Tuesday, November 11, 2014

A way.

Anxiety. Such an ugly thing. I started noticing powerful anxiety in my life about 2 years ago. Braden and I were engaged and living 1,070.6 miles apart. I was making next to nothing at my first fulltime job and spending most of it on plane tickets and student loan payments. Even now that we’re married, see each other every day and make more money, I feel that icky anxiety a lot. The latest bout is related to our wedding photos of all things. I want a high quality photo album of our wedding photos and just can’t seem to come up with a plan that I like. I started making my own book on Shutterfly, got discouraged that it looked too cheesy, and quit. Then I realized we’ve been married for over a year. I need to make that book! I never made a book of our honeymoon photos either. Now I can’t remember all the names of all the places we visited. At this point the anxiety is gushing.

Our life group has been talking about having meaningful time with God. Last week we set goals for what this would look like. I decided to commit myself to a 14-day study on Thankfulness. This is what I read today:

“Have you ever faced a situation and said, “There is no way this can ever be?” Maybe some of these thoughts weight on your mind.

-There is no way I can handle the pressure at work.
-There is no way I can pay my bills.
-There is no way to save my marriage.
-There is no way I can go back to college now.

With God’s help, there is always a way. This is a beautiful truth to be grateful for. It may not be easy; it may not be convenient; it may now come quickly. You may have to go over, under, around, or through difficultly- but if you will simply keep on keeping on, you will find a way. Jesus said in John 14:6, “I am the Way and the Truth and the Life.” He is the Way, and He will help you find a way even where there doesn’t seem to be one.” –Joyce Meyer in The Power of Being Thankful

A belated wedding photo book is a minuscule problem in the scheme of life, but I’m so grateful God makes a way. He’s more powerful than our anxiety and He loves us so much. Praise God.

Sunday, November 9, 2014


My sister is having a baby in April. I’ve been waiting for this event for many years, looking forward to seeing what a little human made up of Emily and Tyler might be like. I can’t wait to take that little one on walks, to see plays, and to have sleepovers. I’m thrilled to become an aunt and to watch Braden become an uncle. I’ve pictured it so many times. One thing I did not anticipate, however, were feelings of my own desire to be a mother to bubble up inside. But they did. A little. Braden and I had a lovely coffee date once where we each wrote personal goals about what we want to accomplish before having children. We are nowhere near accomplishing those lists.  When I was in high school, I yearned for college. Once I was in college, I systematically planned how to reach grad school- and how to complete my masters in 1 year. Throughout grad school, I was dating Braden and dreamed of being engaged. After he proposed, it seemed all I could think about was being married and finding a job in New York. And here we are. What is with my constant desire to be in the next phase of life? I know I’m not alone here. Fortunately, I’ve had the example of Emily and Tyler. They have been married 6 years. They have always been open about doing things on their own timeline. They got masters degrees, traveled the US and world, moved around, said “Yes” to a lot of things and basically sucked the marrow out of “married without children” life.

Many people have opinions on when and when not to get engaged or married, whether or not they think NYC is an acceptable place to live (How many times has someone said “Oh, I could never live there!” to me??), and when or when not to have children.  My opinion? Do what you want! But be present. This is not my time to have a child. It’s my sister’s time. And that’s okay. This is my time to work on my list. My time to be 25 and to say “Yes” to life. Being in that “married without children” category allowed Braden and me to take a last minute trip upstate to the Catskill Mountains last weekend. Friend’s invited us a few days before and we said “Why not?!” Disclaimer: These friends have a 3 month-old baby, so I’m not saying people with children can’t also say “Yes” to life, but I think it’s a bit simpler for those who don’t have dependents.  

Living in a place with dirty air and noise pollution out that wazoo makes you really appreciate a visit to nature. Life slowed way down and I breathed in that fresh mountain air and felt so alive. We stayed in an adorable 3 bedroom cottage that felt like a trip back to the 1950’s. If the 1950’s had IKEA. There was a big backyard with a fire pit and vivid fall colors out of every window. It was such a treat to spend quality time with our friends and their sweet baby. I loved that our weekend was mixture of nursery songs and swapping scandalous stories over drinks and Halloween candy. Everything in moderation. This season of life is pretty great.  

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Hot diggity dog.

Happy Halloween Eve! To get you in the spirit, here some some  a lot of pictures from a Halloween Dog Parade Braden and I went to in the East Village last weekend. There were hundreds of dressed up dogs everywhere. The adorableness was oozing. 

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Recipe for a perfect fall morning.

My recipe for a perfect fall morning:

  • Sunny, 52 degree weather, windows cracked.
  • Homemade "Healthy" Chocolate Pumpkin Oat Bars for breakfast.
  • The song "Just Like the Sea" by Pigpen Theatre Co. Or really any of their songs. 

The deets:

  • These are bars delicious, Braden-approved, AND vegan and gluten free! 
  • Making your own oat flour is surprisingly easy and fast
  • I substituted the olive oil for sunflower oil and the vegan choc. chips for semisweet chocolate chunks...so my version isn't vegan but it's darn yummy. 
  • Check out the recipe here
  • If you haven't heard of Pigpen Theatre Co., I just changed your life. B and I saw them perform at New Victory Theatre earlier this month and immediately went home and bought 2 albums. Think Mumford and Sons meets The Lumineers and then add the fact that these guys are incredible theatre artists. Just trust me. Check them out here.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Invincible October.

