Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Becoming Seasoned

You know when you’re younger and you call your Dad to tell him that you just got a flat tire? Or when you call your Dad to say your cell phone just got ran over by a car? Or when you call your Mom and say that your favorite pants got a stain that won’t come out? All those ups and downs never seem to rattle parents. I know that they don’t like to hear rough things like that - but my parents were always such steady people that never let the ups and downs of life “ruffle their feathers”. There’s much to be learned from this. When Brandon and I were talking about this concept this week - he went on to say, “Parents are seasoned. They have seen it the normal little things that get our emotions more than others don’t seem to phase them as much.” 
I started off with that background so that it would make sense when I say that this week has been one of those “becoming seasoned” weeks for B and I. One of those where you look at each other and say, “If it’s not one thing it’s another”!! This is the first month where only one of the two of us are working instead of both of us. As you know, we are praying daily for a buyer to come along and buy our precious home in Nashville - so we are paying our Nashville home mortgage and our Birmingham apartment rent. On top of that, it’s nearing the end of the month so we’re taking a closer look into our pantry before running out to pick up something to eat. We’re really trying to be mindful of our budget. The day before we moved to Birmingham back in June, our camera (of many years) bit the dust. The camera peeps told us we’d be better off to just buy a new one rather than even try to get ours fixed. The time finally came to go camera shopping and find our new family camera. We were so excited about our camera decision and got it just in time for me to take it on my Mother/Daughter trip to California!! When the camera was only 48 hours, it was dropped by someone taking a photo and it skidded across the concrete flooring. The lens chipped and hasn’t been the same since - but it did make it OK through the end of the trip. Yesterday was my first day back in Birmingham since the trip, so I took it to the Best Buy to get them to take a look. Much to my dismay, I found out from the Geek Squad that this kind of accident is not covered in the 14 day warranty and that we’d have to buy a new camera. I thought I was going to croak. To make a very long story short (I asked many questions just to make SURE this was our only option!!) ... I purchased  new camera. The advice I had been given was to just bite the bullet because we couldn’t just use a broken camera for the next couple of years when it has all these issues just after ten days. Needless to say, I bit the bullet...bought the new camera (de ja vue!) and bought the extended warranty this doubt about it. That way this kind of accident will be covered no matter what - the only thing it doesn’t cover is if it’s stolen or lost. So now we’ve purchased two new cameras in less than two weeks.

Cameras & Phones...Oh My!!
(Note: The camera in this photo is not the new family camera - this camera was on loan to us
from a sweet friend while we were in "camera limbo"!!)
Moving on to “Becoming Seasoned Part Two” of the story! When we bought Brandon’s iPhone back in May, we made sure to switch to the unlimited plan so that we would not go over on our minutes - since we knew we’d be accruing more minutes now that he was going to be using it so much more with his new job. When we got our phone bill at the end of June, we noticed that it was $600 something dollars. We couldn’t believe it. I spent over an hour one day on the phone with the phone peeps - trying to get to the bottom of the issue. Turns out that the guy we worked with back in May never switched us to the unlimited plan. Well, we are now on the unlimited plan - and after hours (literally!) of phone conversations - we are trying to get the overage amount credited to our account. Meanwhile back at the ranch, my phone has been doing this weird thing where it will die if I am talking longer than 10 seconds (not minutes...seconds!!) and so I can only talk on my phone if it’s plugged into a charger (in the wall or in the car). Needless to say, it was a blessing in disguise on my relaxing trip to California to not even have the option of visiting on the phone during the day when I was buy the pool or walking around - truly disconnected!! Now being back on the home turf, I needed a phone that worked. A friend in Birmingham connected me with the most helpful representative at the phone company - and I went there yesterday and this sweet lady gave me a new phone battery and my phone is much better. It will hold me over rather nicely until September when I will be an owner of the long awaited iPhone - more on that whole story later on!! When I was getting my phone fixed - I was able to talk with the woman about getting the credit to our account. Even though we are making progress with this, it seems like it’s going slow as Christmas. When I came home to update Brandon on this yesterday, that’s when it seemed like we were getting hit from every angle. $400+ charged to our phone account, buying two cameras in less than two weeks, on top of trying to watch each and every place we’re spending right now while I am looking for a job and while we’re praying for a buyer for our Nashville home. Whoooo! At the end of all these updates and conversations, we looked at each other and were truly asking ourselves, “How does this kind of thing seem to not even get a rise out of our parents?” OHH...’cause they are seasoned! They’ve been through these ups and downs before and seen that it’s part of life. 
We were able to step back from all these frustrating moments and just thank the Lord for eyes to see how blessed we are. Thank Him for stretching us and growing us. Thank Him for making us more like Him and not just keeping us the way we’ve always been. Thank Him for convicting us when we can feel the negative thoughts and words flooding our head and mouths. We want our mouths to be an overflow of the truth that is hidden in our hearts. [“For out of the overflow of his heart his mouth speaks.” Luke 6:45b] Thankful that we have each other to walk this road with and hold each other accountable to our words and actions. 
Closing statement from the man of the house: It’s a battle out there in the ‘real’ world. You gotta fight to stay ahead. Setbacks will come - that’s a guarantee. You’ve seen two of ours! ... It’s never enjoyable but it’s part of the ‘seasoning’ process. In this case, Whit and I are trying to be good stewards with the money God has given us - we really want to handle it wisely.”

