Blogiversary

blogiversary

I like to commemorate the little things. Tim and I have acknowledged, if not celebrated, every monthiversary since we got married. {We’re up to ten this month!} I’ll probably be the parent who says her child is 26 months old just so she can blow up balloons and have cupcakes every four weeks.

Though it’s not the one year mark, Primitive Roads is celebrating a blogiversary today – SIX months of navigating life’s unpaved paths. This is rather hard for me to believe for two reasons: 1. I’ve been blogging in my head for years, so it seems like I’ve had this home on the interwebs way longer and 2. This blogiversary coincides with our movaversary (I’m clearly okay with made-up words) which means we’ve lived in Idaho for six months. That is unreal.

Primitive Roads was born out of need – a need for an occupation and an outlet. I wanted a place to share how God was walking alongside me every step of this rather rustic and uncharted season in my life. I process though writing and strongly believe that being honest and open about what we’re processing is a huge part of developing authentic community.

I appreciate the community that has developed here and am thankful for the connections being built. Thank you for the reading, commenting, sharing, linking, emailing, and prayers that make me feel supported and encouraged.

In honor of this little milestone in the life of Primitive Roads, I wanted to do a mini retrospective of the past six months. Thank you for joining me on the journey thus far.

September: My first post, aptly titled “The Next Chapter“, written in the wee hours of the morning before Tim and I started our drive to Idaho.

Letter To My Teenage Self

I jumped into the Christian blogosphere by writing a Letter To My Teenage Self to help launch Emily P. Freeman’s book, Graceful: Letting Go of Your Try Hard Life. I began to share my love of food/cooking with recipes. Christmas-Eve Salad was the first one I got featured on Tastespotting and Food Gawker.

October: Another jump into the blogosphere was my last minute (read – night before) decision to participate in The Nester’s 31 Day Challenge. I chose my theme of writing letters for the next 31 days based on a letter I wanted to write to my husband’s ex-girlfriend (Dear Jackie). You can find links to all the letters here, but some of my favorite were: Dear Eustace, Dear Southwest (which they featured on their blog), Dear Jen Hatmaker, and Dear H.S. Gals.

Sincerely, Emily

November: I read a couple great books in November. I reviewed 7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess by Jen Hatmaker and had a major epiphany the day I started One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp. I wrote my first guest post about The Six Things I’ve Learned In Six Months of Marriage for Kayse Pratt’s delightful blog.

I’m obsessed with granola and developed a Gingerbread Granola recipe that I found way too addicting.

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December: I decided to transfer my blog from WordPress {dot} com to WordPress {dot} org in order to have more control over design and to utilize some affiliate programs, like Amazon, to raise funds to support Primitive Roads. The process was technically challenging and beyond frustrating at times. Finally, I just laid hands on my computer and prayed for my blog. I should have done that from the beginning.

I did a series near and dear to my heart about how to have a Mary Christmas. My favorite projects from a week of crafts I featured were the Paper Bag Christmas Card and the beautiful wedding memories ornaments that my mom made. My mom also wrote a poignant guest post about God being sovereign in all seasons.

Mary Christmas

January: I introduced my one word (intentional) and started a series on community. My husband wrote an awesome post about Jane Austen and community. Speaking of Jane Austen, I discovered how much I resembled her characters from Sanditon. I finally got a warm coat which prompted me to write 7 Ways To Get Through Winter. I figured out how to replicate the Rosemary Currant Bread from my favorite breakfast place (Julienne in San Marino, CA). I confessed that it’s hard for me to graciously share baking territory with other people who are gifted in that area.

