Saturday, March 29, 2014

The big deal about the Noah movie.

So I just got home from seeing the newest Bible story turned Hollywood blockbuster, Noah.
I swore up and down that I was not going to get so emotionally invested in this film that I felt the need to write a blog post, or even a super long Facebook status.
But hey - here we are.
Disclaimer: this is NOT a review of the movie, by any means. It is only my takeaway, from a faith-based viewpoint. In all, I did not deem it worthy of the harsh critiques and the so-called controversy. Read on to see why.

For the first time in, well, ever, I sat through this movie wishing with all my might that I could've brought a notebook and pen to the theater so I could take down notes as I watched. The theater wasn't all that crowded, so I pushed my shame aside, turned down the brightness on my phone and typed up my notes.

What can I say about this film, from an artistic point of view? For starters, you should know that I am a fan of Darren Aronofsky's prior work. Requiem for a Dream is a sobering (ha!) tale of addiction, Black Swan delves into the psychologically dark side of obsession, and then there's Pi, which I fell asleep during so I can't tell ya anything about it.
But what can I not say, really?! It was beautiful. Breathtaking. Stunning. Visually, it gets 5 stars from me. I had trouble looking away. And let's be honest, 30 minutes in to the nearly 2.5 hour film and I realize I really need to pee. But the movie was just SO captivating that I held it the entire time! ENTIRE TIME!
There were a few moments where I was left absolutely in awe. I'll note a few here:
- The recounting of the creation of the heavens and earth; it was reminiscent of science-based theories, I'll be honest, but it was beautiful to watch. The formation of the solar systems, of the planets and the land and seas - it was incredible.
- All of the flashbacks of the first sin (and the subsequent sins thereafter). Darren Aronofsky has a habit in his films of doing quick flashes of takes - in Requiem for a Dream, it would be quick flashes of drug making. In this instance, it was of the snake, the apple, and Cain killing Able. This happened multiple times throughout the film, mostly when Noah was reminded of the evil that was in the world and why God chose him to fulfill this plan.
- When the final "Watcher" ascends into the heavens (if you see the movie, you'll understand this, but I'm not going to elaborate any further than that..), the shot expands to a view of the entire Earth from space. It's not the normal view of Earth we usually see, but of an Earth completely covered in clouds and storms - that's when you know, the flood is really happening. Even the guy beside me broke the complete silence that filled the theater to say what everyone was thinking, "....wow."

Aside from the artistic, there are MANY theological wins for this movie.
At this point, I figure most of you know that the film is not 100% Biblically accurate, nor was it made by a Christian; in many interviews the director has even said that it wasn't his aim to make a Biblical movie. BUT I won't get into the actual controversy that surrounds it, because that is absolutely pointless - it's a movie based off a Bible story; of course they took artistic license! Of course they embellished it! Why do you think they wouldn't?

My main takeaway from this film was anything BUT the controversy of it not being a Biblically accurate account of the story of Noah.
I saw it as a beautiful, encouraging story of faith. An incredible story of God's judgement and wrath - but also of His unending love, grace and mercy. I saw it as a painful account of the evil that is in this world, evil that will always exist - but that there is always hope for a new and better life. Just as the flood represents death and God's judgement on the human race, the dove bringing back that promise of land - it represents our death of evil, and hope for peace.

I was telling my mom about the movie shortly after exiting the theater. I told her the the controversy was, well, stupid and unworthy of that type of discussion. The REAL discussion that needs to be had is being completely avoided!
For me, I walked out of the theater completely refreshed - this film was a breath of fresh air, compared to all the Christian movies I've seen lately.
All my life, I've known the story of Noah. As a child, this is pretty much a mandatory story to know! But - as children - we are given glossed over, animated versions of the tale. We are taught that Noah built a really big boat, put 2 of each animal on the boat, and then after a whole bunch of days, land appeared and there was a really pretty rainbow. ....And that's about it.
That version of the story has followed me into adulthood. I'll be honest, since childhood, I haven't given the story of Noah much thought. Don't get me wrong - I've read it plenty of times since grade school, but I never put forth any effort into truly understanding it as a whole because of how it's taught to us as children. For me, it was always a happy, brightly colored story of saving animals.

But after seeing this movie? I can no longer look at it the same way, and I'm SO grateful for that. It was an intense and emotional film for me - I was finally realizing the depth of the story. A story that has been glossed over my entire life was coming full circle. God sent a crushing storm to kill off the human race! This is beyond terrifying! We are not taught this as children, for good reason - but at some point, when will stop looking at it simply as a save-the-animals tale.
But amongst the terror of all the death surrounding the ark, we see that God is providing for Noah and his family. It reminds us of God's grace and His love for us. When all of his family thought that the flood meant it was the end of everything, Noah would alway remind them that it was only the beginning... a new beginning. What faith and courage Noah had!
One of my favorite parts of the film is when Ila goes to Noah to tell him to find a new wife for Shem. Ila is barren, and cannot give children to Shem, and does not want to deny him of that. She says to him, "Why would God want to save a barren woman?" To which Noah replies with one of the best lines of the film:
"When I first took you in, I thought you would be a burden. 
But you are a gift. Never forget that you are precious, precious gift." 
I don't know about you, but when I heard that, I couldn't help but think of the immense love that God has for me. He doesn't see me as a screw up, as a sinner, as a burden. God sees me as a gift, a woman that He made in His own image! 


There are a few minor controversies I'll touch on though -
The use of the word "God" was only used once, if I heard correctly. Otherwise, the word "Creator" was used. Excuse me if I'm just totally wrong here but.... what's wrong with calling God "Creator" and only that? Sure, I'm sure their intent when using the word creator was to avoid stepping on toes and being politically correct. But.... isn't that was God is? The ultimate Creator of this world? The Creator of life and everything on this planet? I felt it was an extremely reverent word to use - I did not feel it was even worthy of being controversial.
Also being picked apart was the save the Earth tone of the film. Maybe I'm just too hippy-dippy for everyone else, but I absolutely LOVED this aspect. I don't know what to say other than the fact that Noah saved all the animals! I bet he would've recycled, too. ;)
Near the end of the film, Noah was portrayed a crazy drunk. I do not disagree with portraying him this way, although I can see why some would. The entire premise of the story is to display the faith that a mere human had for the ultimate plan of God. It is an incredible story of faith, I do not discount that. But imagine the burden that Noah must've felt - imagine the hardship he encountered when having to save just his family, and letting everyone else die? I don't know - this film gave these characters real emotions, real reactions, real heartache. The way Noah dealt with this burden once off the ark seemed so raw, and so real. I was incredibly impressed.
The lesson of this movie goes so much more beyond whether or not it's 100% accurate to the Bible. It is so much more than that, and if you can't see that, you need to watch it again and open your eyes to this story. For the first time in my adulthood, the Noah story felt real. And if an atheist directing a film based on the Bible can do this for a lifelong Christian, I have no doubt in the power of this film for believers and non-believers alike.
If you are a Christian and considering passing up this film because it was made by an Atheist, or because it took artistic license and isn't 100% Biblically accurate -- I beg you to reconsider. It's a movie based on a familiar Bible story; a movie with characters that were real, characters that God spoke to! Characters that directly helped God in a plan to restore the world. I don't know why you wouldn't want to see that!


