Leggings, Planners and the Mona Lisa

Hey guys –

Sorry, it’s been a while.  Turns out being a full time wife/mom/sales diva takes, well, a lot of time.  Sometimes, though, you have something you can’t not talk about, aaaaand your baby falls asleep for three hours, so you get to write. 

Lately I’ve had a few words rolling around in my head, and I’ve been trying to sort out how they fit together.  The words I’ve been thinking about are mission, method and calling

I’ve been listening to a lot of podcasts lately on how to simplify, be more organized, and basically win at being a wife and mom.  Now, I don’t think you would think this of me, but let me be real clear.  These mom bosses/mompreneurs are great, and I’m not trying to bash on them.  The ones I listen to, at least, love Jesus and really want to help women uncomplicate their lives, de-stress their routines and dial in their budgets.  They usually have some kind of system or class or series of steps to follow if you want to achieve the desired outcome… *cue harp music*

You will have your house spick and span, your command center set up, and your meals planned for a month.  Your children will always have matching socks, your husband will be happy that you (finally) dusted, and your boss won’t be flustered that you forgot to ask off work to drive the swim team carpool.  You will own a planner that will automatically send birthday/anniversary/congratulations-on-your-new-pet-poodle cards.  Your capsule wardrobe will be full of white/black/navy/greige with the appropriate amount of floral and/or graphic print scarves and earrings.  You will finally find time to work out and drink 8 glasses of water (plus a protein smoothie with kale and beet juice!) because, well, your planner says you have time. 

You will be organized.

You children will be the envy of all the other moms.

Your marriage will be easy and hot.

Your friends will think you are the best friend ever (because the poodle card).

You will be wearing the right thing, and skinnier too, glowing even.

And you will be SO happy. 

Now, the Good Lord knows I need help organizing, and I will be the first to tell you my husband appreciates a clean house.  And yeah, you should drink all the water (but not too much, because a chick did that on a radio contest once, and it didn’t end well). 

However. 

Sometimes when I listen to these really amazing women, I forget to listen to ME.  My crooked heart has this talent of taking what is good and twisting it.  I get caught up in – well, guess I’d better go to Target and get some new leggings to neutralize my wardrobe. (Sorry, not sorry my wardrobe is full of citron, scarlet and tangerine!)  Guess I’d better never eat bread again.  Guess I’d better redo all my closets so they’re filled with matching burlap bins.  Guess I want to be some glam-o Insta miracle, so I’d better figure out how to care about lip stain.  I start trying to forge a calling and a mission out of a method.  I turn the means into the end.  I start admiring the frame of the Mona Lisa.  I set up camp before I even get to Yosemite.  (Get it? Ok, ok, I’m done.) 

Let me try to untangle in a few paragraphs what has taken me all week to put words to. 

God calls us to join in on His mission, and He equips us with a variety of methods to do so.

The mission is the big plan, God’s story of how He made #allthethings, and then we wrecked them, and then His long plan of restoring them through Jesus and the continued joining in of people on the mission.  The churchy word for this is the “Gospel” aka the true story of the whole world and the good news of how the story turns out

That’s the mission – all the stuff that God has been doing and is doing and will do until He’s done restoring things to how they should be.  The way that people get to jump into the mission and take part in God’s work is through their calling.  I’m not talking about some super technical official complicated moment with angels and a scroll, I just mean what you do where you are with what you have.  Pretty basic.  (For more on this, check out the book The Call, by Os Guinness)

You’ll notice, we aren’t called to have perfectly organized laundry rooms.  We aren’t called to the konmari method.  We aren’t called to organic paleo crockpot WholeThirty meal planning.  We aren’t called to out-control-freak each other (because don’t we love control?).  At the end of time as we know it, when God calls us to account for our lives, what exactly do you think He’s going to ask about?  It’s kind of sobering, really, to think about that actual moment.  I don’t know exactly what it’s going to be like, but I know this – we aren’t going to be accountable for how many Instagram followers we had.  We aren’t going to be accountable for whether we always ate “clean” or not.  We aren’t going to be accountable for having the most beautiful planner or checked off to-do list or creative soccer team snacks. 

