Don't be a Loner

Don't be a Loner

They often talk about how it takes a village to raise your kids, and I can totally get behind that. 

But as I reflect on our marriage, I'm reminded of how vital that village is for marital relationships, too. 

Jordan and I have been blessed beyond belief by incredible community throughout our relationship. Whether they are friends we've had since childhood or people that...

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Three Years Later

Three Years Later

It's hard to believe that three years ago today I became Mrs. Jordan Shirkman. It simultaneously feels like yesterday and a hundred years ago. 

In three years of marriage we have lived in five different places, spent one year overseas, traveled to many different countries together, and made the big decision to...

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Why Our Marriage Won't Make It

Why Our Marriage Won't Make It

We hear stats all the time on the divorce rate in America, and it paints a pretty bleak picture. While I have some qualms with the accuracy of the stats, it's hard to neglect the fact that most of us know someone who is divorced–our own parents, a friend's parents, relatives, etc. 

We find out that amazing couple...

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The Gift of the Present

The Gift of the Present

If any of you are engaged, I feel your pain. If any of your are dating and waiting to be engaged, I, again, feel your pain. 

Before Jordan proposed to me (the most elaborate proposal on earth!) I was what some might call "impatient". It's like the quotation marks make it seem less dramatic than it was. See, we had already discussed getting married and knew we'd be having the big day in June of that year. It was January at the time of this...


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Friday 5: How to Encourage Your Spouse Today

Friday 5: How to Encourage Your Spouse Today
  1. Pray with them–whether it’s before you head out the door for the day or before you fall asleep, take a couple minutes to go before the Lord together. Ask your spouse how you can be praying specifically for them today.
  2. Make a meal for them (breakfast in bed, pack a delicious lunch, have their...
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2012: The Highlight Reel

2012 was an amazing year. It flew by yet was so rich and rewarding. I love seeing how God has grown me over the years and am continually in awe of how deeply He blesses me. Here are obnoxiously too many a few  pictures, they don't even begin to capture it all.  2012 Pt. 1

1. My sissy and I bringing in 2012 at Cru's Indy Christmas Conference 2. Went to see Brian Regan live 3. Got a MacBook Air 4. Listened to my hubby give some amazing talks 5. Greek Conference with some incredible people from Ohio U 6. Drove an hour to an Amish bakery with my friend Beth to eat donuts as big as our faces! 7. Went to Panama City Beach, Florida for Cru's Big Break trip and had some hilarious times 8. Got to meet Katie and be a part of her growing in her relationship with God. Miss you, Katie! 9. A beautiful sunset on the beach at PCB, walking by myself praying 10. Hanging out with my BFF from high school, Kristin, and her two precious sons 11. Finding out my father-in-law had a rockin' afro 12.Wearing my wedding dress for fun

2012 Pt. 213. Hanging out with family 14. Spending time with the amazing team at Ohio U, eating lots of yummy food 15. At Hocking Hills with no one else around, one of my best days with the Lord 16. Trip to Columbus to see our friend Casey, which has to include a trip to Jeni's Ice Cream, my FAV! 17. Spending lots of time with our summer neighbors, my mom-in-law and her fiance 18. My amazing friend Kelly and I along with others trying a bunch of random tricks 19. Ohio U's annual "Pass the Baton" -- all of the Greek guys + gals 20. Baking cupcakes with the McCollister girls! 21. A weekend at Clarion River with some of our best friends, Zac + Katelynn 22. My Grammie coming to visit me at OU for the first time and showing her my sorority house 23. Our Uhaul breaking down on our move -- so commical 24. Celebrating 1 year of marriage with my best friend

2012 Pt. 3

25. Trying on wedding dresses with my sis (Neither of us wore either of these dresses, btw) 26. Celebrating the wedding of two of our BFFs, Greg + Marie 27. In another wedding that same weekend of my like-a-sister friend Jenna + her hubby Brandon 28. Checking out Portland, Oregon. Loved it. 29. Greg + Marie visiting us in Akron 30. More time with some of my cousins -- they are a riot 31. Amazing friends Rach + Dave in from Michigan @ the Hall of Fame football game 32. Seeing Chicago for the first time 33. Bachelorette party for my sissy 34. My babe running the Warrior Dash 35. Meeting Jenna, getting to see her love for Jesus grow 36. A night at Sluggers + Putters with my mama, sis + bro-in-law

