A Birthday Ode to My Husband

Sorry ladies, but T is basically the greatest husband ever. On his 27th birthday, I would like to share just a few of the reasons why I think he’s the best.

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1. He’s a wonderful man of God and a strong leader in our church. Not only does he participate whole-heartedly in music, he is a fantastic youth leader and is even taking on a much bigger leadership role on the governing board of elders. It’s inspiring to see how passionate he is about his faith and helping others grow to know Christ.

2. He’s brilliant. For as long as I can remember, I’ve wanted to marry someone who was smarter than me. It always seems to me that T knows, well, everything. He teaches me things all the time without making me feel dumb, and that’s priceless.

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The mustache obviously makes him smart.

3. He’s great with all things smaller than him. He loves to snuggle our kitties (only on their terms, of course), and it’s so fun to watch him with little kids. Plus he knows exactly how to handle the not-so-little kids… by sitting on them, of course.

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Nora probably started meowing loudly and pushing his face away right after I took this picture.

4. He loves to play and often lets out his inner child. When he’s not being a technology master or reading books that are way over my head, he can usually be found playing video games from his childhood or watching old cartoons on a Saturday morning. Sometimes he’ll spontaneously tackle me or show me a YouTube video that end up with both of us scream-laughing. And of course, he loves Christmas more than almost anyone else I know.

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5. He’s thoughtful. Every year for our anniversary, he makes me a flower out of whatever material corresponds to that anniversary. So far I have one made out of paper, one of two-dollar bills (two years is cotton, get it?), and one made out of leather. How awesome is that? It’s a really special tradition that I look forward to every July 1st.

6. He’s always supportive of me. When I was pursuing a singing career, he was supportive even when it took me away from him. When I decided to give that up, he supported that too. I know he wants the best for me, even when I sometimes don’t know exactly what that is.

We're in everything together, even things that cause us to make these faces.

We’re in everything together, even things that cause us to make these faces.

7. He has taught me what it means to forgive and love unconditionally. Even on my worst days, he is an example of God’s great love and mercy. It’s only since we’ve been married that I truly understand how our relationships on earth should reflect our relationships with God, and what it means to be the bride of Christ.

Happy birthday, T! I love you!

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6 Reasons Why We Want Kids… But Not Right Now

It seems like everyone in our lives right now is having babies. Siblings, cousins, friends, everywhere we look there are sonogram photos and birth announcements popping up. Babies are on everyone’s minds, and T and I have been asked more times than we can count when it’s going to be our turn. Both of us have always known that we would be parents one day, even before we knew each other, and while we look forward to that day very much, we’re not ready yet. Here’s why we’ll definitely be expanding our family eventually, but not right this moment.

1. We’ve always envisioned living in a house with our kids… but right now we’re cool with our apartment. Both T and I grew up in single-family homes with yards where we spent hours playing outside with our siblings and friends. We took piano lessons and played wind instruments, and my brother shot hoops on the driveway (and sometimes in the house). We want to give our kids all of the freedom that comes with living in a house that we own, with a yard and everything. Right now though, we live in a one-bedroom apartment with hardwood floors, sharp corners, and two shared walls, which is not super conducive to small children, or really more than two people at all.

2. We dream of the activities we’ll do as a family… but right now we’re enjoying our friends. We are constantly coming up with ideas for things we would want to do with our children. From memberships at kid-friendly museums to travel destinations to books we’ll read to science projects we’ll do, by the time we actually have kids our list will be long enough to last their entire childhoods. But in the past couple of years we have developed some great friendships, and we like being able to go to parties with them, sit around talking about church stuff for hours, or make impromptu late-night trips to Applebee’s after choir rehearsal on a Wednesday night.

We'd like our Disneyland trips to look like this for a couple more years.

We’d like our Disneyland trips to look like this for a little while longer.

3. We hope to give our kids a comfortable lifestyle… but right now we’re still trying to prepare for that. Living in the Bay Area, one of the most expensive places in the entire United States, can make it really difficult to get ahead financially. It’s hard to save money towards a house when a third of your paycheck goes to rent alone. We’re doing our best, and over the past several months we’ve definitely seen an improvement, especially once I became the choir director at our church. Our hope is to save enough to buy a house in a less expensive area, but that also means we need jobs in that area. It’s a process.

