Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Want $50 to Barnes and Noble?

The ladies below and I have all teamed up to give one of YOU a $50 Barnes & Noble Electronic Gift Card, on us! And if you're not into books (but I know you are!) remember that the possibilities are endless at Barnes & Noble - you can purchase movies, musics, calendars, journals, planners, puzzles, gifts, and the list goes on! So don't hesitate to join the giveaway below!

Life with Amberly & Joe // A Little Too Jolley // The Best F Words // From Bisons to Buckeyes
 He & I // From L&P to English Tea // It's a Harr Life

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The giveaway will run from 12:00 am EST on August 19 until 11:59 pm EST on August 26. All entries will be verified so please be honest! Gift card will be delivered electronically. And best of luck!

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Monday, August 18, 2014

Betcha Can't Guess What My New Calling Is...

Last Saturday the Stake President called me and asked to meet with him the next day, and to bring my husband. So I did. I NEVER in a million years would've guess what he would ask...

"Brooklyn, will you accept God's call to serve as the Secretary in the Stake Relief Society Presidency?"

I try to never say "no" to God, as I truly believe He has bigger plans for us than we can ever make for ourselves. So of course I said yes. I was set apart yesterday after participating in a stake relief society devotional. It was a beautiful meeting and a beautiful setting apart.

I am excited to serve. Ever since high school (junior year!) I have served in piano based callings. And while I have loved to be able to bring the power of music with me, I am excited to learn and grow in new ways.

I'm scared. Excited. Hopeful. Anxious. And trusting, that the Lord knows Brooklyn Jolley. And that he has a work for me to do.

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Sunday, August 17, 2014


For part of our anniversary we went to the Salt Lake Temple where we were married last year. We walked around the temple talking about how beautiful it is, and how grateful we are for the sacrifices made that allowed that temple to be built. I pondered on my new church calling I've received, which I will hopefully be able to write about soon. I pondered on how easy it is to feel overwhelmed, inadequate and under prepared.

And then I thought of this scripture...

"For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts." Isaiah 55:9

All we have to do, is live a little higher than before. All we have to do, is put ourselves in situations that allow us to live a little closer to heaven. And that is truly, all the Lord asks of us.

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love story part twenty four: the honeymoon

The morning after our wedding, we woke up as early as we could (think 8:30-9:00) and headed out! We went to Smith's for some treats and drinks for the trip, and then we headed off to our drive to California.

The poor Aveo we had at the time was SUPER overheating from the long drive in the hot sun, so we pulled off in Vegas and wandered a casino for an hour or so.

We stayed in a resort in Ramona, CA courtesy of Colten's mother and step-dad. Our room was gorgeous and I wish we had more photos of it!

We had decided we wanted to start our marriage out on the right foot and not skip out on going to church. Luckily, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saint is EVERYWHERE! So we used Mormon.org, found a church, and showed up. The members were so friendly and excited to hear we were on our honeymoon!

 We had a day of relaxing, sleeping, eating and talking, and then we headed to Disneyland bright and early the next morning.

Here we are waiting for Pirates of the Caribbean, one of my favorites!

For those of you who don't know, you can stop at Guest Services on your way into Disneyland for all sorts of pins! Of course, we stopped in for some "Just Married" pins! And at our first lunch in Disneyland, the waitress gave us our drinks free for our 'wedding present'. It was fun to be a little more pampered simply for wearing our pins!

We went to see World of Color one of our 3 nights there, and it was FREEZING, so I ended up buying the pink jacket below. Cars land also had trophies for "Best Wife" and "Best Husband", so of course we took pictures with those.

Here we are exploring Tarzan's Treehouse!

We split a meal at the Blue Bayou, the restaurant inside of Pirates of the Caribbean. It can be a little pricey, but we wanted the experience! And it was so worth it. We even splured and got yummy drinks with the coolest light up ice cube which we still have in our cupboard at home!

Because both our birthdays were just 2 weeks after our honeymoon (Colten: Aug 31, Me: Sept 1) we got birthday buttons too! And Colten got a first visit pin since he had never been to California Adventures. We were loaded on pins.

Our honeymoon was a blast, we watched plenty of Pawn Stars, drove the 2 hours back and forth to Disneyland for 3 days, and spent the time enjoying our newlywed status. 

The joke during that week was instead of saying YOLO we would say YOHO! (You only honeymoon once)

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Saturday, August 16, 2014

Happy 1 Year!

Happy One Year Anniversary Babe!

