Friday, November 15, 2013

Year One: Home Memories

Sunday the 17th will mark our first anniversary. This picture documents Matthew in our apartment during the second month. Everything was scattered & disorganized. Our TV was tiny. We had nothing on the walls yet, and presumably nothing in our fridge... This whole year I had been sneakily taking pictures of Matt helping around the apartment, sleeping and working. I had this grandiose plan of a beautifully eloquent blog that shared our love in its normalcy. Unfortunately, a few weeks ago I lost all of those pictures off my iphone (lesson learned, icloud more often). Although I no longer have the pictures, I have the thoughts, and I plan to record those thoughts as best I can. 

My first year with Matthew has been a whirlwind. In no way has he stopped swooping me off my feet. The dates he plans are inventive and fun. He loves surprising me with little gifts. I am blessed. But the way I have been most blessed have been in who he is at home. Here are some of my favorite "home" memories from this year (no order): 

every night we have prayed together before bed
when he sang me to sleep
him beating me in basically every board game I asked him to play
him playing with me most every time I asked him to play a board game
the time he electrocuted himself while trying to "fix" something (it was minor)
the terrible massages since he didn't know what he was doing (much better now!)
his preference to cuddle in the morning rather than at night
when we both try to win the "who can weird the other one our more" game
the way he would sit in the bathroom and talk to me while I showered because I would get bored
all the helpful times he would do the dishes or the laundry 
the times he slept talked really sweet things and had no recollection the next day
the times he slept talked really weird, hilarious things and had no recollection the next day
the way he loves our little dog so much and has such a soft spot for him
when we bought coloring books and the dozens of time that we have been coloring in them
all the times I scared him and he had hilarious reactions
 him soothing me during my panic attacks
him adjusting his schedule and making sacrifices because of my panic attacks
the sweet kisses on my forehead he would give me before work
the way we watched a bagillion disney movies before we went to Disney World
his super cute laugh when he watches 30 Rock 
how he stopped objecting to me giving him raspberries
when we went couch shopping together
the super long Chipotle lines that he waited on so I could get my spicy fix
the way every bluray we watch he comments on how pretty the picture is
all the times he ate breakfast with me even though he is not a fan of the meal
when he would play video games while I did homework
the way we would switch back and forth choosing what to watch
all the times we stayed up super late talking just because life felt like a slumber party
when I would wake him up for the gym in the morning and he was so confused every time
when we set up our first Christmas tree together
all the times we thought we were the two funniest people on earth
late night dog walks to the 7 Eleven 
him working hard from home on the weekends or at night 
the way he always works hard for us even when he is exhausted
the 5000 chicken nuggets he has eaten over the course of this year 
the 300 gallons of unsweetened ice tea he has drank this year
every time that I think he is so predictable and he weirds me out with a random choice
how he has started many books this year but forgets to finish them 
all the times he helped my family even from afar
the way we would sing musical/disney songs together on road trips
when we would dance super ridiculous around the room (okay mostly me, but he would laugh)
his morning texts after he got to work wishing me a good day 
the times we were separated for business or trips and the feeling of how deeply I missed him
every time he told me I was a good wife
the way he would offer to iron for me (knowing I am always running behind)
how well he treated me when I was sick
the way we wrestle and I never ever ever win 
all the kisses 
all the hugs/cuddles
& all the wonderful private other stuff that I am not gonna talk about on the internet! ;) 

Matthew, I am so blessed to have been given this year with you. I thank God for all the fun we have had, the intimacy we have developed and all the new discoveries of each other that we continue to uncover. I am looking forward to celebrating this year this weekend... and all the subsequent years that we will continue to celebrate our love. 

Friday, July 19, 2013

Drumroll Please...

I have taken my time and waited until I felt like I was ready... & I am officially signed up for Regent University for the fall! I will be pursuing an undergraduate degree in history. This is such an exciting time filled with emotions. I have changed my major AND my school. Fresh slate, new beginnings, unknown opportunities! Emily Nilsen is ready to take hold of her life again!

I apologize for not blogging more frequently (for anyone who cares, haha). I was looking through my old blog about resolutions, and I have to admit I have fallen off the bandwagon in a few areas. Gym and weight loss have not been going so well lately, but my work has increased exponentially, and I am back on track for school-- not to mention I am cooking majority of the week and trying to keep a clean house, haha. Some days, it feels impossible to get on top of all the areas and to be the well-rounded and productive adult I desire to be. Maybe one day... In the meantime, it is a daily struggle to remind myself that this is something everyone goes through. As I am rebuilding my life, I am often angered that I still am not at the 100% functioning level that I would like to be. I don't feel like I can juggle every area of my life. I am not saying this to say, "Woe is me;" rather, I am saying it because someone needs to. There is a built in pressure in our society that we need to work, go to school, cook, clean, exercise, get proper sleep, read, socialize, volunteer, etc. And there always seems to be someone who is doing all of it better than us. Well, maybe one day... but today, I am at least working on more than I was before. Adulthood is no cakewalk, kids! Day by day & season to season, gradually I am growing into who I want to be!