Did you love your neighbor.  Did you honor Me above all else.  Did you give generously.  Did you help where you could.  Did you take care of what I gave you to take care of.  And these, not as a means of salvation, but as a measure of the power of grace in us.  Christ in us.  Come follow Me. 

So what in the world does grace and Christ in us have to do with cleaning systems and freezer meals??  Well, even Jesus had to eat.  Even Lydia had to go to work.  Peter had in laws.  Just because we care deeply about the spiritual doesn’t mean we don’t care deeply about the physical #gnosticismprobs #worldviewstuff.  In fact, the way we jump in on God’s mission is often VERY physical, which brings us to the idea of method.

God’s restoration of relationships (to Him, to others, to ourselves, and even to naturrrrre) is weird.  If I were Him, I would have just said, OK, POOF, NOW EVERYTHING IS RESTORED!  But I’m not God, and we’re should all be very glad.  The way God restores things is by the power of the finished work of Jesus and the continued work of the Spirit.  But what that LOOKS LIKE is PEOPLE DOING STUFF.  All kinds of stuff.  Their stuff.

 

  Stuff they’ve been called to do.  (Career stuff and non-career stuff)  Stuff like building amazing safe bridges and giving malaria shots and doing PTSD counseling.  Stuff like bringing dinner to new neighbors and talking kids through being chosen last for kickball.  Stuff like making bouquets for weddings and writing poetry that makes people cry.  Stuff like calling people out when they’re headed the wrong way and telling the truth about the amazing gifts people have just waiting to be developed. 

 

Well, it’s pretty hard to be a good bridge builder if you never eat lunch because you forget to meal plan.  You could be the best counselor ever, but your patients are going to suffer if you can’t keep their schedules organized.  You might really want to feed the neighborhood, but you can’t afford to bring people dinner if your budget is a jungle.  Methods were made to serve your call to the mission, not the reverse.  Winning at life management does not matter unless it opens up space for grace to work in you.    

So.  Use the planner.  Put all your salads in mason jars for the week.  Encapsulate your wardrobe.  Listen to all the podcasts about effective time management.  Go for it.  There is nothing wrong with having finely tuned methods.  I’m working on them in my own life.  But remember.  The frame is for the Mona Lisa.  The road is for Yosemite.  The methods are for the mission. 

Love you,

Casie

 

The Five Date Rule: Part 2

Hey guys,

My other post, The Five Date Rule has gotten very mixed reviews.  I’ve been doing some mulling, and I think I owe you a Part 2. I’ll get to the mixed reviews in a bit, but let me get a running start.

Just a refresher, in case you haven’t read the original post

The Five Date Rule says: Unless the person exhibits absolute deal breakers, you should give them five dates to figure out if there is a possibility of developing chemistry.

I also talk about having chemistry with someone and the fallacy of “You’ll Just Know”, but the practical application is The Five Date Rule. Part 1 was primarily autobiographical. I talked about my own experience dating Nate the Great, and how I sort of happened upon The Five Date Rule…okay, how my mom happened me onto it(?) Haha.

Dates 1-4 ranged from awkward to nice-but-forgettable. Date 5 was not altogether different in form – we went to a place, watched a thing, talked about some stuff, EXCEPT THAT, on Date 5, he sang me a song. This was no ordinary song. This was a Nate song. It went something like this: Me and Casie walking down the street do dah do dah do la de dah. I thought it was hilarious and endearing, and in that moment I knew I wanted to keep going on dates.

This is not the same thing as knowing that a person is “THE ONE” (that’s something else entirely). This is, “OK, I want to keep dating this person.” It took approximately 12 HOURS together over a couple of weeks for me to even decide that dating Nate was probably an OK idea.

At this point, if you’re still reading, you might be thinking – that’s great for you, married blogger person. That’s great that you have this happy little ending where you found this amazing guy who sang you a funny song and turned you on, and you got married and had a kid blah blah blah. BUT HELLO, WHAT ABOUT ME? I AM STILL SINGLE OVER HERE!

