Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!  I love Thanksgiving.  There is a very real possibility that it is my favorite holiday.  People are extra generous, we are reminded of what truly matters, we surround ourselves with the ones we love, we share what we're thankful for, and the holiday isn't about physical stuff.  Yes, the food is fantastic, but the overall tone of the holiday is what makes me most joyful.  I love listing out what I am thankful for, and every time I think I'm done I surprise myself by adding just one more thing, then one more, then another, until 30 minutes later I can't believe I haven't run out of things to be grateful for.  So, I thought I'd write my top 10 things I am grateful for to spare you the reading and me the hand cramp. :)

  1. I am thankful for a Savior that died for the world's sins.  I am especially grateful to be saved by grace through Jesus Christ.  Oh, how He loves us so!  Thank you LORD!
  2. I am thankful for my sweet husband.  Words cannot describe what he means to me, though LORD knows I have tried here, here, and here just to name a few spots.  He is my absolute favorite person to be around, my best friend, the only man I would want to raise babies with, and he is uniquely himself.  I love you, Ry.  Thank you for loving me.
  3. I am thankful for my families.  I have been blessed to have the best family in the world, and doubly blessed to have gained such a great family in marrying Ryan.  It is genuinely the best of both worlds.  I am so proud of my family.  It has been a whirlwind year, but the LORD has gone before us and beside us and behind us.  I am thankful for you McDermids and Nabors and extended family on both sides!
  4. I am thankful for the bordercollies.  Jetta Belle and Oakley Mae keep like so fun, help keep us humble, add such joy to our family, and teach us daily about patience and unconditional love.  We could not have gotten two better pups, though that's often up for discussion when Oakley goes particularly Marley & Me on us.  I love you, girls.
  5. I am thankful for our great country.  I am thankful to live in a place where I am free to be me, to worship our Savior.  I am especially grateful for those in the military who fight to protect the freedom we have here.  Thank you to those in my family, my new family, and to all of your family members, or you, who serve our country.  We don't say "thank you" nearly enough.  *Special congratulations to my cousin, Lee, who just graduated from Marine basic training!*
  6. I am thankful for community.  Though my community group has split up, these girls truly defined what community means to me.  I am much more in tune to what a challenging, supportive, loving group of God fearing women looks like, and I crave that.  Thank you girls for challenging me, and loving me through truth for the past few years.  I love you all so much!
  7. I am thankful for such wonderful friends.  Good friends are hard to come by, so I am blessed to have each one of you as my friends.  You are the best to laugh and cry with, and I cherish our friendships.  Thank you for being such good friends!
  8. I am thankful to have a good job.  Though I complain about it sometimes, I am thankful to have a good job at Christian company, with benefits, and money to help Ryan and I pay for the things we need and do the things we want.  I am thankful for the friendships I have made there, for the outstanding boss I have, for the mentors that challenge me and help me grow in my thinking, and for the great things that happen there that don't happen at most companies.  Things like mission trips, praying before meetings,  donating to charities, etc.
  9. I am thankful for passion, for the ambition to challenge myself, and the desire to continue to learn and grow.  While now I'm invested in training for a triathlon, I know after that I'll be invested in something else 110%, and that's exciting!  I hope this spirit never changes!
  10. I am thankful for Financial Peace University.  This might seem like a weird one, but I am genuinely thankful for this.  I without a doubt believe this has made our marriage stronger.  Money really used to stress us out, and though times can be hard, I am grateful to have learned principles for managing money and for the opportunity to learn to tell my money what to do and where to go.  We feel better about our money management, and can actually get excited about future purchases because we know how to handle our budget, and how to save for what we need.  Thanks, Dave! :)
What are you thankful for?  Cheers to you and yours this Thanksgiving.

{Confetti Chicken Pasta}

Brrrrr --  It's quite chilly in the Lone Star State today!  Hope everyone is enjoying the change of weather like I am!  Yesterday, hubs and I played kickball with Racks&Sacks in about 70 degree weather, and when we got home the temperature had dropped to about 50 degrees.  Praise the LORD for holding off storms and chilly temps long enough for us to get through our game, which btw... we WON.  This makes us still undefeated. :)  The wind and rain knocked almost all the remaining leaves off the trees in our backyard, and when I woke up this morning it looked like it had snowed leaves.  I love it!

