It is such a blessing to celebrate 12 years of God’s faithfulness in 12 years of marriage. Ben and I are so similar, so for the most part, we are on the same page on most things. From time to time though, things do get rough, and we most certainly have spats or full blown fights. In fact, we had a spat on Friday night just as we kicked off our anniversary weekend. We treasure the covenant we are both in, and Christ redeeming and saving us both, along with accountability and transparency with our church family, are the keys for the healthy growth of our marriage and family for the gospel.
To celebrate, we decided to do a staycation (the little ones spent the weekend with my parents) and we did 12 (some silly and random) things we’ve never done before to commemorate the occasion. We probably spent most of the time in the car driving from place to place, but as cheesy as it sounds, I just loved being together.
1. We tried a new restaurant together, which was Miyabi Uni in Torrance. The pasta was bomb and I’m definitely going to figure out a way to recreate that dish at home.
2. We drove the whole length of Ortega Highway. Hate those windy two lane highways, but we love the scenic views and dried California native plants scattered all along the hills.
3. The drive spit out us onto Lake Elsinore, and though we’ve passed it many times before, this is first time we actually go to the lake.
4. While this is certainly not the first time we’ve had A la Minute, it is our first time visiting their newest location in Temecula at Vail Headquarters. It is also the first time we ordered orange honey ice cream.
5. After dessert, we did things backwards and headed to a ceviche bar, Mariscos el Guero, for dinner. This is my new favorite place, and I’ve been here twice prior with friends, but this is our first time together. I knew Ben would love this place!
6. Sunday morning, we visited New City Church in San Diego. This was our first time visiting a SOMA church (they focus on missional communities) and we were so encouraged by the message. I loved hearing their congregational singing and what missional communities look like in their church. Right after service, we ate our packed lunched in our car.
7. One of the things I looked forward to most was getting our portraits taken with tintype photographer Catherine Segura. Ben and I both enjoyed learning (and watching) the process of wet plate photography, it was especially sweet to see the passion this father-daughter duo has for this classic photography process. It looks so old school and semi-creepy, but the results of this antique process is so beautiful. We can’t wait to go back and get a whole family portrait done. I highly recommend paying Catherine a visit if you find yourself in San Diego over the weekend.
8. Another new to us thing is thrifting in San Diego! I didn’t find much, but this vintage wire trash can. One really good thing definitely feels like a win!
9. Another first is trying African food from Flavors of East Africa. We were especially fond of the spices used to flavor the lentils and chicken. Ben also wants me to figure out how to make their collard green and cabbage vegetable dish at home.
10. We felt silly, but it was fun… we went to a local playground and swung on the swings together. I think the kids and parents around us were trying to figure out what we were doing.
11. Another favorite of the weekend… makeout in a photobooth. We were definitely giggling while we kissed because there was a camera on the outside of the booth for nearby onlookers to view what was going on in the inside.
12. Lastly, we did a marriage questionnaire to help build up our marriage.
Between all the fun, the weekend was spent evaluating areas our marriage and parenting needed improvement, asking each other where we are lacking, and discussing ways to help continue grow our marriage and family towards Christlikeness. We were definitely celebrating to remember the goodness of God in our lives and the abounding grace we’ve been given. Our marriage and family runs on the strength and grace given from God. And those times we try to do it on our own, things totally flop. Every day and every year, is a gift from God to be treasured and used to gospelize each other and the communities God has placed us in.
I’m very thankful for Ben and I love him more now than on our wedding day. Our love grows deeper, wider, and higher as time passes (and we have plenty of fights too!). We can dive into our marriage deeply because we know Christ’s love for us and that pours out in our love for each other. There’s lots of love and forgiveness that happen every single day. Happy 12 Benny B!