Celebrating Two Years of Marriage!

Since January, Matt and I had been planning our two-year anniversary trip to Destin, FL and the first week in June we got to go! I was so unbelievably excited. Destin has always had a special place in my heart because my grandparents had a place there when we were kids that they had to sell about 10 years ago. I hadn’t been back since then, and so I was very eager to show Matt around the old stomping grounds and make new memories with him there!
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I’ve always loved the white sandy beaches of Destin and the beautiful blue green water. There’s nothing more relaxing than laying on the beach listening to the waves.

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The condo we found was AWESOME. It was a one bedroom, one bath condo within walking distance of the beach and it was so cute and cozy on the inside! I’d highly recommend this condo to anyone who wants to go visit there. If you want the details of it and how to book it, I’d be happy to get it for you. The owners were fabulous to work with and the condo was immaculate.

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This king sized bed was insanely comfortable. Nuff said.

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Our first day on the beach was perfect. The waves were a good size and the weather was beautiful. Our condo even had beach chairs and an umbrella for us to use so we got to take breaks from the sun when my pasty white skin couldn’t handle it anymore.

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I took my Dove chocolate very seriously on this trip. I couldn’t have agreed more with this sentiment. I believe it was 100% accurate.

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Matt doesn’t eat seafood, but I told him it was a priority for me to get some fresh seafood while we were at the beach. He did not disappoint. We went to The Crab Trap our first night and I got coconut shrimp. It was DELICIOUS.

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We also have a tradition of ALWAYS getting donuts while we are on vacation. Okay, maybe that’s just MY tradition. I don’t think Matt would care if we forgot. But when I saw that Krispy Kreme Hot Now sign on, I literally gasped and made Matt turn the car around. Yes, it’s that important, people.

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Look, I’m all about being healthy, and I know donuts have ZERO nutritional value, but seriously, has there ever been a more beautiful sight? Sometimes you just gotta throw caution to the wind and embrace the sugar. Mmmm…..

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Seriously it made my night. And of course we bought extra for breakfast the next day!

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Speaking of the next day, and for irony’s sake, I actually took Jillian Michael’s 30 Day Shred with me on vacation and I actually DID it! After my donuts of course 🙂 I was so proud of myself. Granted, I had planned to do it every day of vacation and I ended up only doing it once, but hey, that’s better than I can usually say.

The next day we went to the beach again, but unfortunately there was a double red flag so there was no getting in the water for us. BUT, that night we were so excited to get to meet up with our friends, Cosbie and Caitlin! They were in town with her family for vacation about 20 minutes from us, so we decided to make a double date night out of it and do something that we normally don’t even find time to do at home!

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After two attempts, this was still as good as it was going to get. Poor picture quality, for the win.

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After dinner we decided to go putt putt. I love talking smack with Matt when it comes to any kind of competition, even though there is a 99.4% guarantee he will ALWAYS beat me when it comes to anything competitive.

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Caitlin and I had a strange fascination with these fish. We seriously stood there and watched them longer than any kids that passed by.

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What is a date night without dessert? What is vacation without dessert EVERY NIGHT is the better question. After putt putt we hit up this awesome frozen custard stand. I could eat frozen custard over frozen yogurt, ice cream, or sorbet any day. It’s THAT good.

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And to further prove my point that dessert is always worth it on vacation, I opened up my sweet little Dove chocolate to this blessed reassurance.

On our last full day, we decided to go pier fishing. We wanted to go deep sea fishing on this trip but decided it really wasn’t the most cost efficient this time around. So we drove over to the pier and rented some poles, bought some squid (gross) and went to town. Matt has more experience fishing than I do, but if we’re being honest, we’re both completely lost when it comes to this skill.

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We had a lot of fun trying to pretend like we knew what we were doing and trying not to be jealous of the other people who were constantly catching fish while we just waited. And waited. And waited.

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While we were waiting we did get to see a few dolphins swimming around though!

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Every time I see a picture of myself with my hand on my hip I feel like I need to apologize. I wonder if/when this fad will no longer be the standard pose for every girl under the age of 30. I’m all about the skinny arm, but I believe we can all agree that this pose has gotten a little out of control.

ANYWAY, that night we decided to lay low, grab a $5 hot-n-ready pizza and have a game night. Remember how I said Matt beats me in anything competitive 99.4% of the time?? Well this is where the .6% came working in my favor! Literally, I beat him at every game we played that night. One round of Monopoly Deal and six games of Sequence. It was beautiful.

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In his defense, he did finally beat me one time. But overall, my Dove chocolate didn’t lie again.

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The next morning we had to pack up and head back home. But before we left, we drove around and found the exact place of my grandparent’s park that their trailer was in. We didn’t even realize it, but the condo we were staying in was .4 of a mile from theirs. I was so so so excited that we found it.

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I know that this was the exact location because that tree right there was planted by my parents and I remember it being MUCH smaller. Now after 20 years or so you can see how much it has grown.

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There are so many memories in that park right there. What I wouldn’t give to be able to re-live those days with my family, grandparents, and brothers.

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We decided to go for one more walk on the beach before we left. It was an amazing trip. Just what we needed after Matt’s crazy school year. I am so thankful that we got to celebrate being married two years in a place that has meant so much to me over the years.

