The One Where My Husband Hijacks My Blog to Say Happy Birthday (A Day Early)

THE HIJACKER

Hi, this is Jason, and I’m Sarah’s husband.

Insert maniacal take over laugh here. Mwahaha.

Insert maniacal take over laugh here. Mwahaha.

THE WHY

Tomorrow is Sarah’s birthday, and in honor of that, I have hijacked her blog to let all of you know what I love about her.

You may ask, why are you doing it the day before? Well, Sarah has been doing this blog thing for a bit now, and she has seen that not many people read blogs on Saturdays. And since I pay attention to what she tells me about blogging, I decided to post this today, so more of you would see it. Because I want as many people as possible to see this and know how much I love Sarah.

28 things I love about Sarah

(28 for no particular reason… 😉 )

1. She laughs at my horrendously lame jokes. If you know me, I have an ODD sense of humor, and somehow Sarah either actually finds it funny, or just indulges me.

2. She takes really, really good care of our house. Former roommates of mine will admit to moving out because of how messy I was, so the fact that the house is clean is a testament to Sarah. I mean, she makes our laundry soap.

3. Her smile. I mean seriously, have you ever seen it? How can you not love it?

She still smiles like this today. I think that means she still likes me :-)

She still smiles like this today. I think that means she still likes me 🙂

4. Her heart for people. Sarah inspires me to care more about people. Not just the people directly in my life, but people everywhere, all around the world. Her heart bursts and breaks for the injustice of the world.

5. She is smoking hot.

6. She takes care of me when I’m sick. I’m a HUGE baby when I get sick. All I want to do is lay around and do nothing. So I do. And Sarah lets me, and then on top of it, she makes me food and takes care of me.

7. She encourages my dreams. I tend to dream big. REALLY big. A lot of people would be scared off by that. Sarah instead asks questions and asks what we can do to move toward those dreams.

8. This blog. I love that she has found her creative outlet, and I love reading about what she has to say. This one about my grandpa even made me cry.

9. In addition to reading the blog, I love that she trusts me enough to be the IT manager/Editor. I have no real experience with either thing, and yet she defers to me on almost all questions related to either topic.

10. She is likely faster and stronger than you. Sarah loves working out (and sometimes puts me to shame in the gym, which I’m learning to be ok with). But I just love that she’s willing to push herself, which leads to the next one…

Look at those guns! Good thing AZ is an open carry state.

Look at those guns! Good thing AZ is an open carry state.

11. She kicks my butt when I’m lazy. Sarah is a great motivator. I am not always the first one out of bed (ok, almost never), to go to the gym. So she gently encourages me to get up, and go. Or she just pushes me out with her foot. Both seem to work well.

12. She lets me keep my beard. I love having a beard, it’s almost like I can’t exist without it. Once, when we were dating, I shaved it off at her request, and she said, “You look really handsome without, but you can grow it back.” SCORE!

13. Adventure. She’s one brave lady. She took a chance on agreeing to marry me when I had no job, and then agreed to move 2000 miles away from everything she’d ever known when the only job I could get was in Tucson, AZ. Then she let me buy a fixer-upper house that needed a lot of love. And now we are adopting internationally. We’ve been married 2.5 years, and we’ve had an awful lot of excitement.

14. Her resolve. We’ve had some tough times in the first few years, but she keeps on going.

15. Sarah is my taste tester. I like to experiment with food (I do a lot of the cooking around here), and she is always generous with her reviews. Even if I’ve really thrown a dud on the plate, she thanks me for it.

16. She encourages me to pursue my passions. I’ve long been into photography, but only recently, I’ve been getting back into it. We are going on a trip this summer, and Sarah has already given me permission to stop at random when I see things I want to photograph.

17. Watching her with our friend’s kids. She is at home with kids, they still make me a bit nervous at times…but I know that when we have ours home, she will be the greatest mom they could ever have had!

18. There is nobody I would rather drive in the car with. Some of our best conversations have been while driving somewhere.

19. She gave up bagels for me. You may have seen all her Whole30 posts recently, but she came to the Paleo side kicking and screaming when we first got married. But she did it for me (at first).

20. She doesn’t yell at me when I come shoeless because I gave them away again.

21. Sarah is patient with me as I learn how to love her. I stumble on this a lot, and sometimes our dates are less than stellar, but she always thanks me for trying.

22. Still smokin’ hot. I doubt that’s ever changing.

You got nothin' on this girl. She's got style for miles!

You got nothin’ on this girl. She’s got style for miles!

23. CAMPING! I love it, and I’m glad she does too so I don’t have to convince her and drag her along.

24. She lets me fail. I’m stubborn, and sometimes I like to do things my own way, which doesn’t always work out. But Sarah lets me take things at my pace (like remodeling the bathroom).

25. I wouldn’t love coffee like I do if it wasn’t for Sarah. She made me start, and now I can’t stop. (I was the first to start drinking it black though).

26. She tries to figure out my surprises for her. Sarah loves surprises, but I think she loves figuring them out early even more. But I bet she had no idea I was hijacking her blog!