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Not A Fan Of Ironing

photo from here
One morning when Brandon got up for work and I was still in bed, I heard him amongst the shaving in the bathroom, ask me if I could help him out by ironing his shirt for work. {insert cringe here} I do not like to iron - never have and don’t think I ever will! I stayed in sleepy mode and announced that I would not be able to iron his shirt. I went on to ask, “Why did you not ask me to do this last night?” (I am much more of a night owl than an early bird) He went on to say, “Love does not have a schedule, babe!” (In other words, if I loved him then I would get up and iron his shirt whether it be in the morning or at night!! He knows I love him...he was just being dramatic in his statement!!) 

Then we got into the discussion of dry cleaning vs. ironing. I think it would be worth every pretty penny to take his work shirts to be dry cleaned - but he knows we could save money by just ironing them ourselves. He does have a number of “non-iron” shirts that you can wash, put in the dryer, pull right out and they are ready to roll. Meanwhile back at the ranch, the shirts he has had since before the “non-iron” times, still need a little tender love and affection. So then we got to talking about a steamer. The people we know who have one of these say that they work like a charm! 
There were a number of reasons I did not pop right up at the first time I was asked to iron B’s shirt this morning. For one, I was still sleeeeeeping! Two, I do not like ironing and really wanted to stick to my guns on this one because I do think we need to take the shirts to be dry cleaned OR get a steamer. Three, I would have preferred that B ask me to do this the night before so that I could have cranked it out while I was awake or at least had some kind of warning!
The fact of the matter is - neither of us like to iron. Brandon says that it’s because we both have a few “perfectionist” tendencies and we can still see the wrinkles - even after the ironing is complete. Sounds like it’s time to invest in a steamer...
Closing statement from the man of the house: “This marriage moment has been a little growing pain for Whit and I. It's obvious that my expectation was for her to do the ironing - but I do understand that she doesn't like to iron - because neither do I!!"

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Date Night To Celebrate

This week marks a big milestone for the Nall family. On Tuesday, I organized my last event with Mercy Ministries for this season. As you know, we moved to Birmingham on June 4 - but I have still been working part-time for Mercy to organize the Chattanooga Mercy Luncheon that was held yesterday at the Chattanooga Golf and Country Club. The past six weeks have been full of a lot of time in the computer lab at our apartment - since we do not have internet yet in our actual apartment. I have been focused on this event and really wanted to finish well. The luncheon went very smoothly on Tuesday and the Lord was truly glorified. 
On Sunday night when Brandon and I were talking through the plans for the week, he so kindly announced that he would like to take me on a date on Tuesday night when I got back from Chattanooga - to celebrate my past three years of working at Mercy. WOW! That meant so much to me!! We laugh with friends all the time (who are married without kids) how it’s like “date night” all the time since we get to spend so much quality time together during this season. Us girls always chime in though on how much it means when our men do step up and ask us out on an official “date”. There really is a difference between an official date where you get dressed up, etc. and just going to grab Chipotle on any general night. And don’t get me wrong - we’re thankful for the “any general nights” as well - it just means a lot when a “date night” is initiated. 

On Tuesday, Brandon surprised me and took me to this restaurant that he knew I would love called, “Flip Burger Boutique”. We went out on a limb and ordered items that we don’t usually order which was fun! I got the “lamburger” and B got the “heritage turkey”. Mine came with coriander lamb, tzaziki, goat cheese, arugula, tomato, red onion and marinated vegetables. B’s came with monterrey cheese, fresh avocado, pomegranate ketchup, and alfalfa sprouts! Simply delicious! We splurged and got an order of onion rings as well - YUM! At the beginning of dinner, Brandon gave a sweet toast for the past three years of hard work at Mercy. It has meant SO much to have Brandon’s full blessing and support since day one of me taking this job. Then the encouraging “marriage moment” of the week was when I felt loved and known by Brandon - in the fact that he invited me out on a date night to celebrate all the hard work. 

