Monday, May 11, 2015

Big News // for this little place
Big news, big news!
Today is a joyous, exciting, silly day where I jump away from Blogger to Wordpress. But don't worry -- Authentic Virtue will still be the same little place full of joys, coffee and love.
Please follow the new link. It is so important for me to not lose touch with any of you!
So, stop over, leave a comment and connect with me at our new home (
With lots and lots of love!

Friday, May 1, 2015

When Friendship is Hard + Introductions Harder // Coffee Series

Coffee with friends requires a few things.
First, coffee. (And I've got some yummy hazelnut brew in the pantry and almond milk if your game ;)
Second, some place to rest your rump and sit face-to-face in heartfelt conversation.
Finally, it requires friends. You know, those people who manage to hop into their cars, set life aside and take the time to really hear what you're trying to say.
But if you're anything like me (a darling homebody who has a thing for Netflix, oven-baked pizza, a handsome husband and Dutch Blitz) then you might hate the process of making friends .
Because it is a process.
First, you must suffer through the introductions.
"Hi, I'm Frannie. What do I do? Well, I'm a stay-at-home wife who washes dishes and vacuums for happiness, substitutes occasionally and blogs; nerdy, right? Oh, what else do I like to do ? Well ... have you ever heard of Pinterest?"
I hate introductions.
Hopefully, you'll be bewildered (and blessed) by that precious person who manages to find you interesting and you'll get a text or Facebook message asking you to meet for coffee.
You say yes because you really do like this gal and can't wait to be friends but then immediately regret your decision because you'll spend every moment beforehand stressing out. You'll change your outfit at least four times, drive your husband nuts in the process and arrive early but sit in your car because you don't want to appear too eager for friendship.
Of course the next step is the weird dance of the do I hug this person or shake hands or awkwardly wave ... I'll settle for a wave ... oh, wait, she just went in for the hug ... eh. Naturally, you're sweating profusely and you haven't even ordered your coffee yet.
Darlings, making friends is a process and, for you precious introverts, I know it can be a difficult one.  
But friendship, forged over time, laughter and cups of coffee, is worth every ounce of gold in King Midas' palace. (Did you catch that reference, fangirls?)
I know because there are some lovely women who decided to befriend me. Women who have been there when I was single, lonely, pushing through college exams, preparing for overseas schooling, working in a kitchen, dating, engaged, married, thought I was pregnant, homesick.
Some have cried with me; many have laughed.
And through these forges of love we have grown closer into the image of Christ.
So, darling, this is the spring of making/pursuing/rejoicing in friendships. I know it can be hard but I want to encourage you to be brave + vulnerable.
(in)courage has been sharing a lot on friendship lately and I think you'd love what their saying. My favorite post, Friendship: A Piece of Cake, by Ann Swindell has me smiling and thinking about those special people in my life who could be reminded how amazing they really are.
With lots of love, sunshine and hazelnut coffee,

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Love Letters + Other Manly Forms of Showing Love

Loving a woman can be a tedious, hard job. But a man who loves his woman -- and shows it -- will be rewarded in bountiful ways.

 I appreciate that Dalton isn't afraid of showing his love in tangible, real life, awesome ways. He knows what makes my heart tick ---> mainly, spending quality time together and receiving gifts (throw in some words of praise and I'm really one happy little woman).

Dalton has nailed the manly art of showing love. I know I am one blessed gal because of it! I have been repeatedly surprised by his purposeful efforts to show love and appreciation.

One way Dalton loves me is through letter writing. Handwritten notes were very important to us while we dated; more often than not, we wrote our personal, soft sentiments onto journal paper. Sometimes, words are better read than spoken. I am very thankful Dalton has kept up the practice. Occasionally, he'll give me a letter he wrote during the day; sometimes their funny, full of doodles and good humor. They are always encouraging and genuine.

Because I am a gift person, Dalton finds little ways to remember me. An occasional breakfast in bed, basket of candy or gift-card to Hobby Lobby has come my way ... you can be sure he gets lots of happy grins and kisses in payment. ;]

Last night Dalton purposefully turned off the tv so we could talk and catch up -- he knew the long work week had caught up with me and understood that I simply needed to curl into his chest and talk.