2012 Pt. 4

37. Spending time with my Pops -- love him 38. Going to the All Sons + Daughters' concert (sorry some of you got cut out!) 39. Outerbanks, North Carolina with Jordo's fam 40. My sis, Danni marrying the love of her life, Blake (he's Australian). Perfect Day. 41. Filming a fun video with our team in Slovenia 42. Reuniting with Sandra 43. Being in Prague, Czech Republic the same weekend our friends living in Berlin were there! 44. Continually in awe of the amazing job I have, getting to be a part of students' lives 45. Christmas markets in Budapest, Hungary 46. Staying with the incredible Babione family while in Budapest 47. Watching the guys leapfrog while mooing for my hubs' birthday 48. Enjoying Thanksgiving Day at Bled, Slovenia

2012 Pt. 5

49. Getting packages from fam + friends in the States 50. Meeting Veronika, what an awesome girl 51. Watching the city center of Ljubljana be lit up for Christmas 52. Girl's night at my place 53. Meeting Katja + Katarina, hanging out at the Vsak Študent Christmas party 54. Praising God for letting me be a part of this amazing time here in Slovenia

And now we begin making new memories for 2013... stay tuned. 

My Better Half

Today is truly one of my favorite days of the year. The reason is two-fold: in America, we celebrate Thanksgiving today, which has always been a holiday that brings me such comfort is spending time with family together, not stressed about gifts. But my primary reason for this being one of my favorite days is because it's my hubby's birthday! I. love. birthdays. There were nights this past week I couldn't fall asleep because I was so excited thinking about and planning for Jordan's big day. Now, he doesn't get near as excited for his birthday as I do. But I love getting to make a big deal out of people and celebrate who they are. Especially my hubs.

I mention him often in posts but today I thought I'd fill you in a little more on why I'm so in love with this man. And some other fun facts you may not know.

  1. He loves the Lord. Not just says that he does or tries to show that in front of other people. But I mean genuinely, passionately knows and loves Jesus. And boldly tells everyone he knows, everywhere he goes.
  2. His servant's heart is remarkable. Jordan goes out of his way to help around the house, do the dishes, make the bed, cook breakfast or dinner when I'm overwhelmed, puts toothpaste on my toothbrush every night, and sacrifices in many ways for myself and others on a regular basis. It blesses me tremendously.
  3. The way he loves our families. He is caring and compassionate, while truthful and Christ-centered with them. Jordan makes an effort to keep in touch with our fams even living thousands of miles away. He is always asking people how he can be praying for them, and then actually prays for them. Which brings me to...
  4. His prayer life. Jordan is the earlier-riser of the two of us, and darn near every morning he wakes up, kneels next to the bed and starts the day in prayer. It encourages me greatly to know that my hubby clings to the power of prayer and knows its importance.
  5. He loves coffee. And we our self-titled coffee connoisseurs.
  6. Reading is a favorite hobby he has. He starts and finishes more books than most people I know, myself included.
  7. When I'm sad or crying for whatever reason, he always starts singing the intro to "You'll be in my heart", which begins with the lyrics, "Come stop your crying, it'll be all right..." And it works. Every time.
  8. This kid's sense of humor, wit, and sarcasm were some of the first things to win me over back in the day. And keep our marriage fun and lighthearted today. Absolutely hilarious.
  9. He is an incredible public speaker. Being on stage with a mic in hand, Jordan is totally in his niche.
  10. Words of affirmation are really important to him.
  11. He gets a big kick out of too-soon jokes.
  12. We're both extremely competitive. Board games get pretty heated.
  13. In January of 2010, he ran a marathon in Phoenix, Arizona.
  14. As a teenager, he was on a hip-hop dance team at his church.
  15. He hated being called "little guy" when he was younger. A waiter at a restaurant asked him, "what would you like to eat, little guy?" Jordan stepped on his food and yelled, "don't call me little guy!"
  16. At 5 years old, his mom reasoned with him to stop using a binky. All by his five-year old self, he concluded that it was time to stop.
  17. For our weekly Cru gathering at OU, Jordan was the emcee for about two years.
  18. He asks insightful, meaningful questions.
  19. Jordan loves to do the Dougie, the clean version of the song, of course.
  20. He loves to travel, hang out with friends, read blogs and just a million other things that make me love this man.