...Or you could just go see Divergent, a movie about an evil government in a dystopian world, with absolutely no Biblical base whatsoever.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Some days I absolutely love the idea of having blog. I love having a place to share my thoughts, happenings in my life, and connect with others. 
I love having a virtual memory book of sorts to go back through and read years down the road. Just today, I took a little stroll through my very first blog on WordPress and was ashamed at the amount of over sharing going on. But it was a blog I started at age 16, and treated it as a (fairly public) journal. 

And now, nearly 7 years later, I'm starting to realize how keeping a blog has shaped me as a person. Having kept it for the majority of my high school years, and throughout the first few years of college - readers who have stuck with me through the long haul have seen me go through bouts of depression, adventures in dating, adventures in major heartbreak and a big leap into newlywed life. 
Having a blog has allowed me to write down my feelings, events - big and small - in my life. 

But now. 
Now, I don't know what to make of this space anymore. 
It's just not me. It's not what I want to do anymore, no matter how much I love this little big community. 
Over the years, the feel of blogging has shifted entirely. To me, it has shifted in a negative way. More and more are jumping into an over-saturated pool of uniqueness and quirky girls with picture perfect lives. 
I think it's that pressure to keep up appearances, so to say, has left me drained. My blog has never been one to display my perfect life, or to display myself as something that I am so clearly not. 

So it is here that I bid farewell to this space, shutter the windows, and lock the doors. 
I've loved having this spot to share my life for the past 6+ years, and maybe this isn't really the end, but merely an extended vacation. Who really knows?
But for now, we're gonna call it quits for a while. 
Thank you for your love and support over the years. You all have truly been wonderful to me. As always, I love (love, love) to chat so if you ever wanna talk, drop me an email and we'll talk. Follow me on Instagram or Twitter! Keep in touch. <3

xo Haley

you can email me at ehaleytyson (at) gmail (dot) com. xo.

Friday, March 14, 2014

03 // a playlist

A photo of my cat just for good measure.

Hey! March is officially halfway over and I'm finally getting around to making my March playlist! I don't know about you, but March has been absolutely nuts so far. All it's been is busy, busy, busy.
Today is my third day in a row of 14 hour work days... can I just say, I'm absolutely exhausted! Kids are tough business, I'll tell ya that.
Also, speaking of kids. Everyone is having babies (literally, everyone. In real life, in blog land, everyone) and it's not okay. Baby fever is impossible to live with.
ANYWAY. Here's the March playlist. Currently it's only available on Spotify, but if I get some more time I'll update this post with the Grooveshark playlist, as well.
It's a big old mix of everything that I've been listening to (a lot) lately. A few favorites from this month's rotation is Far From Any Road by the Handsome Family (it's the theme song from HBO's True Detective) and Drunk On Love by Rihanna. Okay, so Drunk On Love is my JAM. Intro by The XX is sampled for this song and it's kind of silly but Blake and I love it - we listen to it at least twice every time we are in the car.
Enjoy! (and happy Friday!)

xo Haley


Monday, March 10, 2014

10/52


01 / / So last week I said, "I'm not going to go a week without blogging again!" And what do I do? I go an entire week without even thinking of blogging. I mean, it's not a bad thing. This isn't my job or anything, so I'm not beating myself up for it too much. But still!

02 / / I saw Mr. Peabody and Sherman on Sunday. It was cute. I watch too many kid movies. That is all.

03 / / Wednesday will mark 2 full weeks of Weight Watchers (omg, I can't. I sound like an old person). Last week, I did really well, most likely because I just didn't want to waste any of the money I threw at WW. I ended up losing around 3.5 pounds (I'm not exactly sure of the actual amount because I got my starting weight wrong and I can't figure out how to change it!). I was so excited about losing nearly 4 pounds in one week that I started out the next week on a good foot.. until this weekend happened. And I ate pizza. And Chinese food. And Fruit Gushers. I'm trying not to beat myself up about it because I can always just start fresh the next day and make better choices. But yeesh. It's hard not to focus on the bad choices I make!

04 / / That's all I've got. Have a good week! See you soon!

xo Haley

Sunday, March 2, 2014

9/52

01 / / It's been an entire week since I posted here! What in the what. Trying to not let that happen very often, because I truly love popping in here often and just writing. Buuuut. I've been writing every day anyway (attempting to write a "book", ya know), so I guess it doesn't matter where I write, as long as I'm writing..?

02 / / I've been following the Weight Watchers plan lately - not so much to lose weight but to instill healthier eating habits for myself. Lately I've noticed myself snacking so much during the day and I was snacking on a ton of junk. So, losing weight would be a fantastic side effect (because duh) but I'm trying to not make that my main focus.

03 / / Speaking of Weight Watchers! Church was cancelled so we had the morning to just kind of lay around and do nothing, so we decided to make waffles with our Mickey Mouse waffle iron (the best wedding gift!). We found a good WW recipe, so all in all - fruit, whipped cream, everything - this meal was around 8 points. Not bad for a seemingly indulgent breakfast! We are planning on homemade tostadas for lunch and my dad's chicken noodle soup recipe for dinner (which, I added up everything, and a 1-cup serving of the soup is 5 points, in case you were wondering). Yum! So much good food on this snowy day at home!

04 / / I'm sorting through my clothes and am going to MAJORLY overhaul my closet. I'm looking to get rid of a BUNCH of stuff (my closet is filled to the brim, to the point where clean clothes sit in the basket until I am ready to wear them because there's no room to hang them up!). SO if you live in the area, or are interested in an IG sale (even though, UGH, I hate those things), let me know and I'll send some clothes your way! (I know Jess wants to dig through my stash! ;) )

05 / / My March playlist is coming soon! It's a big mix of everything that I've been listening to, new and old. I'm excited about it! <3

Happy Sunday! Stay safe and warm in this snowy weather!
xo Haley

Sunday, February 23, 2014

8/52

01 / / This weekend has been rather refreshing. I spent it at a little bed and breakfast (it's a 40 minute drive from my apartment, so it's juuust far enough away feel like I'm 'away'). We've crafted pretty much 24/7 and don't even get me started on all the food we've eaten! The guy who runs the B&B works SO hard to create the most perfect dish for each meal. Also, the bed pictured above is incredible and I would take it home if I could.

02 / / I took a mini break from scrapbooking to really relax. I took the longest, hottest bath of my life while I propped my laptop up on the vanity next to the tub and watched Amelie. I sipped on a soda and just let myself chill out for a little while. It was absolutely wonderful. I think I need to do this once a week. Yes.

03 / / Being here makes me want to come back so bad with Blake! We've discussed just doing a weekend away sometime soon since our schedules are so busy throughout the week. We desperately just need to take off from work sometime to just be together. Doing nothing but just hanging out with each other. There are some weeks that just zoom on by and I feel like I've barely spent any time with Blake. It's hard.

04 / / I've been working on a couple of posts, not as personal as my last, but there are still a lot of aspects of sexual purity that I'd like to expand on and really talk about here. Working on it. Slowly but surely.

