anniversary

How To Write Your Own Wedding Vows

Ben and I decided pretty early on in our engagement that we wanted to write our vows. This is becoming more and more common, and we just knew this was something we wanted to do. We both wanted to include scripture in our promises to each other, and wanted our vows to be something we look back on as specific to us as a couple. This is just a personal preference and by no means is there a right or wrong, but for us, it was important that we take the time to write them ourselves. I am so thankful that we did this, we have them hanging in our bedroom as you can see in the picture above. Ben made those two frames as a birthday present for me, and printed our vows on fabric and put them in the frames. They are a sweet reminder of our wedding day, and the covenant relationship we have committed to.

So, you want to write your vows yourself. Then what? Well it can be a little overwhelming at first so here are some tips on how to make the process easy, and less intimidating.

1. Buy a Pastoral Wedding Book
Sounds weird huh? Well trust me. A family friend let us borrow a copy of this book, and it was so helpful in collecting our thoughts. The book is a script basically for pastors on how to direct a wedding, but it includes several different types of ceremonies, so there are lots of different examples of vows included. This was the jumping ground for us.

2. Collect your must haves. 
Ben and I did not keep our vows a secret from each other, some people may choose to do differently, but for us we wanted them to be about the same length and to mirror each other if that makes sense. So we spent time making a list of what we wanted to make sure to include, and then went from there.

3. Just start writing. Write from your heart. 
I just sat down one day and wrote out a whole page. I included verses about being a godly wife, and helper to Ben, and rambled a lot. But I was able to then take that and cut out, tweak, and rearrange what I had until it was what I was looking for.

4. Have a your pastor look over them. 
You will want to have someone, like your pastor, to scan over what you have written. You do not want to get to the altar and realize you mentioned nothing about caring for your husband in sickness and in health or something that later one will be important to you.

5. Do not wait until the last minute. 
This is so important. Just like a good blog post, you need time to sit on your vows. Write, and re write. Edit, and re edit. So make sure you start writing your vows several months before the actual wedding day. If you wait until the last minute your vows may not be all that you want them to be, so save yourself from this and start early!

Here are our vows, maybe they can be some type of inspiration to you. We spent a lot of time working on these, and I would not change that. This is my promise to Ben, and his promise to me...promises are a big deal. So we treated them as such!


Ben’s Vows

Rachel, today, I leave my father and mother to become one with you and to commit to you all that I am – emotionally, physically, and spiritually. Today, I am choosing you to be my bride over every other woman in the world, and I will forever treasure you as a precious gift from God, my best friend and encourager.  I will sacrificially lay down my rights and ambitions for you, and I will love you with a love only Christ himself could place within me, just as Christ loved the church.  I will live with you in an understanding way, honor you, and cherish you in the presence or absence of romantic feelings.
I will strive to make our marriage the purest picture of the Gospel that I can, through the Lord’s Spirit within me.  I will pray for the Lord to give me discernment to act and react always in His Spirit and not my flesh.  I embrace my responsibility to protect you, to be your biggest defender, to value your desires and thoughts, to encourage you, to lead you and our family spiritually, to provide vision for our family, and to scripturally manage our finances.  I will diligently seek to fulfill those responsibilities through all of life’s joys and blessings and darkest tests and trials.
Every bit of me, all that I am, is yours until death should part us.  Because God has given you to me as a temporary gift, I promise to strive to be the best steward of you that I can.  When death does part us, I pray that I may be able to present you to our Heavenly Father purer and holier than on the day we met.

Rachel’s Vows

Benjamin, Today, I will leave my father and mother and cleave to you and I will become one with you. I will be submissive to you in the fear of the Lord, out of my love, respect, and total trust in you. I will depend fully on the Lord Jesus Christ and His Holy Spirit to fill me with all the love I need to be your completion, your wife.
                I will daily support you and uplift you by word and deed, and I will put more emphasis on what you are than what you are not. I will stand beside you through the storms, darkness and trials, and I will rejoice with you in the blessings and celebrations the Lord will gracious give to us.
                I will diligently seek to respond to you in love as I would to our Heavenly Father. I will always comfort you and encourage you. I will pray for you and push you to Christ in everything. I will always honor you as the head of our household as Christ is the Head of the church. I will strive to keep our communication open and honest and trust the Lord to give me a humble and forgiving heart. I will strive to make our marriage a picture of the Gospel in every way through the power of the Holy Spirit.

                Benjamin, I desire to be a crown to your head, to bring honor to your name, and bring you good and not harm all the days of my life. I commit to love you with a love only Christ himself could place within my heart. I will forever treasure you as God’s gift to me, whose value is immeasurable. 


Happy Writing! :) 

A Harvest of Blessing

Check out my sweet sponsor this month! Jenni, of Frankly My Dear!

