Celebrating Our #AnniversaryInSisters

Here we are.We have lived through two very exciting and adventurous years of marriage and are entering our third. If you haven't checked out our post about what we learned together in our first two years, read that here.

You guys. I can't even begin to tell you how much I enjoyed our celebration of marriage. We had one full amazing day of rest and joy and adventure.

celebrating our #anniversaryinsisters

Our spot has become this precious town of Sisters, OR. It is officially our spot because we have stayed here in this city 4 times in 2 years. Thank you Groupon, we forever love you.

I cannot tell you the smiles I have to be sandwiched between two camps. Last week we were hired by TMC to be their speaker for middle school camp. That was an honor and a half and I'm basically downright thankful. Thank you TMC! There we met many humans: young adults, old adults, and tons of wild middle schoolers. We were able to root on these students in Clue, The Forbidden Garden (what?), and other random things they enjoyed like..paintball. It was great. I heard so many stories from so many kids and let me tell you: WE LIVE IN A BROKEN AND MESSY WORLD. A world of hurt and abuse and neglect and way too much stabbing pain. But our God is bigger and no matter what the damage inflicted upon you, He has overcome. He is ready, arms open wide, for you. Yes. You. It's wonderful. So, camp - it was great and I was honored to be Team Brenner partnering with Team TMC.

Currently, we are at Camp Winema. Partnering with a number of other youth ministries and it is AWESOME. Basically, we love camp and we love loving middle school kids. They are often struggling with the darkest of days and don't even realize that ITS OKAY TO CRY. So many conversations telling kids it's okay to Feel Life. I mean wow, what are we doing that kids don't realize its okay to grieve her mothers death? Whole different post...I need to process life.

I was blessed to celebrate our marriage and anniversary between the two camps. It felt kind of right. Like, yes, this is our life.

All of the staff at the lodge we stayed at kept asking if we were on our honeymoon, because we "just seem so in love." Well my dear friends, we are "just so in love." We are IN THE LOVE and we are CHOOSING to be in the love. Plus we are newlyweds still. It's not everyday we access this beautifulness, but when our hearts are soft and selfless, submissive to what Jesus wants, well...life is great. Marriage is LOVE. Brenners are FRESHLY SQUEEZED OFF THE LOVE TREE because caps are big and important and leave an exclamation point.

Just keeping it real, kids. We are fresh in love and hoping to remain on our honeymoon for many years. Can we bypass the rough year 7? I know, I know, throw in some newborns and then we will see how "fresh in love" we are.

Anyways. We were so blessed. The lodge we stayed at has free cruiser bike rentals, mountain bikes, trails everywhere, access to the athletic club, free wine & beer reception every night, cheap $5 movies in the barn theater, and basically it's the most beautiful place ever and we just did not have time to soak in all the amenities, but that's okay. Last year we rode horses, this year we rode bikes. You could call us two young kids in love, which is what we are, kicking it poolside reading. We dressed up fancy because why not? We worked out for free because we could. I was even sore - don't tell me how out of shape I am, I already know this. We read and we slept and we disconnected and life was so good. It was a quick stay but jam packed full of laughing and smiles and rest and celebration and dreaming. I must love the word "and" and hate commas.


#anniversaryinsisters #anniversaryinsisters

Do you know what's so great about these little mini vaca's? For the most part, you can pull yourself up and out of reality to dream. At lunch, we talked about future-y things and different ways we hope to impact the world we live in. We dreamed big things that may never happen but we wont count impossible. I encourage you to do that, soul. It's good.

#anniversaryinsisters #anniversaryinsisters #anniversaryinsisters #anniversaryinsisters #anniversaryinsisters

Something else we enjoy doing is writing letters to our future teenagers. We did it on our honeymoon while camping out in the Red Woods. We write to them saying that we do in fact want their life, that we in fact do not hate or want bad for them, but that we desperately want them to fall in love with Jesus. We are in this stage of shadowing other parents who seem to have "done something right," because their kids adore them and tell them everything. So I ask lots of questions because, well they are humans with experiences and they are standing right before my eyes and why would I not ask questions? You want to know what they have said their secret is? "Love your kids like Jesus. Point your kids to Jesus. Be transparent and real."

I will forever love his laughter


we love us some chess

Bookstores are just our favorite and we got to ride some cruiser bikes around town. I was so in love with life I couldn't stop smiling:

celebrating our #anniversaryinsisters

celebrating our #anniversaryinsisters

celebrating our #anniversaryinsisters

#anniversaryinsisters #anniversaryinsisters #anniversaryinsisters   #anniversaryinsisters

"Madness.. If I don't write, I'll go mad"

celebrating our #anniversaryinsisters

#anniversaryinsisters #anniversaryinsisters #anniversaryinsisters #anniversaryinsisters


Biggest horchata ever

celebrating our #anniversaryinsisters

always yes to COFFEE


celebrating our #anniversaryinsisters

We write 6 month goals (one of ours was to complete another race, half marathon or bigger); 12 month goals (one was to go backpacking 1x); and 5 year goals (one was to have our second car by 2019).