{Rain + leaves = Fall Heaven}

The weather change makes me want warm, comfort food, and while this recipe is not super common, it is going to become common in the Naborshood.  Let me introduce you to the wonders of Confetti Chicken Pasta, if you haven't already been formally introduced.  This meal is quick and easy, and is perfect for those nights you come home and really don't want to put effort into a healthy meal.  Enjoy!

Confetti Chicken Pasta
Veggies & Pasta
16 oz. Whole Wheat Penne Pasta
2 tbsp. olive oil, divided
2 Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts, cut in 1" cubes
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1/2 c. onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
Handful of carrots, long thin slices
1 c. broccoli florets
1 c. asparagus, chopped in 1" pieces
1 c. grape tomatoes

Spicy Cream Sauce
2 tbsp. butter
2 tbsp. flour
2 c. 1/2 & 1/2
1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes
1 c. Parmesan cheese

Cook your pasta as per the package.  Drain pasta, and set aside.

Take your chicken breast and sprinkle it with salt and pepper.  Heat 1 tbsp. oil in a skillet over medium heat and cook chicken until done and golden on all sides.  Make sure you cube your chicken breasts after you salt and pepper them.  I forgot this step and it took longer for the chicken to cook than I really wanted to spend.  Remove from heat and let rest in a large bowl.  (Really pick a large bowl because you're going to add your other ingredients to this as things are done cooking.  I thought I could just put everything back in the noodle pan, but that was a bad idea.  It overflowed reallllly quickly.)

Add 1 tbsp. olive oil (remaining olive oil) and begin sauteing the onions for 2 minutes.  I used frozen chopped onions which took a little longer to thaw in the pan than 2 minutes, but I didn't have to chop any onions.  (No tears!)

Next, add in your garlic and carrots and saute for another 4 minutes to allow the carrots to moderately soft.  I LOVE GARLIC so I tend to add more than the recipe calls for.  In my opinion you can never have too much garlic.  Who's with me?!  The recipe originally called for one yellow bell pepper in place of the carrots.  Bell peppers don't exactly agree with my stomach, and I read a while back that you can substitute carrots without changing the flavor since they, like bell pepper, have little taste, but are colorful and good for you!  So, I did that.  Feel free to be a rebel and join me. :)

Then, toss in any other "woody" vegetables (broccoli, asparagus, etc) saving the tomatoes until the very end.  (You don't want the tomatoes to get too soggy!)  Woody was not my term, by the way.  That's what the recipe called them, so I just went with it!  Here I again used frozen broccoli to save myself some time.  I took the bag out and let it thaw on the counter while I was cooking the other items, so by the time I added it to the mix it was pretty thawed.  Then, add in your grape tomatoes.  I cut mine in halves because I'm not the biggest tomato fan, and this way there were much smaller portions that could end up in my mouth at one time.  I'll be honest, they actually tasted pretty darn good with the mix.  Use your best judgement on time, and try a couple of veggies, especially the asparagus, to make sure they are as tender, or al dente, as you prefer.

{This is what your pan should look like.  Isn't it pretty and colorful?!  Plus, look at all those veggies!!}

When everything is cooked, put the veggies in the bowl with your chicken.  (I told you you'd need a big bowl!)

Now it's time for the DELICIOUS sauce!!

In the same pan you cooked you chicken and veggies in, melt the 2 tbsp. butter over medium heat.  Add your flour and stir diligently, cooking for about 1-2 minutes.  (Apparently, what we're making is called a roux.)  It should look a little like this at this stage:

Slowly add in the 1/2 and 1/2 while stirring to avoid any clumping.  I was an avid stirrer and I still got a few clumps, so don't feel bad if yours isn't perfect, and if yours is perfect, then you go Glen Coco!

Add in your red pepper flakes and allow the mixture to simmer until you see some boiling action.  Ow ow!  Remember to stir periodically.  When your sauce begins to bubble and thicken, turn off the heat and add in your cheese.  The original recipe called for feta, but she said her mom uses parmesan, and since I'm not the biggest feta fan, surprise surprise!, I used good ole' parm.  #nom  Stir until melty.  (That's what she said?... Really... the original directions said that.)