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It blows my mind that we’ve been married for two years. I know that that is nothing compared to so many who have gone before us, but they really aren’t kidding when they say it flies by. Being married to your best friend is God’s greatest gift this side of heaven and I can’t imagine going through life without Matt. He has been the most amazing husband and I thank God for him every day. We have had ups and downs of course, but through it all, Jesus is our Rock and the foundation that we remain grounded in. I’m so excited to see what the Lord has in store for us in the future and I am so grateful that He has allowed us to take this journey together!

Happy Anniversary, Sweetheart! I love you.

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Three Years Ago

May 29, 2010 has such a special place in my heart. It was the day that the love of my life proposed to me and asked for my hand in marriage. I had just come home from college, and his sister had just graduated from high school. He planned an entire day for us with the cover of it being a day out for Christina as his graduation gift to her.

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We went to Helen, GA for the day and went to breakfast, played putt putt, got ice cream, went hiking up Amicolola Falls, and then went back to a cabin to get ready for “dinner” with his parents. Little did I know that while I was getting ready, he was transforming the cabin into a romantic setting to pop the question, complete with candlelight, pictures of us throughout the years, roses, and soft music.

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I really was in shock. He had gone all out. I never expected his proposal to be so extravagant. But he definitely took my breath away and made tears flow quite uncontrollably. I immediately knew what was going on and I couldn’t have been happier. He led me over to the table where he knelt down in front of me and read to me from a journal. He told me he loved me for the very first time and then asked if I would marry him. I had no doubts in my mind what my answer would be and quickly said yes! He pulled out the most beautiful ring I had ever seen and finally put that rock on my hand!

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Prior to our arrival at the cabin, his parents had delivered my favorite Italian meal, chicken parmesan, and had it stored in the cabinets. I would love to say we had a romantic dinner after this point, but I was so excited that I couldn’t even eat. All I did was cry, stare at my ring, and take pictures!

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After we got past the initial shock and celebration, we straightened up the cabin and headed back to Woodstock where he had all of our family and friends at my house for a surprise engagement party. The night just kept getting better and better and it will forever be etched in my memory as one of the best days of my life.

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Saying yes to marry Matthew James Renney was the easiest decision I’ve ever made. Up to that point he had slowly pursued me over the course of two years, writing me letters while I was away at school, praying diligently over our relationship, guarding my heart and protecting my purity. He loved me like Jesus does and I knew that by marrying him we were walking in obedience to what God has called us to in the life: to partner together to be a visual picture of Christ and His love for the church, and the church’s submission to Christ in the most harmonious relationship known to man. We fail often, but I’ve never doubted saying yes to this man. Happy Engagement Day Anniversary sweetheart! I love you dearly.

Dipping My Toes in Photography

A couple of weekends ago, I went to go visit my sweet friend from college, Madison in North Carolina. Madison and I clicked from the beginning and I’m so glad the Lord continues our friendship even after Liberty. Our friend Kelsey came for the weekend also to spend time with us and to take Madison and her fiance Andrew’s engagement pictures! Kelsey took mine and Matt’s dating, engagement, and wedding pictures and is a highly sought after photographer living in Arkansas. She is unbelievably talented, completely gifted by God, and because Madison is smart, she hired Kelsey to be her wedding photographer as well.

A while back, I began asking Kelsey questions about what kind of camera I should get if I wanted to do some basic photography that would get me better quality than iPhone pictures. She suggested the Canon Rebel T3 with a 50 mm 1.8 lens. After saving up for a little while, my amazing husband surprised me with that camera for Christmas! So needless to say I’ve been itching to try it out, play with it, and start dipping my toes into the world of photography.

So, back to our weekend in North Carolina. I knew Kelsey would be shooting Madison and Andrew’s engagement pictures, so I asked if I could bring my camera along to get some tips from the world-class photographer herself 😉 Kelsey graciously obliged and even said I could shoot along with her. She even let me use one of the two fancy lenses she was using while she shot with the other one. It was SO much fun! I learned quite a bit just in those couple of hours of shooting behind Kelsey that I did not know previously, but my world was also opened up to how much more there is to great photography than I thought. For all of you who might believe all you have to have to get great photos is a fancy camera, you are highly mistaken. The person behind the camera is the talented one and the one who can make or break your pictures, so make sure you give them the credit they deserve!

Kelsey also graciously said I could share some of my favorites that I took on my blog, but I wouldn’t do it without linking you to the REAL, legitimate, professional photos of Madison and Andrew’s engagement session which are hers.

So without further ado, here are some of my favorites! (Kelsey also gently reminded me that any pictures I take from here on out with my own lens will NOT have this type quality. She let me use her lenses, which are much too advanced for me to invest in for where I am right now.)

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Such a look of sincere love, Mads

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I love how sweetly southern this couple is.

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Drop dead gorgeous, I tell you.

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The master in action!

Please make sure you go see Kelsey’s pictures. They will blow your mind and make you want to hire her for any and every life occasion!

Kels, thanks so much for letting me tag along and try my hand at this beautiful gift that you are so talented with! You are so selfless in sharing your knowledge on this art and I am grateful to benefit from your insight!