A Million Mundane Moments

Reflections on Marriage

Back in November, Ryan and I celebrated five years of marriage. We spent the weekend hiking and enjoying time together at the place where we met: a secluded campground and conference center that hosts summer camps every year. It’s located around the Turner Falls area in Oklahoma, and during the off-season, they have a hotel/lodge you can stay at for a pretty reasonable price. The autumn colors were on full display and we enjoyed a little weekend getaway there to reconnect with one another.

During our getaway, we reminisced about the night we met there 5 years earlier as we walked around camp. The camp has a prayer garden, and we got up early on Saturday to hike up to the garden and check out the sunrise. While we were there, we re-read our vows to one another, and we spent some time praying together about our marriage and our commitment to one another.

a million mundane moments

It was such a refreshing time together. I loved looking back over our vows and reflecting on how we had or had not fulfilled them over the last 5 years. It was a good exercise, to be honest with one another on where we are in our marriage, how we’ve grown, and in what areas we can work to grow more and improve.

I’m sharing about this now because we are just a few weeks away from Valentine’s Day – a holiday known for grand romantic gestures and displays of affection. Ryan and I don’t usually make much of Valentine’s Day – he may get me some candy and flowers, but there are no expectations or requirements.


This is typical of our relationship as a whole, as well. We don’t have regular date nights – sure, we go out occasionally – but date nights have never been a regular thing. We have never felt the need, and I’m okay with that.

It’s not that I believe date nights, gifts or getaways are wrong. I love to go out with Ryan. I enjoyed our weekend getaway for our anniversary, and I delight in an opportunity to get a night alone with him kid-free.

For us, though, our marital intimacy is built on the every day – the support we give one another in pursuing personal passions, the way we share parental and domestic responsibilities, the comfort of being in the same room with each other even if we’re doing separate activities. I enjoy just going for a walk with Ryan or wandering the aisles of Wal-Mart with him as we run household errands. I especially enjoy when he plays the piano while I’m in the kitchen prepping dinner, and then he’ll do the dishes while I give the kids a bath.  I love getting cozy on the couch together after the kids are in bed and watching Sherlock or Parks & Recreation or whatever other show we’re into at the time.

What I’m trying to say is, I just plain enjoy him. I enjoy doing life – normal, ordinary life – alongside him.

Another writer put it this way:

Marriage is made up of date nights and romantic weekends. But far more it is made up of those million mundane little moments. More than it is dancing and candlelight and bed and breakfasts, it is doing chores together, driving to church together, watching a miniseries together, eating meals together. It has been my experience that the more we enjoy those ordinary moments and the more we find satisfaction and significance in them, the less we need or even desire those extraordinary occasions.

This is the biggest thing I’ve learned in our five years of marriage: the value of a million mundane moments. They aren’t grand, they’re rarely Insta-worthy, but they are the most meaningful for us. And they’re the marriage moments I cherish.

a-million-mundane-moments-reflections-on-marriage

So as we go into Valentine’s Day, my encouragement to you, friends, is to be thankful for those million mundane moments of normal life. Delight in them and celebrate the ordinary ways you and your significant other love one another every day.

signoff

The images above were taken by The Bell Photography Co. for our engagement in 2011. I’ve re-used them here because I just love them so much. Also, Ryan read this post before I published it and stamped it with his seal of approval. 

5 Scriptures to Pray for Yourself

5 Scriptures to Pray for Yourself

 

Recently, I’ve shared different Bible verses to adapt into prayers for your children and for your husband Today I want to talk about another important person in your life who is in constant need of prayer: you. When I pray, I don’t spend much time praying for myself. I often devote most of my prayer time to others’ needs and requests. If I do spend much time in prayer for myself, it’s generally asking for forgiveness or protection.

That’s why I felt challenged to share this post. When I thought about how I was praying specific requests from God’s Word about my husband’s love for the Lord or my children’s thankful attitude, I realized I need to be transformed by scripture just as much as my husband and children do. Praying God’s Word about myself jumpstarts that transformation. By praying specifically about myself using language taken from scripture, I’m conforming my heart and mind to the image of Christ.

If you’re here today and you don’t spend enough time applying God’s Word to yourself in specific ways through prayer, I hope you’ll be challenged by this like I was. Here are 5 scriptures to pray for yourself:

  1. Replace my insecurities with the ability to trust you and rest in your approval, knowing that if I’m “trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ” (Galatians 1:10, see also Proverbs 29:25).
  2. Let my beauty be in “the hidden of [my] heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit” (1 Peter 3:4).
  3. Give me grace to be “quick to hear, slow to speak, [and] slow to anger” in my daily interactions with my children and husband (James 1:19).
  4. Give me wisdom, strength, and perseverance for the “good works, which [you] have prepared beforehand” for me to do, according to the unique ways you’ve designed me (Ephesians 2:10).
  5. Let me love for others be deep, sincere, and sacrificial, “[loving others] earnestly from a pure heart” (1 Peter 1:22).

