Happily Married: Back to the Beginning

It was about this time three years ago when I was strung out on my parents’ couch, un-showered and on some powerful pain killers, that I met my now husband.

Yep.

I’ll explain.

I went home to have all four of my wisdom teeth removed early on a Friday morning. My train of thought was to get the awful surgery part over and done and then sleep it off on the couch. My sweet parents escorted me there and back, making sure I actually made it to the car (pain pills get me, y’all) and then safely into my favorite corner of their couch. Truthfully I don’t remember a whole lot other than waking up in the car on the drive home and trying desperately to tell my mom a story about my dentist (???) but physically couldn’t even come close thanks to all the gauze and who knows what else in my mouth.

So glamourous.

Saturday morning I woke up on the couch, still in my yoga pants and oversized sweatshirt I had wore into surgery the morning prior. I must have been with it enough to take my hair down and bra-off but not coherent enough to bother doing anything else like shower or sit up.

I told you, glamourous.

I was alone in the den with HGTV playing in the background and then a guy I didn’t know walked in. Correction: a cute guy I didn’t know.

GREAT.

While a lot of the details of this day are foggy this particular one is not. Seeing this cute guy walking towards me I was suddenly very aware of how special I had to have looked so in what felt like slow motion, I attempted to pull my hair back in some sort of ponytail and “fix” my bangs. I’m going to guess that didn’t improve my looks. Next thing I knew he had a bowl of cereal and was sitting on the other end of the couch.

“Hi,” he said.

Indistinct mumbling from me.

Taylor was his name and he was a friend of my brother. I had heard of him before – my family knew him for years but we’d never met – so I connected the dots and tried to smile. He wasn’t anything like I thought he would be – he was better – and I couldn’t believe this was how we were meeting. Nathan was taking him to the airport later but wasn’t up yet so he decided to come talk to me.

“Do you like House Hunters? I love it,” I managed to mumble out, apparently. Because that’s what you talk about when you’re on pain killers and meet a cute guy in your living room.

Awesome.

He finished his cereal while I attempted to look alive – I nodded off twice – and then he said he would see me later. I just knew he would never ever EVER want to see me again after our winning first encounter and didn’t give him more thought.

A couple weeks later we ran into each other and in front of several people I did not know I awkwardly announced: “Look! This time I’m wearing clothes and not strung out on drugs!”

I can’t make this stuff up.

As if all that wasn’t enough to make him run for the hills, my dad decided to jump in the mix. Dad, who up until that point had never meddled in my love life saw something there and for whatever reason, called Taylor. He told Taylor it was about me and his initial thought? Something was wrong. I was sick/dying/moving overseas. NOPE. Dad told him he should call and ask me out and – WAIT FOR IT – if things worked out he “couldn’t pick a more perfect son-in-law or match for his daughter.”

If your jaw is on the floor you had a similar reaction to the one I had when Taylor told me on our third date.

Taylor did call and we talked non-stop for the next two days, including a 6-hour delay from BNA>LGA for a work trip so I knew I had to see him. We went on our first date the day I got home from NYC. He prayed at dinner and we talked like old friends well past midnight as we strolled in one of my favorite parks. We both agreed it was the best first date we’d ever been on and I knew it was only the beginning of our story.

He later told me he liked me from our first meeting on my parent’s couch, jumbo-sized gauze cheeks and all. Love is spectacular like that. xo

Newlywed Life: A Running List

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I like to start my day alone, well Buddy is usually in my lap, with a glass of lemon water, my Bible, and whatever devotional I’m reading because sometimes I just need a minute to get my day going right. Currently I’m working my way through Waiting in Wonder, a pregnancy devotional/journal hybrid that tackles a new topic every day with scripture and encouraging words. This morning’s devo was all about the importance of building a strong marriage, especially before and when children come into to the picture since everything changes (or so I hear). The author tied in my favorite passage of all time, I Corinthians 13 aka “the love chapter” and pointed out how “love keeps no record of wrongs.”

My husband has taught me so much about what it means to love someone with your whole heart and as he says, despite. Despite all my flaws and mess-ups and less than glamorous moments he loves me unconditionally. He has taught me how to forgive annoyances and move forward with the kind of optimism only found in love.

If you love somebody, you don’t keep score of times they hurt your feelings or when they didn’t pick up their dirty clothes from the bathroom floor. You don’t remind them of the times they royally messed up and put their foot in their mouth or were short with you while hungry and tired. You don’t keep a record of wrongs to bring out whenever you feel like it because that’s not what love’s about.

Love is about keeping track of the good stuff – all the times they get it right and remind you of the million reasons you love them. So I keep a running list of all the times he makes me laugh until I’m crying. The way he holds my hand in his when we pray together. The look he gives me when I’m being ridiculous or overreacting. The hilarious sounds he makes when he eats something he really likes. The way he takes care of me and leads our family.

TIME magazine recently featured an article simply titled “How to Stay Married” in which they shared insight from 500+ couples who had been married 40+ years. Each couple polled agreed on two things: 1.) Marriage is hard 2.) It’s more than worth it. One couple went on to say the best thing they learned early in marriage was to communicate and not hold grudges. Such fantastic advice not only for marriage but for all relationships, right?

Love keeps no record of wrongs and I choose love. xo

The Newlywed Life: Full of Surprises

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It is common knowledge among friends and family that my sweet husband is not the best at keeping secrets when it comes to special occasions. Once he buys something or plans any sort of happy surprise he typically spills the beans anywhere between 4 hours to 2 days after having developed the idea. I love him but it’s a fact as true as my blue eyes.

