Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about past Christmases and how each holiday season has looked very different for us over the course of the past (almost) 8 years of marriage.
The first year we struggled big time because not only was our marriage new, but we also had a long train of bad things that happened in the months leading up to the holidays: sick grandparents, car wrecks, our apartment was robbed, Nate broke his nose, Bunker broke one of his teeth, and then the insecurity that comes with a long list of issues like that.
We lived in Colorado for 4 years, and each year meant we were either traveling to see family or they were coming to see us.
The past 3 years (including this year) have been in Little Rock, where we were snowed in the first Christmas, traveling to Austin and Dallas the second, and this year are staying put.
To say that the past 8 years have been a little nuts is an understatement, but even in the midst of all that it has been so easy to realize that these memories we’ve made, even the hard ones, have been the biggest blessings. They’ve all turned into stories that I can’t wait to share with our children, to tell them about how marriage and creating a life together isn’t always easy but it IS always worth it. The stories that my parents shared that taught the same lessons have stuck with me for the better part of 30 years, and while it sounds crazy I can say with certainty that I look forward to all the stories to come.
I am thankful for the way God has woven this life together; the hard times that have taught me yet again how much I need him, and that have made me appreciate the good times even more. The good times that create laughter and excitement for what’s to come. The people that He’s blessed us with who have rarely been who we expected, but have loved more deeply than we ever thought possible. The babies that made us parents, even though we lost one early on.
8 years is not a lifetime, but it’s certainly not short either. I’m so thankful to have a man who is my best friend, my lover and my champion. A man who leads our family well and doesn’t shy away from the craziness but rather embraces it in ways that have changed the way I see life. I’m just so thankful.
Oh yeah, and I made fake cookies. I call them fake cookies because, well, they’re not cookies – you don’t bake them, they actually provide nutrients and even through all that they still taste good. I based them off of the flavors in this recipe (which is AMAZING y’all) and they come together in no time. I’m actually using them for another quick recipe that I’m sharing next week, so make sure you give ’em a shot so you can perfect them beforehand. You won’t be sorry!
NUTTY DATE BALLS
Makes 12 balls
- 8 pitted Medjool dates
- 1/2 cup roasted unsalted almonds
- 1/3 cup creamy peanut butter
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- Add the almonds to a food processor and pulse to chop roughly.
- Add the dates and pulse again to chop everything roughly.
- Add the peanut butter, vanilla and cinnamon and process until the “dough” starts to form and pull away from the sides of the food processor.
- Remove the blade (carefully!) and, using a small cookie scoop, portion out the “dough” into balls.
- These won’t roll like real cookie dough, but rather just need to be pushed together using the fingertips to form a ball.
- Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator until ready to devour.