Marriage & Recovery

There was a time in my life when I wholeheartedly believed that finding “the one” would fix everything. That my prince charming would sweep me off my feet and make every insecurity and addiction disappear. Over the years I realized the naivety of this belief, yet there was still a part of me that believed, or maybe hoped, that having a ring on my finger would make every other struggle in my life vanish.

I’m here to say that this is 100% not the case.

I’d learned well before meeting Ryan that being in a relationship would never fix my problems. No man would ever come along and miraculously make my trauma disappear. However, there were, and always will be, men who try to convince women that they are indeed the answer to all of their issues. It’s these men who reinforce codependency and lead their partners even deeper into the pits.

One of the reasons I fell in love with Ryan to begin with was because he never tried to be my cure-all. He’s supported and encouraged me from the beginning, but has never pretended to be able to “fix” me. Instead, he has loved me through relapses, grief, insecurities, depression, anxiety & nightmares. To explain a bit more, this is part of the little speech that I gave at our reception:

“I’d never ever been the one to make the first move, or say those three little words first, but I did. He was different, he is different. He is my knight in shining armor, but not because he saved me. But because for the last three years he has challenged me to save myself and continues to be my support and my best friend… The point is, he is not like anyone I’ve ever known, and I cannot believe that I’m lucky enough to call him my husband.”

It’s been difficult for me figuring out this whole “wife” thing. I have the same, if not more, unconditional love and support from my husband, but I’ve been struggling. I think I’m trying too hard to identify who I am as a “wife.” I’m still me. I’m still the same woman who is learning to love herself, despite not necessarily liking what she sees in the mirror. I’m still the same woman who has claimed victory over some of her most aggressive demons. I’m still the same woman who is madly in love with Ryan Norton, and who is working so freaking hard, every day, to be a better human.

So here’s to marriage not fixing all of our problems, but to being able to celebrate the victories, big and little, with your permanent roommate. 👫

NN


Love Is

Love is

Love is a stranger’s smile
Love is a mother’s hug
Love is a father’s pride
Love is a brother’s high-five
Love is a sister’s support
Love is a grandmother’s encouragement
Love is a grandfather’s stories
Love is a mentor’s guidance
Love is a friend’s text
Love is a dog’s excitement
Love is a cat’s purr
Love is all the little things
Love is a good morning kiss
Love is soup when you’re sick
Love is flowers after a hard day
Love is judgement-free
Love is forgiveness when it hurts
Love is accepting without understanding
Love is all of this and so much more
Love is love
& Love is all around us
N.N.

After the Wedding…

It is pretty incredible how much goes into planning a wedding. We focused on that one day in August for over a year. There was no energy wasted thinking about what it would be like to come home, back to a reality, after 21 days of a whirlwind of pre-wedding week activities, the actual wedding, and then the honeymoon.

Let me tell you, it was weird. It seems that I’ve been in a daze since we got home. A combination of “is this actually real life” and “what do I stress about now?”

I’ve been Mrs. Norton for over a month, but I’m just now starting to settle into this “Wife” role. Maybe once we get the Thank You notes sent out it’ll feel a bit more solidified, hehe.

All of this to say, hi there. We’re alive, and loving this journey forward as husband and wife. Happy to report that there actually is life on the other side of a wedding. For awhile there, I thought everything would kind of stand still after August 18th. 😏

🖤 N.N.

08.18.18

Wedding Day. It’s surreal, I can’t believe today is the day that I marry the love of my life. In less than six hours we will commit to each other for life.

It rained this morning, and I got super anxious. Then I got a text from Ryan that said “blue sky baby” with a photo of the sun peeking through the clouds, and my anxiety went away immediately.

No matter the weather- I marry my best friend today, and I couldn’t be more thankful.

We are having a small, simple, intimate wedding. We wish we could have invited everyone, but we will continue the celebration at home.

I’m currently surrounded by the women who have supported me through life, as well as the new additions to our family. I’ve never felt so much love in one place.

Thank you Jesus, thank you to our families and friends. We are so incredibly blessed. ❤️

What a Beautiful Day ðŸŒž

I don’t usually describe 104° days as “beautiful,” but lately I’m realizing that I really need to change my perspective on some things. As I was walking into work this morning with the sun not yet making an appearance, I heard the birds singing. It seemed surreal to me that they were chirping when the stars were still shining. But honestly, I needed them this morning. I leave for work at 4:00am, and it’s a lonely way to start each day; I even have to wake my dog up to give her breakfast!

But today, the birds’ chorus was a really lovely reminder to look (or listen) for the light in dark places, and find beauty in the ordinary.

Happy Monday! ❤️

NT

Sibling Day!

In the midst of life’s chaos, you always have your siblings. I just can’t quite get into words how important the title “sister” is to me.

No matter how much distance between us, or days since our last conversation, the bonds between us as siblings can never be broken.

I am lucky enough to have an amazing twin, sister, brother & their spouses + step siblings + a bonus sister to be acquired in August! I am blessed. 💕

Nathan – my twin, my “built-in best friend.” My life literally wouldn’t be the same without you.

Lainie – my big sister, my role model, my matron of honor, and one of the biggest supporters and encouragers in my life.

I hope everyone hugs their loved ones a little closer today; whether a biological sister or sister-from-another-mister — don’t take them for granted. ✌️

NT

A Letter to My Valentine

I don’t brag about you enough. Seriously.

Never have I known a man as hard-working, generous, kind, loving, or patient. You are truly incredible, and I don’t know how I got so lucky.

I am not, in any sense of the phrase, an easy person to love. Mom used to say that a person cannot truly be loved, or love another, until they love themselves – and boy oh boy was she right.

Years ago as our relationship progressed, you were able to see my insecurities and vulnerabilities more than anyone was ever able to. And much to my surprise, you didn’t leave because of them. Not only did you not run away, you fought for me. You changed me; I have never been so content with myself and with life in general. You have challenged, supported, and encouraged me to such an extent over the last few years that I genuinely cannot put it into words.

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The bottom line – thank you.
Thank you for being my adventure buddy.
Thank you for always making me laugh.
Thank you for loving Jesus.
Thank you for loving me.
Thank you for being you.

I love you Ryan.

-Your Forever Valentine
💒💑

his love roared louder than her demons
💕NT