{The border collies had to pass the heck out while I made dinner -- "they dead" (as we say).  Tough life.}

Add your pasta to the big bowl, and then pour your yummy sauce over top all the goodies!  This dish makes enough for 4 people, or if you're like us, you call dibs as fast as you can to take left overs for lunch the next day. :)

{Finished product - drooling - mmmmm}

{My bowl... that wasn't full for more than 5 minutes after this picture.}

I hope y'all enjoy the dish!  I think next time I may try it with a Prego Marinara and add red pepper flakes to it while it's heating up.

Enjoy the cooler weather friends!  As for me, I'll be enjoying my Venti Skinny Cinnamon Dulce coffee while I take Oakley Mae to the vet to get weighed for her heartworm prevention meds.  Ryan and I are taking bets on what homegirl weighs.  Closest without going over gets to choose where we eat dinner tomorrow night.  Last time we went she was a hefty 44lbs, so my guess is 48 lbs this time.  We'll see who the winner is! :)

{Love these border collie babies}

{& so began my love affair with water}

Y'all,  I love swimming!  I realized I start far too many posts off with, "Yall, I love...", but what can I say?  I really love some things, and what's so wrong with getting overly excited about them? :)  Swimming is my favorite part of training for this triathlon... easily.  I mean, I love the runners high and all now that I've actually experienced a "runner's high", and take joy in most of my runs, it's pretty fun. And biking will always hold a special place in my heart, especially because I feel so accomplished after I bike for an hour and have gone 12 miles, but I don't think either really hold a candle to the way swimming makes me feel!  It feels so effortless, and afterwards I feel very relaxed, can get a good stretch in, and am sore in different places because I'm not using the same muscles as running and biking.  It's usually a nice soreness in my upper back.

This was my workout today:
Warm Up:
150 swim, 150 kick, 150 pull, 150 swim
1x1000 (alt. 500 - which I couldn't get in because I didn't have enough time.  #boo)
Cool Down:
4x50 each slower than last

I have been getting my swim on at the JCC during lunch times, which is great because I'm starting to have some "usuals" aka my silver swimming buddies.  Silver as in, they could be my grandparents, and they are sweet as pie.  I swim consistently next to this one guy, whom I have yet to ask him his name, and he is always so cheerful.  We have easy chit chat while I'm trying to catch my breath, and he often jokes with me about my "speed" and "him not being in his prime to kick my butt".  It's adorable.  Plus, he, like a few others at the JCC, loves my pink swim cap, and told me I look great in my pink swim cap today. What a cutie!  It makes for a delightful swim.

Time flew by!  Swimming makes me zone out.  Unlike running and biking, I've been better and blocking the mental negativity I have encountered when I get tired.  I tend to focus on counting my strokes and breathing as opposed to how tired I am, and, so far, the mental battle hasn't been an issue.  I know come race day I'll be a basket of nerves and adrenalin, but race day jitters is a whole different issue I need to prep for.  (Any tips are welcome, by the way!!!  Leave any in the comments section below.)

I knew today might be tough because I had my first 1000 meter swim.  The most I've swam at once, without stopping, is a 500 (20 laps if you're in a 25 meter pool).  But, y'all, I killed it!  I started out slower than I think I normally would, but having not swam a 1000 I wanted to make sure I didn't quit.  That's my new motto.  Don't quit.  I'd rather go a little slower than drop out because I burn all my energy too quickly.  I've been swimming my 500's at about 8 minutes, but the 1000 took me 19 minutes which is about a minute and a half added to each 500.  I was a little disappointed with the time, but I have a lot of time to get faster, so I'm not worried, and it was my first one.  I need to remember that!

This is my pink swim cap.
I got it for $8 at Academy and it was the only pink one.  Usually I'm not a baby pink kinda girl, but it was this or blue.  So, obviously I went for the pink, and it's apparently quite a hit!  Here are some other amazing caps I might have to invest in at some point.  (Stocking stuffers? hint hint, wink wink)
{Mama McD would totally be on board with the princess tiara swim cap.  I wonder if this comes in adult sizes.  It should!}

{It looks like glitter!! Kind of...}

Speaking of swim caps, for my fellow swimmers out there, how do you wear yours?  Over your ears, or partially over your ears?  I have tried swimming with it completely over my ears a couple of times, but as water seeps in it gets in my ears and stays there, and I don't particularly care for that.  So, I wear it partially over my ears instead, and it doesn't bother me because water can escape.  However, the cap tends to start slipping off a bit since it's not snug.  What's the proper way to wear a swim cap?  This video shows the girls with partial ear covering.  Maybe I'm over-analyzing this waaaaay too much and I should just wear it how I want.  The video above did tell me I shouldn't wear my bun so high because that tends to pull the cap off... hmm... exactly the problem I have been having! :)

Other Triathlon Gear I'm currently crushing on:
{TYR TriTop}

{2XU TriTop}

Which brings me to my next item on my Triathlon Prep Plan: what the heck do I wear for a 1/2 Ironman? Hopefully I'll be able to find some awesome blogs or articles about it.  Hollaatchagirl if you have any advice!

