Three Years

View More:

:: Written for Bill-Bill ::

I remember our wedding day so vividly. Weeks. No, months in advance I was so worried it would rain. (Our wedding was completely outdoors.) I literally looked up the weather probably two months in advance, and kept doing so til our day arrived. lol. God blessed us with the most beautiful spring day I’d ever seen. The sun sparkled over the bay, there was a gorgeous breeze, and I had never felt to peaceful and excited my entire life.

I remember excitedly peeking out of the window of my dressing room, watching the staff decorate the tables. I remember walking down the aisle to the theme from Anne of Green Gables.  I remember his face, filled with tears, as I walked towards him. I remember our friends and family laying hands on us.

I remember the happiest moment we both realized–we’re married.

The dance floor was full the entire night, and it was on our wedding day Billy realized his mad dance skills. lol.

It’s been three years since that day.  The crazy thing is– I love him even more now. I’m so thankful to the Lord. The best part is– I know I’ll only keep loving him more.

Here is our beautiful wedding video.  Pull up a chair and welcome to our wedding day.

I love you, Bill-Bill. Thank you for the three best years of my life. Here’s to forever more.



View More:


How You Know You Met “The One”

Perched on my couch, I write to you with tea in hand and a smile upon my face. This post is written in honor of Billy and I’s upcoming 3 year wedding anniversary. Mmmm God is so good. He’s blessed me so beyond what I deserve. I will forever thank the Lord for the man that He has given me.

Talking about love and marriage always inspires me to share the wisdom I have gained through the years.  Finding the one looks different for everyone.  Everyone traverses a different path. A different distance. A unique journey. But God is near and He wants you to trust Him.

I believe we all desire love.  Many people desire a forever love. A spouse. I believe God put that desire in us. It’s a good desire.  It is from Him. Trust Him, follow Him, serve Him, and KNOW that He will provide.

Finding the one seems like a mystery. Until you meet the one. haha. I know it’s cliche, but the saying is true–When ya know, ya know. But, hindsight is 20/20. So here’s my insight on how you know you met the one.

  1. You can be yourself.

I remember when I first met Billy. One of the things I kept saying to myself was, “Wow, I can be my complete self around him.” It was astounding. Like nothing I had ever experienced before. I didn’t have to tame my silly side. He liked me. For me. My goofy, happy, loud-laughed, music-loving self. We were able to really embrace who we were.  There were no fronts. No performances. Just us. And that is SO important.

2. You have the same values.

I remember when Billy first told me he liked me, we were sitting on the beach at John’s Pass.  We realized our time together was headed towards relationship.  Billy asked, “Can I pray for us?” That’s when I knew, this was different.  This was something beautiful.

I can’t stress this one enough. You can have different hobbies. You can have the same hobbies. That really doesn’t matter, as long as you support each other.  What matters is that your values and beliefs, are the same.  Billy and I are both Christians.  We believe that we are sinners (duh, we’ve all done crap), that the payment for sin is death, that Jesus paid that price for us on the cross, and conquered death 3 days later so we can go to heaven when we die. Billy and I have a relationship with each other, but first we have a relationship with GOD. If your values are not the same, the relationship is not worth pursuing.

3. There is so much peace.

I am a firm believer that God reveals His will for us through His peace.  I had never experienced such peace in my entire life.  There was no turmoil.  No constant battle.  Just peace.  It felt right.  It felt good.

4. Everything is simple.

Now, life isn’t always simple, but we humans tend to overcomplicate things.  A right relationship shouldn’t feel like constant tug of war.  This goes back to there being peace.

When Billy and I were dating, we typically drank tea and watched movies when he would come over. One day he told me the moment he knew we were going to get married. “We were drinking tea, and it was the happiest, yet simplest moment of my life. I knew I wanted to drink tea with you forever.”

Being with the one isn’t about some over-planned, highly orchestrated moment. It’s about simple, real, life moments.

I hope you enjoyed my little nuggets of wisdom.  Most importantly, remember the One who loves you more than any human ever could. So much so, that He died for you.

Psalm 143:8: “Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in you. Show me the way I should go, for to you I entrust my life.”


Apt. Reveal :: The Bedroom

A few months ago we moved about an hour away due to my husband’s job.  Although relocating has been hard in some ways, there has been so much joy in it. So much blessing. And so much to look forward to. We’ve actually come to fall in love with our new city. It’s quite beautiful and scenic. A refreshing change of pace.