The world may say that real men are rough, gruff and hard.

But I'll never believe it.

Real men are like Jesus. They love others where they are; they give of themselves ... even when it hurts.

Of course, every man is different. Your darling may never kiss you on the forehead but he probably works long hours and then comes home to fix the plumbing. He may never buy you flowers but he remembers to hear your heart. Darling woman, however your man shows his love, accept it. Rejoice in the love your given and bask in the kindness showered on you.

And remember to bless you man for being manly enough to show his love.

It really is quite rare.

With love, hot chocolate and smiles!
// p.s. //
Some David Ramirez for your listening pleasure ... I wish upon you love, light and a brave heart. xo

Monday, April 27, 2015

How to Get Your Husband To Eat His Vegetables + Other Fables

I'm a lot of things to my husband -- a friend, comrade, keeper, lover, helpmate, playmate, encourager. 

But I'm not his mother.

I'm a first-born, mother-hen, protector personality -- the kind of woman who will ask you if your feeling alright 20 times in a minute, iron your shirt, make your favorite cookies, ask you if the temperature of the room is suitable and hover over you ensuring that your water is filled and your heart content.

I've been told it's stifling. 

I am not my husband's mother -- somehow he managed to live without someone reminding him to brush his teeth, eat his vegetables and put his shoes away before I came into his life. (He keeps assuring me that he can still do those things without oversight.) Somehow he figured out how to apply for jobs, adjust the thermostat and greet people without my tutelage ... and to be honest, I was kind of shocked.

I've  always had someone to remind how to behave; I've always had some amount of control and involvement with those younger then me. So, when my husband ordered me to stop mothering him reminded me that he was perfectly capable, I was confused, hurt and put out. I had only meant to be a helpmeet. Didn't he prefer a helpful wife over a lazy one?

I think I puffed and huffed and declared that he couldn't change me; that he should be thankful for such a helpful, sweet, willing wife.

(Hahaha, I hope Debi Pearl doesn't come after me with a spanking stick and a copy of Created to Be His Helpmeet for that statement ... actually, I do. Mine is wearing out.)

There really isn't a conclusion to this silly post other then to say that I am still learning.

I am learning to be the kind of woman my husband wants and not the kind of woman I thinks he needs. I'm finding he has no problem asking for aid when he needs it and that I need not hover over him. I'm discovering freedom in not having to be involved in his every movement and I am enjoying not being in control. It's fun watching him be himself without me critiquing and advising his every decision. Above all, I am learning to respect my husband enough to trust him. He is capable, he is wise and he is able.

Of course, I do remind him to eat his salad greens because that's simply good fun and it gets us laughing. ;]

Question: Are you a mother-hen? Or, are you one who despises mothering? Whoever you are leave a comment ... I love learning more from you!!

With lots of love, blessings and sunshine,

Friday, April 24, 2015

Strawberrys, Boats and JJ Heller // Favorite Things Series

I am a *big* fan of JJ Heller.
Her music is as fun as wildflowers in a clean, clear jar and as sweet as strawberry shortcake. And her work is my favorite thing of the week.
"When I'm with You"
"The Boat Song"
"Meant to Be"
"Your Hands"
"If You Fall"
If you listen closely enough, you'll learn a lot about love, faith and life.
Who have you been listening to lately?
With love, hugs and coffee!

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

How to Be Okay When You Have Adult Acne

Sometimes life feels really hard.
Like --  I can't wear my favorite dress today because its obvs that those lattes' don't vanish into air -- hard.
Or -- my adult acne is begging for me to cover my face in a medieval veil -- hard.
 Seriously, zit. You're the size of a baby's nose and make my chin look like it was lonely and grew a twin.
One chin is enough; can I get an amen?
Yes, sometimes life feels really hard and sometimes it can make us feel ugly. Ugly, insecure and afraid.

How can we succeed at life when we can't even look in the mirror without groaning? How do we accomplish dreams when we feel like the universe is against us?


step back and give thanks.

