September 26, 2013

our wedding day // photo sneak peeks

you GUYS - our wedding photos arrived in my inbox this week, and i was so excited i literally almost jumped out of my seat! i've been drooling over them all week, and have only just started picking some of my favorites. going through them with Travis was like reliving our entire wedding day - seeing things that we never even noticed or saw, remembering all of the wonderful people there, re-feeling all the emotions of the day - and it was a sweet gift. 

our photographers were a gift in themselves, literally. i have looked up to and admired Jillian's work for well over a year now, so when she offered to shoot our wedding in exchange for a trip to Southern California, my jaw dropped to the floor. dreams just don't come true like that - but prayers do! having her and her hilarious husband there made our day even more special and meaningful, and i cannot even express how grateful we were and always will be. 

i can't wait to share even more throughout the next few weeks. as a photographer, these images are priceless and precious to me - more than i could have ever dreamed of or hoped for. 

happy thursday, guys! 

September 25, 2013

seal beach family session // the o'leary family

 sometimes everything lines up in a photoshoot, and you walk away giving yourself high-5's and fist bumps. this was one of those days. the light was dreamy and the clouds were reflecting all kinds of lovely colors. when i met the o'leary family, i just knew we were going to have a blast - plus they are some good-lookin' people so they also happened to make my job incredibly easy! i cannot even begin to describe how much joy and love these people share, so hopefully the photos will do that for me - enjoy!

dear o'leary's/jeffrey's - thank you for asking me to capture these lovely photos of you and spending the afternoon with me - i appreciate you! 

September 23, 2013

winding down from the weekend

it's officially fall, and my little heart is celebrating on this brisk and sunny morning!

now that Travis works full time, we live for the weekends, and we have been blessed with a string of restful and encouraging weekends. for the last 3 weeks, we've had friends over for dinner and have loved inviting people into our home for an evening of food and fellowship - and a wild game night or two. 

we've been challenged by our new lead pastor in many areas and have also loved serving in the Jr. High ministry. we love our quiet saturday mornings, our sunday naps, and putting the house together a little bit at a time. as we wind down every sunday night, i just can't help but think how much i love our life. it has its bumps and pits, but God is good, and we are continually reminded of that. He will provide, as long as we are faithful with what we've already been given, as long as we diligently put him first (and that's hard work too). 

on top of a wonderful weekend, T has been spoiling me this past week. love has looked like making a smoothie before another long day of class, having a mug of coffee and a sweet card waiting on the table in the morning, mumbling a "will you go on a breakfast date with me tomorrow?" as we fell asleep, surprising me with another card, helping me make the bed, never hesitating to put us first when we need it, supporting my dreams...i am undeservedly blessed. marriage, friendship, relationship, is a sweet sweet gift. 

have a happy first week of fall, friends - and savor every minute of the gifts you've been given. 

September 16, 2013

the best kind of work

as of yesterday, we've been married for 5 weeks - and they have been the best 5 weeks of our life. but, they've also been hard weeks. weeks of learning, growing, and a melt down or two (or three). there are a lot of things we didn't expect to face so quickly, a lot of little issues we had to tackle, and tackle quickly before they festered. and you know what? i didn't expect it to be that way at all. the wedding planning was hard and exhausting, and i had heard from many past brides that "you can really only be engaged for so long before you're totally over being engaged." and i felt that, i got that. but i also thought that after the madness of wedding planning was over, married life would just happen - naturally and easily. at least for the first few months. don't get me wrong, Travis and i knew that marriage is work, lots of work, and we didn't go into it thinking it would be sunshine and rainbows. i just don't think i expected the work to come so quickly. 

and it has always been my heart, our heart, to be authentic, to be real about our lives. i realized earlier this morning that as people see what i put out into the universe about marriage (on instagram, or Facebook, or wherever else), they might think that marriage is perfect, that it's everything and more than you could ever imagine. and it is. it absolutely is. but it is not always picture perfect. but i felt like it should be.

as we started meeting up with friends again and running into people at church after the honeymoon, everyone excitedly asked us about "married life," and we were so excited to share. but i almost felt guilty for sharing the hard stuff. like, "oh yes it's the best thing ever, but we've only been married for 3 weeks, and it's already hard," as if it shouldn't be or something. and i was afraid people would get the wrong idea (because i care a lot about what people think, and i'm working on that, dear reader). but as i've shared the lessons we've learned and the challenges we're facing, i got emphatic nods of agreement from everyone around me (well, almost everyone). so for all of you who are thinking about getting married soon or are fantasizing about marriage and how perfect it will be, or if you're engaged and are getting married soon, i just wanted to share my heart, our lessons, so that maybe, when these things happen to you, you won't feel guilty, or wrong, or embarrassed. 

// taking two lives and making them one just sounds like it will be difficult. and if you think about it, that's what marriage is - taking two people and uniting them into one life. so yes, it's messy. but it isn't the little things like "oh my gosh i can't stand how my husband leaves his clothes piled on the floor" or "it just drives me CRAZY when he does this." we haven't really run up against that (but you might, so don't bank on it). fortunately, we created a lot of time and space before we were married, even before we were engaged, to talk about those things. but sometimes those things do come up, and talking about it right away is the best way to fix it. and then they don't have to become bigger things. 

