Saturday, September 28, 2013

The Contentment Challenge

We have been in Florida now for 7 has been wonderful but it also has had some challenges. The Florida lifestyle is VERY different that what we are use to. It's slow-paced, laid back, and casual in every aspect. I feel like it's teaching Tommy and I to "slow down" and enjoy life around us. A lesson we both need to learn. 

This next month is going to be a very fun and exciting journey for me sweetest and dearest friend Nancy Ray did a "Contentment Challenge" back in March and it blew me away. It seriously touched my heart so deeply and gave me a longing for contentment in my own life in every way. She wrote the most beautiful blogpost about her purpose of the Contentment Challenge which you can read about here.

After several months of contemplating the Contentment Challenge I finally gained the courage to jump on board!  

Here are the guidelines (all taken from inspiration by Nancy Ray)

The Guidelines:
• For the next 2 days, your homework is the following: prepare your heart, organize your closet, and make any necessary purchases that you might need during these months. (This is not a last minute shopping spree! This is one final trip to the store for items you will need, and the opportunity for you to say your goodbyes to Target.) <-- Target is my weakness 
• Choose 1-3 inspiring books to read during this time.  (I will continue to read the 'Confident Woman Devotional' by Joyce Meyer but I'm not sure the other books I want to start reading yet, still praying about it)
• Necessities are okay! If you drop and break your phone, please go get a new one! If you lose your glasses, buy a new pair. Just don't start justifying new purchases for items that you already have. (This will really affect me with home purchases)
• Find a hobby that you have been longing to start but haven't yet, and start doing it. Mine will be paddleboarding!! I am so excited to begin!
I texted Nancy a while ago when she was doing the Contentment Challenge and asked what she was going to do with the money she saved - let's be honest, it could be A LOT...her response was "Do whatever you want with it! Give it away, save it, pray about what to do with it" - I seriously love her heart of gold. I'm not sure yet what I'm going to do with my "blow money" (for all you Dave nerds out there like me). 
This new adventure will be hard, but I pray those around me will fill me with encouragement and hope to keep me going. My ultimate goal is to gain a sense of total Contentment in my life and grow closer to the Lord and be able to mirror Him better. 
I would appreciate your prayers and words of encouragement!! 

Sunday, September 2, 2012

What Marriage Is Really Like


We have been asked a million times, "How's married life?" and it's my favorite question to answer. Marriage is nothing like I thought it would be. I always pictured being married to be like it is in the movies, perfect, and it is the furthest thing from it. But it's the imperfections of life that make it so fun. It's burning breakfast until the smoke alarm goes off and laughing about it, and trying to open a bottle of champagne in the kitchen and having it explode everywhere and laughing about it, and walking to the grocery store and buying too much and dropping everything along the way of walking back home and laughing about it. We have laughed through everything in our marriage and I am so thankful for it. We wake up making each other laugh, and go to sleep making each other laugh. I revel in these times of laughter and have found it's an essential key to making the Marciniak household thrive.

We have been married for about 3 1/2 months and it still feels so surreal. For 17 months we have waited to be joined as one and we did everything possible to prepare for marriage and I firmly believe it has made the transition into married life so much easier and so filled with joy. It's a running joke that we had about 10 different marriage counselors in our year and a half long engagement and it help us prepare for the hard times. It helped us see that the little things that annoy us and upset us are not worth the fighting and anger that they can bring out. 

In our few months of being married we have discovered these few quirks about each other: 

-Never closes the shower curtain when he's done showering, but now it's a joke and when he does remember to close it we sing a song and do a little dance
-Leaves his shaving cream bottle on the counter and it always leaves a ring around it

-Likes to hit Tommy in the face in the middle of the night while we are sleeping
-Doesn't like to keep the door open when she showers so it gets really foggy when Tommy is trying to see himself in the mirror to shave

It's the little quirks of each other that make us laugh and realize that getting mad over the stupid things isn't worth it. We are learning to apologize quickly, and being right isn't worth the cost of hurting your spouse. 

One crucial lesson we have learned in our dating/engagement/married life is to never ever put your spouse down publicly, and never correct them in front of others. I definitely struggle with this more than Tommy and I have learned that it doesn't matter if what he is saying is completely wrong, just agree with him no matter what. It's a respect thing for guys and I never knew how hurtful it was to correct Tommy in front of our friends and family over the most insignificant things. If any of you have ever struggled with this, you know how challenging it is to overcome, but you can do it! Just think of how great your spouse will feel when they know you respect them in front of others.  

