To My Growing Family

Call it pregnancy hormones, excitement, I don’t know, but over the past couple days my heart keeps threatening to burst wide open with a kaleidoscope of emotions. Overwhelmed with excitement for what is ahead, tired at the thought of sleepless nights, anxious and all love-achy to hold my boys, and even sad to say goodbye to our precious trio of a family. Right now I am writing from bed, unable to sleep, with Rebekah nestled down between us softly snoring. (Not something we allow her to do often, but she protested sleeping on her own from 2-5 AM. She wore us … Read more…

Fighting Against the Strain of Long Distance Relationships

This post is contributed by Michelle, an Engaged Home contributor. I know many dating and married couples who are striving to keep their relationships strong despite the distance, and, sadly, I have witnessed many long distance couples fall apart. Due to this, I thought this was an important post to share. For the record, Mitch and I have not done the long distance gig since we were dating, and then it was only during the summers. Enjoy! (Approved and edited by Nathana) Keeping any marriage or relationship strong through all the changes of life is a challenge. When a couple adds distance, … Read more…

Six Years

This week we celebrated six years of marriage. On December 18th, 2010, after a whirlwind of finals and preparations, we took our vows. I still remember walking out of the sanctuary to the glassed-in foyer to see snow lightly falling. As we walked out to the car, snowflakes drifted down and sprinkled our hair. We felt blessed to share such love and to be able to share our big day with friends and family from all over. But we also knew it was only the beginning. Weddings are beautiful and full of hope and promise. Still, they are a mere beginning. … Read more…

Make Christmas With the In-Laws Merry Not Miserable

I don’t do many featured posts by others, but I thought Clare’s post on in-laws and the holidays had a lot of good thoughts to share. I love my in-laws and have no complaints, but anytime you marry someone, you marry their family too. That means things like working out holiday schedules and expectations. Please welcome Clare to The Engaged Home! It’s your first Christmas together as a married couple, what could be sweeter? The joys of decorating your tree, curling up together and watching “It’s a Wonderful Life” and strolling the streets admiring neighbors’ twinkle lights… or, not. The … Read more…

Join us for “How to Save Your Marriage From Your Kids”

The foundation of a healthy family has got to be Christ. But, I think once we start having kids, it can be easy to forget how important it is to continue to cultivate and care for  a strong marriage. Too often, with the demands of kids, work, and everyday life, our spouse fails to be a priority. Mitch and I swore this would never happen to us. We were so dedicated to the idea of marriage maintenance. But when you are busy with kids, it is so easy to fail to connect with your spouse. And the busyness and demands of parenthood can almost … Read more…

What is #EngagingLife?

#EngagingLife

If your new year didn’t come with the changes you had hoped. Remember that God gives us not only new years, but new days, and even new moments. Yesterday I had to hit the reset button several times. Gratitude is the key to joy, but Satan wants to keep us stressed and discouraged. God has been working on my heart to seek the beauty in every moment. To fully connect and claim the moments. To choose to see the beauty, even in the ugly. Over a year ago, this idea was but a whisper in my mind. This very whisper lead to me … Read more…

Small Things

faithfulness

This Christmas season has left me a bit worn out. I’ve been battling my first cold in a long time. The day we drove up to see my parents last week, I found myself shivering and utterly void of energy. Not a great way to start out our Christmas travels. Fortunately, the worst of the cold passed within 24 hours. Now, I am left with the annoying cough and stuffy nose. But I will take it. Dealing with the initial debilitating fever and sore throat made me so thankful for Mitch picking up a lot of my slack, especially during the … Read more…

My Beautifully Crowded Bed

Mitch and I joke that we keep trying to chase all the little foxes out of our bed (bad Bible joke from Song of Solomon). But they keep burrowing back under our covers. This morning Rebekah woke up at 5:15 AM to nurse. My alarm was set for 6 AM, so I decided to bring her into our bed to nurse and snuggle for a bit before I got up (She was wide awake, on her tummy, and attempting to crawl around her crib when I went into her room. Can we slow things down a bit?). As I was … Read more…

