Saturday, January 26, 2013

Love Kindling

I have always believed in love at first sight. And not because I'm a hopeless romantic....but because for me, it has always worked. I met my now husband of 8 years at a cocktail party after our senior year of college, and I'm not exaggerating when I say that the moment I laid eyes on him, I knew.

Want to hear the story??
I thought so.

It was Senior Week at Marquette University - the week between finals and graduation. It had been packed with fun things like a senior picnic, a baseball game.... (more that I can't remember....) But the final and most important event of the week was the senior ball. A friend of mine had invited a huge group of people to a pre-ball cocktail party at her parents' house, and I was excited to go and spend the evening with friends before graduation. If nothing else, it was a good excuse to get dressed up and let loose for a night (before starting summer school.  That's right - I wasn't actually done with classes....)

The party started at my friend's apartment on campus, and then we were all chauffeured (yellow school bus style) to her parents' house 45 minutes away. We had probably been there an hour or so when I spotted him across the patio. Yes, spotted him. And knew I HAD to talk to him. I know that sounds dramatic, but it was literally out of a movie where the music starts up and all else fades away. And I know it was like this because I couldn't forget the story even if I wanted to - the friends I was with have it forever engrained in their memory...and love to remind me how obnoxious absolutely smitten I was.

After a while of gawking, and a while of asking my friends, "Do you SEE him...???" I finally worked up the nerve to be introduced. And wouldn't you know it, I had nothing to say. Like, nothing. I'm pretty sure I asked him where he was from and then we got pulled into a group picture and that was it for the night. It wasn't until months later that we were set up by the same friend who had hosted the party, and the rest, as they say, is history!

We hit it off immediately and knew within a short time that we couldn't imagine our lives without the other in it. We dated for a year, were engaged for a year, and have now been married for 8. We have 3 beautiful little girls and a beautiful life together. I couldn't feel luckier to have found such a sensitive, supportive, loving husband who believes in me fully and ALWAYS puts our family first.

So did I know, that night, that he'd be the person I'd spend the rest of my life with? No, of course not. But what I did know is that, for some reason, I was drawn to him. I was interested in our lives connecting. And I was open to the possibility of a relationship...of love...of forever.
Okay, so maybe I am a bit of a hopeless romantic. But I guess what I'm saying is that love is about more than just knowing someone and deciding that you love them. It's also about knowing that your heart is open to love and to all that love brings, and knowing that you're willing to put in the work that love requires.

So yeah, sometimes you just know :)

But what was that about the work that love requires? Well, anyone who's been in a relationship can tell you it's not always easy. 8 years into our marriage, Jorden and I have worked out a lot of the kinks and settled into a (usually) very comfortable routine. Anyone who's been in a relationship can also tell you that comfortable is not always ideal! Too comfortable means boring. And boring is no good.

So...with Valentine's Day on its way, I got to thinking: how can we rekindle the feelings from that day 10 years ago? The feelings of connection and openness that brought us together in the first place?

Love.......(re)kindling! Simple ways to connect with one another and keep the fire going.

I started with this simple wooden box, a piece of pine wood, and some twigs from our yard.

 I painted the box ivory...

...then used fine sandpaper to rough up the edges. I painted the pine with chalkboard paint and drilled it into the front of the box... (if you look closely, you can see that the pine split as I was drilling it in...but I thought it actually added to the distressed look I was going for...)

 Then I cut some ivory cardstock into small strips and came up with my list of ideas:
  • Set the alarm for 30 minutes early and have breakfast together
  • Play a game - unplugged
  • Re-tell the story of how you met
  • Hold hands while watching TV
  • Get out paper & pens and write one another love letters
  • Make and enjoy a dessert together
  • Start a new nighttime tradition
  • Put on pj's, order takeout and snuggle on the couch
  • Take over a dreaded chore for the day (or week)
  • Look at old pictures together
  • Light some candles and enjoy one another's company
  • Read something together
  • Draw or paint one another a picture
  • Write relationship goals for the coming year
  • Run out and pick up a favorite treat to enjoy together
  • Exchange back scratches or massages
  • Do something to surprise one another
  • Teach one another something (anything) new
  • Do something together for someone else
  • Pack one another's lunches and include a hand-written note 

I punched a hole in one end of each slip and tied a ribbon onto it. Then I tied each ribbon onto a twig. The plan is to pick a twig from the box every day and do whatever it says!

