Forgiveness 


Forgiveness is one of those things that we are going to have to do time and time again as humans.

I was driving home the other day. It was cloudy. A few raindrops were scattered across my windshield. The scene seemed to really manifest itself for gloomy inner thoughts. I found myself dwelling on my hurt feelings.

I was just like, “woah.” I need to get a grip here. I am a sensitive person and that’s okay. But my sensitivity is no excuse to not forgive. 

I prayed right then and there. I asked the Lord to help me forgive. “70 x 7” as the Bible says. I’m really trying to work on this. On softening my heart towards people who continuously hurt my feelings. On not holding a grudge. Unforgiveness ultimately hurts me.


Unforgiveness is kinda sneaky. You don’t realize it sometimes. I remember one day thinking about the concept of forgiveness. I tried to think of a list of people that I struggled with forgiving. No one came to mind. So I was like, “okay, cool.” And went along my merry way. Then, that person says something rude, and ALL the hurtful things they’ve done rush back, and the bitterness makes its entry. I realized I struggled with forgiveness more than I realize. In fact, there are a few people that I’m really trying to forgive. God is working on that with me.

People are going to hurt our feelings. People will be mean. Cold. Harsh. Selfish. If we let people’s actions create bitterness and grudges, we are going to be miserable people. 

To be a Christian means to forgive the inexcusable because God has forgiven the inexcusable in you. – C. S. Lewis

I think the above quote kind of says it all. The greater the offense, the harder it is to forgive. But if God can forgive us, surely we can forgive each other.

I urge you to bring your unforgiveness straight to the Lord. He will really help you. He’ll help reveal unforgiveness you might not even realize you have. He’s helping me and I’m already feeling lighter and more joyful! I want to be a person who is oozing with love and kindness and forgiveness. And God is helping me become that person.


Summer Priorities 


With long, hot days followed by warm, breezy nights, summer is upon us.

Oh summer, I’m so happy to see you! I am so blessed to have the next two months off for the first time in years. Earlier today, I felt like God laid on my heart to talk about summer.

I could write a poetic ode to it. Something about the salty air and the smell of backyard barbecues. However, I feel more inclined to whisk you in a different direction.

Summertime, whether you are working or off for the next couple months, can sometimes be a busy time. We are so eager to DO. Beach. Pool. Shopping. Travel. Dinner parties. Cleaning. And all that is fine and dandy! By all means, do. But I am here to urge you to prioritize this summer.

Last summer, I was go-go-go. I was burnt out and didn’t take time to rest. It eventually caught up with me.


This summer: new goal. Take care of myself. From the inside, out. My emotional and physical well being need to be prioritized.

What does that look like?

Well for starters, I need to be in the Word more. I do my daily devotions year round, but I really should be digging in deeper. Now that I’m off for the summer, I have zero excuses. (But even when I’m working, I don’t have an excuse.) My goal is to start each morning quietly. Just me and the Lord. No blogging. No Netflix. Just me, Jesus, and a cup of green tea. (If you have kids, encourage them to do the same, and have them respect your quiet time.)

Secondly, fitness. I always eat healthy, but I am not one for working out. I’d like to try to change that this summer. I started a fitness program a week ago, and so far I love it! I don’t have any crazy fitness goals. I’m not trying to reach some sort of “bikini perfection.” I just want to feel a little stronger. I eat well, so I might as well tackle the other half of a healthy lifestyle.

My last thoughts on summer priorities is kind of a hodgepodge: Floss. Read an uplifting book or two. Rest.

Whether your agenda this summer is filled to the brim, or is looking pretty chill, remember to spend time with the Creator, eat healthfully, get up and move a little bit, and rest your body. At the end of this summer, I’ll let you know how I did.

Cheers to a summer invested in peace and joy!

Nonna’s Dress


Little Julia, perhaps 9 or 10 years old, had a huge imagination.

In her closet was a large plastic bin. A bin of possibilities. What some may call a bin of dress up clothes.

There was a Pocahontas costume. A shawl (that also doubled as a “net to catch fish”). A little house on the prairie outfit. A gypsy costume. Among other things.

There was one dress that was particularly beautiful. It was white and blush pink with a flowing cape. It was little Julia’s favorite. While it was much too big on her, she loved wearing it around the house, pretending she was a princess.

That dress was her Nonna’s.

…………..

Now I’m all grown up. Well, at least on the outside. On the inside, I’m still the same little Julia, with the wild imagination.

And now Nonna’s dress fits me. Nonna is in heaven now with the Lord. (And my Nonno ❤️)

When Billy and I decided to do a photoshoot for our 2 year anniversary, I knew exactly what I wanted to wear. Nonna’s dress. The usual “what should I wear?” dilemma never occurred. I knew it would be a lovely way to honor her.

You see, the beautiful dress in the pictures is more than just a beautiful dress. It is Nonna’s dress. The dress that little Julia couldn’t wait to grow into. The dress that reminds me of the beautiful person that my Nonna was, on the inside and the outside.

Wearing her dress made the photoshoot that much more special.


The above photo shows me holding a picture of my Nonna wearing the dress. 💗

I often wish Billy could’ve met my Nonna. She passed away before I ever knew Billy. But, sometimes I wonder if maybe in heaven she and my Nonno can see what’s going on down here. Perhaps one day they’ll say, “Billy! It’s nice to finally meet you in person.” Probably followed by, “Try this, it’s yummy.” Because that’s the Italian way. 😉


* All photographs in this post were taken by Stephanie Gamble.

