Tag Archives: healthy

7-Year {Anniversary} Reflections

7 years

Jason and I tied the knot at the tender age of 22. Freshly graduated from college, Jason from Moody Bible Institute in Chicago and me from Hope College in Holland, MI. We thought we had it nearly all figured out. We were madly in love with each other, wanted to serve God together and thought we had an excellent 5, 10, and 20 year plan for our lives.

Even though we were in the thick of our pride, our sometimes enabling-each-other-because-we-were-always-SO-right mentalities, I am very glad we got married at the young age we did.

Freshly Mr. and Mrs.

Freshly Mr. and Mrs.

In fact, looking back, I wish we would’ve gotten married even sooner. I was convinced I would need an entire year to plan a wedding. Things couldn’t be farther from the truth for this Type-A, super planner. I mean, really. I knew the colors I wanted. The flowers. The flow of everything. Put into the mix that I was recovering from knee surgery in the middle of our engagement, and I had a TON of time on my hands to plan our wedding.

What two crazy-in-love dating 21-year-olds look like.

What two crazy-in-love dating 21-year-olds look like.

Hindsight is 20/20 they say. In this case, yes. Totally believe that to be true. I had graduated from college a semester early in December of 2006, so technically, we would have been poorer than all get-out, but we could have made it work. We wed on June 9, 2007.

We knew we were crazy about each other and man alive, keeping the beast tame that was our desire for each other during that year-long engagement is something I would not wish on anyone.

As stated previously, Jason and I, although trying to pursue the Lord, made a lot of mistakes.  We made a commitment to ourselves and the Lord that we would save the gift of sex for our wedding night, and I’m SO glad we did!

Growing up, it was never an “option” for me- both for my personal convictions and what my parents instilled in me – to give myself away in that manner to anyone but my husband.

On our honeymoon, 2007.

On our honeymoon, 2007.

So lesson #1? Christian men and women: if you know you want to get married, just do it. Exception? If one or both of you have deep-rooted issues that need to be addressed in individual counseling, then those things should be worked on before saying “I do”.

You’ll never “be ready” to be married. What the heck is “being ready” to be a husband or a wife anyway?

You’ll never have a “enough money”. Trust.

(And for real – an extra $100 or $10,000 isn’t gonna make you happier, or ensure a better marriage. Now, there IS something to be said for a crazy-hard work ethic and a commitment to provide and support each other. Different animals entirely.)

Lesson #2 over these past 7 years? Don’t hold your plans so tightly.

At my MSW graduation, 2008.

At my MSW graduation, 2008.

Case-in-point: this was my 10 year plan when we got married.

  1. Finish graduate school (Master’s in Clinical Social Work)
  2. Get a position as a high-paid therapist
  3. Continue impacting lives while being over-the-moon happy in love
  4. Buy a nearly-new house + car
  5. Have first child at age of 30
  6. Continue to do therapy full-time, having kid(s) in daycare and livin’ the American Dream

Man alive, do I shutter at my then-unspoken goal of living the American Dream.

God had SO. MUCH. more for me – thank you Jesus!

And how did my life actually go? Glad you asked.

A lil’ somethin’ like this:

Life as I hadn't planned. :)

Life as I hadn’t planned. 🙂

  1. Finished graduate school (Master’s in Clinical Social Work)
  2. Got a low-paying, super-stressful job in my field, but not as glamorous as I would have hoped
  3. Felt the “baby itch” every time we sashayed by the baby section in Target
  4. Gave birth to Landon at 24
  5. Began working part-time, then felt God’s call to be a stay-at-home mom
  6. Gave birth to Charlotte at 26
  7. Now at home, felt God’s nudge to both adopt AND have another child biologically
  8. Gave birth to Aiden at 28, to shortly start adoption process for our fourth

God’s plans are always best. How I wish I would have just said “Lord, my life is yours, do with it what you will” at the tender age of 22.

Instead, I spent my time pursuing what I thought was best, what my life plan was.

Lesson #3? Keep your marriage your priority relationship.

Most families put their kids above all else. And don’t get me wrong, I LOVE my kiddos. I mean have you seen them?! Stinkin’ cute. Just thinking of them makes me smile.

But, one day, they’ll all grow up. Leave the nest. And Jason and I will be left.