Lessons After Year One of Marriage + Blog Life Giveaway

Yesterday Ben and I celebrated one year of marriage. Tears. I have only typed one sentence and I'm crying. Whew, how has this day come and gone already? Wow. Well let me begin by saying first and foremost, the Lord is so good. He has given me the richest gift by allowing me to take on the last name Cox. Marriage has been the most incredible experience. So today I wanted to reflect on some things I have learned, some of my favorite memories, and share our wedding video with you!


First, Marriage displays the Gospel. 
This has been one of the most humbling parts of marriage for me. I can remember reading a letter Ben wrote me on our wedding day... he said, "I cannot wait to commit myself to you for our entire lifetime. I am constantly blown away by what we are committing ourselves to... to mirror the love Christ has for us. We get to do that for a lifetime. I'm so thankful that our marriage will get to be our biggest and most natural ministry tool." I love this, and again I am so humbled by this reality. By entering into the covenant of marriage, we as believers have the privilege of showing the world a selfless, unconditional, sacrificial love for our spouses. We demonstrate Jesus' love to everyone looking into our homes and seeing our relationships. This is not always easy, but it is such a rich gift. We are not called to be perfect, rather to strive to look like Jesus. When we do this, and invite others in, then the Lord is glorified.

He is the leader, not me. Part of the curse of the fall after Adam and Eve sinned was that the wife's desire would be for her husband, but that the husband was called to rule over her. (Genesis 3:16) If you look over in Genesis 4:7 you will see this exact same phrase used in describing sin..."sin is crouching at the door. Its desire is for you, but you must rule over it." So we see that this desire the woman is described to have for her husband in chapter 3 is not a good desire. It is part of the curse. The woman longs to be in control, and rule over her husband, but the Lord has called the husband to be the leader, not the wife. So this has been a hard lesson for me to learn, as I love being in control and being right. Marriage for me has been about learning to relinquish that desire for control, and submitting to my husband's leadership...every day!

If there is one lesson I have learned, and relearned, and will continue to relearn it is this one. To be married is to be sanctified. The two go hand in and hand, and cannot be separated. The Lord designed marriage to be a picture to the world of his bride the church...but he says in Ephesians 5 that his bride, is washed by the water of the word, and should be presented blameless. Becoming blameless, and clean, and pure is a process. Just like making a piece of pottery or jewelry, it is a process. It takes going through the fire, being beaten, molded, shaped, crafted, and honed to become something beautiful. So when you put two sinners in the same home, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, sanctification is bound to happen. Marriage brings sin to light, and it is hard, and hurts sometimes. However, there is no running away, and there is always grace and forgiveness. This grace and forgiveness may not always flow easily, but we are called to give them abundantly to one another. That has been the sweetest realization for me, that the grace of the Lord abounds, and so will my husbands grace abound towards me as we seek the Lord in our marriage.

Marriage is fun! Maybe this sounds silly, trite, or obvious, but this is so true. I keep feeling like I have to pinch myself, because I cannot possibly be married. But I am! Whether is it telling funny jokes late at night in bed, or wrestling, or watching The Office, or working on a project, Ben and I have so much fun together.

So Happy One Year Anniversary Benjamin Caleb, I love you more than ever, and am so grateful to call you mine!
Ben + Rachel preview from todd urick on Vimeo.

Also, I have been so excited about this giveaway! One of my sweet bestie blog friends, Madison of Wetherills Say I Do, is giving away the best giveaway ever!! So I am teaming up with Madison and some other awesome bloggers to bring you this binder packed full of amazing blog material.

Here's what it entails: The Blog Life E-course ($50 value), Blog Worksheet Bundle from Elah Tree (you can see more about her sheets here), and a print, made my yours truly! I will be writing a post next week about my inspiration behind this print and my experience after month one in the Influence Network!



Alright, let me introduce you to the amazing ladies bringing you this giveaway!


Madison of Wetherills Say I Do // Jenna of Dearest Love 
Rachel of Oh Simple Thoughts // Hayley of A Beautiful Exchange // Destiny of The Journey 
Amanda of The Lady Okie // Jana of Life Could be a Dream // Lauren of 34 Magnolia Street 
Laura of The Lovely Wren // Samantha of Elah Tree // Katelyn of Learning Creating Living

And now onto the giveaway! Any one over 18 is able to enter, however if you live outside of the US, you will be emailed the Blog Life e-course, blog worksheets, and Oh Simple Thoughts print, instead of being mailed the binder. All entries will be verified, so play fair! The giveaway begins Monday May 26 at 12am EST and ends June 1 at 12am. The winner will be notified and must respond within 48 hours to claim the prize. 