Life seems harder then it is when we forget to be thankful. Did you wake up today? Did you happen to have breakfast, lunch and dinner? Did you have someone who cared enough to ask how your day was? Those are blessings; practice thankfulness and acknowledge that your life really isn't as bad as it feels.


remember who you are.

If you're a human being then you are a miracle (if you're not human then we've got to chat!). You might not feel like a miracle but you are. Your heart beats without manual pump-age, your eyes take in morning sunrises and your fingerprints are unique. You might be having a hard day and you probably don't feel beautiful but you are breathtakingly made.


do the hard thing and move on.

It's a hard thing to accept acne, frizzy hair and poundage or skinnyism (take your pick; we all think we suffer from one or the other). But there is power in acknowledging that yes, I look ugly today, but I'm not going to let that affect my day. You find freedom when you can say to the mirror, "I choose to happy today with myself." There is happiness when you can let go of your fear and insecurities and just be you.

So next time you suffer from adult acne and want to hide under your covers and eat chocolate all day, don't. Give thanks, remember Who made you and move on; choose joy and focus on making others see the beauty this world holds.

And you'll realize that your day isn't really as hard as it seems.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Learning How to Be Flexible in Marriage

One of the lessons marriage is teaching me is the importance of being flexible.
A few weeks ago, my darling man's work schedule changed. And we were/are thrilled! Instead of working 1 pm to 9 pm my hardworking man works from 9 am - 7 pm. Yes, he did get more hours in a day but instead of two days off he now has three! How wonderful! Not only are we blessed with an extra day off but he gets home much earlier than he used to -- perfect for having friends over or enjoying an evening out together.
And yet, despite the goodness of this change, I find my rigid, stick-to-the-schedule personality being stretched a bit. For nearly a year I had grown accustom to Dalton only having two days off and spending his mornings at home. Now, our mornings are a little busier than normal, the time of his absence longer and the workweek shorter.
At first I noticed that I was feeling a little uptight -- why should I be feeling stressed over these good changes?
I'm sure you too can relate. Perhaps your husband's schedule changed as well or maybe he lost his job and spends most of his hours at home with you and the babies? Maybe he has volunteered and is needed elsewhere?
I simply want to encourage you, dear one, to embrace the change. Embrace the challenges and joys life gives and, above all, practice being flexible. For many of us, it is easy to become stressed and weirded-out over changes  (even the good ones!). When that stress comes at you remember these three things:
Remember that God is uses these changes for good, that change is a natural part of life and that when you feel out-of-the-loop and a little stressed that God understands and invites you to His throne of grace.
Oh, and one last thing.
Choose joy.
Choose to accept the change in your schedule.
And choose to love those in your home.
With lots of love!

Friday, April 17, 2015

Joyfilled Easter + Me // Coffee Series

Hello, lovelies!!
Open your windows, pull up a chair and rejoice with me over a cup o' coffee -- our Lord is so merciful! I rejoice in His great kindness! Easter was only a few weeks ago but I am still reflecting on it.
This year Easter was different for me.
For as long as I can remember my Easters as a Christian have been marked with shame and sorrow. In preparation for the holiday I spent days remembering how my sinful self drove Jesus to His cross; I let the holiday become a reminder of sin and shame instead of a reminder of the victory I have in Jesus.
This year I dared to think differently.
I chose to rejoice, to sing.
Instead of weeping over past sins I chose to believe in the peace God's redemption guarantees.
Rather than focus on personal holiness I remembered that
Of course, I believe that there is a time to remember why Jesus came to the cross; to reflect on His work in our lives. But I am convinced that God is more glorified by a rejoicing, thankful spirit rather than a sorrowful soul.
And the amazing thing is that my Easter was lovely. I was away from family, had a darling husband who worked, alone in my little home.
But I was so glad -- Jesus has saved me and I am redeemed -- why shouldn't I rejoice?
It has taken me a long time to get to this point; some days I discover I've jumped back into the mud of despondency and sorrow. But Jesus carries me through and for that I will rejoice.
What blessings have you discovered lately?
With love, blessings and raspberry tea,

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

"All Day I Did the Little Things ..."