I'm so grateful for you. Our marriage has by far been the best decision I've ever made. And as cliche as it sounds, I simply can't imagine life without you ever again. I love the way you cuddle with the cats, even when they're interrupting your homework. I love that you still surprise me with flowers, and love notes on the mirrors. I love that you text me to see how I'm doing, and purposefully make date night a priority without me asking. I'm grateful for the way you love the Lord, and the way you honor your Priesthood. Especially in those moments where I feel like I'm falling apart, and I know I can just ask for a blessing from you, and know that you are worthy to give me guidance from my Heavenly Father. I love how beautiful you think I am, and for how beautiful you make me feel. For the way you make me want to be better, without making me feel like I'm not good enough for you. I love that when we disagree, you don't let my crying get to you, you give me space and then take me in your arms and remind me that we are in this forever. I love how hardworking you are and how you love providing for our family. I love the smile you get when I tell you that you look handsome. I love listening to you pray and the way you thank the Lord for all the blessings he has given us. I love how you put our families first, and the way you desire to have a family of our own one day. I love that you are consistently working to improve yourself. And most of all, I love that you love me, weaknesses and all. 

Here's to eternity with you love. I can't imagine doing life with anyone else.

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Friday, August 15, 2014

Communication: Writing Love Letters

Thanks to Ashley for writing this AMAZING post while I am celebrating my one year anniversary! Be sure to go over and say hi at her blog From A to Z.

I'm not professional when it comes to communication, but there is one type of communication I feel that I excel in and that's handwritten letters. If you don't know my story, then I will give you a bit of a background.

My husband served a 2 year LDS mission and we wrote each other back and forth the entire time. I cannot tell you how many times I ran to that darn mail box every Friday evening awaiting the sight of the blue sticker on every envelope I received from him. My heart always fluttered and would melt at the sigh of his handwriting. I knew my sweetheart loved me and he wanted me to know that with each letter.

Now that we're married, I miss those letters more than anything in this world. They mean so much to me and I have them in a special place. Each one is organized by date and I love looking back and reading what we told each other and what points in our life. It really is a cool thing to be able to go back and reflect on that part of our relationship.

So today, I'm going to share some ways you can write more letters to your loved one. Not typed, written. There is just something about a handwritten love letter that makes the heart jump and the smile stretch from ear to ear.

Consider how long of a letter to write. Is this going to be something you drag out into multiple letters or is this something that you're going to shove in one letter and then move on? You could do either. You could write short letters and break them up and spread out when you give them to your loved one. Or you could write one really long letter and give it to your spouse and do this every now and then. The choice is yours, but either way, they will love it!

How can I make it interesting and fun? Write about yourself, tell some silly jokes. Draw pictures on the letter and/or the envelope. Put confetti inside or put your letter with a gift. Do some letter writing for a scavenger hunt or spray it with your perfume. Fold your letter up into a fun box like we did in junior high! Write a bucket list of things you'd like to do with him. Or you can simply spill your love for him on paper. You can always look on Pinterest for some ways to make it fun and interesting.

Start writing. Don't over think it and worry about what they'll think. Just start writing and it will come to you. Be creative and your personality will show through the letter and it will all work out just fine. It is important to remember to just be yourself and to let your loved one know you love them even if you simply just say "I love you" and that's it. Expressing your love for your spouse will mean a lot to them whether it's one 20 sticky notes on the bathroom mirror, or on a napkin in their lunch box. Whatever it is you want to say, just say it.

What is your favorite way to write a love letter to your loved one?

Thursday, August 14, 2014

A Practical Anniversary Tradition: Goal Setting

January 1st marks the beginning of a new calendar year and a chance to start fresh with goals and habits. Your anniversary marks the beginning of a new year of your marriage and like January 1st, it is a great time to freshen up your relationship and the habits you've created so that the next year you spend together can be even better than the previous one. Early on in her marriage, Brooklyn recognized the need for goals and that intentional habits in her life would help her become the best wife possible, and I know that it's something she's been constantly working on. She's been an inspiration to me to put effort into my marriage every day and not let myself get lazy!