I cherish our marriage, I adore our friendship, and I hope you'll stay around awhile to learn, grow, and be inspire with us. We love life!

What We've Learned in 2 Years of Marriage - couldn't have done it without you -

IMG_4732 I remember the moment I realized I was married. It went a little something like this:

Loren & I were bickering like cats and dogs and that was abnormal. We had just come off a long two weeks of go-go-go and something little had set us off. One of those moments where one of us was very right, we both knew it, but both wanted to be right. The pride was thick, the frustration fuming, and we were blazing tired. It's too easy to be selfish and irritable when these things are mixed in a pot of together-ness.

I remember throwing my towel in annoyed, "whatever, if that's how it's going to be, fine." And stomped off to the bedroom like a 12 year old angry at my mother. I couldn't leave home like I once watched; I couldn't punch a hole in the wall like my younger days; I couldn't scream and bang my fist into the pillow like an angry 5 year old. I was quite dramatic in my younger days, I am now never dramatic or expressive. I was flustered that we weren't talking to one another like usual, and instead just being hard hearted jerks.

I remember sitting on our bed, knowing I needed to pray and ask Jesus to soften both of our hearts; but I didn't want to - that's when I know my heart is real hard and real self-centered. The wrestling in my mind began and it hit me: "no matter how frustrating he can be, how hurtful, how childish, I am married to him. No matter how ridiculous and bratty and prideful I can be...he married me. There is no walking out and leaving for anytime whatsoever. There is no end; this is just the beginning and this isn't even a big deal. I don't want to dig deep wells of hurt within him. Danget Jesus, would you just soften our hearts?" And I meant it; the wave of softened rawness flushed over me. The raw vulnerability that is scary, because if his heart isn't yet softened, I could be wounded deeper than before.

But it was worth the softening. It's always worth it.

Within 10 minutes of the start of our pathetic rage, we were both apologizing for specific things and asking forgiveness. We prayed together and went on a long boarding date walk to Red Box. All is well and we obviously haven't bickered one time since.

But really, we are blessed to say those times of irritable angry pride where we are big fat jerks to each other are very few. We are happy to say, "our first year and our second didn't suck, but were in fact the two most adventurous and beautiful years of our lives." And we couldn't have done it without the other - we need two willing parties, two people chasing the same Thing (Jesus), two always cooperative human beings. We could not have done this without the other - we could not have fought and bickered without the other OR enjoyed and celebrated life together without the other.

If there is one thing I'm learning time and time again, it's this:

When all else fails, humble myself.

Or better yet:

Before all else fails, humble myself.

I am learning that humility is at the core of a strong and healthy marriage. Humility says, "Your heart is way more important than my need to be right or proven." Humility says, "I will not build walls around my heart to keep you from growing closer to me. I will not throw swords and daggers at you. I will not protect myself at the expense of you or our closeness. I will work to remain soft hearted, open hearted, and welcoming to you. I will think of you before myself. I will serve you and love you and share myself with you at the risk of being hurt." Humility is difficult and scary. Humility is a risk.

Humility will build and strengthen your marriage.

I have learned these two quick years that humility along with [spiritual] friendship are the two most knitting things for our hearts.

The Reveal: Wedding Day It is in the fore front of my mind that we are uniquely placed in each others life to spur one another on in greatness. We are here to uniquely build each other up, helping to mold the other more into the image of Christ. What that means in every day life is: we pray together in the morning, submitting our hearts to Jesus and asking Him to be in charge; we bring up different ways we can serve the community and this church as a couple; we are completely un-incredible and full of failures all day long [WE ARE HOT MESSES] and we have the number one opportunity to extend unlimited grace to one another {just as Christ does, as our example}; we work to yield toward each other, giving and taking, always finding ways to serve and humbly accepting the others acts of service; we smile at each other a lot -- Loren is so much better than me at this! He is always smiling at me, reminding me to serve him with something as simple as my smile.

You guys. We are so un-awesome. We are such a mess. But we both try and remember that the goal is not to have some one here to make ME happy, to be perfect for ME, so I can live MY life. The goal is to sharpen each other and join Jesus in preparing one another for seeing Him someday. The goal is to serve in humility, to bless others with our marriage, to model Jesus.

The goal is not our happiness.

But I tell you what: happiness and deep joy is the direct result of all of Those Things. Joy is evident and it is very, very real. Spiritual friendship brings more than a beautiful joy, but ushers in a deep richness to our marriage.

I am forever grateful for His spirit that is within me and Loren both, giving us the power and strength to love through the ugly hot mess of one another. To humble ourselves when pride seems easiest. To soften those hard hearts.


Friends who are married: Remind each other how special it is to be married. Kiss each other goodbye and hello. Pray together. Pray together. Pray together. Dream together. Serve each other. Remember that you're not there to be made happy, but to grow and flourish into your fullness. And you cannot do that without your spouse. And before all else fails, humble yourself.

With so much love and 17 tons of joy, Team Brenner