Well, single person who doesn’t want to be single anymore?  At the risk of oversimplifying a complex, very personal situation in your life, maybe you should start dating.  Maybe you should start dating and following The Five Date Rule.  This is usually the part where people start fidgeting nervously, rolling their eyes, and objecting.  OK, to be fair, this is going to require some chutzpah, some gusto, and probably some out-of-your-comfort-zone venturing.  I want to be up front with you, so let’s get it all out and take a look at some of these objections.

7 Objections to The Five Date Rule

1. What if I’m not attracted to them?

People usually get hotter (or nott-er?) the longer you know them. Let me just tell you, over the course of our relationship Nate’s attractiveness has gone from a “yeah, he’s ok looking” to “omg why am I even at Target when I could be in bed with you?” Attraction (usually) starts with the physical, because it’s the first thing you interact with. The more you get to know the other person, the more there is to be attracted to. Long story short, I wouldn’t be surprised if you weren’t “attracted to them” on a first date. Not a reason to quit.

2. What if it’s a bad first date?

Define “bad”. Like, he lost his temper at you, swore at you, or was checking out other girls bad? OK, yeah, no more dates for that guy – that falls under the “absolute deal breakers clause”. If you just mean bad like typical first date awkward bad? That’s what a first date usually is. Not a reason to quit.

3. What if it makes me uncomfortable?

It probably will. Not a reason to quit. 

4. What if I’m scared?

You probably will be. Not a reason to quit.

5. What if I don’t like getting close to people?

Better get used to it. Not a reason to quit.

6. What if I don’t have time?

You have time. Not a reason to quit. 

7. What if he doesn’t fit my preconceived notion of the perfect man? 

You are not 8 years old. Not a reason to quit.

People. Relationships are HARD. They’re also incredibly rewarding, fulfilling, FUN, encouraging, and growth-inducing. This goes for any relationship. You might be scared of being vulnerable because you’ve dated a dirt-bag and gotten hurt. You might be worried it’ll be a waste of your time to go on five dates, and you’ll just end up back where you were before. You might have standards that no actual human being can live up to.

Confession time here, I dated great guys, am married to a great guy, and I STILL HATE BEING VULNERABLE. Sometimes being married makes me uncomfortable because I don’t know how to handle a situation or we don’t agree or sometimes I have weird preconceived notions of how things should be. Sometimes Nate the Great, one of the best and most gracious men I have ever met, hurts me.

The question really is, then, is it worth it? Is being uncomfortable worth it? Is dealing with your insecurity and fear worth it? Is being hurt worth it? Is the hard work worth it?  In a word, HECKYES.

 

The Five Date Rule is not some means to an end to get yourself married. The Five Date Rule is about taking yourself and your desires seriously. It’s about challenging your preconceived ideas attached to dating and maybe challenging yourself to deal with some fears and insecurities.

[Because they don’t just magically disappear when you get married!]

So, the mixed reviews I mentioned earlier?

The married people said – YES, THIS IS SPOT ON.

The single people said – THIS IS CRAZY AND HARD, AND I DON’T LIKE IT.

They’re both right.

I will leave you with some words from my very favorite author – C.S. Lewis, who knew a thing or two about love.

“There is no safe investment. To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything, and your heart will certainly be wrung and possibly be broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact, you must give your heart to no one, not even to an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements; lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket – safe, dark, motionless, airless – it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. The alternative to tragedy, or at least to the risk of tragedy, is damnation. The only place outside Heaven where you can be perfectly safe from all the dangers and perturbations of love is Hell.”

 

Love ya, mean it,

Casie

10 Mom Lies of #MomLife

 

My husband acing fatherhood

Well folks, she’s here.  Our sweet surprise (ok, really our holy crap why is this happening what are we going to do) Baby Sunshine arrived at the end of July.  She was so excited to meet us, she came a day before her due date with 3 1/2 hours of labor.  THAT was an experience.  Thankfully, she arrived safely and without a hitch.  We were home eating pizza on the couch 4 hours later (our birthing center experience was AMAZING).  There I was, euphorically launched into #MomLife, staring starry-eyed at a little face that kind of looks like me (ok, mostly like her dad, but a little like me). 