I decided to leave some slips blank to inspire ongoing creativity and newness....

...We don't want things getting boring around here...!

How do you "rekindle" the fire??  I'd love to hear your ideas!

shabby creek cottage

Thanks for taking a peek inside my Lemon Tree Dwelling!
I hope you feel right at home :)


  1. I enjoyed the multiple meaning of "kindle-ing," especially with your give-away. Thanks for sharing your idea and your love story.

    1. Thanks! The Kindle-themed posts were fun...but it will be nice to get back to "whatever goes" :) I still have to post your mini birthday pies...!

  2. Darling idea, thanks for sharing!Love your love story and I'm a romantic too :)
    Would love to have you visit me sometime.
    Have a fabulous week!
    Hugs from Portugal,

    Ana Love Craft

    1. Thanks, Ana, and I just stopped by to visit you! :)

  3. I love your story. How fun to have it so ingrained in everyone's minds that they know and remember it too. The kindling box and ideas are very creative. Hope you have fun with it.

  4. What a special story and creative way to express your love with the kindling box.

  5. Found you via Made by you Monday, what a sweet idea! I will have to try something like this!

    1. Thanks for visiting, glad you like it! I hope you stop by again soon :)

  6. Great idea, Cathy!

    1. Thank you, Pat!! How fun that you are checking out my blog! :)

  7. This is so adorable. Sweet. Sweet. Sweet. We hold hands while watching TV sometimes. does that count? :) Would love to have you link this to my What to do Weekends Party on my blog. Take care, Linda

    1. Thanks, Linda. I'd say that definitely counts!! :) And thanks for the invite - I'll stop by!

  8. Such a sweet project!
    I'd love for you to stop by and link this up at my link party, which is live right now. It is for new and OLD projects!
    Hope to see you there!

    1. Thanks so much, Nancy! I will be there! :)

  9. This is so creative and adorable!! I love it!! Thank you so much for sharing with us at A Bouquet of Talent this week. Have a wonderful week. :)


    1. Thanks, Kathy! I appreciate it! I hope you have a wonderful week, too :)

  10. Super cute. Sharing on facebook and pinning:) Stop by

  11. This is absolutely adorable and such and incredible idea!! Thank you for sharing with us!

  12. Very original! Thanks so much for sharing this. I am also pinning. Take care, Linda

  13. So cute! It's projects like these that really keep marriages together :)

    Mandy @ The Hankful House

  14. What a wonderful idea! I bet these things do remind your hubby of wonderful he's really got it. :)

    Visiting today from Adorned from the Above blog hop.

  15. I wanted to let you know that I featured your love branches. :) Thanks for linking up. The new What to Do Weekends Party is OPEN NOW. Hope you can make the party again. Love your style. Linda

  16. This is such a beautiful post! My husband are totally in the "comfortable" zone now with 3-under-3, our boy's routine is running our lives at the moment. :)

    I'd love it if you would share this on my Friday link-up party!!

  17. Absolutely adorable! That is so super cute. Thanks for sharing at Pinworthy Projects.

  18. What an adorable idea. i love the "kindling" idea :)

  19. Thanks so much for linking to Make the Scene Monday @ Alderberry Hill. You are being featured later this evening!
    I hope you are having a wonderful weekend, and join me tomorrow night for Make the Scene Monday #60!

  20. You have some great ideas. I love your kindle box too.

  21. I love this post and your Valentine project!You have a beautiful blog and I am your newest follower! Please visit my blog and take a look around. If you see something you like, I would love for you to follow me back!

  22. Really sweet! Thank you for linking it up at the party at

    So original! I'll have to feature you! Just let me know where you are linking back to the party, okay?!

  23. I absolutely love this idea. It is so sweet. Thanks for sharing on Thursdays Treasures.

  24. This is such a great project. I'm totally loving chalk board paint now and this project has me super jazzed. I'm hosting a loving valentine's day party and I'd love for you to stop by!

    Have a great day

  25. This is one of my favorite "couple" Valentine projects I've seen. I love everything about it. :)

    Thanks for sharing at the Loving Valentine's Day Party!



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