Happy Sunday!
The weather was so fantastic this past week that I'm dreading the temps being in the 40's this coming week. Spring, are you on your way yet?!

xo H

Thursday, February 20, 2014

The Bachelor & other weird forms of dating

We're all friends here, right?
So I can openly admit to you that I, Haley Tucker, am a die-hard fan of The Bachelor.
I haven't been watching for that long, since Brad's second go around with the match making series. But every since that first episode, I was hooked.
I can't tell you what exactly draws me to the series; maybe it's the drama, the constant battle of 25 girls all vying for the heart of one man? I don't know, but man, I am addicted.
Last night, I was thinking about the reality of this show. How strange of a concept it is.
Charlene (one of my favorite gals of this season) mentioned on Monday night's episode that she felt it was unfair that she took someone's spot and that she waste Juan Pablo's time when she wasn't sure if he was 'the one.' She even said that the past 3 weeks hadn't been enough time to be prepared to accept a proposal.

Think about that.

In three weeks time, she didn't feel ready to get engaged. 

WELL, no kidding, Sherlock!
I want to stand up, applaud and give her the biggest of hugs for saying what everyone is thinking! Over the course of like, what, 8 or 9 weeks, these girls are supposed to fall in love with this guy? A guy they've NEVER met before? I mean, come. on.
And no matter how much I love this show, it will never cease to be absolutely ridiculous that these ladies are 'in love' by the end of filming. It's really no wonder why these relationships never last.

But then I hear "success" stories of those who have found love outside of the world of The Bachelor. Breigh texted me last night with news that Kacie B (a fan favorite of seasons past) recently got engaged to her boyfriend. My heart felt so happy for this girl - a girl who I'd never met and had only witnessed on reality television. You see, Kacie B was on TWO season of this show. First, on Ben's season, where she made it all the way to hometown dates before being let go. Then, she came back (to the surprise of many) during Sean's season, in which he let her go pretty quickly (apparently he only saw her as a 'good friend').
So this young woman goes on a reality show to find love, fails, goes on the same show again a year later and fails yet again.
And then a year after her second attempt, she ends up finding love in her own time, in an organic way, letting everything take it's own course. She even ends up engaged with this man, a person she met in a natural environment, outside of the confines of reality television.

I think that has a lot to say about the nature of this dating show, and of modern dating practices in general.
Women (and even some men!) are in the business of rushing relationships. They work so hard to get to certain milestones in relationships, without savoring the in-between moments that can be just as important as the big steps. And with something as fast paced as The Bachelor, you don't get the chance to date that person, one on one. You don't get the chance to find out what makes them tick, find out their weird quirks, or find out even something simple and mundane like their favorite color. And after the fast paced 3 months of constantly being filmed while attempting to get to know this man at the same time 24 other women are, you get engaged and then have to meet in secret over the course of the next 3 months just to keep the relationship under wraps until your season airs? I can't imagine being able to build a sustainable relationship and foundation for a marriage on this premise. Can you?

But this is the way a lot of relationships are conducted these days. Always rushing, always reaching for the next big goal, the next big milestone. And then we end up married and in a relationship with a person we don't know anything about.

Take for instance the last season of The Bachelorette. Desiree Hartsock was the sweetest gal, but she was obviously head over heels (in lust, not love, mind you) for Brooks. And all of a sudden, he up and left because he wasn't sure about marrying her (good for him, because AGAIN, 9 weeks is not enough time!). She was obviously heartbroken about him leaving, didn't want to continue on the journey, etc. etc. But the next morning, she has some moment of clarity and decides that Chris is the guy for her? Oh PLEASE, girl. We all know you just didn't want to leave the show empty handed (literally, I think all she wanted was a rock on her finger). I find it sad that not only is this true in dating shows such as The Bachelor, but in real life situations. Many girls are dating just to make it to the end goal of marriage.
This isn't what a true, real relationship is about! Why must we hurry love? Why must we be so quick to say "I love you," and so slow to really know a person from the inside out?

And don't get me started on the Fantasy Suite.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

7/52 (a little late)



01 / / I totally dropped the ball on this! I actually, legitimately forgot. In all honesty... I can't even remember what I did Sunday. So uh, that's weird? So this is a photo from last week (that I also posted on IG). Valentine's Day was such a dark, dreary day. But Starbucks was buy one get one, so two lattes cost me $4. And I got back to work to find the most beautiful roses waiting for me! Blake is the most thoughtful guy I know. He sets the bar pretty high! :)

02 / / I'm preparing for my scrapbook 'retreat' this weekend! I've got everything packed up and ready to go. I even bought one of those (cool?) organization craft-tool bags. My mom says I'm "official." I'll be sharing more about their Secret Sister tradition and the gifts I made for my secret sister after this weekend - it's pretty fun! (We had to do 6 gifts for the whole weekend, I'm pretty proud of what I came up with!)

03 / / Our kitty cat has been sleeping in our bed every night for the past few weeks. Always on Mom's side of the bed, never Dad's. WHY, LIFE? WHY.

04 / / So, as you may know, Blake and I booked our Disney Christmas trip (we are going the second week of December.. and we arrive on the day they film the Christmas parade for ABC... are we crazy? Probably.)! We are so excited, we talk about it nonstop! I think out of everything we are most excited about, it's the Magic Bands. Magic Bands are a new piece of technology that Disney has been testing out over the past few months with select guests. I think that it's pretty well out of the testing phase so all guests are able to use them now. But anyway, Magic Bands are little wristbands you wear during your trip that hold ALL of your vacation info - room reservations & room key, dining reservations, tickets into the park, credit card to make purchases... All with the little magnetic strip inside it! All you have to do is scan it, put in your designated PIN number and you're good to go! How crazy is that?!
All in all, we are feeling extremely blessed to be in a place where we are able to go on a trip like this. We have talked and talked about going back to Disney before we have kids, and NO, we are not having kids anytime soon, the opportunity to go back to Disney just came up a lot sooner than we had anticipated. ;)

Happy Wednesday! <3
Haley

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Bad Vibrations




My husband's band, The Midwest Indies, released a brand new song last week! Bad Vibrations is the first of many new songs that they've been recording and it's pretty fantastic. As any proud wife would, I just wanted to share this here! It's available to download through their BandCamp page, and as always - their first album is available through iTunes (& BandCamp) & streaming on Spotify!

xo Haley

Monday, February 17, 2014

Dad's Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup

A few weeks ago, I stayed with my parents for a few nights (their house is the best on snow days!), and I got to try my dad's new recipe for homemade chicken noodle soup. He claims that he made it up, but I'm pretty sure chicken noodle soup is as generic as it gets... ;)  but I thought I'd share the recipe since I made it for Blake a few nights ago! 

Ingredients: 
- 1/3 of a 16 oz package of extra wide egg noodles
- 1/2 cup chopped carrots
- 1/2 cup chopped celery
- 1/2 cup chopped onion (optional)
- 1 chicken bullion cube (optional)
- 2 cans chicken broth
- 1 can of cubed chicken
- 1/2 stick of butter
In a pot, melt half a stick of butter. While that's melting, chop your veggies. When the butter is completely melted, add veggies to the pot and saute until they are soft. 
 Once veggies are soft, add 2 cans of chicken broth. Once the broth is boiling, add the noodles and chicken to the mix. Cover and let cook until noodles are done.
And that. is. it.
Seriously.

