Love in the Mess

John and I had a baby two months ago. The cutest little boy in the whole wide world. That same cute little boy was born with a tightly tied tongue and a lip tie. After 8 weeks of struggling through feeding times, a 5 week battle with thrush, and next to no sleep, we found out about the ties.

Procedure went great and was definitely the right decision. BUT, it’s not been an easy recovery. Still having feeding problems, the thrush came back, and while sleep has gotten better, we’re still pretty tired around these parts.

I’m not sure how many times I’ve cried my eyes out trying to figure out what to do next. Is it better to give him a bottle? Should I just pump or give him formula? Should I contact a different lactation consultant? Should I stretch his mouth more often so the ties don’t reattach? Should I try all of these thrush remedies or just one? And, the list goes on…

John has made more trips to the store and pharmacy and doctors offices with me than you could even imagine. He has a full time job plus side projects, yet he’s making sure I get naps as often as possible. He’s sat with me while I’ve cried. He’s taken the baby when he cried. And, so much more.

The other day I snapped a picture of our bedroom because it finally tipped over from “a little bit messy” to “mass chaos”. I was looking at the picture and noticed something.


Look at that dresser


Once you’re done laughing at the irony of a bottle of windex sitting on top of the pile of junk, look at what’s supposed to be my cute decoration. It’s letters that spell out “LOVE”.

There is love in the mess. Sure, there’s clothes strewn everywhere. Empty cups and plates from late night food. You can’t tell where the bedspread begins or ends. Dirty diapers are likely to be in the mix. Empty boxes from Charlotte’s birthday gifts not thrown out yet.

But, there’s a whole lot of love in that mess. Each item thrown around that room has some love hidden behind it. Those clothes? The clean ones were washed to provide something nice to wear. The dirty ones were picked to look nice for the day they were worn. All of those empty plates and cups brought nourishment when needed. That bedspread was bought when we up-sized our bed to a King when we found out Jed was on the way to make room for the whole family. Any floating dirty diapers? One of our gifts of joy in the sorrow produced those. Those empty gift boxes of Charlotte’s? She was loved well on her birthday, despite life being a little nutty right now.

And, that room as a whole? I get to share it with my husband. I’m grateful that he recognizes (better than me) that despite all of the mess, love can be found.


Happy Father’s Day, John!!

One of the things I absolutely knew I wanted in a husband was for him to be a great father to our children. And, I can honestly say that John surpasses even my highest hopes for a great dad for my children. He is ridiculously selfless when it comes to caring for me and baby girl.

He is such a hands-on dad and Ella absolutely loves him for it! He knows I am not a morning person (and, well, he’s not either) and eight out of ten mornings, he is the one to get Little Miss up in the morning. He gets her up, snuggles her some, changes her diaper and brings her on downstairs. When we go out to eat and if Ella is not a happy camper, he will insist (despite my tries to intervene) that he can take care of her. He’ll let his food get cold or eat one-handed, just so I can get a small break and enjoy some food. If we are headed out, he will always be the one to lug her carseat in and out of the car. He loves wearing her in the baby carrier on walks and out and about. He even made her baby food one evening (steamed sweet potatoes and then pureed them up) because I was a little sleepy.

All of those things are just a small glimpse into the million little things he does every. single. day. to love on his baby girl and take care of his wife. I am crazy-blessed and have no idea why God gave such a great man to Ella and me!

John, we love you so much and hope that you have an amazing father’s day!!!

iPad 2 Contest!

Hey everyone! Can you do me a BIG favor?
So, John has entered into a contest to win an iPad 2. It’s legit and I know he would be over the moon if he won. Can you be the most perfect blog follower in the whole wide world and spare 60 seconds of your time to vote for him? Pretty please?

Can you deny this face?

I didn’t think so ;o)

Therefore, just click on over to Elexio’s Facebook page and first “Like” Elexio and then find “John Phillips” post (it’s a video and Elexio said they love his beard, haha) and then just “Like” John’s post.

Thank you times a million!!

One Year Anniversary!

