Marriage Honesty

Marriage Honesty

[Editor’s Note: I had the awesome opportunity to do a Q&A with Molly Reed of the husband/wife music duo Grayson|Reed. They are honest in their songs and have a strong marriage message that I love. Here is some backstory on Grayson|Reed before we dive into the interview…cover-artwork-gr

Mike and Molly met their first week of college as entering freshman at Nashville’s Belmont University. Over the next 10 years, the aspiring artists floated in and out of one another’s social circles, gradually building a unique friendship that eventually became a strong relational foundation when they started dating in 2012. The following year, they said “I do,” and two years later, they welcomed their daughter, Grailey. 

Whether writing about the Christian journey, marriage or redemption, Grayson|Reed simply desires to craft music from an intensely honest place—even if their vulnerability shines a light on the messy parts of life.]

MW: Do you feel like you have a mission with your songwriting?

MR: Absolutely! I believe that The Lord gave me such a special gift and has called me to use it. I’m so thankful for songwriting. Music is the universal language and to be able to communicate to people through song is so cool. I love the idea of being able to encourage people and share Jesus through music.

MW: Could you tell us about your Christian walk?

MR: My personal journey with Jesus really became real during my senior year of high school. I was on a mission trip and just got to see the world in a whole new way. It really opened my eyes and Jesus showed up in a way I hadn’t seen Him do before. It’s a daily choice to put Him first. What’s been super fun lately is praying with my daughter and teaching her about Jesus. I love seeing Him through her eyes.

MW: How important was it for you to be able to eventually work together?

MR: It was always a dream for my husband Mike and I to be able to do music together, and the fact that we are living that dream is amazing. Once we had our daughter Grailey, we knew we didn’t want to be touring apart and always leaving each other. We would rather be playing in front of 10 people together then 1,000 apart.

MW: What is your songwriting process like?

MR: It’s the same yet different for each song. I usually start with some kind of melody or groove and feel out the music, from there the idea or title is born. BUT, some days I come with a concept or title and write the music around it. Songwriting is much like playing a sport, it’s almost like a muscle that you have to use regularly to get better and better. It’s important for me to hone my craft as often as I can, so I try to write around 3-4 days a week when we are not on the road.

MW: What do you feel are the biggest reasons people give up on their marriages?

MR: Lack of communication or as we call it “writing stories.” From day one, Mike and I made a promise to try and NOT write stories or fill in the blanks with what the other was saying. So often, people live out and believe what they “think” someone meant by what they said rather than asking for clarification. I will say “Mike I’m writing a story that when you said XYZ you meant “this,” is that true?” It gives the other person a chance to speak to the lies we created in our head and call out the heart and truth.

MW: How has your faith grown during your marriage?

MR: Much like becoming a parent, I have had to learn how to surrender and trust in a whole new way. It’s easy for me to want to try to control the other person, or to live in fear of something tragic happening. But I’m choosing to give it all to God and TRUST Him with my family.

MW: What do you think is next for Grayson|Reed?

MR: Honestly, I love cooking and baking so one day I hope to be able to write a cookbook! Maybe I’ll call it “What’s Molly Making?” haha!  

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Galentine’s Day Gift Ideas

img_8102Galentine’s Gift Ideas

Hey Divas.

Have you heard of Galentine’s Day?

It falls on February 13th, and it is a holiday to celebrate your female friendships!

If you google it, you’re going to probably see a lot of information about the episode of Parks & Recreation called “Galentine’s Day.” I won’t lie. This is where I heard about it. If you’ll recall, Parks and Recreation was also the inspiration for the Devotional Diva tagline “Devote Yourself!” (From the famous “Treat Yo’ Self” episode.)

I wanted to inspire you to celebrate sisterhood this Valentine’s season, so I’ve put together a cute little gift guide. These are all products I use and can recommend.

This is not sponsored, but these are affiliate links. My full affiliate link disclosure is at the bottom of every Devotional Diva page in hot pink font!

The phone case is the phone case I’ve been using for awhile, and I love Sonix phone cases!
This is so heavy on the L’occitane because my hands have been so dry this winter, so we have been using a lot of their hand creams! I highly reccomend them! L’occitane has the best lotions. I also got this oil on sale after Christmas, and the sales lady said I could add it to a neutral lotion, too. I didn’t think about that! The oil just smells so good!
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How I Plan + Blog Planning

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This is my Diva Planner. Isn’t that cat fabulous?

How I Plan + Blog Planning Tips

In today’s lifestyle post, I thought I’d share my current planner set-up with you and some blog planning tips. I thought it might be interesting, since I know there are quite a few planner enthusiasts out there!

 

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I’m currently using an A5 Aqua Patent Domino Filofax and Month on 2 Pages inserts from the Etsy shop DearPlanner. In February, I will be using stickers from the Etsy shop MareBareCrafts — these little dewdrops are a lot smaller than the Martha Stewart comparables but are very similar and actually removable, too.