We were very excited to make our new apartment home. And I must say: we were seriously stoked about finally having white walls. lol. We are very minimal in that way! Needless to say, I am so excited to share with you our home.  This is the first blog post of the series. Today I’m sharing our bedroom, because it has completely transformed from our old apartment.  Below are pictures featuring details, links to products, and our design tips and inspiration.

Welcome to our home.

Nightstand Details

I knew I wanted mid century nightstands for our bedroom update. However, everywhere we looked they were all so expensive! Starting at $150. No, thanks.  I found these at Target and fell in love! Exactly what I was looking for and only $80 a piece. You can shop them here. The drawers slide nicely and they look so classic. The “Mr.” and “Mrs.” chalkboards are from our wedding. A special little reminder of our day.  The box on my nightstand is a vintage Lane cedar chest. Dried eucalyptus in an old bottle adds just the right touch of greenery and character.

Let’s talk these lamps. I love them because they don’t take up room on our nightstands and they give that “hotel” vibe. The picture frame is from Marshalls and houses a special picture from our dating days. The faux fiddle leaf fig tree looks shockingly real and completely transforms the space. I can’t stress the importance of greenery enough!

I wanted some sort of candle holder on one of our nightstands. This one comes in a set of 3, of varying heights. Looks expensive, but the set was just under $10. I like the subtle vintage vibe it gives, and it ties the headboard in nicely.

The Space

I’ve been getting lots of questions about this mirror lately.  It is our latest addition to our bedroom. Mirrors are an excellent way to open up a space and bounce light. I like the rounded edges of this one and the matte gold finish. It quite nicely complements the gold accents we have throughout our home. For an affordable price, this mirror looks much more expensive and the quality is very pleasing.

Our wedding shelf is a darling memento to our big day. It houses our toasting flutes, communion cup, a jar from our centerpieces, our wedding invitation, and our homemade candle favors.

The Vanity

I love this little space. It allows me to get ready for the day, without hogging up the bathroom. This vanity was purchased from Target but is no longer available. Here is a similar option. This oval vintage mirror is a favorite of mine. It has so much character.  Billy got it for free awhile back, and painted the wood frame a muted gold. Love.

Garden Vibes

This butterfly wall hanging is not only classic and stunning, but also near and dear to my heart. It was our guestbook at our wedding. I love walking by it each day and catching a glimpse of a sweet message someone wrote. Puts a smile on my face. Every. Time. 🙂

These succulents are, yet again, fake. But so lifelike! We purchased these and the twine at Michael’s a few years back. A whimsical touch indeed!

The Bed

This quilt gives me all the cozy feels. I love its old fashioned look and its soft material.  We bought it at Target a few years ago.  I’ve gotten some questions on our new headboard! It is from Wayfair and is an excellent price! Again, it has such a vintage flair. The painting above our bed is from a local vintage market. I saw it across the room when we were checking out. I said, “Billy! That painting! Over there! It’s perfect.” And it truly is. I love its rugged wood frame, its character, and the woodsy feel it brings.  It makes me think of all our fun adventures in Georgia.

Life Update

If you haven’t already heard–we got a puppy! This is Lady Darling Brown and she is the cutest little sweet potato.  She loves squeaky toys, stealing daddy’s socks, the dog park, long naps on the balcony, and staring at herself in the mirror. A constant joy, this one.

With our bedroom, we really tried to give it character. It reminds me of a cute little bed and breakfast and I love that! We stuck with a very neutral color palette of white, black, brown, and greenery. Gold accents give it a little something extra. When decorating, I always try to stick with classic pieces. Because classic never goes out of style. I hope you’ve enjoyed the first installment of our apartment reveal! Decorating is such a passion of mine. I enjoy it ever so much.


My God

The feeling of belonging is peaceful. The feeling of having is comforting. Don’t you agree? It’s a sweet feeling, one that we long for. One that we desire to nestle in and get comfortable with.

The other day, the most elementary principle really struck me fresh. It wasn’t new or revolutionary, but it was something that I had never given more than a passing thought. So here it is.

The Lord is mine.

Yep. Just as much as I am His, He is mine. Like, wow.

We were singing “Amazing Grace” at church, and one of the last stanzas we sang said,

The earth shall soon dissolve like snow,

The sun forbear to shine;

But God, who called me here below,

Will be forever mine.

Tears filled my eyes at the very thought of it. “God will be forever mine.”

My fellow believers, just let that sink in for a moment.

The Creator of this beautiful universe. God is ours just as much as we are His.

