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a shower for laura

LaurasShower-12-1024x682Friends.  Let me tell you about my bestie.  She’s great.  We have similar brains, as in, we both get excited about reorganizing pantries, and that sort of thing.  We also like to bake.  And our favorite past-time is getting into really intense conversations as soon as she walks in the door.  If we come to a conclusion we agree on, we shrug our shoulders and go the the Container Store.  If we don’t come to a conclusion we agree on…we shrug our shoulders and go to the Container Store, before our brains explode.  She’s adventurous.  Also, she cares that people know about Jesus.  Seriously.  Ask her about spending (weeks?) in a boat halfway across the world, while receiving nourishment from some sort of ravioli-tuna-canned-deliciousness.  Also, it’s her full-time job.  Anyway, I like her. - Laura

And now, she’s getting married.  Yay!  So we threw her a shower.  And I decided to (more thoroughly) answer a question she asked me a year ago.  🙂 - LauraDear Laura,

A while ago, you asked me what was most surprising about marriage.  And I think I fumbled through some sort of answer, but I don’t remember what I said.  Or if it was quality.  So here are a few things.

  •  Hair.  Ohmygosh.  Everywhere.  I don’t know if Ryan sheds his locks more than the normal man, but be prepared just in case.  Also, closing doors.  Think it’s a given that you open a linen closet, take a towel, and then CLOSE THE LINEN CLOSET?  Think again.  Good thing we don’t have any irritating qualities.  😉

Now, on a more serious note:

  •  It’s amazing how differently you approach things when you view your husband as your teammate.  That sounds simple enough, but sometimes it’s easy to view him as the bad guy when your plans don’t pan out.  “For our struggle is not against flesh & blood…” (Ephesians 6:12)
  •  A really intelligent couple (Gary and Betsy Ricucci) said, “One of the best wedding gifts God gave you was a full-length mirror called your spouse.  Had there been a card attached, it would have said, “Here’s to helping you discover what you’re really like!”  I think God’s purpose in marriage might be more about making us holy than about making us happy.   And this is good news, because some days feel happy and some days feel…like other emotions.  Just like before you’re married, actually.  And that doesn’t mean you’re doing anything wrong.  It’s amazing how different a marriage relationship is from any other relationship.  While you’re dating, you put your best foot forward.  All of the time.  But after you say I do, that’s just about impossible to keep up.  Your spouse sees the ugliest parts of you, and you start to realize there are sins you’ve been hiding from all along.  With your parents or siblings or girlfriends, you could create some distance, settle down, and forget about it.  But that’s hard to do when you share a bed with someone.  If you learn to accept these moments as a time to humbly admit your sinfulness, it’s amazing how much grace your spouse may offer.  And how much you may change as a result.  (Read Sacred Marriage by Gary Thomas!)
  •  If your husband is humble and kind enough to ask for your forgiveness, just FORGIVE HIM, forthelove.  This is coming from the queen of the cold shoulder, by the way.  Over the last couple years, we’ve wasted too many nights on my stubbornness.  If you intend to stay married, you know you will eventually need to humble yourself and apologize.  Just get to it so you can get in a game of Mario Party before bed.
  •  Saying, “Yes!” more often makes things fun.  Spontaneous karaoke might sound just a bit intimidating to you.  But you joining in might make your husbands week!  Give it a try for him; you might just have a great time.
  •  Dreaming together is sometimes the best medicine.  If the world seems small or the days feel monotonous, remind yourselves of the bigger picture.  Where do you want to be at this time next year?  What is your next big adventure?  What do you want people to see when they look at your marriage?
  •  Words are more powerful than I ever imagined.  While hurtful outbursts can be forgiven, they have a tendency to make their way to the heart, so a bit of self-control could save your spouse a lot of heartache.  Speak encouraging words freely; they seem to find their way to the heart, too, and I think they’re worth more than gold.