// see my previous post about organizing and thrifting and cleaning and organizing and emptying boxes and moving. the first few months of marriage are still a transition. and transitions aren't the easiest thing. they test you and force all of the uglies in you out. and you'll get to do that together. keep communicating. 

// prepare for the unexpected. i don't know why it happened, but shortly after we got home from the honeymoon, life started to rain on us. nope, it poured. the car needed to go in the shop, the moped started making funny noises, street sweeping kicked our butts in the form of 3 parking tickets, the heat wave sapped all of our energy (and became a huge barrier between cuddling and canoodling together - sweat is not attractive or romantic, people), and the list goes on. it sounds trivial, but it was work for us. and we had to learn how to face life as a team. how to approach things together when our own separate ways of coping and dealing are sometimes different. 

// put Jesus first. it sounds like a no-brainer, but it's hard to do sometimes, you know? 

// make time for each other. especially husbands - date your wives. ladies, knowing how to cook is a plus. it may sound old-fashioned to you, but the cliche is true: the way to a man's heart is through his stomach. love him with dinner and cookies and pancakes for breakfast. make your house a home, a haven. it's the little things.

// communicate your expectations, about everything. about how you expect the day to go, what you expect to do that night, how you expect to spend your time together. don't share those expectations because "it's my way or the highway, so this is the way it's gonna go down." share them so that you can give and take, and end up on the same page (because that's the best place to be).

// appreciate each other. appreciate how you love each other and show it. girls, it may not be in the form of a bouquet of flowers or a romantic date night. today, he might love you by washing the dishes for you or heating up your lunch or making your coffee in the morning. don't miss those acts of kindness because you wanted something else (something that, let's be honest, might not even be realistic, or maybe you want it because that's how they do it). you're living your own story together, not some idealized version or someone else's "perfect" life. appreciate the things that make your story unique, make it yours.

this is all just my two cents. you can take it or leave it. but know that they honeymoon might just end when the honeymoon ends, and then it's real life. and that's ok. and reality is better than it was before, because you get to do life together now. speak words of encouragement, show thoughtfulness and kindness, be a team. celebrate the lessons you've learned. i'm so grateful that we've had opportunities to build strong foundations early on. don't avoid the tough things or be afraid of them; let them make you better, now. 

and celebrate marriage, because it rocks.

photo by Jillian Zamora Photography

September 13, 2013

honeymoon days // insta-style

can i get a TGIF?! like big time? 

now that i'm back in school full-time and Travis is back at work full-time, i look forward to the weekends like none other. and because my brain is winding down and i'm entering relax mode, it's time for a few random thoughts:

// we are on the job hunt, for both of us. and it's exciting. nerve-racking, because in all honesty, the numbers aren't adding up and they need to, but exciting because there are opportunities in sight for us both. but it's also a lesson in letting go of control and letting God provide. it's about finding that fine balance between taking initiative and ultimately letting the Lord have control. and He will provide, i know it without a single doubt. He has never and will never set us up to fail. so pray for us, k? 

// i want to become a better time-manager, because let's be real guys, i am the worst. i try to multi-task all the time, but multi-tasking just causes endless distractions. it is SO hard for me to sit down and just get. it. done. i procrastinate, i rush things, i don't do it with all my heart. and that's not how i want to do things. so if you have any great time-management/self-discipline tips, help a girl out. 

// this week, we celebrated one happy month of marriage, and i love being Travis' wife today even more than i did yesterday. it's funny though, sometimes everything still feels temporary to us. like, is this really how it will always be? we get to live together, do life together, wake up together, go to bed together, make decisions together, and tackle every season together, forever? it's surreal. 

// and just for kicks, and because i haven't put together a post of all my 'fancy' pictures yet, i'm including a few honeymoon photos insta-style. 

have a happy weekend, friends!

September 9, 2013

our home tour // kitchen & bedroom

throughout our first month of marriage so far, there have been several times where T and i have looked at each other and said, "no one told us it'd be like this!" and they aren't big things or terrible things, they're just things we didn't expect, new lessons for us to learn. when we asked another recently wed couple how marriage was so far, they emphatically replied, "it's a learning curve!" and man, they are so right. but it's the best kind of learning. rewarding, satisfying, and celebratory learning sprinkled with hugs and kisses. 

since we came home from our honeymoon, our house has been littered with boxes and piles of things waiting to be organized. and people, i do not do well with transition. if i could wave my magic wand and make all of those boxes and piles disappear, i'd do it in a heartbeat. fortunately, we've been assured by many other newlywed couples that this is in fact completely normal. taking two lives and making them one is work, and a lot of snack-breaks and episodes of Friday Night Lights, and a lot of throwing things away ;] but this past weekend we tackled a big pile of things, donated a car-load to Goodwill, and got our place a little more together (thank you, husband for putting up with my OCD-ness and for tackling everything with me!). to celebrate i'm sharing a little peek of our home, because sometimes i just need to remind myself that we did in fact accomplish something, and it won't kill me to wait until next weekend to put away the next few boxes. 

and in the spirit of productivity, it's time to officially change my last name and become Mrs. Gilley - woop! 

have a happy monday, sweet friends - and don't forget to celebrate how far you've come, no matter what it may be.