When you put your trust in the Lord and what He did on the cross, you become a child of God. There is the belonging. He becomes your Heavenly Father. There is the having.

Our humanity wants to belong. Wants to have. Wants relationship. And isn’t it beautiful that with God we belong, we have, and we commune? If you let Him, He can fill all those little cracks of loneliness and lack of purpose in your life.

We are His, and He is ours.

It is a beautiful, mutual relationship.

Oh, MY God, you are so good.

Starting Your Day

They say that the first 10 minutes of your day sets the tone for the rest of your day.

I really started exploring this concept, trying it out for myself. For me, this way of beginning your day has little to do with checklists and tasks, and more to do with positivity and setting the scene.

Below, I’ve compiled a list of ways to start your day, with the hope of a fruitful, joyful, productive day.

1. In the Word

This is of utmost importance. I’ve always remembered my pastor saying, “We need God and we need Him early.” If you are struggling to find joy each day, but aren’t starting it with Jesus, you are setting yourself up for a dreary day. Spending time with the Lord in the morning is like coffee for the soul. The perfect way to awake and refresh. Nourish and uplift. It doesn’t have to take long. Just dedicate a few quiet moments to set your heart on things above.

2. Make Your Bed

A simple task yet so powerful. This minuscule decision sets your scene. Tidying your space helps give you that extra little boost in the morning. You’re awake. You’re up. Your bed is made. It’s go time.

3. Stretch

Perhaps a full blown workout just isn’t in the cards. That’s okay! Simply moving and stretching can alleviate tension and help put an extra pep in your step.

4. Get something done.

Even just one tiny task. Just do one productive thing in the morning, and you will be surprised how much you will accomplish throughout the day. Put away the dishes from last night. Flip the couch cushions. Fold that load of laundry. Small tasks have big effects.

Discipline will be needed in order to have a fruitful morning. Sometimes we need to help motivate ourselves. For example, I made a rule for myself a few months ago: The tv can’t be turned on until I’ve spent my quiet time with the Lord. That simple rule has been monumental in my morning routine. And in my walk with the Lord.

How are you setting yourself up for success each morning?

Happy Youthful Year

I felt a new year’s post was in order. There is something absolutely wonderful about the start of a new year. Fresh and hopeful. Clean and crisp.

This year my goal is to truly encompass the “Youthful Philosophy”, as I like to call it. This philosophy is not a free pass to conduct myself with immaturity. Rather, it is maturely choosing to embrace the best traits of my childhood.

And what does that look like?

1. Childlike Faith

My faith was unwavering as a child. Steady and natural. As this year is sure to present some changes, my goal is to strive towards absolute surrender to the Lord. He has always come through, so why should I doubt Him?

2. Quick Forgiveness

I struggle with this. I’m so sensitive and when someone hurts my feelings or seems to care so little, it becomes so easy for me to dwell, and harp, and re-hash. However, as a child, this wasn’t such a struggle. I am praying that the Lord will help me with this. That I will simply pray for those who act unkindly.

3. Contagious Joy

I have always possessed what I like to call my “Julia Joy.” Yet, life can quickly zap that right out of me if I let it. My goal is to be irresistibly joyful. So much so that it bubbles over and creates ripples.

4. Life Lived Unplugged

Technology wasn’t as commonplace in my childhood. While technology can be truly amazing and useful, it’s important to be able to entertain oneself without it. I want to read more books and create more things and just be in the moment. Not living with a screen plastered to my face.

5. Constantly Imagining

This was a true talent of mine as a child. And still is. But it’s easy to forget to keep that imagination alive. I hope to add a little more imagination in my writing this year. You never know what that could lead to.

6. Reckless Love for the Lord

The love of Jesus in a child is so moving and raw. A true example. The greatest goal I can make this year is to love my God more. To spend more time with Him. I will say, the last few months of 2017, I read my Bible more consistently than I had ever in my entire life. And it rocked my world. In the best way possible. Therefore, I want to keep increasing this time spent with Him.

7. Wonder

Children love to wonder, don’t they? “What’s that?” “How does this work?” “Why does it rain?” Their questions go on endlessly. They stop and look at things. May my sense of wonder and awe increase this year. May I stop and gaze at the moon. May I breathe in the fresh air. May I look on God’s creation with admiration and true worship.

Happy Youthful Year, everyone! Excited to see where God takes this little blog of mine this year.

Christmas Decor Ideas

I’m quite the homebody. I love a quiet day spent at home, tea in hand. This season, I’ve enjoyed decking the halls in our new apartment home. 🎄

My philosophy when it comes to decorating for the seasons, is bringing the outside in. I try to implement this strategy in as many ways as I creatively can. It’s certainly a budget friendly motto to live by!