It took probably 30 minutes total and is so insanely good. The recipe was more than enough for Blake and I, and left plenty of leftovers. My dad usually doubles the recipe when he makes it to feed the 4 of them in the house and leave leftovers. We've found that on the second day, the leftovers are much creamier than when it's first made and it's almost better that way! To warm it back up as leftovers, I usually add more chicken broth (or water), and heat it up on the stove. And! I think next time I will pick up a rotisserie chicken from the grocery store, instead of the canned chicken. Yum!
It's an amazing, simple, tasty soup. Definitely worth a try when you need a quick dinner!

Happy Monday!
xo Haley


Friday, February 14, 2014

Happy Love Day!

We celebrated the good old Valentine's Day last night! We both have to work today, so we got all fancied up (Blake wore a tie!), and we went out for dinner, cupcakes, and a movie. We fully intended on seeing Vampire Academy (at my request, of course), but ended up browsing the DVD section of Target because we both had a hankering to watch Pitch Perfect. We were home before 9. We are such old folks! ;) 
Outfit details: Jacket - F21// Dress - F21//
Tulle dress (underneath) - Ruche// Tights - Modcloth// Shoes - Charlotte Russe
 Our first married Valentines Day was quite the success. Valentine's Day isn't over yet, though! I think we are going to the local dollar theater to see a scary movie (Princess Bride is also playing, but apparently we are seeing that another time later this month!). ANYWAY. I hope that you are having the most lovely day and I hope that your weekend is even better! In the meantime, here's my "ultimate" break up playlist! (Subscribe on Spotify here) It's just a bunch of silly songs (I hesitated to include Single Ladies but, I mean, Beyonce... you don't pass up Queen B) - and if you need any idea as to how silly it is? It includes two Taylor Swift songs. ;)
Enjoy!
Heart Breaker by Haley Tyson on Grooveshark

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

iPhone Dump.

1. I put together Valentine's surprise boxes for a few sweet gals that I'm pals with on IG. I'm so excited for them to receive them (which will probably arrive AFTER V-Day of course... Ugh, my procrastination skills are killer). 2. We've been saving our monies to go back to Disney World for Christmas this year. Happy to report that our room is now officially booked and we are 100% going - first weekend of December (which is the exact weekend they are filming the Christmas parade. Are we crazy? I think yes). 3. Steak & Shake dates are the best. And their new red velvet milkshake is a big NO. 4. Walt loves the Drive soundtrack. 5. I rearranged our living room (and so happy with it!), but Walt is just so unsure of it. He keeps walking around very slowly like's he's never been in the room before. 6. No caption necessary. Just bask in the cuteness of my cat. ;) 7. Friday night, I made homemade chicken noodle soup (recipe coming soon!), and we watched a totally 90's movie (The Paper - so good!), and then started Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. We must be super old because we both passed out half way through. 8. My scissor necklace is the best thing to wear to work. Jack always takes it (while I'm still wearing it) and holds it to my nose and says "I'm gonna cut your nose off, snip snip snip!!" It's absolutely the most precious thing ever.

Happy Tuesday!

Sunday, February 9, 2014

6/52


01 / / Walt has been extremely photogenic lately. He's pretty much the cutest. And he's oh so lovable!

02 / / I just found Forever 21's Spotify profile and I'm addicted to their Girl Power playlist. (Also. This time two years ago, I was SO skeptical of Spotify - and of paying $10/month for something that was essentially like iTunes in my mind - but holy crap, it is SO worth it. If you haven't, try it out. Asap.)

03 / / My little man (Jack, one of the kids I nanny) & I had the best sleepover last night! His parents were out of town & his sisters were at their own sleepover. So we partied hard by eating lots of popcorn and watching Octonauts all night. PARTY, I tell you!

04 / / I finally found my Valentine's Day "look" for our date night! We are actually having our date the day before, since we will both be working on Valentine's Day, but that's a-okay with us - less crowded restaurants. ;) I do believe that I will have to do a legit outfit post for this one, though. I mean, this outfit is CUTE.

05 / / I've been watching a lot of YouTube videos lately on how to curl my short hair and not look like a total dork. Yesterday I tried curling my hair with a 3/4" curling iron. Chloe told me my hair looked like Molly's fur (Molly is a golden-doodle.....) So maybe I won't be doing that again.

Have a great week, see you soon!
<3

Friday, February 7, 2014

02.

I totally aimed at having this ready at the beginning of this week, but hello procrastination! ;)

ANYWAY. I wanted to share some of the music I've been listening to this month. I love February. With the exception of the snow and ice on the ground & the hideously frigid temperatures outside, I am a big fan of February. Mostly because it's a short month and it contains the best non-holiday ever. I've never been a huge sucker for Valentine's Day, but the past few years I've been ALL about it. It's kinda funny trying to remember what all Blake and I have done on Valentines past, but I struggle to really remember them. I'm hoping that our first married V-Day will be a little more memorable! So, in honor of the month of love, I've compiled some music that keeps me in the mushy, lovey spirit. These are just a few favorites. <3


And that's not all! (I sound like an infomercial...)
Next week I'm sharing my ~*ultimate breakup song playlist. It's a lot of sappy, depressing songs mixed in with a lot of peppy F U type songs. So it's going to be AWESOME.

Enjoy your weekend and see you Sunday!
xo Haley

PS, I couldn't figure out the Grooveshark playlist ( and because I have zero clue how to fix things like this), so here's a link to it!

Sunday, February 2, 2014

5/52


01 / / this is the furbaby, Walt. He enjoys his bed (that is too small; he won't touch his new, big bed), he loves listening to records and watching them spin. He also loves cuddle time with mom while she watches The Bachelor & Dawson's Creek (mama's boy!).  He's a fat little kitty and we love him so.

02 / / it seems to be super bowl Sunday around these parts?! I'm not a sport kinda person, but today I told Blake I was excited for baseball season. I don't know.

03 / / as we speak, I'm fixing up my February playlist to debut tomorrow! I'm also working on a breakup songs playlist, also. Just because.

04 / / I'm finishing up my little Valentines care packages this week and sticking them in the mail this weekend! I'm super excited about these boxes of love! I'll post about it as soon as my ladies receive them!

05 / / Breigh and I roamed the mall yesterday afternoon (well, I pushed her in a wheelchair!) and we went into Aeropostale for the first time in like a million years. I bought a sweater! I could hardly believe how cute it was. I mean, really... sometimes it pays to go in those ugly junior high kid stores. My sweater was only $15!

06 / / what are you listening to? Watching? Reading? Give me all the suggestions.

Happy Sunday! See you tomorrow!

Haley

Friday, January 31, 2014

Currently:

This is an oddly large photo of my face...

Reading A random book I picked up in Barnes and Noble last Sunday called Jesus Feminist by Sarah Bessey. It has the Rachel Held Evans stamp of approval (she wrote the foreword), and I loved Evans' book (A Year of Biblical Womanhood), so I thought I'd give this one a try. So far, loving it. My reading goal this year was to read 5 books, and I was hoping to make those 5 mostly fiction since I tend to lean toward nonfiction, but I couldn't pass this one up. The next one I read will definitely be fiction! (I downloaded both The Fault in Our Stars and Gone Girl, so I just need to decide which to read!)

Watching nothing at the moment, but as soon as Aubrey (one of the other nannies!) finishes her test for one of her classes, we are turning on the American Horror Story: Coven finale! I've been itching to watch it, but haven't had the time. I even looked at a full recap (oops!) so I know what happens. But still!