27. She loves me with everything she has. Don’t believe me? Read these posts: Proof of Love 1Proof of Love 2Proof of Love 3Proof of Love 4.

Yup, we're in love.

Yup, we’re in love.

28. She loves Jesus even more than she loves me. And she really desires for other people to love him as well. I have seen so much growth in my personal life with Jesus, and I know a lot of that is because she prays for me, constantly.

So there you have it. Sarah Wood is the best wife ever, and you should all wish her a happy birthday (tomorrow).

Happy birthday (a day early) Sarah!

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The Final Post of “So, there’s this guy…”

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Yesterday marked three years since Jason and I had our first date. I’ve been chronicling the story here and here as a way to remember and rejoice in what God did and continues to do in our lives.

This last post on our first date is a sweet one for me to write. I don’t remember all of the things we talked about, but I do remember feeling comfortable with a man who I had just met…and how odd yet familiar it was. I remember he wore a blue-plaid button-down shirt with khaki shorts and I was wearing my North Face jacket and a black Gap t-shirt (barely took the jacket off because I was so cold the entire time). I remember laughing at the numerous stories Jason had to tell and shaking my head at how crazy this guy seemed.

That first date lasted till mid-night. We closed out the coffee shop and walked up and down Main Street. We never ran out of things to talk about, but I was getting tired so we decided to call it a night. As he walked me to my car, I asked him how he actually heard of me. I had a hard time believing that he had just seen me at a coffee shop and wanted to take me out. I was right, Scott had found a way to get us connected and through a lot of  high school shenanigans we ended up together on this night. I think we were both surprised at how well the night went. Jason would tell you that he walked away from that date knowing that he had just met his wife…it took me a little longer to come to that conclusion.

I hugged him good night and we set up another coffee date for Friday morning at the same place. Then our relationship started to moved fast! I met his parents that weekend and the following weekend he met my family (including my three crazy siblings!). About 6 weeks after our first date, we knew we wanted to spend the rest of our lives together. We were engaged August 7, 2010 and married January 1, 2011. I look back on those 8 months and my eyes fill with tears as I think about the way that God moved in our lives and how He provided.

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God gave me a beautiful gift in my husband. He once again revealed to me that His plans for my life are far better than my own. I thought  my plan was good (see part 1), but during those 8 months of dating & engagement, God continued to whisper confirmations in my ear…”Sarah, I know the plans that I have for you and they are very good. They are much better than yours, so trust me. Jason may not be where you thought you were going, but life with him will bring ME so much more glory than life without him. I will use you two together to be a light to your neighbors and to the nations. Just not the way you thought.”

Since then Jason and I have been on a wild journey that just keeps getting crazier! I think back to what life may have been like if I held onto my plans with tightly-gripped fists and I am thankful that He gave me the grace to trust and be obedient. Life without Jason would be so boring! I wouldn’t trade this life  I have with him for anything.

Are there plans that you hold on to so tightly that you may be missing the joy of walking in faith with our loving and all-knowing God?

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Thanks to Mandy Blair Photography for all of these pictures!

“So, there’s this guy…” Part Two

I don’t remember how many days had passed after that day at the store, but one sunny afternoon I was training on the Cedar River trails for my marathon. I had passed Scott, the running store-owner, on the trail and did the runner appropriate wave and continued as he moved on at his gazelle-like pace (professional runner). It was only minutes later that I hear what sounded like a heavy-footed sprinter fast approaching so I moved over and when I turned my head-it was Scott! He was running me down!

He had decided that this would be a proper time to ask me about my initial thoughts of “Woody” and if I’d consider going on a date with him. (On a side note-he thought he had slowed down enough to be running my pace, but after 1.5 miles of his “slow” pace, I about passed out!) I told him that I thought he seemed like a good guy, but I only had five minutes of conversation with him. I wanted to know from Scott what would make him dateable and not some creepy stalker. I trusted Scott’s opinion because I knew him to be a committed follower of Jesus and that he would have my best interest in mind.

Scott proceeded to run with me telling me all about Jason (I finally learned his real name). He shared with me about how Jason loved people, was computer smart, was “green”, was funny, etc. When Scott told me that Jason was the kind of guy you could share any of your problems with and know that he would pray for you and help you through them, I knew that I could go out on a date. So I told Scott that if Jason asked me on a date, I would say yes. But only for coffee…I didn’t have time to eat a full dinner on a blind date J.

Scott told me that he would encourage Jason to get in touch with me via Facebook, but it might be a little bit. Jason was in Madison taking classes on solar energy installation (because he’s green). I hesitated that our first connection would be on Facebook, but I didn’t fight it… (I should have)

About a two days had passed and Jason had “friended” me on the good ol’ Facebook.  And then it was nothing…for two whole weeks…

I had figured that he decided that he didn’t really want to take me out for coffee, so I didn’t worry about it too much. I was way too busy working, leading a Perspectives class, and raising my support so I could go on staff with The Navigators to add another stressor in my life!