Has it already been one whole year since we got hitched? We made it through our first year with none of that yucky “your first year is going to be terrible” stuff! It feels like our wedding was just yesterday. I can still picture everything about that day so vividly. I can honestly say it was the absolute best day of my entire life. I don’t think I could have been more excited to marry the man God provided for me. John, I thought I loved you that day…

…but, I look at now, and think that today there is no way I could ever love you more.

Our first year of marriage has held more than I ever could have imagined! We’ve changed states, jobs, baby doctors (3 times, mind you!), and God has given us two babies in our short year together. It has been such a crazy ride! I mean, have I seriously had morning sickness the majority of our marriage?! Good grief! As many twists and turns that have been thrown at us in a year, I can honestly say I’ve always felt calm knowing that you were the man I was standing next to.

You have loved me above and beyond anything that I have experienced before, apart from the Lord. I really never knew that someone would love me, protect me, and provide for me the way that you have. God far exceeded in answering my prayers for you starting so many years ago. Even this whole week, leading up to this weekend knowing it would be our anniversary, I just couldn’t help but spend half of my prayer time in my devotion time, just thanking the Lord over and over again for you. I highly doubt I ever say it enough, but I am so unbelievably grateful to be your wife. I am so glad to be given the chance to support you, pray for you, and respect you as my husband.

And, one of the things I have loved the most about you this last year, is that you loved the baby we lost just as much as I did. You have never once made me feel dumb in some of things we did to recognize our baby’s life. I cannot begin to tell you how much it has meant to me that you would help pick up the broken pieces of my heart while your own was breaking. Both of our babies are beyond blessed to have a daddy that loves them the way you do. I will always be in awe of how you walked me through the darkest time of our life when we lost that precious baby.

Praying Ephesians 5:22-33 over our marriage every day, I can absolutely see in you how you love me like Christ loves the church. And, I can only pray that I can respect you to the magnitude that you love me. There is not any other person in the whole universe I would rather display the profound mystery of Christ with than you. I just pray we do it well.

I love you so much, husband! You are my most favorite person in the world and thank you for marrying me! I can’t wait to look back on this day and think “oh, how I thought I loved you then, but now…”

The Love of My Life!

On November 7, 1983, the man of my dreams was born! And, the crazy thing is that I wasn’t even born yet to be able to dream about him :o) I am so grateful that two people fell in love and brought my amazing husband into this world. I am forever grateful to the Lord and John’s parents for bringing him into this world.

As we celebrate his birthday today, I am even more glad that he was born than I could have ever imagined. This time last year, we had only been dating a couple of months. Now, here we are married for 4 months! I am so glad he popped the question in February and I am so amazingly proud to be his wife.

He is so many things I wish I could be…he has a creativity that comes so naturally in his work. I am always taken aback by the videos he can create, his graphics, his webwork, everything! I always hoped that I would marry a man whose work I could be proud of and wow did I get what I wanted! I can sincerely say that I think he is the absolute best at what he does and not just because he’s my husband ;o)

He takes care of me without thinking about it twice. My husband is such a great provider for us. He takes side jobs and makes whatever cut in his own part of our money if it means a new pair of jeans will lift my mood. I am so thankful that he would work so hard and consider providing for me and my security as his most important goal in life.

Through our yucky trial lately, he has taken care of me and done so many extra little things without even complaining once. I am a complaining type of person and am completely taken aback that he would selflessly take care of me, even when he’s hurting himself. I am so in love that he would take care of me and not let me feel guilty for a second.

My husband would have made the absolute best father for our baby. When we were at Disney yesterday, we were in a store looking at all of the cutesy princess stuff when he said, “wow, if we ever have a little girl, we can’t take her into this store. She would just have to look at me and ask me for something and I’ll buy it! I would say, Ella, well, I mean, okay…” I just laughed and I know it’s absolutely true. He will be the type of dad that I prayed many times for my future husband.