Anticipating a weekend long Scrapbook Retreat with my mom. I swear, I'm turning into my mom! A few weeks ago I did a 12 hour crop with her and her friends, and now we are all going on a weekend trip JUST to scrapbook! It's a group of around 15 ladies, and they do "Secret Sister" and get gifts for each other throughout the weekend. Yesterday, I started picking up gifts for my Secret Sister, and I'm getting so excited! Such a dork. I am such a dork. 

Listening to a couple of new things, but mostly the new Warpaint album. It is pure GOLD. I love every bit of it. I love all girl bands. Hashtag girl power, y'all! Also working on my February playlist. It's got lots of lovey songs. And of course, a few not so lovey songs. Because breakups make the best song writing material, right T. Swift?!

Eating well, this is embarrassing. I had 40 minutes to spare this morning on my way to work, so I stopped by a couple places to grab some breakfast. I went to Panera and couldn't decide between a danish or a bacon/spinach souffle.... So I got both. And then I went to Mama Jeans (my newest guilty pleasure!) and got some fresh juice. Every time I've gone, I've always gotten the Bloody Mary juice (tomato, celery, parsley, lemon, kale, sea salt & cayenne), but this time I tried the Make Mama Proud (apple, lime, kale, cilantro, cucumber, celery). It's good, but I definitely prefer Bloody Mary.

Working on Project Life! I mean, when am I not, right? But I'm trying to get ahead of myself and work on future pages. Which is hard to do when you don't have photos. But I think working ahead and knowing what kinds of pictures I will need will help out... I don't know. I may just be digging myself a hole and will never actually put photos in it. Who knows.

Wishing for the weekend! But hey! It's Friday, so the weekend is basically here. Here's a Flashback Friday photo just for fun:
Prom! Senior Year! This was before all the crazy tattoos, weird haircuts, and boy, were we skinny! ;)

Also! Update on Breigh: I mentioned this on Instagram a few days ago, but wanted to talk about it a little more here. Breigh was in the hospital all last week for flu/kidney disease stuff, and while she was there she had a seizure. Over Thanksgiving, she received full driving privileges back since she had been seizure free for 6 months. So, after being completely, totally seizure free for nearly  9 months, it was kind of a shock that she had a seizure out of nowhere. They released her (the day before her birthday!), all was well, etc. etc. Then, Sunday night she was admitted again because she started having more seizures, and this time they were longer and more intense. I'm not sure how many seizures she had in all, but it was a LOT. Anyway, late Tuesday night she was released from the hospital, and not only from the hospital, but straight from the Neuro ICU. I talked to Breigh and she says the doctors know that the seizures are not any form of epilepsy, but are most likely stress induced and just start happening when her body is exhausted. They are slowly weaning her off of seizure meds and she's at home recovering. Seriously, this is an answered prayer. She's not out of the woods yet, as I talked to her yesterday and right now she's just living in fear that a seizure will happen at any moment. We are going to get together soon for a girls night. No stress, no drama, just us, some ice cream and Hart of Dixie. Thank you for your kind thoughts and prayers! It's meant the world, not only to Breigh, but to me. You are all the sweetest! <3


Happy Weekend!
xo Haley


Monday, January 27, 2014

Music Monday?

I don't do these sorts of things. Like, ever.
But this? This is an occasion I'll make an exception for. :)

Lana Del Rey is one of my favorites, if not my ~*all time favorite (no joke). Her voice, her overall look... The woman is amazing.
I didn't watch the Grammy's last night, but as soon as I made my daily stop on Facebook this morning, I kept seeing that the new trailer for Maleficent was released and it featured a very well known Disney princess song - sung by my favorite pop princess. I about died.
I had no idea she was contributing music to the film, so this was like heaven on earth for the 1.5 minutes that the trailer lasted.
Apparently there are a lot of people who aren't fans of it (something to do with a lyric change? Plus overall disdain for Lana's music style), but holy crap. It's so good. I think that the original Disney version is perfect the way that it is. It's got a very dreamy-happy feel to it, and that works for the animated nature of the movie. But Lana's version is dark and matches the tone of Maleficent so well. It's the perfect match!




Anyway, have a listen, take a look at the trailer, oogle over the perfection that is Lana Del Rey.
I'll just be sitting here listening to it on repeat.... :)

Happy Monday!
Haley


*** it's available via Google Play for free download now through February 3. If you are an Apple user, all you have to do is set up a "Google Wallet" and you're free to download. After that, you are free to download it to your computer and add to your iTunes library. :)

Sunday, January 26, 2014

4/52


01 / / With our combined work schedules, Blake and I see each other a lot less these days. This week was especially insane, since we both worked a little extra - we didn't have dinner together once this week! So we decided to sleep in and go get a big breakfast this morning. Best decision. I love the time we have to just sit and talk. We don't do a lot of that these days and we so, so should.

02 / / My BFF Cassie is attending the Grammy's tonight! She was asked by her agency to be a seat filler, so when the celebrities get up to accept awards/go pee/etc, she will sit in their seat until they get back. She just sent me the picture of her all done up for tonight... she looks GORGE. My baby girl is all grown up!

03 / / Christmas stuff is officially gone. I (slowly) started putting it all away earlier last week and Blake finally made me do the rest this afternoon. Sigh. I'll miss you, Christmas tree.

04 / / Our poor kitty has had it rough these past few weeks! A few weeks ago, we found out that she's a he. And then he had a bladder infection. And after recovering from that, I think he's got another! I'm feeling like a really bad cat mama right now. :/ On the bright side: he really enjoyed cuddling and watching Dawson's Creek the other night! ;)

***
Tonight's one of those nights that I wish I had television (like, regular channels instead of just our Apple TV). Not only is the Bachelor Sean & Catherine wedding on (!!! I love weddings), but the Grammy's (in which Cassie will be attending, as mentioned) will be on tonight as well! I'm feeling like I'm missing out on a lot! Luckily, I *believe* both will be on our Apple TV to watch tomorrow night.
ANYWAY. I'm going back to cleaning and rearranging furniture. Sunday's are great days, I'm figuring out. 

<3 Haley

Friday, January 24, 2014

girl things.


So, makeup is one of my favorite things. Just the other day, I was in Ulta (HEAVEN ON EARTH) and the lady at the Benefit counter and I were going on and on about how much we love experimenting with different brands.
Mind you, I'm no expert, and very rarely do I actually experiment with makeup techniques. I'm all for trying new brands, new kinds of makeup, but when it comes to what works technique-wise: if it ain't broke, don't try to fix it.
SO. I thought I'd share the contents of my makeup bag(s) and write a little about each product. Like I said: I am not the authority on makeup and I am not even close to being an expert. Half the time I don't look like I'm wearing any at all. So there's that.