My system for blog planning is fairly streamlined at this point. I have to have a month on two pages for my editorial calendar. Since Devotional Diva has a lot of guest bloggers, I keep track of those on the side. I also keep track of my ideas for posts there. When they are finalized, I write them down on the sticker. I place the sticker ahead of time (usually at the beginning of the month) on the days I plan to blog.

Now, you may be asking…is the sticker necessary…?

The answer is that stickers are ALWAYS necessary.

Also, I do keep track of other appointments in this planner so it keeps the layout neater.

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I choose what kind of sticker or label to use based on what color scheme I want. I used to always use aqua blue, as you can see, those are all gone in the Martha Stewart pages! Now I switch it up month to month.
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Here’s my little pouch of planner supplies. It’s actually a makeup bag from Tarte, but I really like it and it’s the perfect size.how-i-plan4

I also use the weekly cleaning sheets from DearPlanner. I’m still trying out how to make them best work for me.how-i-plan8

Also from DearPlanner, here are my daily OR weekly sheets. Some days I do I have enough to fill up a whole page, or I end up using a page for a whole week. Since they are undated, it works for me. Breakfast/lunch/dinner ends up not meaning the same thing, but that’s okay.
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My lovely charm on the planner is from Coach – I’ve had it for years and basically always kept it on my planner because it just makes me happy! I was able to find a similar one here.* I also always use colored Filofax paper refills because they, too, just make me happier! I do a lot of journaling in these back sections and also take notes and make lists there (ex: Christmas planning).

*Affiliate Link–Please see my disclosure on the bottom of every page of Devotional Diva in hot pink font, of course.how-i-plan6

My favorite pens and highlighters are the Frixion pens by Pilot and have been for a looooong time. They are erasable — The only truly erasable pens I have encountered.

I hope this little look at my planning system was interesting!

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5 Fresh Fall Resolutions

Devotional Diva

Devotional Diva

5 Fresh Fall Resolutions

To me, September means fall. Even though it doesn’t always feel like fall immediately! I’m not in school anymore, but fall represents a fresh start for me still. So today, I’m posting five fall resolutions that I’m attempting to enact this fall.

1.Put more effort into my outfits

I have really gotten stuck in a rut with my daily outfit inspiration. I’m finding that I’m wearing the same things over and over again out of laziness and boredom. There’s no fun in that. This fall, I want to try to put more effort into what I’m wearing and have more fun with it!

2. Take my vitamins 🙁

I’m really blessed to have good healthcare. I struggle with migraines and saw a neurologist while we were still stationed in San Diego. He recommended several different vitamins to take to help deal with the migraines. I’ve kind of been slacking on taking all of the supplements because there are just so many pills to take it gets tiresome! I should do it, though. I need to get back on track!

3. Continue “write every day habit”

After reading The 8-Minute Writing Habit, I decided to start implementing some of its ideas this fall. I’ve already started with writing just 8 minutes a day every day (which is really not scary at all and really effective at getting writing done every single day!). There’s other strategies in the book that I hope to add on so that I can write more consistently again.

4. Up my skincare game

So I think I take pretty good care of my skin and I don’t have much trouble with it. But I’d like to take even better care of it. Namely, at night. From what I’ve read, that’s when your skin does a lot of its regenerating and it really soaks up moisture (I’m no scientist, here is an article I found explaining that (LINK). I’m also not affiliated with Dr. Gross, I just think he probably can do a better job explaining than I can!)

5. Use Instagram Stories more

I’ve started using it a little bit…on the Devotional Diva instagram (@Devotional_Diva) I shared the Italian Ferragusto fireworks I could see from my balcony. I’d like to try to get into it more, and I hope that when I do, you’ll watch and hopefully like it!

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Inspiration Lately

Italian Ferragusto Fireworks

Italian Ferragusto Fireworks

Hey Divas,

Devotional Diva’s mission is all about inspiring women and spurring them forward, so I thought I’d share what has been inspiring me lately! I hope this can be an encouragement to you today, wherever you are!

  1. While perusing Instagram, I stumbled upon this blog post (link) by Erica Jacobs of What’s Eating Erica Jacobs. I don’t go through “High-Functioning Low-Level Panic” like Erica does, but reading her story was definitely something I could relate to. A great, inspiring read!
  2. Ferragusto fireworks! The photo above was taken from the comfort of my own li’l bed as I watched Italian Ferragusto fireworks. Ferragusto celebrates the Assumption of the Virgin Mary and is a pretty big deal. There were little fireworks shows going on all night! It was pretty cool that I could just sit back and watch. So cool that it inspired me to share my first Instagram story! (@Devotional_Diva) My Italian neighbors caught me talking to my phone on my balcony and thought I was pretty weird I think.
  3. I’ve been finding old music I used to listen to and bringing back the memories! I highly recommend this. It’s been so fun! I really like to listen to music at night when I’m reading, or just listen to the music alone. Thinking about a different time in my life is inspiring to me. It gives me perspective!