Other things I'm currently loving:
- Counting down the days til my husband, mom, and sister and I get to Atlanta to visit my Mama Bev, aunt and uncle, cousins, and their kiddos!  It's been too long, and Ryan's never met my Mama Bev.  She's the best. :)
- Crock pot Chili from the Hill and cornbread shared with my sweet husband, Dad, and Aunt Peggy!
- Border Collie babies Jetta Belle & Oakley Mae.  Even though Oakley Mae barks incessantly and drives us crazy!!!
- Getting my teeth cleaned tomorrow!  I know... I am a freak who loves the dentist!

- Women's Body Glide - this stuff is amazing.  After wearing the wrong shorts to indoor cycle in yesterday, I wish I had been using my Women's Body Glide!!
- Cooler weather.  Who doesn't love bundling up in a deep sea of blankets with the one you love and your four legged beasts, watching your favorite TV show, drinking hot chocolate, gluhwein, or apple cider, and settling in for a fun holiday season?
- White Chocolate Honey Almond Florentines - yes.  They're heavenly.  A special thanks to Papa McD for my newest, and not so calorie friendly, addiction.
{You can find these bad boys at Sam's Club!  You're welcome.}

What are you currently crushing on?

{Team Training Dilemmas}

So, I've been waffling back and forth with whom I want to train for my big Half Ironman event.  I like the structure, and current price, of training with the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society's Team in Training, but am concerned about the amount of funds I would have to raise for my race.  I raised a pretty significant amount during my MS150 ride, but this amount is much, much more... to the tune of $2,900.  Yeah, that's quite a chunk of change.
But look at these friends.  They trained together, and are now competing together.  I want that!

When I think of how many people I know that have been affected by Leukemia and Lymphoma I know that amount of money could contribute quite a bit to research efforts, and that makes me really happy and excited to participate.  Plus, getting to train with a team, having constant encouragement, and people to challenge me and hold me accountable sounds like a wonderful thing.

I remember when I was running in my 1st 1/2 Marathon, the then White Rock 1/2 Marathon, I was encouraged by one of the LLS TNT coaches.  They were standing in the middle of the course with tissue boxes, since it was so cold, and cheering people on by reading names off of bibs, as well as looking for their purple racers.  They didn't even know me, and my spirits were lifted.  I am thinking that on the toughest race I will have ever competed in, having someone I know and someone that will help me when I am struggling could really make or break my racing.  I know there will be sections of the race where I will see my family and friends cheering me along and helping me to get out of a mental slump, were that to happen, but why not better my chances for constant encouragement along the racecourse by having team members, and coaches, swimming, biking, and running the race with me.  Sounds pretty great.

Sounds great, but I panic about the price tag.  If I don't raise the money I Ryan and I will be responsible for the difference.  Scare!  They do provide you with tons of ways to raise the money, and they have found if you follow their fundraising guidelines you should have no trouble raising the funds.  Still, I get a little anxious about the money.

This is where Fit2Train, a Dallas Triathlon training group, sounds a bit more appealing.  They seem a little more flexible in their training schedule, which could be good and bad, but if I'm signing up to join a team I kind of want a lot of things to go to train.  While my job is pretty flexible, there are some days where I'm just going to hope there are a lot of different training options for me to get to.  The cost to join is a little more expensive, not significantly, but nonetheless more, but the team seems super friendly and like they really enjoy the sport.  I need to get out there and train with them, but the last couple of things I've heard about I have been unable to make.

I wouldn't have to raise money to be on their team either.  With LLS TNT, if I didn't raise the funds and couldn't pay the remainder I would be asked to drop the team.  I don't know if that would mean I wouldn't be able to race period, but that would be pretty devastating.  With Fit2Train, the pressure is off on that level.  I can't totally tell, but it seems like there would be a few people training and running that event too, so the encouragement would be similar to that of TNT.

