going to be. It's a fun and simple way that I can show Whit I love her and she can love me!"

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

I WANT Him To WANT To Take Me To The Park

This past Sunday was a marriage moment indeed. It had been really chilly on Saturday so when the warmth of Sunday rolled around - it was a picture perfect day for a walk in the park. We headed to church and as we were leaving, one of Brandon’s best guy friends in Nashville was sharing that he was going to take his girlfriend to the park that afternoon. On our drive home, I was genuinely thinking that Brandon was going to take the context clues of the 70 degree day, his friend speaking of the park, knowing I love the park and initiate a walk with me at the park. 
Me on the deck after church...soaking in some rays...waiting to be taken to the park!
Well, we got back to the house and after we finished lunch - he started making his palette on the couch all comfy cozy like he likes it. My blood pressure was rising a bit to think that he was going to bypass the gorgeous day outside and bee line it straight for the couch. Thinking to myself, “You’ve got to be kidding me”...I held it in. Still giving him the benefit of the doubt and hoping he was going to about face and ask me to go to the park - I kept my thoughts to myself. It was somewhere between the LSU blanket being the final touch on his cozy palette and the “Sword in the Stone” movie being turned on that I realized that the park was not in our near future. That is when I couldn’t hold it in anymore and I had to say something...
Brandon in his full-fledged nest...This is how I found him after I finished up the dishes after lunch!
In those moments of speaking up, as I am mid-sentence I often realize that I may be causing a mountain out of a mole hill at first - but it’s going to be worth it in the long run. The truth of the matter is that I WANT him to WANT to take me to the park. I want him to know that his wife loves being outside on beautiful days like this and that it would mean nothing more to me than for him to initiate an afternoon outing. Even if he would say, “Babe, after my nap, I would love to take you to the park”...!! That would mean so much! So...we spoke about the expectations that were involved, heard where each other were coming from, and were able to really get to the bottom of this. Brandon was able to admit that he’d selfishly rather sit on the couch. All in all, he was still focused on the fact that he’d worked a 60+ hour work week, had to work on Saturday, and finally was enjoying a day of rest. I was thinking about how we’d been at the house all of Saturday and how I work one minute from where we live and was ready to drive beyond the 2 mile radius of the weekly grocery store run. I wanted to be out and about on this gorgeous Nashville day, at the park with no one else but my man. 
These talks are never easy but it’s always worth it on the other side to be honest and speak up. It’s better for it to be a bit of a rocky road for a minute to lead to lessons learned and not ending up in this same spot again. By me speaking up and sharing with Brandon where I was coming from, he now has wrapped his mind around how he WANTS to be better at initiating to do things that I really enjoy doing. And this was all a bit of a reality check for me that me WANTING Brandon to WANT to take me to the park - is like him WANTING me to WANT to go play golf with him. We’re wired differently...period! 
Closing statement from the man of the house: The truth is that I don’t want to go take a walk in the park. I want to go play golf, get sweaty on the basketball court, dominate some guys, compete, and win at something! My default is to want these things but there is a part of me that truly wants to pursue my wife & take Whit for a walk in the park since this is something that means a lot to her. I learned through this that I want and need to be more proactive in communicating that I really do know her and the things she enjoys - and that I need to make it a top priority to let her see that I know those things about her.

Radnor Lake

In this marriage moment I learned that number one, I’m selfish & I’m not always going to give Whit what she wants. Number two, I can have better timing with my words and show her that I WANT to WANT to do these special things with take a walk in the park. Our afternoon wrapped up by me taking a restful nap in my nest and us taking a great walk around Radnor Lake. The main step toward maturity is going to be me initiating it long before Whit even asks for it. That will be the key for her to see that I really do know her and know the things that she loves...”

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

What A Week!

This past week has been one of a kind! Brandon had a really neat job opportunity fall into his lap - and he has been interviewing hard core with this company for the past month. In the past week, everything came down to him and one other guy. All of our conversations, time and energy last week centered around this job. Each day it was an early morning and a late night - which is pretty uncommon for the Nall home. I knew my role was to make sure Brandon had nice clothes to wear each day and was well fed. With all the nerves that come with interviewing, he certainly was not as hungry as normal. He poured his heart and his soul into this whole process and found out on Monday of this week that the job went to the other guy - he had many more years of sales experience. Though it was a disappointment, we know without a doubt that a closed door is just as much direction as an open door. We prayed that if this opportunity was NOT what the Lord had as Brandon’s next step - that He would close the door. SO...this news was clearly an answer to our prayers. This whole process has certainly awakened a whole new excitement in Brandon for working hard and providing for our family! As I look back on this past week, there was not one second of time wasted. In fact, this week goes down in the books as a major “praise” because we have seen our need for the Lord more than ever! We have depended on Him, we have spent time with Him, and we have wanted to know what He desires for us!!
It’s always amazing to see how the Lord provides during such busy weeks like the one we have just had. For instance, on Friday night we went to the Lecrae concert at Rocketown. We got to spend such sweet time with two of our favorites, Ben & Ashley! Ben was Brandon’s mentor at LSU and Ashley and I met the summer before Brandon and I got married. They have been such an encouragement to us along each step of our married journey and it was so wonderful to catch right up where we had last left off. They are now expecting baby number three - so it was so fun to hear little nuggets of what the Lord is teaching them in this stage of life. Here is a picture of the four of us: 

