From the Shelf: Christian Living


If you read any book on marriage, let it be this one.

Completely Christ centered, Gary Thomas doesn’t get caught up in the details. Without idolizing marriage, he is clear that it is a sacred commitment to another and the Lord. In each chapter he focuses on aspects of marriage like individual calling, creating a shared history, pursuing one another, sex, forgiveness, service, prayer and greater awareness of God’s presence.

The Biblical goal of marriage, he points out, is something much bigger than our happiness or comfort. It is a part of the calling we each have – to glorify, serve and grow Holy in the Lord. And when we focus on fulfillment in our Heavenly father, husband, friend, well… I’ll tell you in his words…

“…we will probably also have a happy marriage, but that will come as a blessed by-product of putting everything else in order.”

This is not a “how-to” style book, but it gives the big picture – which was convicting and refreshing to me at the same time.



Count to Kefir

Most of the projects I have under way are not ones I’ve exactly chosen. Curiosity or necessity takes me there – or in kefir’s case – someone’s kindness.

After being gifted some grains I have a new morning routine. Get up, drink water, drain kefir. I keep my jars on top of the fridge to avoid cross fermentation with kombucha – as per the instructions of some internet cautionaries.

Am I in charge of this place, or is the good bacteria in charge of me?

Wesley carefully asked me last night whether it was a little more consuming than I anticipated. Maybe.

But these pancakes are a good argument for keeping fermented milk around a little longer….

1 c. oatmeal + 2 c. kefir +1 c. flour + 1 tbsp. honey + 1 tbsp. baking powder+ 1/2 tsp. salt + 1 tbsp. chia seeds + 2 eggs + 1/4 c. oil and maple syrup


Merry Christmas To All

Christmas is a season of abundance. Feasting, generosity, and a time when we count up our life challenges and blessings closely.

In that sense, I often find it a season of reflection too. A time to take stock of the year. Perhaps there is no better time to do it than when we’ve eggnog in one hand and cookies in the other.

Our first year anniversary corresponds with this time of year as well, which means a whole other set of milestones. A whole year of life as two opinionated individuals learning to be one.

There have been plenty of firsts as you can imagine. Our first road trip together, (we narrowly missed having our windshield broken by flying tire rubber in traffic). Buying a new car together (an over thought decision that we finally pulled the trigger on because we were very hungry).

Wesley bought some brush clearing machinery, advertised and had as much work as he could handle over the summer. The result has been plenty of happy customers and (of course) their life stories. Bonus: a complimentary ATV ride from an old lady wearing a straw hat.

We’ve made lots of friends this year, bumped into some old ones, been gifted rice pudding from one neighbour and chased a thief from the car of another.

I’ve had plenty of new cultural experiences this year as well. These are not limited to; chewing tobacco, the National Peanut Festival, local flea markets or the outrageous bumper stickers on many cars. Coming with all this of course, is so much sweet tea and the pay off of a hundred friendly strangers.

As an answer to many prayers, my immigration paperwork cooperated with a visit to Canada in September. It was a much enjoyed time of cooler weather and seal watching on Deer Island.

Mom and Dad also came to Alabama twice and have fallen in love with the winter temperatures of the south. Their jury is still out on the beach…Pro: dolphin sightings while we ate. Con: sting rays a little too close for comfort.

And as we come to the end of the year, there are many things we refuse to take for granted, among them Wesley’s continued employment at Farley Nuclear Plant, a roof over our head (even when the trees outside drop limbs that damage our car), a loving church family, so much sunshine in this fair weather state, and of course each other.

2017 has been a doozy and truthfully, we can’t expect anything less from the coming year. Christ is faithful to redeem every detail of our lives and we look to Him as we walk through each day. We are so thankful for His guidance and grace!

Much love to you all, our family and friends. xo

Olivia & Wesley






A Little Remembering

I’ve purposefully forgotten what it’s like to stare at the map and miss another.

What it’s like to fall asleep in bed by yourself.

Most days we pretend it didn’t happen.