So many things about marriage have been surprising, but it’s honestly hard to remember what they were.  With a steady stream of conversation and a whole lot of grace, things that seemed polarizing at first are now long forgotten.  Some of your biggest differences may even become your greatest strengths.

If I had to summarize (and I guess I do), I’d say that if you approach marriage with a humble attitude, a soft heart, and your identity safely secured in Christ, there’s no surprise that you can’t handle. - Laura

Love you, laura-dear.  🙂

April 14, 2014 - 11:12 am

Katie - Congrats, Laura!! Love that you both have found the love of your lives!! XO

April 14, 2014 - 8:05 pm

Laura - Yay. Thanks. Glad to get to reread this. Love you.

April 15, 2014 - 8:56 pm

Kate Jones - Hayley – I love this post. Such good truths are written here! I love the simple way you spoke about such deep and real things. Love you, friend!

April 17, 2014 - 11:02 am

Hayley - Thanks for the love, girls! You’re the best. 🙂

May 1, 2014 - 9:34 pm

Olivia - Loved reading this! Hayley, you and Ryan are such a great example of what a marriage should be. Something to look up to.

And Laura, Congratulations!!! So happy for you!!!

grow where you are planted

WineAndCheeseParty-1-1024x682When Ryan & I moved back to the St. Louis area for this six month snippet of life, we decided to split the distance between work and his college friends that I’d grown to love, too.  What we found, was that choosing to live in between just made us far away from everyone!  This theme seems to keep coming up in my life – the importance of fully committing – of “growing where I am planted”.

I’m finding that as I allow myself to be grateful for this short phase, it’s easier to invest in friendships here – even though our time in St. Louis is waning.  We have been so blessed by the friends we’ve made through Ryan’s training program with Edward Jones.  Every time we get together, there are lots of laughs, meaningful conversations, and always some great food.

Wine & Cheese Party -

Last week, we decided to have a “fancy” wine and cheese party.  It was a riot.  Let me tell you that at least 80% of what we contributed came from Aldi.  (What’s better than an entire bottle of wine for $3?  Can’t think of anything.)  We looked up a wine and cheese pairing chart the week before.  And then never referenced it again.  Also, let me wholeheartedly recommend playing catch phrase after a couple glasses of bubbly.  Entertaining.

Anyway, I’m usually one that gets caught up in plans, but it seems like every step of the way, the unknowns just keep growing.  Exponentially.  So at some point, you just have to pick up a glass of wine and enjoy the peace of being exactly where you are.

Also, the Bible is good.  Matthew 6:25-34  😉

What keeps you from growing where you’ve been planted?  

April 1, 2014 - 1:27 pm

Kelly Cooke - Beautiful post Hayley. I’ve been trying to work on the same things and it was so nice to read 🙂 And the wine and cheese idea is so clever! Love Aldi wine!

April 1, 2014 - 1:30 pm

Hayley - Thanks, Kelly! I’m such a worrier by nature; I think it’s something that I’ll always be working on.

April 3, 2014 - 2:07 pm

Amy - I linked this up to a similar post I just wrote about the same topics!

a doll for zhoe

Our sweet niece, Zhoe, just turned one!  I knew I wanted to make her something special for her first birthday.  As I searched for ideas (on Pinterest, of course, where else?), I came across the adorable dolls Delia recently made for her two-year-old daughter and I was sold.  The original pattern can be downloaded for free(!) from Martha Stewart’s blog.


Sewing up the doll couldn’t have been easier.  I printed out the pattern pieces (at 150%).  I then added a 1/2″ seam allowance around each one and cut out the necessary pieces from the fabrics I chose.  Like Delia, I added some brown felt boots, sleeves, and piggy-tails.  When I finished, I proceeded to panic because how-in-the-world-was-I-going-to-give-her-a-face-without-ruining-hours-of-work.  The pattern says to paint it on.  No way.  And much to my sadness, I have no embroidery talent to speak of.