My love. The bestest.

My love. The bestest.

Hopefully, to remain the best-of-friends, laughing, loving and still making out in the kitchen.(sorry for that visual but guys, we’re crazy about each other. Sue me.)

In our mid-forties when the kiddos are gone working, in school, being married, or where ever God leads them, I want Jason and I to enjoy each other.

And I honestly believe that because of date nights, taking the time for each other daily to check-in, being super affectionate with each other, that we will truly enjoy each other when my role is mama-no-more, but empty-nester-wife.

So thankful for the lessons God’s been teaching me since we’ve been married.

So thankful that Jason loves me, despite me being my full-out intense, goofy self.

May our marriage be one that points others to the beauty of the Cross, and the goodness of God all our days.

Through our imperfections and struggles, may our union remind people of the sacrifice that Christ made and the Love that is so real and calling us all to Himself.

Through Unspeakable Joy,

Laura

 

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Quick + Easy Homemade Granola

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Here in the Loewen house we eat lunch between 11:30-12 most days.

Meals are super important because, well, we love to eat and we get hungry.

The other day it was about 11:20 and it was a special treat as the hubs was home on a lunch break with us.

I was so over PB + J for the kids and had made a ton of cheese quesadillas, so I needed something quick and easy.

Granola to the rescue!

We had a bunch of yogurt in the fridge because in addition to appreciate food in general, us Loewen’s love us some yogurt.

I’ve made several granola variations in the past – stove-top, roasted, granola bars, granola balls, etc.

I just wanted a simple, tasty granola to sprinkle on top of our yogurt that didn’t take an hour to make (as a lot of them do) and also wasn’t filled with a ton of sugar.

This was a nice treat, and the kids {and Jason} loved it!

The granola varieties in the store are crazy-expensive, and although tasty have a ton of sugar.

So, do yourself a favor: save a bunch of money, make a healthy option and try this granola out!

We have a big ol' container of rolled oats, so nice to have on-hand for baking!

We have a big ol’ container of rolled oats, so nice to have on-hand for baking!

Vanilla from Jason's Haiti trip, along with the coconut oil and sea salt I used

Vanilla from Jason’s Haiti trip, along with the coconut oil and sea salt I used

The pretties: chopped almond, dried cranberries, rolled oats and raw pumpkin seeds + a few raw sunflower seeds

The pretties: chopped almond, dried cranberries, rolled oats and raw pumpkin seeds + a few raw sunflower seeds

Upclose-and-personal with granola

Up-close-and-personal with granola

{If you do like super-sweet granola, feel free to ‘up’ the sweetness factor}

Recipe adapted from: Elizabeth Rider

This makes two baking sheets of granola, enough to last our family of 5 for a few days.

4 cups regular {not quick cooking} rolled oats

1 cup chopped nuts {I used almonds but feel free to use walnuts, pecans…whatever suits your fancy}

1 cup dried cranberries

1/2 cup raw pumpkin seeds {can sub with raw sunflower seeds – we get ours from a local natural foods store}

4 Tbsp. maple syrup {or honey if you prefer – raw honey being the healthiest option for honey}

2 Tbsp. + 2 tsp coconut oil

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

2 1/2 tsp sea salt

Directions:

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Mix all ingredients together in a large mixing bowl with your hands {messy, yes…but it mixes everything together perfectly}. The coconut oil can be a soft solid or liquid depending on the temperature in your house. Mine was a soft solid. Really work in the coconut oil so that there aren’t any big chunks left.

Spread granola mix on 2 rimmed baking/cookie sheets, and bake for 10-20 minutes depending how toasted you prefer your granola. I did this batch for 10 minutes as we needed lunch in a snap, but next time I’ll probably bake it closer to 15-20 minutes.

Eat it warm or cool, but make sure it’s cooled down before you store it in an air-tight container.

Eat as a cereal with milk and try with a variety of yogurts! 

Yum, yum!

Use your imagination and try different varieties! You could add: 

-Cinnamon

-Almond extract vs. vanilla

-Dried raisins or cherries vs. cranberries

Whatever your heart desires!

Enjoy and leave me a comment on what way you’ll be making your granola. 

Through Unspeakable Joy,

Laura