The funny thing about #MomLife so far is the being spit up on, getting up at weird hours, being responsible for KEEPING A PERSON ALIVE, etc., is not the hardest part.  Those are just things you do.  You love that little person so crazy much, you get up at 4am, even if you don’t really want to.  The hardest part of #MomLife is believing truth about it and not giving into the #MomLies that sneak in and try to get you.

9 Mom Lies that are out to get you

Chilling with my other new mom friends I met through our birthing center

#1. You are enough. 

You are not enough to handle this alone.  When moms talk about finding your tribe, they aren’t going hippie weird on you.  Probably if you were stranded on a desert island with your newborn, you could take care of her all by yourself.  I don’t know how you’d get stranded on an island with a newborn, nor would I recommend it.  Aside from the rigorous workload a newborn can bring to your life, there’s an emotional roller coaster of hormones, expectations, fears, and doubts that can leave you feeling a little woozy.  Don’t you dare try to navigate that mess by yourself.  If you don’t have good people, find some.  Join a moms support group or take a prenatal exercise class or post on a Facebook moms message board.  Don’t believe the lie that you can handle this on your own.

#2. You are not enough. 

I know, I just told you that you can’t do this by yourself and you need a tribe.  Yes.  Also, some days you will feel like you cannot do this, you’re going to die from lack of sleep, and if you smell like spit up for one more minute, you’re going to lose your mind.  Momming is HARD.  You are doing a HARD THING.  You can do it, and you are doing it.  Don’t believe the lie that you are not going to make it. 

#3. You need all the things.

Don’t get me wrong, gear is great and headbands are heavenly, but you don’t need all the things.  Probably you should go unfollow all the Instagram designers of baby graphic onesies and tiny headbands and mini moccasins, etc. etc. because it’ll mostly make you discontent with what you have.  Here’s a weird thing I’ve noticed about babies.  They have no concept of status.  Your baby does not care if he’s riding around in a Solly baby wrap or a Baby Bjorn carrier or an open backpack.  Your baby does not care if she’s riding around in the gazillion dollar stroller that has a built in phone charger or on a blanket in a red wagon.  Don’t believe the lie that you need all the things.

#4. You can do all the things.

Take it from a busy, go-getting, do-all-the-things kind of girl, YOU CANNOT DO ALL THE THINGS.  I am bumping up against this boundary right now, and it is driving me crazy.  I have this picture in my head of the ideal wife and mom who gets everything done on her list and always looks amazing.  Well, let me tell you, there are piles of laundry waiting to be folded on my couch, we ate sandwiches the other night for dinner, and I still haven’t written some of my baby shower thank you notes!  I assume you eventually find a rhythm and your kids get big enough to help with cleanup, but for now, I have to be content that my little family is fed and the house will get cleaned when I have a spare minute.  Do what you can when you can, but know that you’re creating a whole new normal.  Don’t believe the lie that you can do all the things.

#5. You being a mom is the only thing that matters.

Don’t get me wrong, being a mom matters BIG TIME, and we’ll get to that in #6.  I probably don’t have to tell you, but Baby Sunshine is the cutest baby I’ve ever seen.  Ever.  Ever.  She also takes a lot of work, and likes to spit up on everyyyything.  Baby Sunshine is super important, but if I thought that being her mom was the main thing, I would be wrong.  Our kids benefit when we have our priorities in order, when we put God first, when our marriages are healthy, and when they don’t get to thinking they’re the center of the universe. Don’t believe the lie that being a mom is your single, solitary identity. 

#6. You being a mom is insignificant.

All that white stuff? Spit up. Yeah, super glam.

Sometimes, you can get a little bogged down in wiping poop off of everything, fighting for time to do your makeup and trying to make parenting decisions.  When I was on maternity leave, my husband would come home and ask how my day was and what I did.  Saying, “Well, I fed the baby, and changed the baby, and managed to get some clothes on myself and feed myself” felt a little flat.  I didn’t close any big deals, didn’t run 5 miles or have a deep conversation over coffee.  But hey, I kept this small person alive when they couldn’t do it themselves.  I taught them a small lesson in what love feels like and maybe planted a seed of kindness that will some day grow into a kind person.  Don’t believe the lie that you being a mom is insignificant. 