But then the other day I found myself sorting through the pictures and letters as I rearranged boxes in the spare room.

The pictures bring back the anticipations of being together again. The letters…how little we knew each other and how completely in love! Some screenshots of messages that he sent me after parcels were delivered…a few birthday cards and a whole book of wish-dreams written in black ink.

There was an anxious and awkward sweetness to that year and a half, but on the other side I find I’m not mourning the beauty left there.

Instead, the beauty is in coming through. Through the first kiss and missing-you blues, the wedding planning and honeymoon squabbles. And that time you came to your parent’s, just so we could spend Christmas Eve together.

It’s in coming through it all and every day learning the other person a little bit better.

When I think on not so long ago – those long-distance-days…I’m filled with nostalgia. and then with gratitude that they even were. They are what they should be and where they belong.

And count the blessings of these days you’re in now. They’ll be the good old days sometime soon.

Beach Throwback

That time we drove to the beach and watched fishermen. Watched the sunset, ate blackened fish and then drove home.

An efficient use of several hours, plus it resulted in two (rare) selfies of us that best can be described as IG worthy vs. Reality….

❤ you guys!

Word Pictures

Sometimes there are moments so insignificant and wonderful that I take a picture.

Hoping to catch that feeling of bathwater running late in the evening and the smell of lavender and no lights on but here.

That Sunday afternoon lethargy with his head on my lap, ear buds in, reading while it rains outside and washes the failures of another week.

The time I wanted ice cream and he was hungry for Mexican food, but he pulled into exactly the right store and got me a waffle cone.

Trying to explain what ‘dabbing‘ is and why he should never do it in public and please stop dancing around like that because I can’t stop laughing.

So instead, the pictures are in my head. Blurry and ridiculous and they’re getting fuzzier all the time. But I won’t stop trying to pause and appreciate the moment for just exactly how precious it is.


A Guide to Good Adventures

Today marks six months since Wesley and I promised to have and to hold until we kicked the bucket. I thought to mark the occasion I would offer my list of ten helpful survival tips for road trips, errands, or pretty much anytime we get in the car on a weekend.

  1. Make sure your phone is charged. One car charger is all very well, but if you set off somewhere on foot, you’ll want healthy battery life in case of posting on Instagram emergency.
  2. In a similar vein, take the camera. That way you can fight over who gets to take the pictures and get video footage of anything that moves.
  3. Follow the GPS. Even if it appears to be taking you the wrong way, it actually knows what it is talking about 99.99% of the time. Wagnon Mountain Rd. might sound innocent enough, but after dark?  (Click to 6:02)
  4. Bring a book. Always, always, always. In fact, I often bring two. A book and a blanket can make the car a private little library retreat when you’re waiting in the Auto-zone parking lot.
  5. Nothing will make everyone crankier than being hungry. Correction. Nothing will make me crankier than being hungry. For everyone’s safety, bring snacks. (So many snacks.)
  6. And for the husband, bring an entire thermos or two of water. This is not a joke. It will all get gulped down and eliminates the small bottles kicking around underfoot.
  7. Since this is Alabama, I’ve also learned to bring an extra coat, sweater, shorts, hat, rubber boots and honestly, a bathing suit would also be wise. You may never know what will become weather appropriate before the day is done.
  8.  Add two extra hours onto the GPS estimated time of arrival. This machine generated guess does not include stopping at friend’s houses to look at lawn machinery, long conversations with various old men, or retracing your steps to take a picture.
  9. Pandora. Playlists are life when you’re stuck in the car. This also provides an appropriate context in which to disagree on the musical tastes of your spouse. Fight fair though and take turns in choosing the artist.
  10. Buckle up and be prepared to commentate on anything, everyone and everywhere you pass, explore, walk under, or listen to. Sharing new things is one of the sweetest perks of marrying your friend. In these first months together we’ve started our own repertoire of family stories and as the future unrolls we already find ourselves saying, do you remember when?

It’s been a wild ride so far, Wesley. Here’s to 6 months times 120 more!