Here’s some festive Christmas decor ideas that’ll warm your heart just as much as a cup of hot cocoa.

1. Homemade Potpourri

My, does this make for a pretty display! And the smell? Ah! Delightful! All I did here was dry some oranges in the oven, arrange them in a bowl with some fresh cranberries, a cinnamon stick, and a sprig of our fresh Christmas tree! Some fresh cloves would be a fragrant addition as well. I think I’ve made myself a new tradition right here!

2. Set the Scene

Display your favorite Christmas reads! This gives off that lived-in Christmasy home. I always like to take off the paper sleeves on my books. More often than not, there is a gorgeous book underneath!

3. Christmas in a Jar

Perhaps the easiest Christmas decor to accomplish! All you need is a large mason jar, some red ribbon, and some Christmas tree branches! I don’t put the branches in water, but let them dry instead. This prevents mold from building up in there.

4. Orange Slice Ornaments

I dried some extra orange slices to make ornaments! Simply string them with some twine, and hang them on a branch with a light behind it. Natural stained glass! I can see myself making these with my future kiddos one day.

5. Mantle Arrangements

Okay, so this isn’t exactly a mantle. More like an IKEA tv shelf, but let’s pretend, shall we? Here I took more Christmas tree branches, added some pine cones, a few berries, and some battery operated fairy lights! Magical.

6. Remember the Reason

Don’t forget to add some Christmas cheer to your kitchen! How lovely is this nativity? It was my grandma’s years ago. (Thanks, Grandma!) I love its simplicity. A beautiful reminder of what Christmas is all about–the birth of our Savior!

I hope you feel inspired to think outside the box when you decorate this season! Wishing you and yours a very, merry Christmas!

Youthful Faith

Faith came a lot easier as a child. Heights didn’t bother me as they do now. I’d gleefully perch a lizard on my shoulder. Now I can’t stand the sight of them. If I was told something, I would believe it. Without question.

I really like grapes. I always have. When I was little, I recall my dad telling me if I kept eating so many grapes, a grape vine would grow inside my belly. And I believed him.

Then, somewhere along the lines, that blissful, unwavering faith dissipated. As I grew older, I took life’s blows a little harder. Worry and doubt lurked on every corner. “Anxious” became a word I used to describe myself.

Jesus wants us to come before Him as children. With reckless abandon. Faith without hesitancy. Childlike faith. Or as I like to call it, “Youthful Faith.” When I was a teacher’s aide, I was blessed to witness this childlike faith lived out daily. It’s amazing how we adults can learn so much from God’s precious children.

As an adult, having youthful faith goes against my nature. I want to swim through my mess and try to fix things myself. Then, I find myself washed up on shore, breathless and drenched with defeat.

I love this quote by Oswald Chambers: “Faith is absolute trust in God—trust that could never imagine He would forsake us.”

And that’s just it. God will NEVER leave me nor forsake me. I can KNOW that.

My Nonno (that’s Italian for “grandpa”) was an amazing example of youthful faith. Every night he kneeled by his bed and prayed. And believed in the power of prayer. On his death bed, he had absolutely no fear. He said, “I am going to the place He has prepared for me.” And he said so with joy and confident anticipation. THAT is youthful faith!

When I first started blogging, I originally named my blog “The Young Wife”, because I was married at 21. A little while after, the name “The Youthful” came to me, and I felt the Lord telling me to change my blog’s name. It’s funny because “The Young Wife” had everything to do with age, while “The Youthful” has nothing to do with age and everything with attitude. Since renaming the blog, God has revealed new depths of its meaning: My name (Julia) means “youthful.” My goal is to live joyously and simply, seeking adventure along the way. And recently, the concept of “Youthful Faith” hit me. God is in alllllll the details, friends.

I am encouraged that I don’t have to “adult” my way through tough situations. I can cry out to my Heavenly Daddy, and KNOW that He will provide. That He will take care of me. That He will give me peace. That He will carry me through.

Whether you’re on top of a glorious mountain, or down in the depths of the valley, trust the Father. I encourage you, my spiritual siblings, to live a life of Youthful Faith.

(Walking in faith with these darling (comfortable) sandals, courtesy of Oka-B.)

Fate? or something Greater?

As I went to take a small nap one afternoon, I gazed out my window. Words starting coming to mind. Lots of them. Almost poetic in nature. I lifted my head and wrote whatever came to me. Here’s what I wrote.