I am getting more and more excited about this race, as I get into the training, and I know the rest of this year will really be dedicated to getting better, stronger, and faster.  It will take a lot of mental strength and endurance to ward off the lies that I can't keep going, that I'm too tired, and what not.  I think this will be one of the biggest things to overcome for me, and I believe having a team to train and race with will make a huge difference in my confidence to make win the mental game, as well as the physical of course. :)

Given what little information I have provided you, what do you think I should do?  Any advice is welcome!  And with that I'm off to cycle!  Happy Sunday friends.

{Money Maturity}

Y'all, I love Financial Peace University.  I seriously love it.  I'll be honest, I thought it was going to be totally boring, hard to put to practice, and frustrating to do as husband and wife.  What a pleasant surprise and treat I have had!


I am definitely the NERD in the relationship, and my sweet husband is the Free Spirit.  Yeah, I wasn't all that surprised myself.  In fact, when we filled out a survey on Nerd vs. Free Spirit we were almost exact opposites when it comes to our money.  I love creating budgets.  Yes, yes, laugh it up, but I love it!  I don't always stick to them, obviously since we're in Financial Peace, but I love to make them.  I enjoy the feeling of knowing where our money is going.  However, our current budget wasn't working.  We weren't telling our money where to go.  Instead, we had a general idea of how much we wanted to spend on things per month, and didn't really look at it after that.

{Free Spirit}

The common NewlyNabors conversation went a little something like this:

1st Pay Period of Month:
T: "OMG, OMG, OMG!  We have so many bills this month and I know we have enough money, but it's only Sunday, we got paid on Friday, where is our money?!"
R: "Well, we ate out Friday, Saturday, and for lunch today.  We paid rent, bills, etc.  We wanted that stuff from (insert store here) so we bought it.  We bought the dogs toys, treats, food, bones.  It's fine.  We'll be fine.  This happens every month this time because rent eats a lot of our budget."
T: "OMG!  You ate out lunch three times this week?  We had a rule!  You only eat out once a week."
- Cue crazy girl argument about money, and everything else annoying, that can't be won... easily if at all.
- Cue ridiculous arguments about the same money frustrations over and over and over.

2nd Pay Period of Month:
T: "OMG, we're so rich!  No rent to pay this month.  Let's go get that thing we've been wanting at (insert store here).  Yes!  I can get that makeup that I've been needing and waiting on, my eyebrows done, my iPhone screen fixed.  Can I get a new iPhone this weekend?"
R: "Yeah!  I love this time of the month!  Let's go to dinner at (enter restaurant here).  Yum!  Woohoohoo!  We're so rich!"
A week later...
T & R: "OMG.  We need to pull from savings... again!  We don't have enough money to cover x, y, z!  Why does this always happen!"

{That's what it feels like sometimes.}

And you can guess the rest folks. That's about what we've done for the past... year!  Ridiculous, no?  Why, you say, would you continue to live in frustration and get upset over the same issues?  We didn't really know what to do, it was frustrating, we wished it would just disappear, etc., etc., etc.!

Yesterday was our 5th class session with Financial Peace University.  I seriously want to soak up everything like a sponge.  Everything Dave says I can't help but find myself nodding along too in agreement.  Why didn't I take this class sooner?  He is hilarious too!  Originally I thought, discussing financials and managing money, LORD this is going to be boring, but that's so far off base from the truth!  It is so entertaining, so truthful, and I loved that it is Biblically based.  Especially since Ryan and I want to honor the LORD with our money, this last fact has been so helpful.

A few weeks ago we had to create our first new budgets.  I'm not talking about the fill out your expenses and call it a budget budget either.  This bad boy has tons and tons and tons of spaces to tell your money exactly where it's going.  Groceries, toiletries, bills, pocket money, loans/debt, gas, you name it, it's on there!  I am in heaven... seriously.  It's so beautiful, and organized!  Ahhhhh.