Skincare
First off, I have taken horrible care of my skin since day one. I rarely take off my makeup at night, much less wash my face more than once a day when I'm in the shower. So, when my skin started freaking out I decided I needed to take some action and figure it all out. I am a simple gal when it comes to skincare. I have used Cetaphil for the past few years, without much problem other than the occasional PMS breakout. More recently (like two days ago), I switched over to Benefit's skincare line and so far, I'm LOVING it. I initially purchased the Intro Kit, which consists of Foamingly Clean Facial Wash, Refined Finish Facial Polish (used 2-3 times a week, like a face mask), Moisture Prep Toning Lotion, Triple Performing Facial Emulsion (this is SPF 15, I haven't used this yet), It's Potent Eye Cream, and Total Moisture Facial Cream. The full size versions of everything are much more expensive than what I'd rather pay, but I have a feeling it'll be way worth it.

Primers
1. Prime Time Brightening Formula by Bare Minerals. This was a fairly recent purchase, I've only been using it for about 2 months, but I LOVE it. It's much like BM's original Prime Time formula, but it's got a sheerness to it, and it's not a gel-ish as the original.
2. The POREfessional by Benefit. I started using this when I started getting tired of using Bare Minerals. It claims to minimize the appearance of pores, and while I didn't notice a huge difference, my mom said that she could tell a huge difference in the overall look of my makeup. The Porefessional, when used with the Porefessional Agent Zero Shine powder is AMAZING. Plus, the texture of it is so soft!
3. Prime Time Foundation Primer by Bare Minerals. I don't use this one as much anymore, but I keep it around 'just in case'. This one was my old stand by until I was introduced to the Brightening Formula. However, if you don't like the Brightening formula, this is an amazing primer.
4. Clean Slate Poreless 12-hour Perfecting Primer by Tarte. This one I'm iffy on, and I'm glad I received as a free sample. As a "poreless" primer, I most definitely prefer Porefessional; this one doesn't even compare. But I keep it around anyway, another 'just in case' primer.

Face
1. Amazonian Clay 12-hour Full Coverage Foundation by Tarte. Okay, I have to brag on this foundation for a sec. HOLY CRAP, it's good. I have been a faithful user of Bare Minerals for going on 3 years now. This past Thanksgiving, my aunt and I went to a beauty store and she ended up buying this foundation. We all tried it on the next day and, well, I ended up ordering some that night. I have used it every day since then and can't see myself switching to anything else anytime soon. They aren't lying about the full coverage part! It's incredible. I can't recommend this enough. (Also? So worth the price. So worth it.)
2. HD Photogenic Concealer (in green) by NYX. I have only recently started using this, and only use it when I have a lot of redness going on. This works wonders covering red spots, breakouts, etc. I've tried other tinted concealers, and this one is by far the best that I've tried. Plus, it's cheap. Can't beat that!
3. Amazonian Clay 12-hour Waterproof Concealer by Tarte. This concealer (so pricey..ugh) is what I use on the days that I'm not using the NYX concealer. I have a feeling that once I run out of this, I won't buy it again. That's not to say that I don't like it; it actually works very well with the Amazonian clay foundation. It's just got a strange, almost sticky texture that I'm not a fan of.
4. The Buffer Airbrush Finish Bamboo Foundation Brush by Tarte. This brush. This brush. I never imagine using a brush like this with a cream foundation, but oh my stars. When putting on my makeup, I usually put a few swipes of foundation on my skin, then I use this brush to blend it in all over my face. It helps spread out the foundation without having to use a ton of it. This brush is what makes the foundation worth the price!

Face, part two.
1. Color Wheel Mosaic Face Powder by NYC. I originally bought this purely for the highlighter element to it. I was really looking for a bronzer, but I ended up going with this anyway. So far, I'm liking it. It adds a tiny bit of color, and it's extremely subtle, which I love.
2. FIT me blush (in medium mauve) by Maybelline. I am SUCH a sucker for cheap makeup. As much as I love experimenting with higher end makeup, there's nothing like finding a cheap option that works just as well. That said, I'm not that picky when it comes to blush, but this is by far my favorite out of the many I've tried down the beauty aisles of Target. Medium Mauve is also my favorite shade I've tried - it's extremely pink, if that's what you're into. :)
3. Stick Blush (in 06 Orchid) by NYX. I totally bought this for $1 at Urban Outfitters on a total whim. It is now a staple in my makeup bag. Absolutely, hands down a must have for everyone. I forced my aunt to try it and she loves it, too! I swipe it on, blend it with my fingers, then use my powder blush on top. These two colors (Orchid and the FIT Medium Mauve) compliment each other so well, and gives the perfect pink tint.

Eyes
1. Perfect Point Plus eyeliner by Covergirl. This is just what I'm currently using, and what I used to use religiously in high school (and whoa baby, did I use it. Can anyone say way too heavy black eyeliner?!). I've been on a kick of pencil liner, but I ran out and wanted to try something different. I don't have many complaints when it comes to eyeliner, but this one does tend to get really smudgey (is that a word?) throughout the day.
2. Prime Time Brightening Eyelid Primer by Bare Minerals. I LOVE this stuff. It's great as a primer, but I generally use it by itself on work days when I just need something quick to brighten my eyes (getting up at 5:30 is rough, man). I bought this in a Bare Minerals eye makeup kit that was like $30. This stuff alone retails for $18, and I'm not so sure that I would pay full price for that. Sigh. Expensive makeup, why you gotta do me like this?!
3. They're Real! Mascara by Benefit. I swear by this stuff. I've used all different kinds of drugstore mascaras, but this stuff? So good. I've seen a lot of mixed reviews about this mascara, but it's got the Haley Stamp of Approval (for whatever that's worth..). A lot of times I'll use a different mascara (like L'Oreal's Voluminous Original) first, then use They're Real on top. It's a piece of cake and my eyelashes are a dream. Only the occasional mishap will leave me with spider lashes, but hey. Seventeen Magazine told me that was trendy again.
4. Lights, Camera, Flashes mascara by Tarte. I got the sample size in my stocking this year for Christmas! It's alright. I had such high hopes for it (since I love Tarte), but it fell kind of flat for me. It's another one of those 'just in case' items that I keep around.

And last, but certainly not least.. my secret weapon.
Hands down the best lip balm of my life. And by far the most important thing in my makeup bag! I got this as a birthday gift from my cousin(in law) Morgan, and I use it all the time. Mostly, I use it first thing in the morning when I'm getting ready for the day. I put it on right after washing my face, and by the time I'm ready for lipstick (if I'm wearing any that day), my lips are soft and no longer peeling, perfect for applying lipstick.
I have a lot of trouble with my lips. Last summer, for a solid two months, I had a bad case of Winter Lips. They were constantly chapped and peeling, often spreading to the skin around my lips. It was gross, painful and just all around awful. It took all of my will power to not chew on my lips all day and make them even worse. But then Morgan walked in like an angel and gave me this lip balm and changed my life. Two days after using it regularly, my lips were no longer peeling. And they haven't peeled since! It's seriously the most incredible. It has other uses for dry skin, not just for lips. So yeah, best product of my life.

ANYWAY.
This has been long enough.
I want to hear about what's in YOUR makeup bag. Please share! Blog about it, leave me a comment, Instagram it, whatever. I want to see! (I'm nosy and I love makeup, so do it!)
Thanks for peeking at my girly indulgences! <3

Haley

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

My Disney (Project Life) Album


My Disney album is finally complete! Well, for the most part. I still have a bit of journaling to do, and a few more photos need to be put in their places, but other than that, it's ready to be put on our coffee table to be shown off! ;) I'd like to say that my mom and I worked on this together, but she did all the work! I simply provided the photos and Disney memorabilia! 
Other than the Disney-themed papers and my (iPhone) photos, we used things we acquired during our trip. I kept EVERYTHING. Our airline boarding passes, ticket stubs, fast passes that we didn't use, menus, brochures, receipts.... seriously, everything. It was so fun deciding where to put all the little things inside the book! 
I didn't choose to share the entire book today, just some of my favorite pages. Hope you enjoy! 