I undeniably am no expert in marriage, and even though things are easy now, we know the hard times will come and to cling to each other and cling to Jesus when they do, but I am so thankful for my husband and I love to brag on how awesome he is (he says he hates it when I do but I’m not sure if that’s accurate J).

We have also discovered that we have to be careful about who we tell our wonderful marriage stories to, because unfortunately there are people out there who speak negatively over marriage and who keep telling us that the ‘good feelings’ will end and we will soon hate each other. I pray for these people to find joy in their marriage and to stop berating others in their times of joy.

We also wanted to say thank you to all of you guys who have been praying for our marriage and us. We feel your prayers all around and we love having an awesome support system surrounding us.


The Marciniaks!

Monday, February 20, 2012

Valentines Day in the Jeep!

I am most definitely one of those people who ADORE Valentine's Day! I mean I get so excited the night before that I most likely break into song and dance around the house just about Valentines. Even as a kid I would love waking up to see that my mom and dad had cards and treats waiting for us! But my beautiful Fiancé is quite the opposite, he thinks Valentines is just another day. Well he is wrong! It is a day to make sure everyone you love knows it! That is how I feel about it at least. Even though Valentines isn't his favorite he knows how important it is for me, so he makes sure I feel extra special.

If you have talked to me recently, or read my Facebook anytime within the last year you probably are aware of the fact that I am getting married in May (89 days!!!) and with all the joys of wedding planning, comes the budget (yuck). But my fiancé and I have decided we would rather go out less and save so we can invest more into our beautiful home and give ourselves some cushion, and we have been going out a lot lately that this Valentines we wanted nothing more than to be together to do nothing.

The week before this day of love came around we had 4 family parties to attend (all for different reasons but with the same group of family lol) and we had not been able to spend any quality time together which is HUGELY important to both of us and we were just feeling burned-out and we wanted to be alone, Tommy was determined to make that happen.....

So, Valentines Day morning I woke up to instructions that I was to be at his house at 7:00pm sharp and I was to wear something casual. I semi-freaked out and thought we might be going to a sports bar and just 'hanging out' with each other because that is my fiancés favorite thing to do and my least favorite thing but I decided I would be selfless and let him have it. Then he told me we weren't going out so I needed to be comfortable. I freaked out even more because I thought we might be spending Valentines with the in-laws (love them to pieces but not my ideal way to spend a romantic evening with my Beloved).

7 o'clock rolls around and I am at Tommy's house, not a minute late. I called to let him know I was walking up (as instructed) and he came flying out of the house instantly (he didn't want us to sucked into the wedding vortex, so thoughtful!) and he walked me to the Jeep and opened my door for me. I again freaked out because I thought we weren't going anywhere and I was in my skinny jeans and a sweater (not fancy enough to going out in!) but then I get into the Jeep and I see this....

There are pink streamers everywhere with balloons filling the backseat including candy and a card :)

And by this point I am slightly confused as he pulls away from the house....he then drives to a park in Bedford and tells me that we aren't leaving the Jeep for the evening. He proceeds to pull a Chipotle bag (our favorite) out from behind the seat and hands me my most favorite burrito in the whole world. OOohh I forgot to mention that he has candles already lit in the Jeep so it's a "candlelight dinner". Tommy then asks if I'm thirsty and after I said yes he pulled out 2 little bottles of red wine (so stinkin cute!!!)

After we had finished our awesome dinner I asked if we could do cards and he said we had to wait...grrr! He then handed me one of the balloons and told me I had to pop each one to find a love note written in them..........THIS WAS THE BEST THING EVER!!!

It became a game for me, I would stab the balloon with a pen to pop it and scramble to find the note.

My favorite one said.....
"I love you because you're always excited to see me"

Then it was time for candy and the cards to be opened (and the candy to be eaten) and he gave me the new Twilight movie!! (yes, we love Twilight)

The night went on and we stared at the stars through the sun-roof and just enjoyed each others company.

This was truly one of the most romantic Valentines Day that we have ever had together and it all happened in the Jeep!

Thank you love of my life for making that night so much fun!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Memories of our First Date

I am sitting at the exact table at the Starbucks where Tommy and I had out very first date. I am instantly flooded with beautiful memories from the two years we have been together. We've experience life and death, joys and sadness, victories and failures, laughter and tears, awesome family moments and not so awesome family moments, but most of all we have made it though with each other's help. As our two year anniversary approaches in January, it's so hard to believe that it has only been two years. It feels as if it has been a lifetime in such a good way. We have been through a lot these past two years, losing three precious family members and our special little guy Paxton, the birth of 4 of our 7 nieces and nephews, making new friends and saying goodbye to old ones, letting go of jobs and adventuring out to find new ones, the wedding of some dearest friends, spontaneous road trips to New York, Boston, Florida, and the beach in North Carolina. It's been a blast the entire way.