Anyway, happy friday! Have fun and enjoy life best you can! 
Also, just a reminder that I have the cutest dog in the world: 

Tuesday, April 30, 2013


My dad would have been 54 years today. It has been a year and half since he passed.

The above picture may seem like a weird choice, but it was an awesome memory that showed his great sense of humor. He was being silly with his paper crown and fork scepter when we were in the café of the Vatican museum. 5 minutes later he fell asleep at the table and we got it on video. It was hilarious.

Here are 54 ways my dad taught me to live:
  1. Put God first. 
  2. Put family second. 
  3. Start off your day in prayer. 
  4. Always keep learning. Read, read, read. 
  5. Passion is kindled. 
  6. Speak the truth in love. 
  7. Be yourself. 
  8. Take the time for long conversations. 
  9. Tell stories to your children. 
  10. Make others laugh. 
  11. Make yourself laugh. 
  12. Know the Bible like your life depends on it. 
  13. Share what you know. 
  14. Dream big. 
  15. Marry well--potential, not financial. 
  16. Take risks. Invest. 
  17. Instill importance in others. 
  18. Stay loyal. 
  19. March to the beat of your own drum. 
  20. Cuddle your spouse and kids. 
  21. Love all dogs. 
  22. Sing loud, no matter what. 
  23. Practice writing. It is valuable. 
  24. Find a need and fill it. 
  25. Leadership can be lonely. 
  26. Figure out what you do well and how to do better. 
  27. Stay in awe of God's creation. 
  28. Steaks are wonderful. 
  29. Care about your heritage. 
  30. Remember those less fortunate than you. 
  31. Give generously. 
  32. Open up your home. 
  33. Be ready in and out of season. 
  34. Stay sensitive to the Holy Spirit's leadings. 
  35. Discipline your kids. 
  36. Act like a kid sometimes. 
  37. Kiss your husband/wife often. 
  38. Marriage is a journey, not a destination. 
  39. Stay grateful. 
  40. Say please. 
  41. Travel and expand your worldview. 
  42. Always plan something you can look forward to. 
  43. Be active in politics. 
  44. Have opinions. 
  45. Network. 
  46. Make time for hurting people. 
  47. If someone doesn't value your time, don't give it. 
  48. Time is precious. Plan well. 
  49. Church is a necessity. 
  50. Let go of offenses. 
  51. It is okay to experience emotions. 
  52. Righteousness is more important than popularity. 
  53. Be a friend to everyone. 
  54. Love sincerely and deeply. 

Monday, March 18, 2013

Confessions of Depression

Last year at around this time, I was sitting in a mental hospital because the anti-depressant medication I was taking had an adverse reaction (side effects: psychosis and well, you can guess). Rewind and you will find out I started suffering from depression and anxiety attacks a few months earlier after my father died suddenly in a car crash. You will also discover that it was greatly affecting my ability to study, so I had to leave college. 
The hospital was my rock bottom. I was ashamed. I couldn't believe I was there... with those people. I wasn't them. Rewind to the week before my dad passed. I was on the dean's list. I was taking 21 credits and kicking butt. I was on the fast track to graduate the following semester, and I had a fiance I was going to marry after we graduated. 
There I was coloring and watching Tarzan with other drowsy and drugged adults. I was being surveilled. The patients had all developed a sense of comradery, and I became a part of that for that week. Rewind to the night I was admitted, to the night my fiance held me and cried. He told me he was proud of me and reassured me that I was doing the right thing. I was so aware in that moment of the hurt that I had caused him and my family. 
I remember hearing a girl scream as she attempted to harm herself. I remember the nurses running to her aid, and I remember when she was transferred to a more intensive care unit. 
Rewind. Rewind. Rewind!

This incident and week became one of my best kept secrets. I remember checking my phone when I left and being angered by the lack of texts from any of my friends. I only had one friend who let me know how annoyed she was that I didn't respond. I remember constantly thinking, "If they only knew." But the fact was they didn't... many are finding out right now. My intention of this blog was not to heap guilt on anyone, but rather to alleviate the burden of this secret. Last night, the pastor preached about transparency in the light of God. When we are in His light, we need not be ashamed. He has completed His forgiveness in us. We are to live in freedom. 