The funny thing about goals is that despite our best intentions and efforts sometimes the things we're hoping to accomplish just don't happen. Rather than giving up your goals, you should reevaluate them and see what needs to change in order for them to be something that you can one day achieve. There's a chance that you've set your sights too high or have unrealistic expectations for your current life situation. That doesn't mean that you have to view those goals as  a failure. "This thing we call failure is not falling down but staying down." So when you feel like you've failed at something, pick yourself up, look at it from a different perspective, and then recommit to the task, even if it means attacking it on a smaller scale! As part of your anniversary celebration every year, it would be fun and extremely beneficial to sit down as a couple and discuss your successes from the past year as well as your hopes for the coming one. Setting goals as a couple will give you something to work toward together, an accountability partner, and a way to work on strengthening your marriage constantly. Most people say vows at their wedding, think of the goals you set each year as a vow to continue working on your marriage and keep the promises you made to each other on the day that you got married.

Consider the Past: What has worked in your relationship so far and what hasn't? You can use those things as a starting point for your goals. Look at something you're doing well and find a way to improve that area of your marriage even more. Look at something that you struggle with and figure out what needs to happen in order for you to feel like you're seeing progress in that area of your marriage.

Look to the Future: What things do you hope to accomplish as a couple in your lifetime? Pick something little that you can do to help you get closer to those big dreams. Whether it's something you're hoping to accomplish in the next month, year, five years, or even twenty, there is always something you can be doing to get the ball rolling and make that dream a reality.

Set Smaller Goals: What can you do along the way to not make the task seem so daunting? One thing that can be a set back when you're trying to achieve a goal is that the ultimate goal seems big and unattainable. If you break that large goal down into smaller ones and tackle those one at a time, you'll see success sooner than you think and you won't be as overwhelmed.

  Write them Down: What good is a goal if it's not written down? Post your goals somewhere that you'll always see them. If you have one you're really focused on at the moment, create a fun print and hang it in your house so you're always aware of it. And then on your next anniversary, you can refer back to the list you made and discuss each goal individually, what worked and what didn't, what you achieved as a couple throughout the year, and maybe even what goals you forgot about altogether.

Reevaluate: What good is a goal if it's not working? The truth is, you're probably going to have to look at your goals and change them more often than once a year. If a goal isn't working, don't wait until your next set discussion to talk about it. Sit down and discuss what's not working and why and then formulate a plan to make it work! Goals are meant to help you feel successful, and if that's not what they're doing, then what's the point of having them?

Relationship: Obviously you want to work on your relationship, right?

The goals that you set to improve your relationship could include things like; regular date night, better communication, more quality time, time apart to regroup, romantic getaways, etc. Find an area of your relationship that you think could use some improvement and do something to make it better.

 Financial: One of the things that causes a lot of disagreements among couples is money, so I think goals surrounding that topic are great ones to set!

The goals that you set to improve your finances could include things like; getting out of debt, building up your savings, paying for everything with cash, creating a budget, etc. Working together and agreeing on something important for your finances will strengthen your marriage and help make money a positive conversation in your marriage instead of one you dread.

Home: This can be an especially good area to set goals in if you are a home owner. There are always projects to be done around the house and that list seems never ending.

The goals you set to improve your home could include things like; fixing up an area of your yard, refinishing some furniture, rearranging the layout of a room, making your master bedroom a sanctuary, etc. House projects could make a fun date activity, and will improve the atmosphere of your home.

Fitness: Getting married is a lifestyle change and I think every couple starts to realize that they're not in as great of shape as they once were. Working toward better health together can be a really good thing because you have an instant workout buddy and there won't be one lazy spouse while the other is trying hard to remain active or one spouse who wants to eat lots of junk while the other is trying to snack on veggies.

The goals you set to improve your health and fitness could include things like; only eating out once a week, going to the gym together, doing something active for date night, cooking a homemade meal together, planting a garden, etc.

Future: There may be things in your future plans that you can somehow be working toward now. Just because it seems like it's forever away doesn't mean that you can't be doing something to help you achieve it now.

The goals you set to improve your future together could include things like; dreaming up floor plans for your future house, setting money aside for when you decide to have children, saving up for your anniversary getaway or a dream vacation, looking into what kind of company you want to work for after you graduate college, etc. It's not too early to start planning for your future ever, even if those plans change later on down the road. The most important thing to remember when you're setting goals together is to have fun and don't be afraid to dream big! There may be things in your future plans that you can somehow be working toward now. No goal is too big or too small, too important or too trivial to set together. Setting them will help you focus on them consistently and make you more aware of what you should be doing to help you achieve the things you want.

  P.S. If you decide to set some goals and blog about them, I hope you'll consider joining my Marriage & Relationship Goals link-up on the first Monday of every month!

Have you set goals as a couple? What are some of the things you're working toward?

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