Getting to know him more and more every day is one my life's greatest adventures. What a perk to be married to a younger man (he loves when I say this because I'm actually only 4 months older than him =).

Jordan Jeffrey, you are the best thing (besides Jesus) to ever happen to me. Thanks for bringing so much life, joy, happiness, fun and excitement into my world. You are undoubtedly my better half and I thank God every morning for blessing me with His (in my opinion) greatest creation. I love you babe!

Wedding Registry Favs

Eight. Eight is the number of weddings the hubs and I have been invited two in the next couple of months. Two of those I am a bridesmaid in--on the same weekend, four hours apart! Wedding season is rapidly approaching, and I absolutely love it.  Oh how I remember this time in my life last year--a chaotic, beautiful mess. Jay and I were both finishing up school to graduate (he was writing a thesis, no less), we had begun support raising for Cru, and we were planning a wedding 2.5 hours away from home in in our short 4.5 months of engagement.

One of the most fun parts of the wedding process was completing our registry. Yes, even my hubby enjoyed it! I think we're an anomaly, however, as I've talked with other friends who weren't so fond of it.

During our spring break, we hit up the nearest Bed, Bath + Beyond and went to town with that scanner. [Side note: BBB had the BEST customer service I experienced throughout the whole wedding process. They went above and beyond in helping us! Every department we went in, someone was there to provide valuable input.]

After registering in about two and a half hours, we did some research on product reviews to ensure we were getting the best quality. I'm so glad we did this because we ended up switching out a number of things.

So here's my list of our wedding items I am glad we did, wish we hadn't, + wish we would've registered for.

Glad we did:

  1. A registry afterthought gifted to me that's been an essential tool in baking. I use it for cookies, putting batter into muffin tins, and our favorite new power bites recipe (will post soon!)
  2. My mom-in-law inspired this pot-less coffee maker and we LOVE it! There's never a pot to empty or clean. We use our kitchen sink's hose to fill it with water, then just place a mug underneath and press the lever. Regular drip-coffee maker, auto-on timer, holds 12 cups.
  3. For coffee connoisseurs, a bean grinder is clutch. The burr grinder is my favorite, putting the grinds into a removable container, making it easy to scoop out. Grinds from fine (espresso) to coarse.
  4. Grill year round with this pan! Such a worthwhile investment. Not having a grill, it gives food those coveted grill lines. It's also ovenproof so you can roast/bake your food or rock it on the stovetop.
  5. Ok, I know a lot of people are wary of spending $500 on a vacuum, I was too. It seems to be one of those products people have horror stories about--"Oh man, I spent $200 on one and it broke weeks later. It clogged up, customer service was crap, etc." We were blessed with more than enough gift cards to purchase our Dyson and it has been well worth it. Never any replacement filters to buy or bags to replace.
  6. So thankful to my grandpa's wife for gifting these at my bridal shower! The angle inside is lined with the measurements--so when you're pouring in liquids, you no longer have to crouch down and look from the side. It's genius.
  7. Good food storage containers are an important kitchen staple. These are firm, BPA free and stack neatly inside the cupboard, click-together lids. I have the red ones... my favorite color =)
  8. This seems random, I know. But the double-sided shower ring was foreign to me. It makes it SO easy to slip my cloth shower curtain off to wash, and also to change the inner-lining when it's time--you don't have to take one off to get the other or mess around with weird latches in the hooks.
  9. The dishes were another product BBB informed us of. For dishware, being oven-microwave- and dishwasher-safe is vital for durability. We got the yellow ones, which have unfortunately been discontinued =( but they have other great colors and are comparably cheaper from other brands.
  10. What homemaker (or anyone wanting an easy meal) doesn't love a good slow cooker? This one is touch screen, with a low, high, and warm setting. I can set it for the amount of time needed and it automatically warms it until I come home and shut it off. I love to line mine with Reynold's slow cooker liners to make clean up a breeze!

Even with all of our research, it's hard to know exactly what you'll need. Here's the other two much shorter lists.

Wish we would have:

  1. Kitchen aid mixer (why not at least try to register for it?)
  2. Larger Brita (small one only fills about two glasses)
  3. Larger food processor
  4. Silpat (SUCH an amazing invention. On the wish list!)

Wish we wouldn't have: [all these (and others not-listed) have one thing in common... they rust]

  1. metal dish rack
  2. shower rack

Any favorite products you'd have on your list? Or dislike any of the ones on mine?