A Harvest of Blessing

One Year Anniversary // Interview with My Husband

So Sunday is our one year wedding anniversary! Ah, where has the time gone? I have been teary eyed and overjoyed all week as I have been reflecting back on this sweet year with my husband. So today in honor of this milestone I am bringing Ben over to the blog!! Yep, you guys get to hear from my hubby today! I wrote up 10 questions to ask Ben about our first year of marriage. This was really late last night, so I am super grateful to him for being so willing to do this for me, even though he was really tired and had a hard time getting his words out! :) Hope y'all enjoy this as much as I did!

WHAT WAS THE WORST MEAL I MADE?

Haha... Remember that time, you decided that you could cook anything and make up your own recipe on the fly with what you had in the pantry, and then took that meal to the church potluck. and it was not quite the hit that you hoped it would be? (it was terrible). I will say, it was really really bad....like really nasty. So no hard feeling hun!

WHAT WAS THE BEST MEAL I MADE?

I would have to say the Spicy Sausage Pasta..where did you learn that recipe? Pinterest? That was probably your best pinterest finds. It became our go to for when guests come over. We actually have not had it in awhile, which for health reasons is probably a good thing...we should make it again soon though, because I miss it.

WHAT WAS YOUR FAVORITE AT HOME DATE NIGHT?

Well, it wasn't really a date night, more of a date day. My favorite was the time we went to Walmart on a Saturday morning, you wanted to buy Monopoly as a spur of the moment thing. I wasn't really into it but we bought it anyways and then both got super into it. However, neither of us could be mean to the other and monopolize each other, so if one started to go bankrupt we would pity the other a cut them a break...needless to say the game lasted forever. We ran out of time so we stopped, left the game out the rest of the weekend, then we realized we wouldn't get to play it so we put it up in Ziploc bags and took a picture of the game board so we could play later...and it is still there to this day!

WHAT WAS YOUR FAVORITE WEEKEND TOGETHER?

I would say probably when we went camping for Valentine's Day. I just really loved that because it was the first time that I got to be in my element and expose to you things I grew up doing, like building a fire, and dutch oven cooking and using the coals from the fire to heat the dutch oven. I just really enjoyed getting out and exploring with you, like going to see the waterfalls. And getting to experience alongside you the feeling of being worn out and nasty dirty from camping and getting to get a hot shower after and how refreshing that was to stay in a hotel the next night...it was fun to experience all of that with you!


WHAT IS ONE THING YOU HAVE LEARNED?

On a silly note, I've learned that we love Sonic way more than I ever thought was possible. We go like 3 times a week I think. It is always our surprise treat when we are craving something sweet! And you can't be half priced shakes after 8 in the summer! No shame, today corndogs were only .50 cent a pop...so yes, we went to Sonic for dinner! Cheers to National Last Day of School day and .50 cent corndogs!

More seriously, I have learned, well not learned, but maybe just come to a much deeper understanding of how rich the Gospel really is in terms of the way Christ loves us, and how you see that played out in marriage. For example, although this is not the most impactful thing we have had happen in marriage, but is just recent, earlier this week, I underestimated how much time I would need to prepare for my presentation in Jackson and felt terrible about needing to work late to finish it. I was worried you would be upset and that I would hurt you by making you stay at home alone and eat dinner by yourself. But, you were undeservingly gracious, and were willing to look passed my lack of planning, and even brought me dinner at the office and sat and listened to me practice my presentation until almost 10.


WHAT WAS ONE THING YOU EXPECTED BEFORE MARRIAGE THAT WAS NOT A REALITY IN YEAR ONE OF MARRIAGE?

On a somewhat practical/trivial note, exercise. I expected we would do more things like waking up earlier, running, being active, and just doing more in general. But, we were somewhat unrealistic in our expectations...I can remember us sitting down and setting goals, and realized we would only get like 4 hours of sleep at night if we were to do all those things on top of our daily work schedules and stuff. So working out has not quite made it consistently into our schedules yet...

WHAT IS ONE GOAL YOU WOULD LIKE TO HAVE FOR YEAR TWO?

Well, it is actually kinda two goals. One would be for us to do more outdoorsy stuff. Because currently other than going on walks we do not do much, but we both love hammocking, going to lakes, camping...those are all low cost things to do but we get to be together and enjoy creation and soaking it in!

Another goal would be for us to get better at singing and playing music together. We just play sporadically right now, but we both have a passion for it, and really enjoy it. You have talents that I don't have and I have talents that you don't have, and so we kind of have a lot we can help each other with if we really focused on it.

WHAT IS YOUR BIGGEST PET PEEVE?