Deep down humanity knows they come from something Greater. In their lame attempt to explain what only is defined by God, they created “fate” in His place. We hate what is wrong, what is immoral. But what makes something wrong? Something immoral? We all yearn so desperately for love. Yet what is love and why do we want it? In our hearts we feel things. Know things. Things that have been created in our nature by God. And yet, this world explains them away. Oh how they miss such fulfillment in life. The depth of their being could be so much more. And what a grave tragedy it is to deny God.

You credit your favor in life to chance? Fate? Coincidence? In that case, you think far too little of the good in your life. The realization that Someone, that cares so deeply for you, takes the time to orchestrate all the blessings you have acquired, makes the good fortune in your life so much more meaningful…so much more grand. We are so little, yet a big Creator gives so much.

Or do you credit your success to your hard work and talent? Where do you think you received the talent and means to perform so highly? Chance? …It all leads back to the Creator. Step down from your pedestal and stop fighting what you know deep down to be true. We were created by a God, through whom all blessings flow. Stop resisting and get to know your Maker. He is a truly remarkable, personal, loving Father.

The more intimately I converse with Him through prayer…the more I hear Him through the Bible…the more deeply I enter relations with Him…the more I see Him move.

Things I’ve Learned From Being a Teacher’s Aide

I’ve worked with kids since I was 18. In my 6 years of summer camps, aftercare, and being a teacher’s aide, I’ve tucked away precious lessons and sweet memories. As this chapter closes and I move on to the next, I am thankful for the morsels of experience I can carry with me. I truly believe that there are lessons to be learned everywhere. All we must do is slow down and observe. Look a little closer. Hug a little tighter. Love a little more.

Here are the lessons I’ve learned from my past three and a half years as a teacher’s aide.

  1. Bandaids have magical healing powers. Even if you can’t see a scratch, give the kid a bandaid.
  2. Kids will do anything for a piece of candy. Even just one skittle.
  3. The power of a sugar high over a child is no joke.
  4. Kids are brutally honest. “I don’t like your hair like that.” “Oh okay, thanks.”
  5. Kids genuinely care. If I was ever out sick one day, I’d have kids asking how I was feeling for a week or so after.
  6. Four square is serious business. And if they ever hit me with the ball, I was “interference!”
  7. Childlike faith is a truly beautiful thing. They believe with such reckless abandon. Unwavering, blissful, steady faith. 
  8. Watching a child break down walls–brick by brick, begin to trust, and flourish is one of the most heartwarming things to witness.
  9. The Bible doesn’t need to be watered down for kids. In fact, the more meat they learn from it, the more of the Bible they yearn for. Seeing them get excited in Bible class is so inspiring and uplifting.
  10. Copy machines have a mind of their own and they definitely aren’t people pleasers.
  11. Working at a school is like working with family. 
  12. Teachers work so hard. Not only do they pour into a child’s education, but their inner struggles as well. It’s been an honor to work along side the very best, loving, invested teachers.
  13. Rainy days= bad days at a school. No recess = no sanity.
  14. The teacher’s lounge is a sacred refuge. With donuts. Lots of donuts.
  15. I’ve learned a lot about discipline and resolving conflicts—valuable, fruitful lessons I can apply to parenthood one day.
  16. It has been an honor to work with children of all different personalities, backgrounds, and perspectives.
  17. Kids see the world through different spectacles. They’re not afraid to get dirty, dig, and be free—a trait I need to embrace more.
  18. Sometimes you impact a child, and sometimes they impact you.
  19. When a teacher’s aide enters the room, teachers look at you like a paramedic about to save the day.
  20. In a world saturated with technology, it’s refreshing to see that reading a child a book still deeply affects them. Sitting criss-cross-applesauce, with their mouths slightly open, their gaze in awe and anticipation—they are entranced by the power of a good book.
  21. Speaking of technology, I’ve learned that it is not only unnecessary, but harmful in excess to a child’s imagination. (This is merely my opinion.) Nothing makes my heart soar more than seeing a child play house, drawing treasure maps, building things…being uniquely and creatively, them.
  22. Children aren’t afraid. They climb to the top of the play structure with ease. No looking down. No second guessing. They just climb. And that’s where I’m at right now. I needn’t look down, but rather look up.

As I tread unwandered trails, I hold fast to the fact that the Lord has always come through. He always provides. In His perfect timing. And He sprinkles the path with blessings and lessons. A truly beautiful journey indeed.