Avoid Common Engagement Mistakes

I remember vividly the moment I got engaged. I think it’s a moment in your life that you never want to forget. We knew we were going to marry before he proposed, but he still managed to surprise me and make it a wonderful day. He proposed after our college’s annual banquet in the Prayer Chapel on campus. It was a place we both loved. We spent many moments there in prayer about our future. It was perfect, minus being interrupted twice by another college student relocating a dance party. Argh . . . .  (Right after we got engaged.) (Where he proposed.) … Read more…

Guest Post: Speaking the Love Languages of Others

Love languages. It does sort of sound a bit new age-y, or even like a different name for the Romance Languages like Italian and Spanish. But no, it does not have to do with foreign languages, although sometimes it can seem foreign. In the book The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman, he explains what the five live languages are and how they work. In case you haven’t come across them before here’s a brief overview. (Read the book I promise you will love it and you’ll probably start assessing your friends! There are also versions covering teens, children and … Read more…

3 Challenges for Wives on Father’s Day

This past week we spent moving across the country. With a two-month-old baby. Yep. Fun stuff. All things considered it went smoothly (thanks to the help of my awesome mother-in-law Teri!). But I felt so ragged and worn down by the time we landed in Missouri after a three-day drive. There is so much that goes into a major relocation, so making it to Missouri (after a long week of packing) was only the beginning. We still need to nail down a place to live, finalize our new bank account, find new insurance, get new car tags, register our dog, … Read more…

The Man Behind the Blog: An Interview With My Husband

Mitch Clay

(He’s so dapper! And yes, he is wearing a Batman bow tie to preach in!) A fellow blogger, Betsy, from Heavens to Betsy, started a linkup called The Man Behind the Blog. Once a month she sends out questions for other bloggers to ask their husbands or boyfriends. I thought it sounded like a lot of fun, so here it goes! But first, in case you don’t know anything about him, my wonderful husband Mitch is a Youth and Family Minister, an occasional guest-poster on The Engaged Home, a fantastic guitar player, and my biggest fan. He loves Batman, Doctor Who, dogs, … Read more…

Dads Hurt Too: Miscarriage Support

miscarriage

***Disclaimer: This is an account of a miscarriage we had back in April 2014. Thankfully, our Rebekah is growing, kicking, and developing just as she should at 8 months in the womb. Dedication: I would like to dedicate this post to Cadence, the child we lost early April 2014. Daddy will always love you, even though I never had the chance to meet you. I can’t wait to see you face to face in Heaven… My wife (who most of you know quite well by now) wrote an amazing post called “Breaking the Silence: Miscarriage Support”. This post takes you … Read more…

A First Kiss, An Almost Proposal, and Our Favorite Spring Date (Romantic and Free!)

favorite date

(Engagement picture taken at the York arboretum in autumn. Engagement pictures taken by Summer Dickinson.) There is something so enticing about springtime. You cannot help but want to be outside (unless it activates your allergies . . . ). I remember feeling so full of energy in the spring after a l-o-n-g Nebraska winter. The world comes alive again with gentle rains (Okay, sometimes not so gentle . . . and the occasional tornado), cool breezes, warm sunshine, budding trees releasing their floral fragrances (except for the white ones . . . they usually smelled bad), green growth sprouting from every crease … Read more…

10 Things I Love About My Man

Four years ago (almost to the day), I remember sitting in a women’s Wednesday night Bible class about marriage. I am pretty sure I was the youngest woman there by a couple years. I was always a bit clammy and nervous, but eager to soak up the wisdom of these women I admired. Mitch and I had been married only a month. I’m sure we had that glassy newly-wed look in our eyes constantly. We both knew that we wanted our marriage to not only last, but leave a healthy legacy of love for our children someday. Our church, East Hill, blessed … Read more…

