Have a great weekend!

Candy-CornWhat does your Halloween weekend look like?

I am looking forward to some downtime with my family. We’ve been busy, busy this week. And of course, our girls are counting down the minutes until they can dress up. It’s so funny, they are going to be the same thing they are every Halloween. Want to guess what that is? As long as they are happy, though :).

Here are a couple of things I found around the web…

Denmark has been voted one of the happiest countries for many years and it very likely has to do with Continue reading

Thankful Thursdays: we love the ocean!

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It’s funny. Since moving to our Boston neighborhood 4 years ago, one of the questions we get on a regular basis is if we like it here – and if we miss VA.


For sure, there are many things about the beautiful Blue Ridge Mts. that we miss. And of course, we miss all of the lovely people we left behind – especially our family. But we’ve come to love our new city too. A lot. Boston really does feel like home now.




One of the things that we love about being in Boston, especially our neighborhood, is Continue reading

Vulnerability is necessary if you want to thrive

DaisiesWe now know that if you want to thrive, to be contented, to be truly happy in life, that you have to be vulnerable. You have to take risks and you have to place yourself in uncomfortable situations. Above all you have to keep your heart soft and open.

And yet, vulnerability can be frightening. I know. It means that sometimes you will be hurt.

But I am finding that the benefits of vulnerability far outweigh the sacrifice – far outweigh the inconvenience and even the periodic pain it causes. Especially, when you consider that the alternative to vulnerability is disconnect and numbness which leads to discontentment.

Here is what I am finding vulnerability looks like…

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Our arranged marriage – sort of

ExitWhen people ask Brance and I about our love story, we often laughingly refer to ours as an arranged romance and marriage. And we are halfway serious.

In fact, early on in our dating, my mom told me that she and dad loved Brance, even before I knew I did. A funny story for another day.

A beautiful thing about our relationship was how many people, who loved and cared for us, helped to bring us together. Brance and I joke that our incompetence required this. But, in all seriousness, we now see what a gift this was to us individually, to our relationship, and now to our subsequent marriage. Plus, it makes for a fun story, don’t you think ?

To have outside guidance, love, and support surrounding your love life is a huge, huge blessing. This is how life worked Continue reading

Helpful little trick to help you overcome hurt and rejection

The Blue Mountain
Christian Rohlfs’ – The Blue Mountain

I read somewhere once that when you experience hurt and rejection you undergo emotional pain. And every time you recall that experience you relive that emotional pain anew – like it is happening for the first time.

I would believe that.

Many of you have probably experienced this at some point. Maybe you are now and it is making life really difficult for you. Miserable even. It is a terrible cycle to be caught in.

The things that cause us emotional pain

It may be the cumulative little things that are filling your life with pain – the exclusion, the hurtful comment, the thoughtless action. Or maybe it’s something big and looming in your world, threatening to crush you emotionally. Something on the level of a breakup or divorce.

I have learned something that has helped

I started doing something years ago that has helped me overcome the pain of hurt and rejection like you wouldn’t believe. Actually it is two little things I do in tandem. They may seem small, but they have had the power to stop the damaging effects of emotional pain in my life – that if left unchecked can lead to bitterness, anger, and resentment. They have helped me to move on, really truly.

When I am offended I do these two little things

The first thing I do may surprise you. I actually Continue reading

Smoked Chipotle Chicken Chili

Chicken ChiliThis is a perfect chili for cooler fall nights. We just had some this evening after an invigorating walk by the bay where we had fun observing some sea creature swimming just below the surface (and blowing water at one point!). We’re still not sure what it was. A dolphin, maybe?

Even more perfect, though, is the fun you’ll have saying the name, Smoked Chipotle Chicken Chili,  5 times in a row during dinner. It’s quite the tongue twister and our girls were in fits laughing as we all took turns. Brance had us beat. Although, Haddie did a surprisingly good job and Abigail probably won for being the cutest :).


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Virginity and abstinence: a gift

Brance & LaurenBrance and I were virgins when we got married almost 10 years ago.

That may surprise you, or maybe it doesn’t. Either way, we were in the minority of those who were our ages 33 and 23 respectively. Most people have their first sexual encounter by age 17.

I realize that this topic of virginity and abstinence is very personal, and I really do not wish to offend anyone. I want to share our experience, in case it could help someone else (especially those who are a virgin or contemplating a return to abstinence).

For us, abstinence was chosen for religious reasons. But knowing what I do now, even if I weren’t Christian and if I could relive my youth, I would still choose this path.

Here’s why. Continue reading

A little secret…

prisonCan I share a little secret with you?

I used to live in a “prison”. A prison of worry, fear, and stress about life and about what I felt should be happening in life. You see, I had these expectations. They weren’t necessarily put on me by others. Sometimes they were, but most of the time they were self-imposed.

And then I learned something so, so helpful. I learned to Continue reading

Weekend Reads

Family ReadingLive near a 7-Eleven? Get your morning cup of joe free courtesy of 7-Eleven for an entire week, October 12-17. All you have to do is download their app onto your phone.

Spending time outdoors in nature is good for your health – both physical and mental. We have known that for a while.  Now, thanks to a researcher from the University of Illinois, we better understand the reason behind this. It might surprise you.

I am excited for the cooler weather that allows for baking around here. Our poor little air conditioners just couldn’t keep up in the summer. So we had lots and lots of Continue reading