My most favorites moments of our relationships have been:

1.) Our spontaneous trip to Boston that happened within a 4 hour layover to New York. We left the airport, hopped on a bus, and discovered downtown Boston and the beauty that it holds. It was truly the most magical experience and I would give anything to do that again.

2.) Our very first trip together as a couple and we traveled to Florida. Tommy and I had only been dating about 3 months but he invited me on a family trip to Florida and I was so nervous about the trip but it turned out to be the most fun we have ever had. We went to the beach and went shopping, went out on a boat and saw dolphins, woke up early just to go to Starbucks. That trip I realized our relationship was the real deal.

3.) One Sunday we both called sick into work and played hooky. We started the day off having our own church at Starbucks which was so sweet and intimate and then we adventured down to the flea market or  "little Mexico"as we like to call it. It was so much fun! We explored antiques and ate interesting food and just spent the whole day together. At the time in our relationship our work schedules were crazy and we rarely got an entire day to spend with each other, making that time even more precious.

4.) Our proposal. This day truly felt like my fairytale coming true. I remember every detail from this day and it was the most special day that took so much planning and paying attention to details that Tommy made happen. It made me appreciate his creative side even more. (if you haven't seen the proposal see it here ProposalVideo )

I have realized that our best memories have either been spontaneous adventures that allowed our carefree personalities to shine, or they were at Starbucks.

I can't believe it's only been two years, it feels like a lifetime and I can't wait for 50 more years together.

I love you sweet love of my life. Only 5 more months to go until we are one.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Learning What's Really Important

Things happen in our lives that make us realize what's really important to us. Usually when this happens it means something hard has just taken place. And yes an earthquake has just taken place in my life and I now have realized that I need to get my priorities in life straight.
This season of life for me is all about change, and I mean everything is changing. To adapting to a new family, learning to constantly serve my Fiancé and to put his needs ahead of mine, to let old dreams die and chasing new ones, being a helping hand with a new church plant while maintaining relationships at our current church, to welcoming new friends and letting go of old ones and most importantly constantly pursuing the love of my Heavenly Father.

One Wake Up Call For Me:

Health. As someone who has struggled with major health issues a majority of my life I have recently been faced with the challenge to improve my health but not for only my benefit. In the bible it talks about how Moses could not hold up his arms to touch Heaven for very long but he needed the help of Aaron whom he was closest to and trusted to help him hold his arms up. Tommy and I now have the opportunity to hold up the arms of my Father. Spiritually he is one of the strongest men I know and we are going to start encouraging him more and helping him hold his arms up so he can continue to lead us. But we are all needing a major physical improvement. So the Williamson family has made a life changing decision to radically change our health. Our bodies are a temple and we need to take care of them.

What does this mean?
It means I have to put away the candy bars, stop drinking the sodas, quit driving through the fast food places and instead replace all of the above with raw fruit and veggies, grilled chicken, actually healthy salads (not the ones we "think" are healthy) letting my flesh die and embrace these new foods. I'm hoping through this experience will not only better my health but open a whole new world of flavors and foods.

As far as the wedding goes, plans are coming together great, Tommy and I have now asked our bridesmaids and groomsmen if they will stand with us and we are excited about that. We now have a date and place for our second reception in Buffalo (June 24, 2012). Things we still need to do: find a DJ, find a place to have our rehearsal dinner, and find a videographer. If you have any suggestions please let me know!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

The Story of How Tommy & I Met

Here is the story of how Tommy & I met, beware he tricked me multiple times to go out with him.  

December 23rd was a fun day of last minute shopping and errands with the family before Christmas Eve, and getting ready for our College group Christmas party! Emily & I had been working hard to make this party awesome! Me being me, I was getting ready for the party and of course running majorly late (45 mins oops!) and my brother was mad that we were so late and he definitely let me know, so we showed up at the party and I am upset by this point due to the yelling in the car. But I walked into the house and I saw my friend who was home from school and I go give him a big hug and there is this guy leaning against the wall talking to my friend and my first thought is, "Who is this joker that was not invited to our party" haha I know it was mean but hey I was already upset! So I give my friend a big hug and the other guy is just staring at me with this smirk on his face, but he is wearing the most hideous shade of green shirt so I just ignored him and walked away. I later was able to enjoy the party that we worked so hard at putting together and it was a lot of fun! We played a few games and had a lot of laughs but there was this one game that we played where you started off alone but the goal of the game was you wanted to get as many people as you could on your team. So the guy that was wearing the hideous green shirt tricked me! He tricked me to get me on his team but I called his bluff and he had to be on my team :) score for me! So it was the 2 of sitting next to each other for the majority of the night. By this time I found out his name was Tommy but he annoyed me to no end. I could not stand him and I tried to get away from him when the game was over. After most everyone at the party had left we decided to play one more game "Loaded Questions" and the question was 'What was an embarrassing fad from your childhood that you regret following along with?' well, it was Tommy's turn to read the answers outloud so I decided to write something super embarrassing for him. My answer was "high waisted pants that gave you a camel toe". His face got so red when he read it and he refused to read it but I told him he had to or he lost. It was payback for him tricking me! He read it and everyone laughed. And the night ended after we watched a movie.