CupcakeFebruary: Four other bloggers and I did a collaborative series called How To Maintain Your High Maintenance Marriage. We wrote about communication, service, laughter, and sex. {Sex seemed to be a popular topic with y’all.} I gave some style advice in 5 Essential Earrings Ever Woman Should Own (and may have shocked people with the amount of earrings I posses). Valentines month was a good excuse for me to bake Rosemary Lemon Sugar Cookies and Cream Filled Chocolate Sandwich Cookies. Enough said.

earringsI wrote a Valentine from God for Kindred Grace, a blog I contribute to, and made my first craft tutorial. I’m a competitive person and had to stop playing games with Tim before I discovered these six ways to curb my competitiveness. Inspired by one of my favorite blogs, Cardigan Way, I did a what I’m into post called Primitive Pleasures that I will continue to do at the end of every month.

Six months have been full of primitive roads. I’m excited about tackling the unpaved paths ahead.

I would love to hear from you! Email me at emgardner8@gmail.com with any questions, comments, ideas or feedback…

{balloon photo credit: stephanie ★ via photopin cc}

Dear Tim {31 Days of Letters}

My Love,

I had this letter all planned out.  I was going to watch our wedding video while you were at work yesterday and comment on what a great reminder it is of our beginnings and our journey and our promises.  But then, this week happened, with its ups and downs, its stress.  Yesterday did not go as planned – instead of writing about how wonderful you are, I got to witness more examples of your wonderfulness in real time.

Part of your wonderfulness stems from a vulnerability I don’t often see in men.  I love that you share your thoughts, fears, feelings, joys, and concerns so honestly with me.   Your transparency is contagious and is often the nudge I need to look beyond myself, to take down the blinders of self-focus.

Part of your wonderfulness comes from the passions I see God growing in your heart.  Your desire to see students follow after Christ is powerful.  I see your love and care for young people etched on your heart everyday as you engage in ministry.  You have stretched my own heart in this area as we serve and partner together.

Part of your wonderfulness is how you love me.  Your love makes me feel cherished, beautiful, desired, adored, and respected.  Your love makes me feel known.  You know me and you still love me.  Your love gives me a glimpse of God’s love.  If you love me despite my selfishness and sin, why do I doubt that God could love me in the same (and even greater) way?

Part of your wonderfulness is just YOU!  I can’t imagine spending the rest of my life with anyone else.

I am more proud of you everyday.  I am more in love with you everyday.  I am more grateful to God that you are my husband everyday.

Happy five monthiversary!

Love,

Your Em

You can find all my letters here.

For more information about the 31 Day Challenge, visit The Nester.

Four Monthiversary

Today, Tim and I celebrate four months of marriage.  Seems like a small feat, but I am thankful for every day, every week, every month I get to share with my love.

Leaving our family and friends last week provided a great opportunity to create a wedding slideshow for our loved ones to watch at a little Labor Day gathering.   Moving preparations were all encompassing, so we finally sat down and went through the one-thousand plus pictures our photographer had given us months ago.

A wellspring of emotions rose up with each photo as I remembered the joy of that day – May 11th, 2012.  There is much to be said for letting those memories wash over you – reliving the thrill of the first look, the nerves of waiting to walk down the aisle, the excitement of being pronounced “Mr. and Mrs.”  Those memories are wonderful medicine for the stress of moving and the anxiety associated with a new job and a new season in life.

As I watched snapshot after snapshot come across the screen, I was thankful – thankful for the gentle, caring, strong man that I married, thankful for the friends and family standing and sitting around us, and most importantly, thankful for God’s evident hand in bringing Tim and I together.

Four months later, I still see God so evidently involved in the path our lives have taken.  On May 11th, neither of us would have guessed we would celebrate 123 days of marriage in Idaho; but, now, I can’t imagine anything else being what God had planned.

My prayer for the next four months (and the next four months…) is that Tim and I would embody Psalm 34:3 – exalting the Lord for the good things He has done and magnifying His name in all that we do and say.

Lord, let our union be a reflection of Your love for us, Your children.

Oh Magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt His name together.

Just in case you’re wondering who took these lovely wedding photos… Check out Bobby Schneider – he’s super talented and a blast to work with!