John, I never thought I could actually say this to be true, but I love you now more than ever. You know that fantastic song by Brad Paisley I always make you listen to? “Then”? It is so true. I couldn’t stop staring when I first met you. I thought I loved you once we started dating. I thought I loved you the night you asked me to be your wife. I thought I loved you the day I married you. I thought I loved you the day I found out we were pregnant. I thought I loved you the day we lost the baby. I thought I loved you yesterday. But, I love you today more than any of those days. “What I can’t see is how I’m ever gonna love you more, but I’ve said that before…” I love you. One thing that I do know is that I am THE most grateful person on the planet today that you were born today 26 years ago. Thanks for walking life with me and I can’t wait to walk the next 26 years with you…

Ahhhhh, Newlywed Bliss

Where in the world do I start?? I have gotten so behind on things lately. You know, I’m a wife now. So, I am trying to figure all of that out and this blog probably doesn’t rank high on the charts of my priority list. But, all in all, I do miss this little blog. And, my faithful 2 readers :o)

I guess I’ll just answer the questions most people seem to ask when they see us these days….
1) How was the honeymoon?
We’re not going to lie to you, this question usually makes us slightly uncomfortable. We want to shout, GREAT! But, we’re not sure you’re asking what it is that we want to shout, GREAT!, for. So, just don’t ask us. We loved our honeymoon and can’t really tell you the details of Key West or the Bahamas, because we simply won’t know. Okay, okay, enough of that, but, hey, a thousand of you awkwardly asked :o)
2) Have you had a big fight yet?
Once again, bit of an awkward question. Do I ask you the last time you got into a fight with your spouse, mom, brother, pet dog, etc.? But, if you would like to know the answer, not really. I guess we’ve had some disagreements here and there that could have escalated, but we never let it get to that point. I really mean that. John is a lot better than me at this, but when a situation starts to go south, we take care of it pretty fast. The faster we communicate and calm down, the faster we are back in newlywed bliss. But, so far, we’ve been sailing through life and loving every minute of it! Have we had some trials already? Sure! (I mean, heck, people weren’t kidding when they say you’re broke as newlyweds!) But, now we have each other to lean on as we approach the Lord for guidance. So, bottom line, any big fights? Sorry to disappoint, and even though people still try to dig for more, we really haven’t had a big blowout.
3) How are settling in to your apartment?
This is the question that I always wish I had a better answer to! While pretty much all of the boxes are emptied, there is stuff in piles and waiting to be organized. Who knew that John had a million DVD’s or that I had the most random assortment of just plain junk that I still think I’ll use one day? We are slowly making progress on creating this apartment livable. I can’t stand disorganization and clutter. So, our home probably wouldn’t seem that terrible to an outside visitor, but it’s driving me nutso! But, like I said, it is getting there and looking cuter each day. Too bad money doesn’t grow on trees so that we could finish everything in a day! But, it’s teaching me to be patient and to focus on one task at a time.
4) I heard you, destroyed or trashed or did something absolutely unspeakable to your wedding dress. Please please please tell me this isn’t true and if for some strange reason it is true, why in the world would you do such a thing?
Yes, I “trashed the dress”. And, if by trash, you mean, it only has a slight smell of lake water and a few dirt and makeup stains that can be easily removed with dry cleaning, AND, I am still completely able to preserve my wedding dress to stick in a box under my bed until I die, then yes, I really did trash the thing. If you wanna see some pretty cool pictures, just google Trash the Dress or stay tuned to my Facebook albums. John and I decided to do this for two reasons:
1) who wouldn’t want really cool pictures with a graffiti backdrop in a junkyard and in a lake, with a WEDDING DRESS on?! I mean, come on, that just sounds magazine-esque. And, since I am not cool enough to ever be in a magazine, I am going to live up the “I am in a wedding dress, so I instantly look pretty and you must make me look good in pictures” as long as possible
2) I highly doubt that if the Lord ever blesses us with a daughter that she will just be dying to wear my wedding dress. Therefore, why not jump in a lake to show my husband that I don’t care if the dress is destroyed beyond repair? I will never need another wedding dress. When, I made my commitment to John, I meant it. So, what a neat, artistic way to show my husband that my devotion is to him.

All right, I guess that is it for now! Hopefully I will find the time to post again very soon and share some more! Hope that life is treating you well; until next time…


I don’t really have time to update right now, but just wanted to drop in for a moment! We don’t have internet at our apartment yet, so that makes blogging the last item on the priority list when I do end up on the internet for a little bit.