Welcome to the Brag Table

I hate bragging. Maybe it’s a Midwest thing, or a family thing. But I stink at verbally sharing my accomplishments. I also struggle at accepting compliments. Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate them. I just never know what to say back to the person other than, “Aw, you’re too nice.” or “Aw, shucks.” or down play the compliment in some way. I guess I associate people who “brag” as cocky, self-promoting, and prideful. It just rubs me the wrong way, ya know? However, I am learning that there is a time and place for sharing our accomplishments. In his book Start, Jon … Read more…

Fighting Through the Fatigue and The Art of Marriage

2015 has been an exciting year for us thus far. We are in our third trimester with Rebekah (and realizing we have a whole lot to learn and figure out before she is born in 2.5 months!). Mitch is casting a vision for family ministry at our church that we are praying will bless our families. We attended the National Conference on Youth Ministry in Dallas, TX.  And, I just returned from a week long trip to Nebraska where I reconnected with family, life-long friends, and my home congregation. My mom, along with some wonderful ladies from church, even threw … Read more…

The National Conference on Youth Ministry (NCYM 2015)

Mitch and I just returned from the National Conference on Youth Ministry (NCYM 2015) in Dallas, TX. We drove the whole way, and, whew, my stiff pregnant body is glad to be off the road! I intended to post more from the conference, but God commanded our full time and attention. The theme this year was “Presence” with a scriptural focus on Exodus 33. That familiar chapter came alive in a whole new way for me this past week. The speakers and teachers brought encouragement, but we also walked away feeling personally convicted and challenged to grow. Mitch jokingly refers to … Read more…

Breaking the Silence: Miscarriage Support

***Disclaimer: This is an account of a miscarriage we had back in April 2014. Thankfully, our Rebekah is growing, kicking, and developing just as she should at 6 months in the womb.  Dedication: I would like to dedicate this post to Cadence, the child we lost early on in our pregnancy last April. I know we will meet you someday. I also want to dedicate it to every woman who has struggled through loss, specifically miscarriage. I want to break the silence. At the turn of the New Year, Mitch and I decided to start trying for a baby. It was … Read more…

Embracing the Pink: Our Baby Girl

      Nathana (mom): A baby girl: pink, ruffles, hair bows, and dolls . . . I know this is a stereotype, but we are trying to wrap our heads around a baby girl. When taking these last minute announcement photos, we realized that we do not own any pink clothes. Opps! But red and white make pink, right?! Fortunately, my mother-in-law surprised me with a beautiful pink maternity sweater a couple days later. I certainly was a tom boy growing up. Don’t get me wrong, I liked princesses, dresses, barbies, and baby dolls. But I could climb trees, build … Read more…

Keep Your Marriage Strong Through Life’s Changes

If there is one thing we can be certain of, it is change. Even when we resist it, we find ourselves living in a changing world: right now the leaves are turning red, orange, yellow, and falling off all together; that cold nip is in the air (unless you live in Phoenix); political parties are fighting for control at the local, state, and national level promising either change to new and better things or change back to the way it used to be; and our lives are changing day by day. We watch our children blossom and grow faster than we’d … Read more…

Baby Clay Coming Soon to Our Engaged Home!

It is official. We are expecting our lil’ pumpkin in April! Our good friend Cherise graciously took our announcement pictures. We LOVE them! She is a very talented photographer. Fall is my favorite season and I am excited that we were able to incorporate a pumpkin. I am currently 16 weeks pregnant. Which is a relief in so many ways! For one thing, it means less nausea. For another, with each week that passes it feels more real. We waited longer than some people would have liked to announce our pregnancy, but after our miscarriage last April (where we, in … Read more…

Our Five Favorite Marriage Books

* * * This post includes affiliate links. You are by no way obligated to purchase anything. But if you do purchase an item through one of my referral links or featured items on my right side bar, I will make a small percentage on the sale. It is important to me that I only advertise and share products with you that I love and use in my home. Thank you for supporting my site! Marriage can be a challenge, but it is also an opportunity to reveal God’s glory. God uses the illustration of marriage to describe how much He … Read more…