I'm so happy with how this turned out! My mom has been scrapbooking for as long as I can remember, so naturally she's gotten better with time. It's so funny looking back on her old albums which were so generic, and now she's the master of "junking it up," as she likes to say. ;) 
Seriously, though. I hope that I acquire a fraction of her crafty talent in the coming years! I better get to practicing. Thanks for taking a look at my honeymoon album! <3
Products used: 
"Say Cheese" by Simple Stories papers and ephemera 
4x4 Instagram prints from Printstagram
SN@P by Simple Stories 6x8 album & sheet protectors
Rhonna Designs app to put text on iPhone photos

Sunday, January 19, 2014

3/52


01 / / What an awful photo to represent this week. I'll be honest, I absolutely did not even think to take photos this week. Like at all! So here we are, a photo I took last night to text to Blake.

02 / / About the photo: As you (probably) know, I have been doing Project Life for the past few months. I'm just now getting the hang of things. I was doing pretty well with the weekly page layouts, but I simply failed to make time to do it all that often. SO now that it's a new year, I'm starting over and I'm only going to put together pages for the bigger life events. (And you know, some small ones, too, whenever the mood strikes to do PL. But I'm not going to create any insane rules to follow for this hobby.) Yesterday, I did an all day crop with my mom. ALL DAY! 12 hours of scrapbooking! I ended up finishing a *huge* total of 3.5 layouts. This is one of them. Since it's the beginning of the year, I made a '2014' title page and a layout covering my goals for the year. I also made a layout about my cat. I mean, how could I not?! I am going to share these layouts soon, I'm pretty excited!

03 / / I've been rewatching American Horror Story (season 1, not any of that junk that they called Asylum. UGH). I have LOVED season 3 so much, and am sad to see it end next week! I'm also getting so excited for season 4 - rumors are flying around that it will have a circus theme, but from what I've read, it takes place in the 1950s and Jessica Lange is working on her German accent... so I'm not so sure the circus thing is happening. But I would love to see that in a future season!

04 / / Blake and I have been discussing our next Disney trip. I know, I know! Another trip. But we've been itching to go at Christmas time, and we thought this would be the perfect anniversary/Christmas gift to each other. We've been crunching the numbers for the past week, and are starting our Disney savings jar! (We need to put it right next to the Haley-needs-a-new-car-fund, too. ;)


Hope you have a good week! Things are looking pretty slow around here this week, not too terribly eventful. But those are the kind of weeks I live for! <3 See you soon!

Haley

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

A million and a half thank you's


Here is a photo of me holding some juice. Because it's not a real blog post if there's not at least one picture, right? 

I don't even know what to say.
I'm absolutely astounded by the support I've received from all of you that read my post yesterday. I received the most genuine and encouraging comments, texts, emails... Oh, the emails. I'm so glad I decided to add my email address at the bottom of the post. Countless women took that opportunity to message me and so many of them poured their hearts out to me. They trusted ME with their stories of love and heartbreak, and of encouragement. I am in awe. I'm truly not worthy of this blessing. Your support means the world. Honestly.
It was an insane day, on Monday. As soon as I posted, I immediately began receiving messages and texts and comments on Facebook. Many people shared the blog post, and in the past 30-some odd hours, my blog has seen nearly 3,000 views. I can't even. (To some, this is not a lot... but compared to the 5,000 that I received in the entire month of December, it's kiiiiind of incredible.)

I'm just grateful that so many chose to tell me their stories, to offer encouragement. And thank you for simply agreeing that this message of purity needs to be revisited, shaken up a little bit, and spun a different way. That in itself reminds me (and reignites!) my passion for sexual purity integrity. I have such a love for the young women who commit themselves to Christ, heck - I have a love for the human race, in general. But my passion, my purpose is to inspire and encourage these young women in church today! I am continuously grateful for the platform that God has provided to me; the experiences, the sadness, the joy - all of it has been worth it if I can help one girl through her trials.

As I mentioned in my post, I've been working on rooting through my bookmarks and compiling a list of my favorite resources on this topic. I thought I'd share here a few of my favorites. Please read through some of them! They are so worth it.

-Unanimous Roar: a lot of these articles are a tad old (I mean, not ancient, but from early 2013), but man, they are good. I was going to link to just one, but couldn't pick. So here are two that I particularly enjoyed. (One & Two)
-Set Apart Girl: This isn't always directly related to the message of sexual purity, but I find this organization inspiring. This website is an online publication for young women, with bi-monthly magazines available online for free. I've read through a few lately, and I'm loving it! And I'm an old married woman! ;)
-Lauren Nicole Love: An oldie but a goody, I turn to Lauren's blog whenever I need advice on this sort of topic. Girl has been through it all, and has come out of it with so much wisdom! This one is one of my all time favorites, but digging through her archives is always a treat.
- This is a funny take on the general lesson Christianity teaches our youth. And it is exactly the message I was hearing over and over. I hope this lesson soon fades out and is replaced with a radical lesson in what we CAN do, instead of what we CAN'T do. What we need is a lesson of our undeniable worth no matter what we've done, where we've been, what we've gone through. The Church has a lot of work to do on this topic, if you ask me! ;)
- THIS, a million times over. I can't recommend this article enough.
- The Good Women Project: This is an all around great resource for any woman, any age. It is now defunct, I believe, but it was run by Lauren (of Lauren Nicole Love), and was an incredible resource for me early in college. I was actually a mentor for them at one time! I loved this project with my whole heart. Definitely check out the archives!


Again, thank you for your kindness and your support. I will never be able to thank you enough for this blessing.

xo Haley


Monday, January 13, 2014

What they don't tell you.

Update: I just want to clarify something really quick! There is some confusion as to who "they" are, that I speak of in this post. "They" does not reflect anyone in particular, but mainly the general Christian outlook and teachings on sex and purity. This does not reflect the teachings of my parents or those of my church that I grew up in. Just wanted to clarify! Thank you SO much for the overwhelmingly positive response to this. I honestly was not expecting this at all! 


I attended church regularly growing up. In fact, I actually attend more now than I did in junior high and high school. But even so, I was pretty active in my high school youth group. I led Bible studies on Sunday nights, I hosted little girls groups in my home every now and then, and always made myself available when the younger girls needed someone to go to.
One memory I have of doing this was leading a Bible study on sexual purity when I was a 17.
Seventeen.
I had no sexual experience, who did I think I was leading this study?
But that's the passion I had for sexual purity. I wanted everyone to know about this gift! (A gift that I had literally no idea about.)

Sexual purity is something I hold dear to my heart; it is something I rally for and I root for those who make the promise to themselves to stay abstinent.
But when I was in high school? What I was taught? That sort of sexual purity message is not what I want young women today to be taught. Why? Because that message failed me. It failed me miserably.

