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."