We were told to call our first Budget Committee Meeting which basically means, since I am the Nerd I put together what I think our budget should be.  Since we get paid on 2 week increments we're doing the Allocated Spending Budget which I love so much!  It's so so so organized.  Oh, and did I mention organized?  Anyway, after I generate the budget, Ryan is supposed to come to the meeting, bring his brain, and look over the budget and see if there's anything I didn't include or if he thinks there are some tweaks that maybe we should discuss.  It has actually worked tremendously!  Instead of the budget being solely mine, Ryan has ownership of it too.  By his review and discussion of the budget, it's not me telling him what to do with our money.  We have made the decision together, and it feels awesome.  We are having great conversation, learning to not be defensive and feel personally attacked, and it feels good to know where we stand and what we can actually do.

This weekend was our first opportunity to put our budget into practice.  We haven't stuffed any envelopes with cash yet, but will definitely be doing that next week when we get paid again.  We went to dinner Friday night and Ryan made the comment, "You know we don't have a ton of entertainment budgeted into this two weeks because it's so tight with rent, so if we eat here we'll probably have to cut out something else later."  I was so proud of Ryan for being so cognizant of our spending! :)  #happywife

Sure enough, the next night we went to a movie with friends and before hand we originally planned to go to La Duni, a delicious latin kitchen, which is a little pricier than some other options at the mall, but so tasty!  Ryan, again, held us accountable to our budget saying we could do it, but it was going to be expensive on top of a movie.  While it sucked having to tell our friends we were just going to eat at the food court, they were totally understanding, we didn't blow our budget out of the water, and it felt good to have been smart with our money.  I will admit, I was a little disgruntled with Ryan for holding us accountable, but I am so proud of him for doing so. Hopefully, I will start checking myself before just agreeing to things.  Y'all, we are getting mature with our money!  Well, Ryan's definitely getting mature with our money.  I'm getting there!

Anyway, if you're feeling like we were, frustrated with the routine of money problems, I would highly recommend taking Financial Peace.  One of the biggest contributing factors for divorce in America is financial struggles and arguments.  If you're a husband and wife duo, or even single, get your financials in check.  Make them do what you want, pay off debts, and get your money in check so you can live like you want to.


Join us!  Find a class near you now: http://www.daveramsey.com/home/

{Marriage Isn't for You Thoughts}

I know I'm late to the party.  Let's go with fashionably late, but late nonetheless.  I finally read the article by Seth Adam Smith titled, "Marriage Isn't for You".  While I 100% agree with this article, and I feel most Christian couples would, our world is not one that portrays that to be true.  Even Christians get divorced.  I'm sure you know one or two.  I do.

What is it with the world?  When did we become such entitled brats?  Sorry.  Is that too much?  It's a Tuesday, we're not even half way through the week, I didn't sleep great last night despite the pitter-patter of rain outside our windows, I'm starting to get pretty hungry for lunch, have already eaten half of my bag of chili-cheese Fritos, chocolate chip pancakes sound delicious for lunch, but I brought a salad, and I have made about 50 calls this morning.  Let's just cut the rainbows and butterflies nonsense and talk about it. :)

I am with you Seth.  Preach on, man.  Marriage isn't for me.  It's for the sweet man I call my husband.  Here's where I feel like things get a little sticky.  As a Christian wife, I know one of my primary duties is helper.  I am called to be, and passionate about being, the wife the LORD called me to be, but where the heck is the "How To Be a God-Fearing Wife for Dummies" book?  Well... the Bible might be a good place to start.  By the world's standards, that's a heck of a lot of effort required though.  When things get tough, when they're not fun, when we have to put in extra effort, when the world, our spouse, our life lets us down, we quit.  What the heck?  You see it in jobs, relationships, and so on.  When did we become a bunch of quitters?  Whatever the culprit, it is crappy.

Seth's dad quoted this to him one evening when they were discussing fears and anxieties about getting married. 

"Seth, you're being totally selfish. So I'm going to make this really simple: marriage isn't for you. You don't marry to make yourself happy, you marry to make someone else happy. More than that, your marriage isn't for yourself, you're marrying for a family. Not just for the in-laws and all of that nonsense, but for your future children. Who do you want to help you raise them? Who do you want to influence them? Marriage isn't for you. It's not about you. Marriage is about the person you married."