I was taught that sex is great, but it's for married couples. Okay, cool. I agree with that.
I was taught that if you wait, and you abstain from any and all sexual activity, God will be so pleased with you, He will bless your marriage immensely and He will bless your sex life - it'll be fireworks and magic. Even more so, I was always told that your wedding night will be the BEST. And was it? No. (More on this in a minute.)

In the end, has this message been correct?
Eh, maybe. The first part, yeah. I agree - waiting to have sex has saved me a lot of heartache in my youth. There were so many times where temptation arose and I had to back out of a relationship completely just to keep that promise to myself.
But the other stuff? That is where I have been failed.
During my dating days, I clung to that message. I held onto it for dear life, as if my purity was the only the only thing I was good for. Now that I'm married, and have been married for four months, I can sorrowfully say that no, my marriage and sex life has not been blessed.
And our wedding night? We didn't have sex. And you know what? I felt guilty about it. I felt ashamed. I felt as if I was already failing miserably as a Christian wife. This is my duty! Or so I had been told throughout my dating days. This is what we had been building up to, this is what we had been waiting for! This is supposed to be a blessing, not something that I cry over on my wedding night because I am so stressed out over my "wifely duty."
We have struggled so hard. We have gone months without sex, and we are newlyweds, for crying out loud! We should not be having this problem!
But this is our struggle. And my fear is that there are a lot of young couples struggling with this because they were taught the same, and not enough people are talking about this issue.
I walked into my marriage with a skewed vision of what sex would be like for us. For all I knew, some magical switch would turn on and I would be this perfect, sexy wife for my husband - because that was what a lot of Christian, married women were telling me. I figured that since I was married, and since sex was finally "allowed," I could somehow easily tap into the sexy side of me, or that I could easily forget all of the times when I was told sex is just a ploy to degrade women. But no, it's been so much harder than that. I mean, I imagined it would be difficult for us at first, but I didn't imagine that this struggle would follow us into nearly 6 months of marital bliss.

I was taught the fantastic lesson of modesty, but not because I'm a beautiful creation of God, but because my body is a stumbling block for men. I was not taught that modesty does not exactly apply in the bedroom, but I was taught that men view me as a sexual object and I need to dress modestly as to distract them from that, to keep them pure. It was my job to keep them pure. Is this the message I want my daughter to hear someday? No. I want my daughter to be modest, yes. I want her to dress tastefully, and keep the goods covered, yes. But do I want her to grow up being ashamed of her body? Of her sexual nature? HECK NO. Because this is part of what has failed me.

When it comes to sex, I am ashamed. Plain and simple.
I was not taught how to nurture the sexual being that I am, whilst living a Christlike life. It was as if the two cannot coexist peacefully, and that is so incredibly untrue!

So what can undo the damage that has already been done?
Well, nothing, really. And it saddens me to say that. But what I can do is teach my daughter, teach the young women who come to me for advice, I can teach them what I have learned from all of this. I can teach them that Jesus's grace covers all; our mistakes are covered; our desires, even the sexual ones!, are not sinful, our bodies are our own and not to be objectified by men - we shouldn't allow them to be.
I'm going to teach my daughter that sex is amazing, sex is something to treasure and it is an act that truly does glorify God (as weird and awkward as that sounds). It is a physical act that can bring you and your spouse closer, emotionally, physically and spiritually. It's an incredible gift. I will not teach her to be ashamed, I will not tell her that if she has desires that she is wrong and needs to pray for her sins. I will not tell her that she is not beautiful and that her body is a harmful sin-inducing vessel. But I will tell her that it was exquisitely crafted by our Savior, that it is meant for her husband's eyes, it is meant for procreation, and most of all - it is meant to bring her just as much pleasure as it brings her husband! We should not deny our sexual nature! God created us this way! It is us, fallible humans, who have distorted the beauty that Christ bestowed on us. We have made sex an ugly, sinful act. Christ did not do this, we did.
But I digress.
Simply put, I will not teach my daughter what I have been taught.

***

When I look at this issue in an honest way, I have no issue admitting that this is due, in part, to getting married at a young age. I don't think a lot of young couples realize the struggles that marriage will entail. My parents warned me over and over about how hard marriage is, and I took it as a grain of salt (I do recall the words, "but Blake and I are in love!" happening often). But in all honesty, as a newly married, young couple, we are here to tell you, honestly and openly - that marriage is hard. And there are a lot of contributing factors to this. And for us, sex is that struggle. But, the silver lining to this, is that things do get better, easier. Our problems are not yet solved - far from it - but we aren't struggling as much anymore. I'm so grateful for that, and looking forward to the day when I can say, yes, God has blessed my marriage because Blake and I honored God and waited until marriage.


Thank you for reading, if you made it this far. 
This is a message that I hold so close to me, as you can probably tell. I struggled for a long time whether or not I should share this, seeing as this is such a personal matter and one that I'm not even sure SHOULD be shared considering how private and intimate sex is between a husband and wife. BUT, with that said, I do believe that there is power in words that are often unspoken. And I truly, truly hope that whoever reads this will be blessed by these words and be encouraged by them. 
I'm in the process of gathering resources and links to articles that touch on this subject much more eloquently than I ever could. 
But, I am grateful that you have lent a listening ear today and humored me in my attempt to spread a message that so desperately needs to be spread. This is why I urge parents to be cautious of what they teach their daughters. Pray, pray, pray before you start telling her about abstinence and modesty. They are both fragile subjects,  that can either free us or cause incredible damage. 
I am sad that it has caused more harm than good, in my case, but I have been so blessed by a wonderfully patient husband, and for that I am so grateful. Thank you, Blake, for always loving me and caring for me the way Christ cares for His Bride.
As always, I'm always available to talk, answer questions, or just listen in general - never hesitate to email me! You can find me at ehaleytyson (at) gmail (dot) com. 

Sunday, January 12, 2014

2/52

01 / / Morgan (my cousin-in-law!) and I have matching coats, so obvi, we're the coolest when we walk down the street in our matching coats. ;)

02 / / I've been really looking into taking a Barre Method class here in Springfield. As far as I know, there's only one place in town that offers classes and it's like $15 per class, but it wouldn't hurt to just try it, right? If only I could find a partner to go with! (Hint, hint, nudge, nudge, local friends....)

03 / / So far, my reading quest of 2014 is not going so hot, but we're only two weeks in. So it's alright. Right?

04 / / I tried giving up coca-cola. I made it two days! New record! ;) I actually was trying hard to not drink it, and was doing alright, until a massive headache hit me yesterday. I even took a midday nap, and I NEVER take naps! I'll try again soon, because dang this stuff is not good for the body!

*** 

How has it been a week since my last post? Sometimes life just slips right through your fingers, doesn't it? We had a busy week over here, with my boss being on vacation, so I was with the kids every day this past week! It was hectic, but fun, especially with all the extra snow days and time off of their school and gymnastics schedules! 
Anyway, things are back to normal around here, and I'm looking forward a much, much more chill week. This week I'll be posting the blog that I mentioned last week that is extremely personal to me. After talking it over with Blake, I no longer feel like it's a burden on me anymore, and I just want to get it out there in the open. Blogging is very therapeutic sometimes! So! Have a wonderful week! The weather here is supposed to be consistently in the 40s/50s, so I can't do much complaining! :) 

xo Haley