Possibly, maybe, not quite so sure, but probably when you use your toothbrush and put it back up with it still quite wet every day. I choose to exercise my right to remain silent on the rest of my thoughts regarding this practice. Haha ;) In my defense, it is not sopping wet. I just shake it off and do not thoroughly rinse and dry it the way Ben does.. :)

WHAT WAS THE BIGGEST ADJUSTMENT FOR YOU IN YEAR ONE OF MARRIAGE?

First, allowing you to stay in the house at night. Remember when we first got back from the honeymoon and it started getting late, and I got up, put my shoes on, and tried to walk you out to your car to say good night? Yeah...so living in the same house 24/7 with a girl was quite the adjustment.

But, on a serious note, I did have a hard time adjusting to not looking at things that bothered you as quirks that you had that I could disregard or be insensitive to (like our neighbors playing loud music that drives you nuts but doesn't phase me). I had to take on the role as your defender even if I didn't see the necessity for it.

FUNNIEST MOMENT OF YEAR ONE?

This is hard, half of the funny things we laugh about are things that should stay between me and you. We have a lot of funny memories revolving around physical attacks of endearment, like the time I was leaning over working on something on the floor and I felt you lean on my back and next thing I knew you were climbing all over me claiming to be a koala bear. Or the times that I would randomly just turn a hug into a wrestling match on the floor without your consent but you would always laugh and play along anyway. Or that time that I was trying to be creative with fourth of July fireworks and you happened to video the only firework that "did not explode as planned"...instead it blew up just a few feet off the ground and shot everywhere, and your terror is forever documented in the video where you were trying to be cute and narrate, but it turned from cute to frantic terror really quickly.


This was a lot of fun to do, and a neat way for us to reflect on some sweet moments of year one. I will be posting a few more serious anniversary related posts next week but I hope you all enjoyed this one! Happy Friday!


Also, this is the week of introducing you to my sponsors for this month. So last and certainly not least, meet my dear friend Madison of The Wetherills Say I Do! Madison has become a close friend of mine through blogging! She always gives great blogging tips, and has some of the best recipes around! She has the most adorable pup around, and is always eager to share her love of DIY and crafting with her readers! 


What is your favorite part of blogging?
My absolutely favorite part of blogging is getting to know other bloggers! I had no idea that there was such a strong community of people in the blogging world. Hosting the Coffee Date with Rachel really showed me that! It's such a blessing to be able to get to know so many different people! 

What are you craving right now?
Hmm.. well lately I've been craving goat cheese. Super random, right? Well later this week I'm planning to make a shrimp and goat cheese risotto, so hopefully that will satisfy that craving. Just in general though, I am usually craving a cup of coffee and Reese's cups. Now you know the secret way into my heart ;)

What are you reading?
Well, I'm still reading Bread and Wine. I'm slowly making my way through it when I have extra time to read. I'm also still going through Jesus Calling, though not as diligently as I'd like to. I'm thinking about getting the newest devotional from Naptime Diaries, anyone recommend it? 

How would you describe your ideal day?
My ideal day would start with breakfast, french toast with strawberries and bananas and a hot cup of coffee. Then we might go to the local Farmer's Market, sample fruits and goat cheese, walk around and look at the artisan shops, and get a cup of fresh squeezed lemonade. Then we'd drive to the lake and sit on the dock catching some rays and talking about life. Then we'd go into town to grab a bite to eat. For dessert, we'd end up at my favorite place in the world: Maxie B's


So thankful to know you and call you my friend Madison!

Don't forget to enter the Noonday Giveaway for the Ragan Family Adoption!


Check out my sweet sponsor this month, Jenni of Frankly My Dear!



One Year Anniversary Shoot Inspiration


Good Morning friends! Ben and I are quickly approaching our one year wedding anniversary...I simply cannot believe it. A year goes by like the blink of an eye, and wow how quickly this first year has passed. I have been dreaming about doing an anniversary photo shoot for quite sometime now. I knew I wanted it to be taken outside, with gorgeous sunlight. However, I really wanted it to be fun, unique and special to our personalities.
So we have decided to have a picnic themed photo shoot. I want it to be somewhat vintage inspired but not to an extreme level. I have been brainstorming props and I think our record player, banjo, and old readers digest books will be included. I am beyond excited about this, and I cannot wait to introduce you to our incredible photographer/one of my closest friends in just a few weeks. She is fantastic, and y'all are all gonna love her. Here are some pictures that have inspired this shoot, as well as helped me brainstorm props, poses and ideas for our pictures! 











Don't these pictures just make your heart happy? I love all the natural light, vintage touches and whimsy. Now I just need to find the perfect picnic basket to tie all of our props together. I am thinking we will include some glass bottle cokes, fresh flowers, and maybe even the top layer of our wedding cake. 

What do you think? Any ideas to go along with our picnic theme?

Much Love,

Rachel