#7. You should be momming at someone else’s pace.

Have you ever seen that movie What to Expect When You’re Expecting?  The title in itself is kind of a joke because no two pregnancies, moms, or babies are the same.  Pretty much the only thing you can really expect is you absolutely will not give birth to a giraffe.  Other than that, everything is kind of up in the air.  This doesn’t change once the baby is born.  Some moms heal quickly and are back to working out right after their 6 week appointment.  Some moms don’t leave the house for a few months because they just don’t feel ready to navigate the world with a newborn.  Some moms don’t have any issues with post-partum depression.  Some get hit really hard and it takes a little while for things to even back out.  The only thing you should be doing is momming at your own pace.  Don’t feel bad if you’re totally fine with leaving your baby with your mom while you run to Target.  On the flip side, don’t feel bad if it takes you a couple months to feel confident taking your mini out.  Don’t believe the lie that you should be momming at someone else’s pace.

#8. You will be stuck in this phase FOR.E.VER.

Not sure how my baby is SO BIG already

I can’t really imagine Baby Sunshine walking around and telling me about her college application essays.  It doesn’t seem possible that this small person will ever grow up that big and learn to walk and read and have best friends.  This phase of diapers and slobber and waking up at 4am won’t last forever.  Some day I might even miss those 4am snuggles and finding mysterious stains on the front of my shirt.  Every phase has a fun part and a hard part.  Don’t believe the lie that you will be stuck in this phase forever.

#9. You are choosing the wrong method.

As soon as you get pregnant, you are plunged into a world governed by methods.  Oh, are you using the Bradley Method?  Hypnobirthing Method?  Lamaze Method?  Eh, nope, I’m just going to keep calm and push that baby out.  Is that a method?  Once the baby is born, it’s are you using The Happiest Baby on the Block?  Babywise?  Attachment Parenting?  Are you Co-Sleeping?  C.I.O?  Nope, I’m doing Baby Sunshine parenting, but thanks for asking.  Glory, there are more methods than you can shake a stick at, and each one seems to have articles and testimonials and someone with a Ph.D. behind it.  Inevitably, you will feel like you’re choosing the “wrong” method.  Your job as a parent is to do your research, know your kid, and make the best decision you can for your family.  Don’t believe the lie that you are choosing the wrong method. 

#10. You are responsible for how your kids turn out.

This one is really hard.  I would love to think that if my husband and I bring up Baby Sunshine to be a Jesus-loving, creative, adventurous learner, that’s how she’ll turn out.  As it happens, I am only responsible for my parenting, not my child’s, uh, child-ing.  I’ve known successful kids with awful parents, and awful kids with successful parents.  You are accountable for doing your best job parenting, not making sure your kid is popular or successful (or even happy).  Don’t believe the lie that you are responsible for how your kids turn out.

So there you go, moms.  Affirm the truth about #MomLife for yourself and your fellow moms.  Because when you’re sleep deprived, things get muddled, including the reason that smelling like spit up is so worth it.  Our little people need us.   

When God Calls Your Bluff… and You Get Pregnant

Lift my heart and my hands to show my love…

Lead me to the cross, where Your love poured out, bring me to my knees, God, I lay me down…

The God of angel armies is always by my side…

Your name is higher than the rising sun…

I love some good worship.  It has always been a place where I felt close to God, mildly articulate toward Him because of the lyrics, and focused on what’s important.  Our church is blessed with an amazing team who loves Jesus and wants to see people love Him through music.  So great, right?  Sure, except when God decides to call your bluff. 

Not for one second would I support the idea that God is a distant, cranIMG_0329ky deity lying in wait for us to mess up so He can do some smiting.  However, I would whole heartedly support the idea that our God likes to bring us into growth by presenting us with the opportunity of challenging circumstances. 

You really want to show your love?  Ok.

You really want to be near the cross on your knees?  Ok.

You really want to know that I’m the God of angel armies?  Ok.

You really want to understand how high my name is?  Ok.

Hang on to your pantalones. 