4. We look forward to taking our kids to their games and concerts… but right now our evenings and weekends are full of our own activities. It should be no surprise that T and I are incredibly busy people. By default, our schedule includes three and a half nights a week doing church activities (the half comes from middle school ministry every other week). On top of that, I sometimes have rehearsals for shows or for the San Francisco Symphony Chorus that require me to miss even the things I already had planned. On the nights we would otherwise be free, we usually have at least one social gathering to go to, and occasionally we even spend a night at home together (how revolutionary). On the weekends, we like sleeping in, being lazy, and spending entire days watching Friday Night Lights. We know those things will change when we have kids, and that’s okay, but first we want to feel that we’ve lived our own lives the way we wanted, because once the kids come, our lives won’t be our own anymore.

Also, T likes naps way too much to be ready for kids.

Also, T likes naps way too much to be ready for kids.

5. We want to have our own children to love and care for… but right now we’re practicing on the new babies in our family. T’s older brother and his wife recently had their first baby, and two of my cousins have also had their firstborns within the past six months. We’re looking forward to the day when our kids will meet their cousins for the first time, but I have to say, it’s fun to be auntie and uncle for now.

Someday this will be us with our baby, but for now we're happy to snuggle baby T, our nephew.

Someday this will be us with our baby, but for now we’re happy to snuggle baby T, our nephew.

6. We can’t wait to talk to our kids about Jesus… but right now we feel our calling is with the youth group. Two years ago, when T and I first started volunteering as youth leaders, we had no idea what a blessing it would be to us. Both of us have grown so much in our faith because of it, and we have seen a lot of growth in our students as well. We love them and always look forward to the time that we get to spend with them, whether we’re playing games, doing Bible study, having a Christmas party, or going on fun and crazy events like houseboats. Having a baby would limit our time with the students, and while we know that will happen one day, right now we’re invested in these kids.

See? We already have 20+ teenagers.

We already have 20 teenagers.

What about you? Do you want kids, but not right now? If you have kids, how did you know you were ready for them?

Good News

I don’t have a ton of time today to write a long post, but that’s because I’m trying to catch up on all the things I had originally planned to do yesterday. Why, you ask? Because instead of doing laundry and cleaning the house yesterday, we were with T’s family welcoming this little guy into the world.

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Meet TG, whose name I won’t disclose for his and his parents’ privacy (unless you’re already friends with me personally on Facebook). Our sweet little nephew was born at 6:20 PM. E, my sister-in-law, was a total champion, and everyone is recovering well. T and I are so excited to take on our new roles as auntie and uncle!

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Me and N, my other brother-in-law’s girlfriend and TG’s other auntie. If I have to share him, she’s the person I would want to share with!

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Now who has some good tips on how to become the favorite aunt (and uncle)?

Cats on Things

If you follow me on Instagram (and you should! @kellyeshoffwalker), you probably know that I post tons of pictures of my cats, Nigel and Nora. I can’t help it, they’re just so cute and funny! Like most cats (I assume), they have an obsession with perching on odd things and in odd places… laundry baskets, bookshelves, kitchen cabinets, printers, you name it. See for yourself.

They like to see the world from as high as possible.

They like to see the world from as high as possible.

Nigel thinks a good place to sleep is in T's arms when he's playing video games.

Nigel thinks a good place to sleep is in T’s arms when he’s playing video games.

Nora fits right inside T's baseball glove.

Nora fits right inside T’s baseball glove.

Nigel barely fits in that little space, but he makes it work.

Nigel barely fits in that little space on top of my opera scores, but he makes it work.

This takes some serious skill.

This takes some serious skill.

Nigel refusing to let me write lesson plans.

Nigel refusing to let me write lesson plans.

Nora refusing to let me study a score.

Nora refusing to let me study a score.

Copycat.

Copycat.

Clean laundry, not so clean anymore.

Clean laundry, not so clean anymore.

Nigel helping T and me move in to our new apartment (almost two years ago, that is).

Nigel helping T and me move in to our new apartment (almost two years ago, that is).

Nora doesn't like it when I pack to go on a trip.

Nora doesn’t like it when I pack to go on a trip.

Both cats have this weird thing about laying on our stuff.

Both cats have this weird thing about laying on our stuff.

Nora making a nest in T's jeans.

Nora making a nest in T’s jeans.

And finally, their favorite place to settle on hot days: the cool porcelain sink.

And finally, their favorite place to settle on hot days: the nice cool porcelain sink.

Do you have cats? Do they like to lay, perch, or wedge themselves in weird places?

What Being a Wife Means to Me

It’s no secret among married couples that relationship growth never stops. You spend your entire life learning who the other person is and who they need you to be. Lately I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about what it means to me to be a wife and what kind of wife I want to be to T.

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Proverbs 31:10-31 is an excellent reference point (long passage alert).