Let's break this down a bit. Sentence or two by sentence or two. :)

"You're being selfish... marriage isn't for you.  You don't marry to make yourself happy, you marry to make someone else happy."
Alrighty.  These are awesome points to start on.  If you haven't read about our relationship, Nabors and I are in our 6th year of doing this song and dance, and we haven't even tipped the iceberg on mastering this.  We celebrated our 5th anniversary of dating by saying "I Do".  It was a joyous celebration, of course, but if you want to read more about that click the tab {9.1.12}. :)  Ryan and I both grew up in Christian homes with parents that taught us all the basic principles of treating others as you would like to be treated, putting God 1st, others 2nd, yourself 3rd (okay, maybe Kanakuk phrased it that way, but I'm thankful to Mama and Papa McD for sending me there!), and as we got older, leading our future family as a Christian leader, and living life together seeking the LORD.  So, the "put your spouse first" concept isn't totally foreign.

Nabors and I went through premarital counseling before we got hitched, and we talked on this point quite often.  It's frustrating though how hard it is to put into practice.  Even when I'm at my best, I don't always act this way towards Ry, and vice-versa.  Despite the desires of our hearts, we often fail.  It doesn't mean we quit trying to put that into practice.  Dying to yourself isn't exactly something I think we sinful creatures are keen to pick up on in an instant.  It's a daily decision to pick up your cross, lay your pride and desires aside, and serve alongside your mate and love them like Jesus has asked us to.  Need a better visual?  It's like an addict choosing each and every day, some days multiple times a day to say no to the wrong and choose the right.  Again... this is entirely easier said than done.  Let me challenge you, friends, and myself, not to grow weary or complacent in choosing the right.  It honors God every time we do.  That's what keeps me pressing on to put Ry first.  That, and I genuinely believe our marriage will be blessed in doing so. [Getting off the soapbox... sorry!]

"Your marriage isn't for yourself, you're marrying for a family. Not just for the in-laws and all of that nonsense, but for your future children. Who do you want to help you raise them? Who do you want to influence them?"
Y'all, when I think about having kids, I think about how lucky I am that they're going to be with Ryan.  After all, the very fact that he is naturally good with kids, desires to lead them to Jesus, and is comfortable and likes being around them, are some of the quintessential reasons I felt for this boy.  Fell hard, too.  I didn't stand a chance.  I can't tell you how many times a week Ryan points out a cute child to me.  Even the ones I don't find especially cute, y'all I'm a horrible person, Ryan find something that makes them cute.

When we started dating, I remember him meeting my nephews.  I liked my nephews already because they wanted to do athletic and active things and it was fun to hang out and play with them.  When Ryan entered the picture, I sort of got replaced, due to the sheer nature that I'm female, and as they've gotten older, more filled with cooties, or less superior and able to really do "boy things", I suppose.  Regardless, my joy now comes from quasi-doing "boy things" with them, but really from watching Ryan interact with them.  I have zero doubt... Ryan is going to make a great dad.  And what's the cherry on top?  He genuinely wants to be one.  More than many things, I often think, in life.  He wants that honor and title. :)  Meltmyheart.

"Marriage isn't for you. It's not about you. Marriage is about the person you married."
How great that it is, in fact, that way.  If I have Ryan's best interests at heart, and he has mine, then there is simply not room for selfishness.  Don't get me wrong.  I am, by no means, saying you should be unhappy in your marriage for your spouse's happiness.  I'm simply suggesting that there's a unique joy that can be found in putting your spouse first.  Remember that "happiness depends on happenings, but joy depends on Christ".  Try it out.  See what new joy the LORD can bring you in doing so.  Yes, there are times where I'd really rather not watch Cops for the 15,000th time that month, but the joy it brings Ryan having me there by his side is worth it. (Ha!  That was a laaaaaaaaame example.)

You know what?  Let's be honest here.  Selfishness would be the easier choice.  Isn't that sad?  It's 50x easier to do whateverthehell you want over the needs and wants of your spouse, friends, family, etc.  It is.  And yeah, maybe short term it's awesome.  Doing exactly what you want.  Whenever you want.  But, friend, that's a quick path to loneliness, and I don't think that's what the LORD desires for you.  He loves you so much more than you can imagine.  Knowing that and still being selfish?  Well, that's like slapping Him in the face.  He could have been selfish too.  Can you imagine seeing your only Son in anguish?  I bet most of us would say, "To heck with you guys, I'm saving my kid."  He didn't.

Seth's article also said this. "No true relationship of love is for you. Love is about the person you love."  I think the above sacrifice denotes that statement to be true.  What an awesome, awesome thing.

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