IMG_9965This happened to me on November 24, 2015.  There I was, minding my own business, two and a half months into marriage.  Things weren’t quite on schedule, so, per my friend Liz’s advice, I took a pregnancy test.  Positive.  Waited a couple days.  Took another one.  Positive.  Waited a couple days.  Took  another one.  Positive.  I was beginning to think that extra line wasn’t going anywhere. 

I’m going to get real honest.  Ready?

HELLO.  This was our two year plan, not our two month plan.  I was just barely figuring out this wife stuff, now I had to figure out mom stuff too?  How were we going to figure out job stuff?  I had just planned a wedding, and now I had to plan for a human?

Needless to say, God and I had some very heated conversations.  I had submitted my life plan proposal for the next couple of years, and it definitely did not include kids.  Of course, eventually we wanted IMG_9559kids, but not yet.  I was mad at God.  I was scared that this was going to change everything between Nate and I before we were ready.  I was disappointed that we wouldn’t get to go on our honeymoon this summer as planned.  I was even a little embarrassed that we hadn’t waited the prescribed “couple of years” before getting pregnant.  I was disoriented because this wasn’t how my life was supposed to go.  I was ashamed that I had wanted to be a mom my whole life, and now that I was, I was more stressed than excited.

Oh, I talked a big game.  I sang a big game.  But this little foray into parenthood revealed where my faith really was.  Fast forward a few months.  I’ve made some progress, physical and emotional.  Baby Sunshine, according to my pregnancy app is a whopping 12 inches long, and she’s testing all the boundaries (at least my internal ones).  I think she got the hiccups the other day.  We’ve gotten to see her twice on the ultrasound, and it’s the best thing in the world.  I’ve heard people say having a baby is like falling in love with someone you’ve never met, and now I know what they mean. 

IMG_0529Yep, still scared of how this is going to drastically change our lives.  Yep, still disappointed about having to reschedule our two week jaunt in Europe.  But.  I have felt God’s patient love poured out on me while I was on my knees.  I know that He doesn’t make mistakes, and His timing is perfect.  I know that for some reason, this baby girl has a purpose that is time sensitive, and so she needed to be born this year.  I’ve seen Nate take care of me with an extra level of concern that I hadn’t experienced before. 

IMG_0429So, you’re going to sing those songs and talk a big game?  Great.  Get ready for the ride of your life.  He will be near.  He will be compassionate.  He won’t smite you for having heated conversations full of doubts while in the shower.  And He will love you relentlessly through things that will cause you to grow. 

Much love,

Casie

Chemistry, Knowing and the Five Date Rule

Valentines

Chocolate and champagne and Valentines aside, can we talk about your love life, or lack thereof for a second?  I realize you go from perfectly content being single to crying through chick flicks wishing you could be that girl.  Been there, cried that.  And if it hadn’t been for a little advice from my mom, I might still be happily/angrily/adventurously single. 

Australia

Make no mistake – I lived it up being single.  I did a lot of things, built a lot of relationships and enjoyed being able to do whatever the heck I wanted.  All along I wanted to get married, but it just wasn’t happening.  All that changed when I met Nate.  Of course, I didn’t know it was going to change, and if I’d had my way, I would have gone right back to being single.  See, I had subscribed to a common assumption known as The Law of Chemistry

The Law of Chemistry says: When you go on “the right” first date, you will experience all kinds of physical and emotional phenomena including but not limited to sweaty palms, heart palpitations, and overwhelming feelings of bliss.

Student performing lab experiment

I’m not sure how much you know about chemistry, but probably you know enough to acknowledge it’s complicated.  Chemistry takes time to master.  (We have way more now than we did on our first date.)  Sure, there are a few people who can walk into a Chem class and pick it up easily.  Likewise, there are a few people who could have date chemistry with anyone.  But that’s not normal.

Latte-Art-Heart

After our first date, I was ready to call it quits (sorry, babe!).  There was nothing wrong with him, but I wasn’t having heart palpitations either.  It was a blind date at a coffee shop not far from my house.  We talked for a couple hours (but not 4 or 8 or something outrageous), and it was just ok.  I told my mom afterwards that it was fine, but that I thought I would Just Know, which brings me to my next assumption, The Law of You’ll Just Know.