“A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than rubies. Her husband has full confidence in her and lacks nothing of value. She brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life. She selects wool and flax and works with eager hands. She is like the merchant ships, bringing her food from afar. She gets up while it is still dark; she provides food for her family and portions for her servant girls. She considers a field and buys it; out of her earnings she plants a vineyard. She sets about her work vigorously; her arms are strong for her tasks. She sees that her trading is profitable, and her lamp does not go out at night. In her hand she holds the distaff and grasps the spindle with her fingers. She opens her arms to the poor and extends her hands to the needy. When it snows, she has no fear for her household; for all of them are clothed in scarlet. She makes coverings for her bed; she is clothed in fine linen and purple. Her husband is respected at the city gate, where he takes his seat among the elders of the land. She makes linen garments and sells them, and supplies the merchants with sashes. She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come. She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue. She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness. Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her: ‘Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all.’ Charm is deceptive and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised. Give her the reward she has earned, and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.”

Here’s what we can learn from the wife of noble character:

  1. She is a rarity in the world. Very few women are truly this kind of wife, which is what makes one so valuable.
  2. She brings good, not harm, to her husband, and her goal is always to build him up and support him.
  3. She is a diligent worker. She gives 100% to everything she does and has a good attitude while doing it.
  4. She contributes in important and unique ways to the provision of her family.
  5. She shows grace and compassion to people who are less fortunate than her.
  6. She stands strong in her faith and is always dignified and classy.
  7. She is wise enough to put her trust in God for the future.
  8. She is called to teach and guide others in their own faith.
  9. Ultimately, she loves the Lord above all else and knows that her true value is found in him.

What do those things translate into for me, practically speaking?

  1. I will always take opportunities to build up T to other people. I once read somewhere that you should always affirm your spouse in front of others and never, ever put them down, and I try my best to abide by that. I should do whatever I can to support him however I can. Whether it’s bringing him dinner when he doesn’t have time to go home between work and youth group, taking over driving on a long trip when he gets tired, or doing the laundry/cleaning/grocery shopping so he doesn’t have to, I constantly look for ways to make his life easier and better.
  2. Individually, my attitude at work (any kind of work) should be positive, committed, and selfless, which not only allows me to benefit other people through my job, but also helps me provide for my family.
  3. I can be an example and a role model for others, especially younger Christians. Right now I’m learning how to do this in youth ministry, and someday I hope to be able to guide my own kids in their faith journeys and relationships with Christ.
  4. My own faith should be the number one priority in my life, after which everything else will fall into place. I need to trust in God’s provision for my life and know that I was created to be a child of God and to find my ultimate identity in him alone.

I know I’m not always the perfect “Proverbs 31 wife,” but the beauty of marriage is that I have a lifetime to work on becoming one. I also have a godly husband who will (and does) encourage me in my efforts to be the kind of wife for him that God wants me to be.

Ladies, have you ever heard of the “Proverbs 31 wife”? What does being a wife mean to you?

Favorite Instagram Photo(s)

I love Instagram. No matter how bad my photos turn out when I first take them, it’s never anything that a good Insta filter can’t fix. Plus who doesn’t love coming up with creative hashtags?

It’s hard to know where to start when choosing my favorite Instagram photo. I’ve been on Instagram for like three years and have a total of 227 posts. That’s a lot to choose from. I’ve managed to narrow it down to two, and since they are related, I’ve decided that’ll have to do.

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Favorite Instagram photo #1.

We got Nora, the second of our two kitties, from a friend of mine when she was barely nine weeks old (Nora, not my friend). A few weeks before we actually took her home, we went to meet the litter of kittens and play with our sweet little girl. She decided she was a bird and liked to perch on T, her new daddy.

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Favorite Instagram photo #2.

Clearly, the whole “I’m a bird” thing didn’t go away as she grew up. This photo was taken the one time T went to the vet with me to get Nora’s shots. She really hates the vet (as does her brother Nigel) and decided that Daddy’s shoulder was the safest place to be.

You can (and should!) follow me on Instagram at @kellyeshoffwalker!

Best Lady

Last week I received a package in the mail from one of my oldest and dearest friends. She was my maid of honor in my wedding, and now she’s getting married this coming May.

I opened the package to find a picture frame and a card tied up super cute with ribbon:

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Inside the card was a very sweet message about our friendship and how much I mean to her, and underneath in the frame was this:

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The card also explained that instead of having a maid of honor and bridesmaids, she had decided to have her three closest friends be her “best ladies.” Of course I said “YES!!!” (And yes, that is a picture of us when we were nine or ten years old. It’s gotten way too much mileage over the years.)

Time to start working on some serious party planning!