What many don't understand is how one can be a Christian and still deal with depression. "Don't you understand that the joy of the Lord is your strength?" Because it is a tough subject for many to grapple with, the church has made depression a taboo subject-- or worse, simply a demonic oppression. Here are some Bible characters I believed had depression: Job & David. Job managed to continue to follow God although he was very evidently depressed and struggling with why God would allow such things. David was a man after God's own heart, yet a third of the psalms seem to say, "woe is me" and "where are you God?" God knew that as a result of a traumatic situation I would become overwhelmed and overcome by grief. God knew that the trauma would result in a lack of production of serotonin in my brain. God knew that like Job, I would not leave the fold, but I would struggle and I would feel sorry for myself. God knew that like David, I would feel very estranged at times.  

It has now been a year since my hospitalization. For the most part, I have consistently been doing better. I am no longer on medication, but that wasn't easy. I have now transferred to specific vitamins, exercise and healthy living, in hopes that I will continue to keep depression at bay. I am so thankful that I am doing markedly better on my journey... but sadly, I doubt everyone who spent with that week last year is. Depression robs our world of so many beautiful people. It robs some of their physical lives but others of their happiness and livelihood. Most who suffer through depression suffer silently. 

To the sufferer: you are not alone. There are so many of us who have been where you are. Start talking to someone you trust. & remember God wants to walk out this journey with you. He wants to ease the load. 
To the Christian who doesn't know how to handle depression: there are people all around you who need your comfort, compassion and help. If it makes you uncomfortable because cannot relate, deal with it. Christ did not come to this world to make the happy happier. 

Rewind to who I was before all of this and you will find a girl whose faith had only lightly been tested, who didn't know what it was like to experience death or loss, who had no idea the difficulty that would make her future marriage stronger... Fast forward and learn that battling with depression has grown this girl into a stronger and better me. 

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Time For A New Me

Resolutions are not only for January. You can resolve parts of your life whenever you want. 
Recently, I decided to make a few changes of my own. I really desire to be a well-rounded person; I want to be healthy in body, mind and spirit, and I truly feel that God wants us to be devoting time to all three. 

 Matt and I recently started at a church that we are loving. Community and fellowship with other believers is so pertinent to our own growth. I am so excited for our future at this church. Also, Matt and I have been praying together daily, and I believe that it has united us on a much deeper level. It is such a blessing to vulnerably share our relationship with God with each other.

We signed up for a gym membership. After 5 days of workouts, I can honestly say that I am already feeling quite a bit better about myself and am experiencing much more productive days. I look forward to the transformation process that results from this. 

As many of you have probably noticed, over the last year or two I have been struggling with my weight. Well, it is time for me to put that behind me. This is an extremely healthy alternative for one meal a day. You may not believe me, but look into the isagenix products!

These are just some of the items I bought at the grocery store the other day. Eating right is more than just eating to lose weight; it is eating towards better overall health. Changing from a non-existent diet to something more stringent is difficult, but here's to discipline!

A couple weeks ago, I jumped on the vitamin train. Honest to God, I have already noticed a change in how I feel. Here is my regiment. Mornings: Women's 1 a Day (although I take more than that haha), Vitamin C, Fish Oil (for mental health), Echinacea (for immunity boost), 5HTP (for serotonin), Biotin, Collagen & Keratin (for Hair, Skin & Nails), & Big 100 from GNC  (a B complex vitamin for metabolism and energy). Nights: Calcium with Magnesium (the Magnesium helps one sleep). 

Honestly, I have been struggling with my productivity, but I hope the life change in the other will trickle into the energy (and depression elimination) that I need to be a great employee. I have so many dreams for what I want to do at my job. I plan on getting better. 

Lastly, I love reading, but I never seem to make time for it. My final goal is to block out more time to read. These are the books I am in currently. 

I decided to post this in order to feel more accountable to my life changes. Now that I have written down my goals, they become a little more real. What are your goals?