The Law of You’ll Just Know says: Humans can predict the future.  In the case of love and relationships, if they’re The One, You’ll Just Know.  Of course, this is preposterous, and I don’t think I have to explain why.

Thankfully, my mom told me off and said I was being dumb.  (She actually said that.)  Of course I couldn’t know if he was the one or not after just one date!  She said I had to give him at least three or four dates before I could decide.  We already had our second date planned because the friends who set us up wanted to go on a country dancing double date.  Dancing with Nate was definitely a good experience.  There were no deep conversations, no intimate revelations, we just had a great time.  Dates 3 and 4 were also fine.  Maybe a little more chemistry, still fun, nothing too serious.

date 5
Our first photo together!

Then, there was Date 5, the turning point.  Nate got us tickets to a baseball game, and insisted on picking me up, since he’s awesome and old-school like that.  We weren’t on the KissCam; we didn’t catch a fly ball (though they were great seats), and he didn’t say a bunch of mushy things.  We were wandering around downtown before the game, and he started singing.  Singing.  Not a song from the radio, not an ode to baseball, a song he just made up about what we were doing – walking down the sidewalk.  And I thought it was the funniest, cutest thing.  He was just being himself, and it was intoxicatingly endearing.  I knew then that it was Nate I liked, not just these cool dates he was planning.

Here’s where my Five Date Rule comes in. 

The Five Date Rule says: Unless the person exhibits absolute deal breakers, you should give them five dates to figure out if there is a possibility of developing chemistry. 

I never would have seen the things I love most about Nate if I hadn’t given him the time to open up and be himself.  I mean, the obvious things about him are fine, but the really endearing things didn’t come out until much later.  Seeing him around his family, meeting some of the people he worked with, and getting to know his friends, I never met anyone who didn’t absolutely love him.  That doesn’t happen on a first date, but probably it should happen before you decide whether you could be together forever with someone. 

woman-checklistSo if you’ve just been out on that first date, reset the expectations and set down the checklist.  You miiiiiight not be able to tell how much he loves Jesus in the first date.  He might not make a good first impression at all – some people just don’t.  The conversation might be awkward.  That’s OK!  First dates are weird and awkward.  If there aren’t any immediate deal breakers (and I mean breakers not preferences) and he asks you out again, say yes!  Obviously, if there are big red flags signaling in semaphore from your date ship, you shouldn’t ignore them.  Use good judgment, but if you don’t feel the Chemistry or you don’t think you Just Know, that doesn’t count.

Happy first dating, and second and third and fourth and fifth dating,

Casie

Marriage Is All the Things and Not Enough

Just Married

I think I’m almost past the stage where people ask how married life is.  Sure, the friends will still ask because they expect a serious answer and the acquaintances will still ask because they have nothing else to ask, but I think the in-between people are done.  It’s just as well.  Saying “OHMYGOSH SO GREAT” over and over is fine, but talking about your marriage like you’re making a comment on the latest Bradley Cooper movie is kind of weird. 

Sure, my marriage is OHMYGOSH SO GREAT.  But it’s also all the other things. 

Marriage is so fun.  And so hard.

Marriage is so easy.  And so complicated.

Marriage is so natural.  And so weird.

Marriage is so intimate.  And so lonely.

Marriage is so simple.  And so confusing.

Attractive couple hiking high up in the mountains of Kauai's Napali Coast on Kalepa Ridge overlooking Kalalau Valley in Hawaii while on vacation.

And on it goes.  Mostly I can just speak from a few months of living it, and a couple decades of watching it, but marriage is just going through all the adventures of life with another person.  And also nothing could be more of an understatement.  It is so comfortingly mundane and universal and at the same time so piercingly personal.  It will give you wings, and it will crush you.  It is the clear drop of water and the rainbow refracted.  Marriage is all the things.  And not enough.