It’s truly been such a blessing to be part of an organization that is still changing lives. We’re still going to be a part of Mercy - it’s just going to look different than being in the corporate office day in and day out. Right now God has us on a new adventure in Birmingham, and I am excited about diving in and getting plugged in with this community. I still look forward to talking with people who want to be part of a life changing ministry - because I know where to point them!!
Closing statement from the man of the house: “I really do know how much ‘date nights’ mean to Whit and it was the least I could do to love her in this way. I wanted her to know that her hard work and determination over the past couple of years has meant so much to me - as God has used her to help support our family as well. Her hard work, motivation, and persistence was something that I noticed in her from the get go - even when we were dating.”

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

The Art Of Conversation

This past long weekend, we spent the 4th of July holiday with some of my friends from Auburn, their husbands, parents, siblings, and friends! It was a great time to unplug, getaway, spend time together, and be with friends. It was a great balance because there were times with just the two of us, reading in the still of the morning before everyone had gotten up - as we sipped on coffee and rocked in the chairs overlooking the lake...and then there were times when the boys could be boys and play “spike ball” and admit to the fact that they like any competition or game where there are ‘winners and losers’!! During those times, the girls would play with the babies, take pictures, laugh and eat cherries!
Breathtaking view of the lake!!
One night, a bunch of us were are circled in the living room talking. The mom in the group was sharing the story of how she and her husband dated for two weeks and then got engaged. Everyone was all ears...well, all of the girls at least! I do remember there being a baseball game on TV and the boys were watching a little of that and listening to some of the story. After her story was over, I remember she looked at me and asked, “Whitney, how long did you and Brandon date?” [This is when the marriage moment occurred]

Sweet fellowship in this circle!
I proceeded to tell her that Brandon officially asked me to “be his girlfriend” at the end of February and then proposed on April 28th. Then I went in to a bit of the background details which included the part of the story where Brandon and I met at the Passion conference in January 2007, saw each other for the second time ever in November 2007 at the Auburn vs. Alabama football game (and I mentioned the part about emailing once a month in between January and November), then Brandon started calling and we would talk a few times a week starting in January 2008, then Brandon and his brother came up to Nashville for a visit in January for a men’s hunting and fellowship weekend, and then we met in Birmingham (!!) for our first date towards the end of January...and about that time is where Brandon started squeezing my hand tightly to get my attention and playfully said, “Babe...she just asked how long we dated!!!” [In other words, I had already given way too many details according to him and it was time to wrap it up] After everyone had gotten a little giggle out of B’s comment to me, our story was wrapped up and now it was time to move along in the circle to ask the next person some questions about them. You can imagine the wheels that were turning in my head and there would obviously be an end to this conversation - with B and I - later on when it’s just the two of us!!
Blast from the past pic from the day I became B's girlfriend!!
Later that night, we talked through both points of view of the previous conversation. My point was that I never really feel like we have a cut and dry answer on how long we dated because there’s so much more to the story then just saying we “technically” dated for two months. I asked Brandon how he would have worded the answer to the question I was asked and he said that he would have said, “We started dating in January, got engaged in April, and got married in September”. He was also saying that people are always welcome to ask more questions - but we don’t just need to automatically give them all the details when that’s not what they asked for. As a girl, I see it from the point of view that the details are helpful in putting everything in perspective and that the details give a more well-rounded view of the entire story. I did listen to Brandon and see where he was coming from and even got asked a similar question the following day and was able to put my “new answer” into practice! This marriage moment was all about learning to keep it short and sweet. This doesn’t mean that it will always have to be short and sweet - each situation is different. Brandon acknowledged that as well. It all depends on the setting, the timing, the people, etc. This was a good lesson for us to learn! We got quite a kick out of the stark difference in our communication styles. 
Closing statement from the man of the house: “As you can see from this story, Whit and I talk differently. Sometimes that can be difficult when we’re in the same conversation because we see things from a different perspective. After talking it through, we were able to see the strengths and weaknesses in each person’s point of view and come together to a place that we agreed upon. No wonder people always say ‘communication is key in marriage’...Whit and I totally agree on that!!”