But, really, let me tell you about my lack of painting skills.  As soon as I have a brush in my hand, I get the shakes.  My mom, who is actually super talented in that department, assured me that she could teach me how to paint…tiny circles.  God bless her.  After some serious practice, I was able to paint on eyes, blush, a mouth, and a nose without the world ending.  Whew.  Don’t think I’m going to art school anytime soon, though.  I waited for the paint to dry and then heat-set it by covering the doll’s face with a damp wash cloth and ironing over it for ten-ish seconds.  Then, I wrapped her up and she was ready to party!

A Doll for Zhoe - hayleypainter.comWe had a great time seeing Ryan’s side of the family at Zhoe’s party.  (And I got a little baby-fix.  Doesn’t she just look snuggly?!)  Anyway, I have this picture to prove that she liked her doll!  (As much as a one-year-old can like anything.  Five seconds later she was playing with a plastic cup.)

A Doll for Zhoe -

Fabric sources:
+ Felt, houndstooth, and cream canvas from Hancock Fabrics
+  Blue gauze from Joann’s

What is your go-to gift for kiddos?

in the kitchen // banana oatmeal chocolate-chip cookies

After seeing these *semi-healthy* chocolate-chip cookies posted by nataliecreates on her Instagram feed, I had to give the recipe a try.  (If you didn’t get the hint, I think you should check out Natalie’s blog; it’s super inspiring!)  Now, I could hardly fathom throwing banana and chocolate into a baked good without cinnamon.  And vanilla.  Oh, and what the heck – I threw some peanut butter in there, too.  Ryan thinks they are awesome, so that’s all the approval I need!


Banana Oatmeal Chocolate-chip “Cookies”
Adapted from the recipe originally posted by mollyrunsforlife

Makes 1 dozen.

+ 1 Cup Rolled Oats
+ 3 Mashed Bananas
+ 2 Tbsp Peanut Butter
+ 1 tsp Vanilla Extract
+ 1/2 tsp Cinnamon
+ Semi-sweet Chocolate Chips

1.  Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.  In a medium mixing bowl, combine the rolled oats, mashed banana, peanut butter, vanilla, and cinnamon.  Mix well.

2.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.  Drop the “cookies” onto the baking sheet with a tablespoon.  Then sprinkle a few chocolate chips onto the top of each cookie.

3.  Bake for 20-25 minutes.

What is your favorite cookie recipe?


March 27, 2014 - 3:45 pm

Kate Jones - Hayley these look amazing! I may have to try making them today in fact. 🙂 I love how you write the way that you talk, I can almost hear your voice coming through your posts! ❤️

March 28, 2014 - 12:57 am

Hayley - I hope you like them, Kate! Let me know how they go. You’re so sweet!

in the kitchen // easy homemade dog treats

If you have read the blog lately or if you follow me on Instagram, you know that our recently adopted Vizsla, Lucy, has stolen our hearts.  I’ve seen recipes for homemade dog treats floating around Pinterest for a while, and so now that we have a dog of our own, I thought I’d try my hand at concocting a recipe.  The recipe I came up with couldn’t be any easier, and the good news is, Lucy approves!


Whole-Wheat Peanut Butter Dog Treats
+ 1 1/2 Cups Whole-Wheat Flour
+ 1/4 Cup Rolled Oats
+ 3 Tbsp Peanut Butter
+ 1/2 Cup Water

1.  Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.  Mix the ingredients together in a medium-sized bowl with your hands, adding the water a little bit at a time.  You want the dough to be fairly dry, but moist enough to stay together.  Form the dough into a ball.

2.  Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.  Flour the counter well and roll out the dough to a thickness of about 1/4 inch.  Then use your favorite little cookie cutter and start cutting!  (Mine is a tiny dala horse that appeared in my Christmas stocking this year!)

3.  Line up your treats on the parchment paper.  No need to space them apart much; they won’t expand.

4.  Pop them into the oven and let them bake for 20 minutes.  Then, just make sure to let them cool completely before you share them with your doggy!

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