Nate will not (and cannot) be all the things.  I still need my girlfriends and my mentors and my family and most of all my Jesus.  Leave and cleave doesn’t mean ditch all the people everywhere.  It just means your favorite person should be treated like your favorite person.  It is (I think) the most significant earthly relationship there is.  But it is still an earthly relationship – beautiful, jagged, fragile.  My heart still needs Jesus most.  I still need the community of sweet, smart, struggling people we call the Church.  Marriage is all the things.  And not enough. 

girl with stack of books

My marriage is a learning curve.  I even put that in my vows, because I hate learning curves.  I said “I commit to the learning curve.”  I just want to be able to read a few books, study a thing, and go do it.  I don’t want to fail or fumble or flounder.  I just want to do the thing well.  Ok, perfectly.  Even I know you can’t do that in marriage.  How much sweet relish (eww) Nate likes in his egg salad is a learning curve.  How particular he is about (and amazing at) organization is a learning curve.  How he wakes up like it’s Armageddon is a learning curve. 

But you know what else is on this learning curve?  Finding out how hysterically funny my husband is.  Realizing I probably married one of the most patient men on the planet.  Understanding that there are really cool ways that our personalities work together.  Seeing how being married to Nate is going to be one heck of a great adventure. 

So how’s married life? 

OHMYGOSH SO GREAT, and not enough. 

Casie

All The Things This Blog Is Not

Hello!

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After what feels like a long hiatus filled with seating arrangements, catering decisions, moving, and, oh yeah, marrying my favorite man in the whole wide world, I’m back.

I’ve been thinking the blog needed a little growing up, so here we are at thimblefulofocean.  This blog is about telling the truth about life.  It’s about how we get to see just a tiny piece of the whole picture.  It’s about how we can’t contain but a drop of God’s grace.  It’s about how we sometimes settle for walking in a fraction of the faith we’ve been given.

Just so we’re clear, here are a few things thimbleful is not…

This is not a lifestyle blog.  I don’t have a styled living room, a DSLR camera, or stuff I DIY-ed to look like Anthro.  I don’t always have seasonal centerpieces on my (admittedly) awesome dining table that my husband found on Craigslist.  If you open my laundry, uh, corner in our semi-awkward second bathroom, you will not find bins with chalkboard labels announcing the contents of whatever people put in their laundry rooms in their labeled bins.  You will just find laundry.  If you’re looking for how to make your house look like Real Simple, probably they have a blog for that.

 

This is not a fashion blog.  I leave that to experts like The Girls with Glasses  The people who know me well would probably snicker at the idea of me having a fashion blog.  I like to shop, and I like beautiful things, but I don’t wear enough florals to The Girls with Glassesbe boho, enough neon to be edgy, or enough flannel to be hipster.  I wear what’s in my closet, which is, like, I don’t know, clothes?  My cowboy boots and cardigans and sometimes my tulle skirt from my friend Liz.

 

This is not an I’m-a-cute-wife-or-a-cute-mom blog.  I mean, I’m sure my someday family will be aTop Mom Blogsdorable, and I’m sure I’ll be proud of them.  I love my husband and sometimes I will write about how funny and thoughtful he is.  I love to eat, so I might share occasional culinary
(mis)adventures.   But as previously mentioned, I don’t really do cute.  (Aside: Did you know there’s even a mom blog about mom blogs??)

This is not a theology blog.  I love theology, and I love learning about Jesus, and reading insightful authors who have walked with God well, but this is not a theology blog.  I’m not going to attempt to give you a date for the Second Coming.  I’m not going to translate Galatians from the Greek and tell you why the passive verbs are super important (but really, they are).  I’m not going to write spiritual gift quizzes.  There are other people who already have that stuff wired.

This is a tell-the-truth-about-life blog.  I might take a non-DSLR picture of my aforementioned dining table and talk about how ho
sting a dinner party is less about what kind of cheese you’re buying and more about your commitment to community.  I might IMG_9932write about my obsession with denim and tulle and boots.  I might tell you the truth about how my husband is a Romantic but not necessarily romantic, and how that’s ok.  I might talk about how my prayer life has ebbed and flowed and how right now it’s more ebb than flow.

But I’m not committing to just writing about one of those things.  Sorry.  Can’t.

I’m really glad you’re here, and I look forward to the adventures we will meet together,

Casie