The Blue Bowl

All day I did the little things,
The little things that do not show;
I brought the kindling for the fire
I set the candles in a row,
I filled a bowl with marigolds,
The shallow bowl you love the best --
And made the house a pleasant place
Where weariness might take its rest.

The hours sped on, my eager feet
Could not keep pace with my desire.
So much to do, so little time!
I could not let my body tire;
Yet, when the coming of the night
Blotted the garden from my sight,
And on the narrow, graveled walks
Between the guarding flower stalks
I heard your step: I was not through
With services I meant for you.

You came into the quiet room
That glowed enchanted with the bloom
Of yellow flame. I saw your face,
Illumined by the firelit space,
Slowly grow still and comforted --
"It's good to be at home," you said.

   - Blanche Bane Kuder
Some days we never finish all that we intend to do. But the reward of a husband returning home -- one man happy to be in the embrace of his woman, content to sleep under faded comforters and eat simple meals -- seems to make every chore, every project, every list worthwhile and even enjoyable.
A dear friend of mine shared this poem -- I couldn't help but fall in love with it.
Love and blessings,

Monday, April 13, 2015

Joy in the Waiting // Baby Love Part 3

It's a snowy, gray day in March. A day made for inside activities, cocoa and good conversation.
But there's something missing.
Or rather, someone.

Sweet reader, you've walked through my inner thoughts and learned about my love-hate relationship with children (hehehe .... that sounds so intense) and then discovered the beautiful (in progress) work God has done in my heart -- I no longer fear having babies and instead find a growing desire for them. To finish our series I want to write a little on what happens when you want a baby but it seems to not happen.
That someone missing is a little squirming bundle, a happy toddler making messes, cluttering the apartment with wipes and toys and a hundred pacifiers. A child of our own.  
From my perspective waiting on anything is hard. We want to grow up, marry, keep our own homes, become missionaries, have babies ... contentment is a hard thing especially when we are waiting for something good. We cannot imagine that there could be joy in the waiting.
All my life I have struggled with anger, frustration, sorrow and discontent when it seemed God was saying, "Not yet, dear one. Wait on my timing. And in the mean time, find joy."
It was and has been very difficult.
But, praise God, it is possible.

Over the course of my twenty-five year long lifetime I've unearthed a few ways to practice contentment; simple steps to finding joy in the waiting:

1. Realize that it is okay (and normal) to be struggling.
This. Is. Huge.
The first step to contentment, I've found, is realizing that it is okay to hurt, want and ache. If it is a good thing (marriage, children, using your likes and talents to save the world ;) then it's okay to want it. You are not bad for desiring a good thing. After you've realized that it is okay to struggle remember that ...
2. God is enough in the meantime.
(This is also huge ;)
When we forget that our relationship with Jesus is more then enough we become shipwrecked on an island of self pity, anger, jealousy and a nonstop struggle to get what we want.
I've been there. Countless times. And, friend, it is no picnic being stuck in such a terrible place.
If you find yourself forgetting that God is more then enough take a step back. Practice thankfulness. Thank God for your life, the sun outside, the clothes on your back. Bless you parents. Bless your spouse. Bless anyone and everyone. Being thankful is the key to remembering that God is more then enough. And when you've remembered that you really can be happy without getting what you want ...
3. Pray and prepare.  
Ask God for your heart's desire; ask in faith and with courage. The Bible tells us to do this!
And, while you pray, prepare.
Do you want to be married? Discover what makes an excellent wife and study that. Do you want to be a mother? Learn about childbirth, medicine and observe other awesome moms. Do you want to go to college or step out on the mission field? Prepare yourself by serving in your local area; study, learn, grow. Don't fool yourself into wasting the time God has given you; if He has given it then it is for your good.
Once you have remembered that it is okay to hurt, that Jesus is more then enough, and to pray and prepare you will discover joy in the waiting.
It isn't easy (and does not always feel good) but choosing contentment over frustration will prove to be a blessing every time.
Question: What have you been waiting for? Have you discovered any beautiful blessings while you wait?
With lots of love, blessings and snowflakes!
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