2 Things We’ve Learned in 2 Years of Marriage


I am very excited about this blog post for a couple of reasons. For starters, this post is in honor of my two year anniversary with my husband! That’s right! As of March 15, we’ve been husband and wife for two years! I love that. I can finally say years. haha. Secondly, throughout this post I am sharing a selection of our anniversary photoshoot pictures! They were taken by our lovely wedding photographer, Stephanie Gamble. She has become a dear friend of ours, and is truly a remarkable person. So much love for her. Lastly, my husband Billy will be a guest writer in this post, as we both share 2 things we’ve learned in 2 years of marriage! This is sure to be a treat!


~2 Things I’ve Learned~

Obviously, in marriage every day offers some sort of lesson to be learned. I’ve learned many things in the past couple of years. However, I decided to narrow it down to two.

1. Be joy to each other.

I say this time and time again. Life is too stinkin’ hard to be another source of pain to your spouse. Stuff happens in life. Hard stuff. Stress. Jobs. Finances. Kids. Sickness. Grief. Depression. You name it. The last thing we all need is to top off all that stress with being bitter, rude, mean, insensitive, or even just absent in your spouse’s life. No one’s perfect, but honestly if you try to make this a goal in your marriage, it will have a beautiful effect.

Throughout the day, Billy and I send each other sweet, encouraging texts. Sometimes it’s something simple like, “You’re so fun! You make me smile.” Or sometimes we will send each other a typed out prayer.  We always try to uplift each other throughout the day. In our actions and our speech.

We also love just being goofy together. Disney songs are belted out quite frequently in our home. Dance parties can break out at any moment. Laughter is such a gift, and we indulge in it often.

People grow as they go through life. We are choosing to grow together and in the Lord. Sometimes we ask each other silly questions like, “What’s your favorite song right now?” Because sometimes you just need to stop, and get to know your spouse some more that day.

Don’t be a nag. Don’t be snippy. BE JOY.

2.  Communication is ALWAYS the right decision.

I always say, “When in doubt, talk it out.” Don’t hold anything in. Don’t bottle things up or tuck it away.  If something is bothering you, communicate that. Right then and there. Communication will never be the wrong choice. This is something that couples can always work on, but something we’ve gotten a lot better about, especially in our second year of marriage.

Communication isn’t always about conflict. Sometimes we think something positive, but don’t bother expressing it out loud. Your spouse did the dishes. Thank them. You liked how they stood up for you. Tell them. They look nice in that new outfit. Compliment them.

Communicate if you’re stressed about something, even if it has nothing to do with your spouse. Because, honestly, if you’re stressed, and your spouse doesn’t know you are, they won’t be able to help you, encourage you, and pray for you/with you.

Most importantly, communication is most effective when done with love and respect. Kindness and patience. Openness and good intent.


~ 2 Things Billy’s Learned~

Hey guys, Billy here! So this is what it feels like to write for a blog, ay? I have to be honest, I’m experiencing a little bit of stage fright, being this is my first time writing on here. Is that a thing?-“Writer’s stage fright”? Because, you know, I’m not exactly standing on a stage. I’m probably just getting worked up for nothing…

Is it hot in here?

Anyways, Julia asked if I would contribute some thoughts to this post. And after a few “Yeah, maybe tomorrow” replies, and a couple “But, babe, I don’t know how to write” excuses, here I am.

1. Be the ultimate team.

Julia and I do virtually everything together.

*Deep inhale.*

We shop together. Do chores together. Brush our teeth together. Go to appointments together. Eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner together. Read together. Travel together. Sit silently together. Dream together. And when Julia needs some more makeup, you better believe we’re walking through Sephora together.

Julia and I have been living this way since the beginning of our marriage. I’m not trying to brag about it, but we somehow kept it up for so long that it became habitual. I’ve found that, instead of tiring us out from each other, this has really helped draw us closer to each other. Investing this time in my wife has brought about so many fun moments and conversations that would not have occurred otherwise.

I’m not implying that couples need to spend every waking hour with each other for everything they do. But couples should certainly invest plenty of time in each other.

Be a team.

Tackle the daily chores together. Budget your monthly expenses together. Pray together. Work together. Enjoy accomplishing as many things in life together as you can.

No earthly relationship you have in this world will ever be as strong, driven, intimate, and meaningful as the relationship you have with your spouse. You are literally one living body.

Gen. 2:24; “That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh.”

How can you find a better teammate than that?

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2. Be the ultimate teammate.

As our spouse’s teammate we should be doing everything we can to encourage, support, inspire, and uplift our spouse in everything they do.

Sometimes that’s easier said than done. Especially when you don’t agree with what your spouse is doing. Those situations will require prayer and seeking God’s direction. But for the day-to-day things, there’s no reason why we cannot lend our support.

For me, I love bringing joy to my wife. And I love seeing her happy.

When Julia first had the idea to really tackle this blogging thing, I stood right beside her and cheered her on. I still do. I want to see her pursue a meaningful hobby that brings joy to her and others, and brings glory to God. Honestly, it was hard not to support her.

Of course, I have my shortcomings. I’m not perfect. But I’ve learned to seek out these opportunities where I can encourage, support, inspire, and uplift my wife.

This has had a big impact in how I approach my role as the spiritual leader of our household. That sounds so epic doesn’t it?

“I am the spiritual leader of my household!”

But if you’re a husband, that’s exactly who you are. God calls us to lead our wife and family by the instruction of The Word.

I would recommend giving Ephesians 5:21-33 a quick read for reference.

By seeking opportunities to support and encourage my wife, I am in turn seeking opportunities to lead her along God’s will for the dreams and pursuits that come her way.

……………….

It’s Julia again! Thank you for reading what’s been on our hearts. We’ve prayed over this blog post for quite some time. If even just one person benefits from our marriage lessons these past two years, our prayers have been answered.