Another neat way the Lord provided for us over the weekend was waking up to Brandon’s brother bringing us breakfast in bed. Ohhh, it’s the little things in life, isn’t is?!! Steadman is the Road Manager for Lecrae - so he was in town for the weekend. Brandon and I were both t-totally exhausted and Steadman knew what kind of week we had just had - so it was the sweetest thing when he brought in two trays of food and gently said, “I’ll be back in a little bit to get the dishes. Enjoy!” Thought you would enjoy this pic as well! 

Closing statement from the man of the house: The one word that comes to mind right now is 'blessed'. Blessed by the opportunity I've had this past week, blessed by our family and friends that have been lifting us up in prayer, and blessed to know the Lord is leading us."

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Our Plan Is In His Hands

We say it a lot that, “your greatest strength is your greatest weakness”. One of the strengths that Brandon and I are talking about when this quote comes up a good bit is how I love to have a plan. Not only do I love to have a plan, but I like to stick with the plan we have in place. 
There was a time when we were at a friend’s wedding and Brandon looked at me before the bride and groom left and said, “Ya ready to go, babe?” I could not believe he was being serious. My gut instinct was to share with him that not only were the bride and groom still at the reception - but the bride had not even tossed her bouquet. In other words, there were fun moments yet to be had. I will give it to Brandon that he had a headache, it was getting close to his bedtime, and he did not know many people at the wedding since it was mostly a group of my college friends. Yet all along, the plan was to stay until the bride and groom left, so I could not believe he had even brought up the topic of leaving early. {We ended up talking it through and staying until the bride and groom left, but I share this story as an example of a time when his more “spontaneous” colors were shining through and it really ruffled my feathers}
I realize that it’s a blessing that I can acknowledge this “love for having a plan” earlier on in life, rather than later. Brandon and I have traced back to our roots of his more spontaneous ways and my planner ways. Not only do I personally love planning, but it’s a huge part of my job. I am constantly looking at calendars and planning for upcoming events. With looking at the calendars for the year - day in and day out - come the questions sometimes of, “I wonder when we’ll get to go on a missions trip together” and so forth. We have prayed for a couple of years to go on a missions trip together. The planner instinct in me would love to see that happen - but there’s a true peace that comes from knowing that God’s timing is always perfect. Another thing that comes up every other day (if not every day!) is someone asking one of us, “Have you thought about when you’ll start having children?” I like to respond to this by sharing the fact that I truly had no idea when I met Brandon that right around the corner I would become his wife - I honestly could not have written the story better myself. In learning from our own testimony with that part of our lives, we have learned to confidently put our plans into His hands. Brandon has been a huge support for me to learn to let go of always having things planned out, and relaxing in taking one day at a time, and letting God order our steps (Proverbs 16:9).
The other day I was reading in my devotional, “Come Away My Beloved” by Frances J. Roberts. The day I was on was appropriately titled, “One Day At A Time” from the Matthew 6:34 Bible verse that says, “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.” Here is an excerpt from the devotional that I want to share with you: “Nothing daunts your Father. Nothing can restore the past and nothing can bind the future, but today you may live in the full blessing of the Father’s smile. Hold to His words, for they are like a nail driven into solid wood. All else may seem shifting and transitory, but His Word is firm. It is a rock that shall not be moved. It is a firm place to stand.” 
When I read these words, something struck a deep cord with me. It was like I had been digging and then found gold. I have heard for so long that in a changing world, Christ is the one thing that does not change... “Jesus is the same yesterday and today and forever” (Hebrews 13:8). For some reason though, when I was reading these words the other night - the Lord really began to show me in a whole new way that it’s not a bad thing that I like a plan. In fact, the plan that I can count on NO MATTER WHAT is that HIS WORD is firm and unchanging. It was revolutionary. That is my plan for life - trust in HIS WORD. In a day where it seems like every other text is good and bad - I need something that is not going to change. From the dear friend that just got engaged to the dear friend that just had a miscarriage - how comforting to know that the Lord is my ROCK (Psalm 18:2). 
Closing statement from the man of the house: This is a topic that comes up a lot. I grew up where it wasn’t uncommon to see plans change. Whit grew up where it was rare that she experienced the plans to change. It’s been neat to talk through this and see how we can learn from each other and bring our plans as a couple to the Lord.”