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Italian Beach Day with My Boys

We took full advantage of my husband’s day off and went to an Italian beach! I love the beautiful Italian beaches and we had such a great day. I wanted to share some of our lovely day with you!

Italian beach umbrellas
Aren’t all the little umbrellas so cute?
O playing in the sand!
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The view of my umbrella from my chair
O is not a fan of the water at first and takes a long time to acclimate himself to it!
Oh yes, nothing better than feeling the waves on your feet!
There he is starting to have fun!

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Churches Around the World: Villefranche-sur-Mer, France

Continuing my Churches Around the World Series (why not, right? I end up visiting a church everywhere I go!), today we’re taking a took at the Eglise Saint-Michel church in Villefranche-sur-Mer.

During a stroll with my husband and son, we met a kind lady from Manhattan who offered to take our family picture by this beautiful tree. She and her husband regularly vacationed in Villefranche. After chatting for a bit, she said that she wanted to stop into the church and see if there was anything new going on. She offered to show us around, although it’s a fairly small church.

Apparently there used to be a lot more woodcarvings and things to “look at,” but in recent years, those have sadly gone away. If you’d like more information about this particular church, follow this link to go to its TripAdvisor page.

 

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The tree I mentioned!
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I LOVED THE FLOORS!!

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German & French Food Highlights

As I was going through all of my photos from my trips to France and Germany, I noticed I took a lot of photos of what I ate. Like, way too many too include them in the original Devotional Diva posts that I did about the trips. So, I decided to save them and do a post to include my favorite food photos! Hopefully this is at least interesting for all of the foodie Divas.

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My first experience of real French crepes!
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French wine to go along with the crepes — This was a pretty dry Rose. It was good, and I felt very fancy.
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French Carbonara!
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In Berlin, we hit up Burger Dealer, home to the best burgers in Berlin!
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At the Kieler Woche festival in Kiel, Germany, I stopped for a quick Doppelwaffel and soon got powdered sugar all over myself.
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We stayed at an Air BnB in Germany, and our hosts cooked us this awesome meal our first night. It was so delicious!!
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True German schnitzel with a beer sauce!
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In the foreground of this picture, you can see my husband’s huge steak, baked potato and garlic bread. My plate is in the background, but I got a different steak that was not near as big! Also, Germans are very generous with their sour cream.

 

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Berlin, Germany #DivaTravel

I’m back with more German adventures! Today I’m sharing our day trip to Berlin. We spent a lot of time walking along a path learning about the Berlin wall and seeing where it was, until we ended up at the memorial and the Chapel of Reconciliation. It was a cool experience. We also stopped at a large grassy area with lots of grafiti where Oliver ran around and played. He loved it! We also walked around Museum Island later in the day!

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The metal poles are where the wall was

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The Chapel of Reconciliation

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My favorite statue at museum island

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The Stages of Post-Vacation Grief

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The Stages of Post-Vacation Grief

I was inspired to write this silly little thing after returning home from my vacation to Germany. This seems to be what I go through during Post-Vacation Grief (totally a real thing) and I thought it would be fun to share since I’ve been traveling so much. Without further ado, my stages of Post-Vacation Grief…

Excitement: As I’m in the car headed home, the baby is totally passed out. I’m really tired but really excited to get back to my life. Ah yay, my own home! I have so many ideas for Devotional Diva! I have so many ideas for the house! I’ll reorganize my closet. Work on my craft room. Things will be great.

Disappointment: I get home and my house is a little messier than I thought I left it due to being followed around by a one-year-old while packing! Oh well. The baby tears it up even more when we get home. At least he has so many toys here to occupy himself with. I get some water (because my fridge is basically devoid of anything else) and sit down on my own couch for a little while.

Anxiety: I stare at my suitcase just sitting in the hallway, taunting me. There’s important stuff in there! Man, I really don’t want to unpack that monstrosity. It doesn’t have to be totally unpacked tonight, but…it will have to be at some point. Should I just do it now? Ugh.

Clean all the things: I unpack everything, make lists of how to get my house more organized, tidy up the house, give the baby a bath and put the baby to bed.

Exhaustion: I try to relax, but I’m too beat. I go to bed soon after.

Woe-is-me: The next morning, I don’t even want to do anything on my list of goals! No! I am too tired! I have all this laundry to catch up on. When I was on vacation I didn’t even have to worry about any laundry and now there is just piles! Why did I even make these lists? I’ll be lucky to even get this laundry done.

Resentment: I hate laundry and I just want my German food back.

Acceptance: After all of my laundry is done, I am glad that I now have so many options to dress my kid up in! I’m comfortable. My son is settling back into his routine and he’s happy to be reunited with his toys. We go to the grocery store, and we have everything we need. I’ve got my lists of projects and I’ll get them done… eventually!

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