A few days later Tommy had planned a bowling night for everyone but he did not invite me. Well me being out of that loop I had no knowledge of this bowling night until a friend of mine invited me. So I went to get my hair done before we went bowling and who did I see at the hair salon? Tommy! And he had foil in his hair haha so I laughed at him! He asked what I was doing that night and I told him I was going out with some friends to go bowling and he said he was too. So we parted ways and I said I would see him later. Well the bowling night was disastrous! Some people who will remain nameless had a little too much alcohol and were acting like fools and I was very distraught (one of them may or may not have been related to me) So I was upset and Tommy hopped into my car to try and talk to me and calm me down but I was no mood for it so I got out of my car. The night got a little better with wine & oreos and then we all parted ways.

New Years Eve was here and everyone was busy making plans to do something fun and again this guy Tommy made plans for everyone. This time I was actually invited but I declined due to previously made plans, but Tommy sweet talked me into going saying 'everyone' was going. So when we all met up there were only 4 of us. He lied to me to get me to go! Ridiculous. And it was 3 girls and Tommy. So he originally planned to go somewhere but when we showed up it was totally lame and a friend of mine and I decided to take matters into our own hands and to go downtown which turned out to be a lot of fun. So the night went on and it was time to find the car but at this point it is 2am and all of us girls are wearing 4 inch heels and our feet are killing us but Tommy couldnt find the car! We walked around downtown Raleigh for an hour trying to find the car. I hadn't talked to Tommy much that night because I found him rather weird and annoying but he weasled his way to get me to talk to him, but my feet hurt so much that i needed to lean on him. He of course loved it which I could tell so I decided to mess with his head and act interested in him (which i was not). The night ended after we all went to Cookout at 3am.

A few days later Tommy called me and said a bunch of people were going to help deliver food the Raleigh Rescue Mission and asked if I wanted to go. I wasn't going to turn down an offer to help serve the community so I said yes! I met him and it turns out THAT I WAS THE ONLY ONE HE INVITED. It was just the 2 of us. He tricked me AGAIN! But I was glad to help even if I was alluded under false pretenses to get there. We served the food and then Tommy offered to take me out to dinner and I said no but he convinvced me to go with him so we went to Chili's. When we got to Chili's he asked our waitress if he could have crayons so he could color. I had no idea what to think at this point so I went along. After Chili's he took me to Starbucks (my favorite) and we sat inside and drank coffee and talked for a few hours. This was our very first date, even though he tricked me into going with him. 

I am so very thankful that he tricked me into going out with him because it has been so worth it :) I love my sweet Tommy Ray.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

The Holidays are Approaching!


The smell of pine trees are filling the air. The weather is becoming chilled with each day that is passing, and even Santa Claus has made his way to Raleigh. 

I love Christmastime. Everyone is friendly and cheerful, you come together and celebrate each other. It's a holiday that is about giving to others instead of being concerned with yourself. There is a happiness that billows in the air. It's just a wonderful holiday. I cannot wait for Christmas this year, and to make it even more special I have someone truly wonderful to spend it with...Tommy Ray.  My grandparents are also coming to town and I cannot wait to see them, they are the funniest people I know. I crack up at their stories from back in the 50's when they first met and started dating. The best story is this.....After my Grandpa and Grandma just got married they were young, not even in their 20's yet so my Grandpa would walk home from work on his lunch break to go see my Grandma. She would be cooking for him and would always have french fries in the oven baking when he got there. Well, they would be so excited to see each other that they would start kissing or "necking" as they call it and they would burn the fries everytime! But they didn't care, they had each other. True love right there :) I can't wait for Christmas!! only 39 more days until it is here!!! 

With Christmas coming soon I have started making crafts and a good friend of mine, Emily, showed me the cutest way to make a card for someone for cheap! So I am going to blog about the process in a few days....stay tuned!! 

Merry Christmas Everyone!!