Well for my birthday this go around he proved me wrong and surprised me from the moment I woke up until we finally fell asleep that night. I woke up to the KitchenAid mixer of my dreams – I immediately named her Ina after The Barefoot Contessa – and a homemade card that made me a little weepy. He also pointed out that his clues made complete sense and I give him credit because he was right! We fixed a big breakfast and were lazy for a while before he whisked me away to the sweetest cafe for a late lunch and some boutique shopping.

What had he planned for the rest of the night? I wasn’t sure, but I let my best girlfriends know something was happening but he wouldn’t budge. After we both got ready and he told me to pack an overnight bag – !!! – we left for Nashville. I started to get suspicious when he was driving around in random neighborhoods surrounding West End and texting at every red light but I never expected what happened next. We walked into the restaurant and the hostess said, “Bell party of 6?” and I was like “I’m sorry what?” Taylor beamed, grabbed my hand, and next thing I knew I was enjoying the most fabulous dinner with my husband and my dearest girlfriends.

Best. surprise. ever.

I smiled and laughed so much my face hurt and the night was even better when we headed to the next location where we donned pink birthday hats (even Taylor) and ate lots of cake.  It doesn’t get much better than a night spent telling old stories and talking about how good life is with your best girlfriends and husband at a dinner they planned together for you. I was thinking it couldn’t get any better until Taylor asked if I was ready for my next surprise.

Ummm yes, but what could possibly be left?

Soon we arrived at the sweetest Bed & Breakfast with a room filled with big windows and chocolates on our pillows. We laid in bed and talked about how great the night was and he spilled how he had planned the whole thing for weeks with the help of my best friends and I fell deeper in love with my husband.

I can’t help but smile when I think about this past weekend and all the many surprises planned with love but you want to know something? The best thing about being married to Taylor isn’t necessarily in the big surprises but in the little ways he surprises me every day. By saying “I love you” mid-conversation. By helping me get the pizza dough just right. By taking out the trash because he sees it needs to be done. By excelling in grad school. By showing me grace when I’m tired or moody or hungry and not the best version of myself. By washing the dishes that wouldn’t fit into the already-full dishwasher because he knows I would appreciate it. God has blesses me in a major way and I pray I never take any of these surprises for granted.

Here’s to a life full of surprises and plenty of love. xo

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The Newlywed Life: Tough Days

www.caleynewberry.com

My husband is a sensitive man, but out of the two of us let’s face it, I’m the emotional one 99.9% of the time. I cry at the end of movies, in the middle of a sweet song, when I’m overwhelmed with life and I have been known to cry “just because” from time to time. He knew what he signed up for when he married me and somehow he still followed through! With all that being said let’s be real, marriage is a full time gig. 24/7. 365. No weekends off. There are great days where you’re laughing while making a pizza in the kitchen and then there are tough days when your heart is breaking and it’s hard to make it off the couch.

Earlier this week we received news from one of my dearest friends in the world, news that I never dreamed I’d be hearing. Not from her. Not now. Suddenly I was having conversations with Chelsea about chemo and ports and scary things you never want to be talking about with your beautiful friend in her early thirties. It just doesn’t seem fair.

As expected, I’ve been a wreck all week. By yesterday morning, I had told my husband every detail as I knew it, questioned why this was happening and talked through a million ideas of how to help her through every step of the process. Taylor reminded me of so many, including my incredible cousin (!!!), who have beat cancer and encouraged me to breathe normally. There was nothing more to say that would help or change the way I was feeling or what was happening and he knew it, so he just held me and let me cry. We stood in the hallway for what felt like hours and he held me close while I cried and mumbled a prayer for healing for my beautiful friend. He didn’t say a word – he just held me while I let go. Sometimes marriage is simply about being present.

Last night I talked to Chelsea for hours, along with our other half, Ashley, who we conferenced in. We talked and talked about it all – the scary stuff and just life stuff. I’ve always known Chelsea was a tough cookie – we’ve been friends and lived together for the better part of my 20s – but she is approaching next level toughness these days. Her attitude is incredibly joyful and her courage is contagious and I know without a doubt God is going to carry her through this with grace. After we all said our goodbyes and I slipped into bed next to my sweet, half-asleep husband we prayed for complete healing for my beautiful friend, just as we had several times earlier that day and as we will continue to do. For the first time all day I felt at peace, and I knew everything would be alright.

Ladies, I hope you find a partner who will hold you and let you cry. Who will love you when you’re all dolled up and when your mascara is running down your face. Who will pray with you without ceasing, and who will love your best friends the way you love them. I am so incredibly thankful for a Godly husband who is my light and encouragement when I get so caught up in the whys and hows – the questions that don’t need to be answered because we’re not in control. I am eternally grateful for a husband that keeps reminding me God is faithful, my friend is a fighter, and we’re going to pray her through this. Together. xo

Links I’m Loving

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1. Turns out everyone can sing. (theatlantic.com)

2. 10 secrets from couples married a very long time. (today.com)

3. These genius valentines have me wishing I had found these before I raided Target. (hellogiggles.com)

4. Not satisfied with your current job but not sure how to find something better? This hiring expert might just help! (cupcakesandcashmere.com)

5. Brian Williams and the ugly allure of embellishing the truth. (relevant.com)

6. The average American spends $134 on their Valentine so clearly we’re investing in gifts that will outlive flowers and chocolate. Here are some fun gift ideas for all the loves in your life. (theverge.com)

7. Take a look into the gorgeous home of Jesse Baylin and her rockstar husband. (gardenandgun.com)