Obviously, there are myriad commands and promises in scripture we should apply to ourselves through prayer. This list is just a small portion, but these prayers reflect attitudes or changes that I need God to accomplish in me daily. What scriptures do you pray for yourself regularly?

Weekend Recap: sweet friends + Kings Kaleidoscope Live

Weekend Recap

Weekend Recap

 

Monday is upon us once again, dear friends. I work outside the home, so Mondays are bittersweet as I return to my day job and deposit my littles into someone else’s care for the majority of the hours in each day. It’s not ideal, but it’s our normal right now.

We had a great weekend. Mr. Forrest worked hard on his homework all last week to free up some space in the weekend for fun activities, and it was so nice to spend time together and with friends for a change. Saturday morning I reunited with some sweet friends to celebrate the impending nuptials of one of our tribe. I’ve known these girls for 5 years or more, and we started as coworkers and ended up as gal pals. Sweet Friends

We had a blast reminiscing on our time together as coworkers, reflecting on where we’ve all ended up after 5 years and passing on bits of advice or wisdom for the new bride to be. This group is a think tank of incredible talent and creativity, and I’m honored to know them as friends. They inspire me to pursue passion and to live with purpose and intentionality. They are all incredibly gifted, funny, smart, witty women.

Kristin and me

Our hostess has been one of my dearest friends for more than 6 years, and though our paths don’t cross as often as we’d like, I’m so glad that it seems as if no time has passed when we do get to see each other. She is a sweet sister who has walked through many of my life’s significant events alongside me, either directly (she was a rockstar at my wedding – she did my hair, helped decorate, accompanied the service, served at the reception, pretty much ran the show) or indirectly through prayer.

After the bridal shower, I spent the afternoon doing housework and getting ready for a night out with my best friend/beloved Mr. Forrest. The Forrest sprouts followed me around as I folded laundry or vacuumed, and though they were an inconvenience or downright annoyance at time, I was thankful to have them near. I snapped this sweet moment of them when I was doing some organizing in their room:

Rae & Roar Read Together

They don’t always get along, but my heart bursts at the seams when they do. I’m thankful our strong girl has overcome the challenges of being the only to being the oldest, and she loves her little brother now as if he’s always been around. He’s recently discovered a feisty streak that’s giving her a run for her money, though. That’s sibling life, though, am I right? (I’m a middle child, so I’m full of sibling angst, but that’s a story for another day.)

Saturday night, my beloved and I got to have a rare night out without the kids, and we put on our converse and went to a late night indie concert like we were teenagers and not 30-somethings married with children.

Converse

Acting young and staying out “late” brought on some nostalgia, but when I hit my pillow at 11 p.m. that night, I was thankful that I’m in this season of life and not the former. I’ll be turning 30 in a few months, and the major word of wisdom 30-year-old Rachel would give to 20-year-old Rachel is this: you’ll like yourself better at 30 than you do at 20. (As an aside: I’m planning to collect some thoughts about this very thing, what 30-year-old me would tell 20-year-old me, so be on the lookout for that post soon.)

 

We saw Kings Kaleidoscope in concert at OBU in Shawnee. They’re a faith-based indie alternative band out of Seattle, and they are ridiculously talented. They build upon the standard bass, drums, guitars and keys by incorporating a variety of sounds into their songs using orchestral instruments and experimental rhythms and accompaniments. They played for about an hour, which would have disappointed me ten years ago, but as an old person I was thankful it ended earlier. If you’re a KK fan, here was their set list for the show:

• Zion • Seek Your Kingdom • Dreams • I Know • Come Thou Fount • Psalm 139 • Redemption in Motion • Felix Culpa • Snippet of “Enchanted” (new song) • In Christ Alone • Be Thou My Vision • How Deep the Father’s Love • All Creatures • Defender •

Of course, since I am a nearly 30 mother of two, I bemoaned how loud the music was and had to leave in the middle of a song for a bathroom break. Also, even though I was rocking the converse like it was 2005, I still had on my mom uniform of a flowy tunic and stretchy pants, because comfort is not to be sacrificed for the sake of being hip at an indie show:

Mom Uniform: Tunic and Stretchy Pants

 

Those are Old Navy’s pixie pant, which I have in about 5 different colors because they are the absolute best. I prefer them to jeans now in my awesome mom bod.

The rest of the weekend was pretty low key. We worshiped with the body of believers Ryan is currently serving in South OKC Sunday morning, and I read/blogged while the rest of the Forrests napped in the afternoon. The next two weeks promise busyness and stress for us as Ryan finishes up his semester and I finish the planning and then host one of the biggest faith-based community events in our city. I’m thankful we had this weekend to enjoy one another and have some downtime as we head into the next couple of weeks.

What did your weekend look like? Did you do anything out of the ordinary, or start reading anything new?

some additional concert pictures….

Mr. and Mrs. Forrest

a selfie on the way to the show, because we cute.

Kings Kaleidoscope

see those guys on the side? they’re harmonizing. swoon.

Kings Kaleidoscope2

it was a great show!