But, just wanted to say that we are now happily MARRIED!! Tuesday will be our one month anniversary of marriage :o)
Be back soon with more details!

So Very Behind On Life

 I know, I know…it has been at least one full century since I updated this blog! Not only has it still been crazy around the Marszalek and Phillips households, but the apartment that will be home to the newlywed couple known as the Phillips duo has no internet at the moment. No internet=a completely neglected blog.

BUT, lo and behold, here I am updating only SIX days before my wedding! That’s right, less than a week before some vows are said, a covenant made, and a honeymoon begun! I could not be more excited to fully partner in life with the man I have fasted and prayed for over the years. It is all approaching so fast that it is hard to remember the moments where I felt the wedding would never get here. Haha, isn’t that how it always works? You can’t wait for something to get here and when it does, you can’t believe it got here so fast? Stupid humans, never satisfied.

But, nonetheless, I never knew this is what it would feel like to get married. I could not be more comfortable with any human being on the face of this planet as I am with John. Honestly, it just feels natural to marry him. It feels like I was always meant to marry him. Yeah, yeah, think what you want about that statement, I don’t really care what the implications you may think I am trying to say. I don’t really care about the philosophical, “do soulmates exist?” and blah blah. I just know that the Lord has told each of us to marry the other one. And, whether soulmates are real or not, John will become mine on July 18th at 2:00pm. There will be no more wondering, no more searching, no more non-commitment options, John will be my husband until death parts us. And, I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Am I looking at life through rose-colored glasses?

Eh, think what you want. Once again, don’t care, haha. But, I do know, that as soon as we say, “I do”, divorce will never be an option. We know moments are not going to be easy. But, we have a Savior at the center of our marriage that will be the glue of our covenant even when times are tough. And, we don’t put our hope in each other. Oh no, we have One far greater to put our hope in. Praise God for giving us Jesus.

John, I love you. A lot. And, just like our vows will say on July 18th, I love you with a love that only Christ Himself could have put in my heart. Let’s start forever!

What It Is Like To Be A Bride…

On July 18, 2009, I will become Jennifer Lynn Marszalek Phillips. John and I are exactly 101 days away from getting married. You know, a white dress, a little chapel, and a preacher-man? The thing that I began dreaming about when I was a bride for Halloween in Kindergarten is now becoming true. And, God is teaching us so much more than we ever could have imagined.

I began praying for John way before I ever knew his name. And, now I see the answer to all of those Scripture based prayers in him. I’m glad the Lord didn’t let me call it quits when I wanted to give up praying for my husband because it hurt and felt like it wasn’t working. But, John and I can see how God used so many of those prayers to bring the two of us to the point we’re at now.

We have been learning a different perspective on this whole, Jesus-the church-His grace-His mercy-His unconditional love thing. As many times as I prayed Ephesians 5:22-33 over both myself and my unknown husband, I have gained a new look on it now that we are so close to gettin’ hitched. I could go on and on about this forever, but here’s the biggest thing that has boggled my mind…

Jesus has made US the bride. We’re the ones that get pursued by Him. We’re the ones that get to become beautiful on the wedding day with Him. We’re the ones that get to feel the excitement of a bride all the time, because Jesus wants us to be excited to be with Him. We get to wear white and feel holy, even though we haven’t been. We get to be a fellow heir of Christ. We get unconditional love, grace, and mercy, because He desires us that much. We get to display our relationship with Him in front of a great cloud of witnesses. Too cool.

I love that me submitting to John and loving him is a direct correspondence to our relationship with Christ. I love watching John pursue Jesus. Because, when I submit and pursue John, I know that I am directly following Jesus.

This whole engagement thing has been so stinkin’ fun! From all of the highly spiritual stuff like getting a cool gun to register for things at Target and Bed, Bath and Beyond, trying to figure out the best way to decorate the chapel for cheap, or all of the stuff I just wrote, we’re having a blast!! I told John that after we get married, he may have to remind me that I’m not a bride any more. No more trying on pretty wedding dresses or getting gifts in the mail like it’s Christmas in April. But, I think I’ll manage. Because, ultimately, we are always the bride of Christ. And, that’s the coolest way that I can think of to be a bride!