Friday, March 1, 2013

Hair & Change & Insecurity

"She'd only loved two things. The first was her long, dark hair. The second was how easily she could cut it off and not feel a thing." - 500 Days of Summer

Today's adventure was chopping off my hair. I say adventure although it is an adventure I embark on every year or at least every other year. I love when I have grown it out long and I can do crazy things with it, but most of all I love growing it out to chop it off. Most girls have experienced the feeling of reinventing themselves through their hair. It is such a wonderful process in womanhood. Unlike, Summer in the movie, we always feel when we get a hair cut; we feel upset at a tragic one or beautiful after a great one. No matter how silly it may sound to a man, our hair feeds us so much of our identity. 
Many of you do not know that I have been diagnosed with signs of early hair loss. Two years ago, I went to a doctor to find out why my hair was thinning. My blood, thyroid and stress levels were tested, and it was said that there was nothing I could do to reverse the process. I still pray often that God would be merciful to me, since I get so much joy out of my hair. Needless to say, this process has made me appreciate my hair all the more. It has made me thankful for the moments I have with my hair. Today, I loved holding the wet hair in my left hand and taking the scissor to it in my right. On Valentines, I loved curling it special. On the honeymoon, I remember Matt complaining about how long I spent doing my hair. These are treasured moments. 
We are all given little battles and big battles in life. This is one of my little battles. For two years, I have carried this embarrassment  and shame. In all reality, we are all carrying these little battles-- as we all want to be the ideal woman. You might be waxing your upper lip or wearing shirts that make your boobs look bigger or smiling with your mouth closed because you don't like your teeth or constantly going to the bathroom to re-apply make up... or (this might be the winner) taking ten "selfies" until you get one you like enough to post. 
Ladies, we are all in this together. Rather than tearing one another apart when we learn each other's beauty secrets, take the high road. Commend your sister for their vulnerability. Encourage them and point out their beauty. You have the power of life in your hands, and you also have the opportunity to be free. Release the insecurity. Share your feelings of failure. Be brave. Stand firm in who you are. And stop comparing yourself to an ideal woman. You are beautiful. 

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Life Newly Married

I'm new to the blog scene and wanted to update all the wonderful people back at home (in Phoenix) or anyone else who cares! The first couple married months have been crazy... crazy wonderful! Here is a little bit of insight into my new life these past couple months:

When I first got here, it was Christmas party season! Here was Matt & I at his company Christmas party. It was great to finally meet some of his co-workers/friends. 
I was thrilled to get our bedding on. Also, we have added a few more pillows since then! I absolutely adore Kate Spade and I love how much she has brightened up our bedroom. Also, I loved getting the eiffel tower lamps from Target off our registry! How cute and how fitting (for those who don't know Matt proposed on the eiffel tower, but I am pretty sure everyone in the world knows that by now)!
This was when we celebrated Matt's promotion at work! We went out to dinner at this cute Italian restaurant in Old Town Alexandria on King Street. We haven't been able to do a whole lot of exploring, but this is by far my favorite area yet. It is so quaint!
We bought and set up our own Christmas tree. This was so fun for the both of us... excuse the mess behind it though. Life is STILL crazy from moving, but it is a bit more organized now at least!
Here we were at Matt's home Church (in PA) the sunday before Christmas. We loved getting festive for the occasion. Please notice Matt's tie! 
Christmas morning with my husband at his parent's house. We had such a great time. I particularly love this picture because stockings were a tradition we started when we were dating. Our first Christmas dating I had no idea what to get him, so I chose to fill a stocking with lots of little gifts. He did the same for me. When we went to exchange I nearly cried because I thought that it was so cute... Clearly, I love Christmas... and Matt. 
This was Christmas dinner with the Nilsen family (minus Matt who was taking the picture). I am very blessed to have such a great new family who I can really be myself around. Also, it's pretty wonderful that they are caterers too. I am loving that! 
It snowed on Christmas up in PA, and we decided to stay up there for the week. It was a relaxing time. And I am absolutely obsessed with this coat from Express!
We brought in the new year with the same Champagne from our wedding night, these wonderful glasses from ZGallerie, and our brand new 60 inch Sony Aquos smart TV. In case, you were wondering that is 21 Jumpstreet, haha. Fun fact: Matt and I are both fans of the real 21 Jumpstreet. You know, the cheesy one with teenage Johnny Depp!
We love our new bluray player. I always used to think blurays were overrated, but now it is the only way I want to watch movies. Uh oh, I am becoming a little spoiled!
Sadly, I got the flu, and it really kicked my butt for a week. On the bright side, I have a wonderful husband who took care of me and came home with flowers one of the days. P.S. Thanks to everyone on our fridge who gave us Christmas cards! 
This is the newest addition to our family: "Chewie" Chewbacca Nilsen. He is a teacup yorkie puppy who is a bundle of rambunctious joy. He was my early Valentine's Day present! I am so so blessed!
If you don't think he is cute, you are certifiably crazy. 
He is quite the little sophisticated man. 
Well, that's all folks! Thanks for reading the blog. I promise the future ones will be shorter. I gotta get off this thing though... Chewie keeps trying to walk across the keyboard.