After two weeks passed, I was training Ron on a Thursday afternoon (the husband of my 5 am client who first told me of Jason). I mentioned to Ron that I hadn’t heard from Jason at all and was curious as to why. Ron said that he would look into it.

On Monday, I was at the gym waiting for my next client, so of course I was on Facebook. It was then the little red dot appeared on my page, indicating that I had a new message. It was Jason asking if I’d like to go to coffee with him!  As any girl would do, I squealed and told the closest girl that I had just been asked out! After I calmed myself, I gave him a few days and times that worked that week. Within the hour, we had decided on coffee at Cup of Joe on Wednesday night at 7 pm.

I had two days until April 28th. I also had no idea how much my life would change after that date…

The spot of our first date!

The spot of our first date!

To be continued…

Daily Choices

“I could see myself doing this after the 30 days.”

Those are the words that actually came out of my mouth on Saturday (day 13)! This past week of eating a strict, clean Paleo diet has been surprisingly easy and enjoyable. We’ve been eating yummy food and focusing more on what we can eat rather than what we can’t eat.

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I won’t lie, though, I’ve had my cravings. Facebook & Pinterest have been my vices as it seems everyone is posting delicious sugar-packed desserts and I find myself drooling over the computer screen! Thankfully I have a husband who is all in on the challenge and won’t let me cave.

This weekend we lived our lives outside of our home a little more since we didn’t have a huge rummage sale to organize and run. I was a little nervous about how I would manage with illegal, yummy food staring me in the face. To say I was a little surprised at our resolve is an understatement.

Friday night, we went on a date to see the movie “42” (which was SPECTACULAR). My senses were instantly heightened as we walked into the theater and were hit with the butter-infused air. Jason and I literally walked side-ways as we passed the concessions stand! It was hard, but we did it. It also helped that we brought almonds and cashews with us to satisfy that salty, crunchy craving.

Saturday we spent our morning at a coffee shop where I would usually purchase a vanilla latte and a scone, but instead I chose to go with the smooth poor-over coffee and fully enjoyed it ALONE! Saturday night we went out with the Rev Up small group leaders to play video games (because that’s what leaders in student ministries do, right?)! There were chips and pretzels and soda, but thankfully we have a gracious student ministry pastor who brought us a veggie dish to munch on (thanks Jared!).

THEN on Sunday we went out for lunch with some friends after church and we both ate a whole30 approved salad (no cheese and only olive oil and balsamic vinegar for our dressing). One thing I’ve realized from this past weekend was that our social life doesn’t have to be stifled because of our diet. We just have to be aware and be prepared.

Here are some of our most asked questions:

What do you miss the most? I honestly thought I would miss chocolate or ice cream the most, but I’m actually missing a glass of wine with dinner or a bottle of wine shared with friends. There’s just something about that experience that I miss, but going 30 days without the wine hasn’t been hard.

How do you feel? I feel great! I did have an intense stomach issue over the weekend and we think that it may be because of something called FODMAPs but I also may have had a stomach bug. We are going to slowly integrate the FODMAP foods back into my diet over the next week to see if it is a digestive issue or I was just sick. I’m hoping that I was just sick because I don’t want to stop eating asparagus, cauliflower, broccoli, avocado, apples, etc… But if it is this we will just work with it and limit those in my diet. Other than that bought, I’ve had energy all day. I’ve woken up before 6 am and have stayed up. My 2pm crash doesn’t happen anymore and I fall asleep instantly at night.

What have you been eating? Eggs, salads, beefalo, chicken, pork, sweet potatoes, nuts for snacks, fruit, every kind of vegetable and water…lots of water. Tonight we had a delicious meal of roasted zucchini and  California Style Chicken (chicken, balsamic vinegar, sun-dried tomatoes, and garlic YUM)

Will you continue this after the 30 days? I will definitely keep limiting my dairy and sugar intake and completely stay away from grains, but I will probably include wine more regularly again.

Have you noticed any physical changes? I’m not supposed to step on the scale during this month, and my goal wasn’t to lose weight during this time, but I have noticed that my jeans slide on much easier… My husband has noticeably lost weight though! I wouldn’t be surprised it he loses close to 15 pounds by the end of the month!

We are over half way through April which means that we have only 13 more days left of our challenge! It’s hard to believe how fast this has gone and yet how much my mindset over food has changed. I don’t have the urge to eat whatever is in front of me anymore. I feel like I do have the choice to say no and be okay with it now more than I did three weeks ago. I’m learning that the daily practice of “sticking with it” really can change the attitude I have about longevity in the hard stuff.This discipline has also carried over into other parts of my life, such as waking up earlier and staying on task longer. It’s been a long time since I’ve stuck with something this long that would cause me to daily make “sacrifices” over the things that I want over the things that I need. It has been such a good lesson for me in that I can do something hard for 30 days and not feel like I’m being tortured the whole time! 🙂

I don’t know about you, but I’m interested to see how the next 13 days play out!