It may be cliché, but man, I am so glad to live in a world where there are Octobers! The weather has been so lovely lately. It’s still warm but that fall breeze is starting to blow through and it feels amazing! I’ve been begging Braden to do this couple’s workout with me and this weekend it finally felt like the right day to walk to the park with our yoga mats and give it a whirl. We. looked. ridiculous. RIDICULOUS! We could not stop laughing and my poor husband is in excellent shape but has terrible balance. At one point he lost his balance, fell into me, and sent me flying into the mud. Braden said the only thing we accomplished was getting our yoga mats (and the entire right side of my body) muddy. But I think we got in some good ab work from all the laughing! Afterward Braden tricked me into running a mile around a big track. I say “tricked” because he started out by convincing me to just run around the loop once but after I did that he kept pushing until I had made it a full mile. This information probably seems insignificant, but I think the last time I ran a mile might have been in “Fit for Life,” freshman year of college. I’m not kidding, sadly. But I ran that mile at the park and I felt invincible. Thank goodness for a husband who encourages me to be active everyday. Otherwise my life might be all bath time and Pinterest. What a scary image.  

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Weekend wonders.

Back to school has been a very busy season for the Spear household. I kicked off the year with 2 weeks of professional development at VOICE followed by 3 weekends out of town and the return of all my school kiddos. When not traveling I have been very busy comforting kindergarteners, counseling, conducting groups, teaching “Mind, Body & Heart,” attending meetings, consulting with teachers and parents, and drinking too much coffee.

The first trip was to Missouri for my grandmother’s 90th birthday over Labor Day weekend. It was very special to be there to celebrate with her and to see all the lives she has impacted. We started the weekend with a family reunion of sorts. My dad’s side of the family is huge and lives all over the country. My dad is the youngest of 6 kids and I’m the youngest of 13 grandchildren ranging from age late 40ish to 25 (me!). Almost all of my cousins have kids of their own so there were tons of great grandchildren (some of these “children” are in college now!) and even a great-great grandchild. I hadn’t seen a few of my relatives since my grandmother’s 75th birthday so it was crazy to see a 15-year difference on everyone. On Sunday we all piled into her little church and my Dad shared a special message with the congregation. He asked anyone in the church who had been impacted by my grandmother’s late husband to stand. He then asked anyone in the church who had been impacted by my grandmother to stand. Nearly everyone in the sanctuary was standing. My uncle Danny also sang a song dedicated to my grandmother. After the service we held a birthday party with church members and people from the community. Over 100 people attended. As I reflect on the weekend I couldn’t help but think of how often we gather to honor people after they have already passed on to heaven. What a blessing it was to celebrate my Grandmother in her very presence and show her how much we appreciate her godly character and service to others. She is a very special and loved lady.

Grandmother with some of her many great-grandchildren 

Grandmother visiting with Autumn and Daniel 

We got her a VCR for her birthday :) 

I don't even know ... 
I love how she's known as "Ms. Juanita" to people of all ages 

A worthy woman who can find? Her worth is far above jewels. 

4 generations 

The next weekend I headed to Arkansas solo for the wedding of my childhood BFF, Marybeth. My friendship with Marybeth dates back to my first day of kindergarten. We became instant and inseparable friends. Nearly every childhood memory I have involves Marybeth in some way! My family moved away to Kentucky when I was in 5th grade and the story goes that while we were excited for the new adventures to come, our moms sobbed in the driveway as we said our goodbyes. Kentucky turned into a wonderful place to finish out my childhood and turn into a young adult but one regret is leaving Marybeth! I sometimes think about what our friendship would have looked like if we could have gone through our middle school and high school years together. Nevertheless I still consider Marybeth to be a special friend and I was honored to witness her big day. Congrats to Marybeth and GB. Can’t wait to double-date next time I’m in Arkansas!

Morning mocha with my parents before the wedding
Beautiful morning!
Walking Feaster Trail with my parents before the wedding
Hugs with the bride
Mothers/Daughters. Can you tell who goes with who??
Epic photo bomb courtesy of my parents

The final weekend of travel was to Rhode Island for Braden’s cousin’s wedding. This was quite the event! All of the guests spent the weekend at a beautiful country estate called “Whispering Pines” surrounded by forests, lakes, and streams.  The day of the wedding we had a relaxing morning of bike riding and games before the “Wedding of the Century,” as my in-laws like to call it :) This thing went from 3:30 in the afternoon to sometime after 11:30pm when Braden and I finally hit the sack. But we had so much fun! Highlights included beautiful live music, stunning decore, a very handsome and hilarious MC (Okay, okay, my husband was the MC), funny toasts, dancing with Braden’s grandpa, and having a golden ticket at dinner which meant I got to take a slice of EVERY FLAVOR of cake. That was five slices of cake, people. FIVE. Congrats to Kasey and Ryan! Lucky for us they are living nearby in DC. I see more weekend travels in our near future! 

Hubs being ridiculous the night before the wedding
Rehearsal Dinner was a fun picnic-y BBQ 
I loved all the little details

Ryan and Kasey, less than 24 hours before tying the knot! 
At our 5th wedding since our own!

Spear men: Braden. Grandpa Ray, Colby, Scott, Trent

Reunited with his brothers. Colby came from grad school in Germany and Trent from undergrad in Pennsylvania 

Beautiful setting for a wedding!