hey neeson » a creative lifestyle blog

beautiful life || the art of marriage

A couple weekends ago, Dave and I attended a retreat at our church called The Art of Marriage. It’s a Family Life production and was so well done. It’s so often easy to get caught up in the realities of the world that real, quality time with each other sometimes gets pushed aside. Even when you do get time together {which Dave and I are blessed to have a lot of}, it’s not typical that you sit and focus solely on talking about your relationship for 12 hours. This is probably a good thing – we would drive each other bonkers {AND anyone around us}.

This retreat was simply fantastic. We enjoyed delicious snacks provided by Embrace and had the opportunity to learn about marriage and more about each other. Our favorite part of the entire weekend was reciting the pledge at the end. Versed similarly to wedding vows, we both got a peek into what saying our own vows will be like in just a few short months. {eeeekk!! 🙂 } We could hardly make it through the marriage retreat pledge without tearing up. My sincerest apologies and warnings to our guests: if you’re moved to tears when you see/hear other people crying {like me}, you may want to bring tissues. Let’s be honest, Dave and I are both going to bawl like big babies. 🙂

We’re blessed to be able to start our journey together with so much support and love, and to be provided with tools such as these to make a beautiful life together. I don’t know anything about marriage. As “prepared” as we think we are, we have no clue what we’re getting ourselves into. We’ll learn as we go, and the biggest, best, most incredible thing we have on our side isn’t our love for each other, but our love for God and His love for us. We pray every day for each other and that we may have a Christ-centered marriage. Thankfully, we have been blessed with so many married-couple-friends we look up to who have just that. They work at it every single day, and by God’s grace, regardless of all the statistics that say otherwise, marriage works and is a beautiful gift. We are under no illusion that it’ll be easy, but in good and bad, it’ll be so worth it.

This retreat is appropriate for couples in all stages and I highly recommend it. Embrace hosts it twice yearly; check out their website for more information!

love || will you be my bridesmaid?

Friends {and a future sister-in-law!} are such a wonderful thing. I am so grateful for each of these ladies, and I wanted to do something special when I asked them to stand beside me on my wedding day!

Fitting with our theme, I chose round, kraft colored boxes {purchased at Hobby Lobby} and found ribbons and cardstock in the perfect shades of blue and green. Fun fact: We had paint matched to these ribbons that we’re using throughout our wedding projects! There’s nothing like chairs and centerpiece boxes matching the bridesmaid box ribbons. 🙂

I personalized each box with crinkle filler-paper, a handmade booklet of information, paint swatches to aid in finding the perfect dress and accessories, a gift card, and a simple round card with the words “will you be my bridesmaid?”, cut using my trusty BFF, the Silhouette Cameo. The booklet contained three cardstock sheets: your attire, the bridal party, and our day. Handwritten and embellished with various buttons, knotted twine held each booklet together. Finally, each box was wrapped together with a mix of ribbons and twine, topped with a button, and labeled with a paper cut-out of each initial.

I was so happy with how they turned out and loved being able to gift them to my special gals. You three, I love you and am so honored to have you by my side. THANK YOU!!

April 30, 2013 - 4:17 pm

Kristin - LOVE this new blog, and love this post! So excited for all-things wedding this summer, and your ‘will you be my bridesmaid?’ box was the best way to kick it all off! See you & Dave soon in MN!

welcome || this is my idyllic life

Hey there, I’m Shanna! Today is the day! I can’t express the joy I feel in finally getting to share this. My blog has been a serious work in progress. In the midst of planning an almost entirely DIY wedding {more on that in posts to come!} and managing the crazy art of balance in my everyday life, getting everything set up for the “big premiere” was pushed aside numerous times. I’ve had this abstract dream in my head for as long as I can remember {be creative, write stuff, make things, maybe insprire a couple people along the way}, but I was never able to put a tangible name to what I wanted to do. David changed everything for me. For those who know us, you likely know the story of our first “date.” We met for fro-yo after a couple brief Facebook exchanges, neither one of us expecting a thing to come from it, and in those first 4 hours together, he saw into my heart more than anyone I’d ever known. He awakened dreams I’d long tucked away and without even realizing how he was unraveling every sence of security I had, he inspried me to do more, to live better, and to not only follow, but sprint after this dream with the speed of a cheetah. {The cheetah reference is for him in honor of his favorite commercial – “I bet she wishes she were fast.” “Yeah, tape a cheetah to her back.”} Regardless, fear of failing and the simple fact that I had no clue where to start made it easy to keep sweeping my ideas under the rug, claiming “I’m just not ready yet.”

Finally, in a wake-up-call moment I had with myself, {that went something like “Shan, seriously, you’re killing me. Quit making excuses and just go!”} with David’s help and constant encouragement, I took that first step. Really, I’m just a girl with a dream to create and live joyfully, using the talents my Lord has blessed me with. I aspire to love what I do, and for that to be evident in how I live. Thus, this idyllic life was born. I believe in simplicity, contentment, grace, & calm. In design, I am consistently drawn to an eclectic mixture of messy-woodsy and clean-uncomplicated, mixed with touches of uber feminine and a trace or two of a masculine element to balance it all out. I want to be real-always. And real is a constant mix of chaotic and clean, crazy and simple. Everything I do is imperfect & flawed, both in my creativity & in my life, but that’s okay. this idyllic life is so much more than a creative outlet, it’s how I aim approach challenges and triumphs, and the mark I want to leave on this world. Above all else, it is the story of my walk through this wild, beautiful life, with David and the Lord at my side. I hope you’ll join me.

April 26, 2013 - 6:10 pm

Casey - Hey! How cool! Good for you! I am very proud to call you one of my best friends! Happy you could get it going you sneaky lady! Love you!