Celebrating Your Anniversary

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It’s only appropriate I post this marriage tip for Wisdom Wednesday about celebrating anniversaries on my parents’ anniversary.


Now this may seem obvious… marriage advice that says “celebrate your anniversary.” Doesn’t everyone? We are the types that like to celebrate everything. Perhaps it’s because we waited so long for marriage, we like to enjoy the “little things.” No one would be surprised to see “Happy 17th Month Anniversary, babe!” So feel free to celebrate each other, anywhere anytime.

To follow are ideas we’ve collected and done, to commemorate the occasions, like the big anniversaries.  Enjoy our anniversary ideas in pictures. Some of them you can do together. Others are photos you should take on the occasion (inspired by Pinterest).

Picture Ideas: 

5 pic version PIN



Action Ideas:

UnityCandle       flutes2

Make a Gift idea:


For more ideas check out my Pinterest Board:

Celebrate Anniversary Ideas on Pinterest

Be Your Spouse’s Best Friend

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“Remember to continue to be BEST FRIENDS.” (DM)

“He or she should be your best friend, and you should have interests in common.”

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Chris is, without a doubt, my best friend. I still have wonderful female “best friends” from various areas of my life (from high school, grad school, childhood etc.) But my ultimate best friend is now my spouse. I agree with the advice we were given above, that having common interests is so important. The cliche “opposites attract” is overrated. Having things we enjoy doing together has been one of the most fun parts of our marriage. If our interests were divergent, we’d have less reasons to spend together.

I also see a deeper meaning in the advice to “be” your spouse’s best friend. Being a friend to someone is often selfless and doing things for their sake instead of your own. This is definitely necessary in marriage.

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Have Crazy Fun with Your Spouse

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“Keep your love strong by spending quality time together. Enjoy doing fun and crazy things together.” (CS)

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Who says marriage is supposed to get routine and be boring? The fun shouldn’t stop!

We went to a photographer’s studio and played around, doing funny poses and taking crazy pictures. It’s one of the ways we like to have fun.  What’s fun for each married couple is going to look different than what’s fun for us. Just make sure you find ideas that are fun for both spouses.

Studio Shoot 5-5-11-4606

Here’s another example. Every road trip we take together, we try to find ways to take some silly photos by posing with various things in the environment. Whether its statues, murals, or acting out fun scenes when we stumble upon “set” like places, we are game for some silly fun. Our scrapbooks from trips are a lot more interesting than normal smiley photos! Here’s just one of many examples from Williams, AZ:

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Renew Your Vows

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“Plan to renew your vows at every opportunity.” (KSM)

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Renew Vows

We loved this piece of advice. I usually hear of people doing this at a particular marker, like the 20th year or some other big anniversary, having a ceremony among friends and family. Chris & I decided to take this advice to heart and started the tradition on our first anniversary trip. Yesterday was our second anniversary. This is a tradition we plan to continue. Reminding each other what we promised on our wedding day is a very good practice.

On our first anniversary trip, we went on a road trip up the coast of HWY 1, and stopped in a little town called Harmony. (Population 18. It’s one street long.) We stopped at their chapel and renewed our vows right there. It doesn’t have to be fancy. We didn’t book the place or anything. We just stopped on our way to San Simeon, and set up the tripod and took a photo while we did it to capture the memory.


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Put God First then Your Spouse

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“Continue loving God first and showering His love on each other.” (LF)

“Each day continue to look for the imprint of God in the lives of each other and you will always be refreshed and fall deeper in love. Seeing Jesus in your wife and seeing Jesus in your husband will always be exciting and fresh.” (PF)

“My favorite piece of advice to anyone contemplating marriage is to make sure that God is at the center of that relationship. Although marriage is a wonderful thing, it is also difficult at times so understanding that God is the first member of your relationship is a must. When hubby and I are having a disagreement, we make the choice to take our eyes off of each other and look up to God instead for guidance.” (anonymous)

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Put God First

How does putting God first look to you in your marriage?


Dream with Your Spouse

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“The first year is to learn each others personalities, desires, and dreams. The second year is to love each other for who they are and to help each other fulfill those desires and dreams.” (CB)

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Dream with your Spouse

Chris & I often talk about our dreams, desires, and hopes. We also often end up in long waiting seasons to see our dreams come true. This was definitely the case before we found each other (as shared in Finally the Bride). Waiting for dreams to come true has continued after marriage. Thankfully, we can “wait” with each other. But we also can help facilitate each others dreams by our support, encouragement, and making room for the other to work toward achieving that dream. Sometimes that can mean time or money invested into the dream itself.  What’s really fun is when our dreams cross each other and we can prepare together. (For example, one of our big dreams is to make a film together, so we’ve been taking a low budget, independent film making crash course together.)



Morning Glory

Ps 30:5b (niv) “Weeping may remain for a night, but rejoicing comes in the morning.”

Everyone who knows me almost immediately thinks of the color purple. My purple feathered pen. The name of my production company, Purple PenWorks. My insistence on wearing purple practically every day of my life.

Outside my apartment is a rather stunning display of Morning Glory flowers. They’re deep purple and blue, and they look like trumpets, ready to herald good news.

When they are open, that is.

They seem to blossom in the morning and especially when it’s sunny. They can go into hiding by nightfall or on cloudy days. Sometimes, a few of them refuse to come out, even when the rest of the flowers around them are showing off their colors.

Have you ever had one of those days where you wanted to go into hiding? You didn’t want anyone to see your face because they’d be able to read the distress all over it?

There were seasons of my life where I felt like I had nothing to “trumpet,” nothing to shout from the rooftops or celebrate. Every day started the same and ended the same, with me closing up into myself—just like those flowers that hide their beauty.

I knew in God’s Word it said that while weeping may remain for the night, joy would come in the morning. I often wondered which morning and on what calendar God was referring to. I felt more like I was in mourning: mourning the loss of dreams, hopes, time frames, and progress in life. Where I wanted to be by that time in my life. Many mornings came with tears still on the brink. That lump still near my throat. Where was this joy I kept reading about?

This was a long season I call waiting.

It was a season of longing.

A season of trying to cling desperately to hope but finding it short in supply.

When I was in my early twenties, God made me a promise that one day I would get married. I thought that sounded awesome because it had been my desire since I was a young teen. I was happy to hear this was something God had for me.

What God failed to mention was that it would take 16 more years of waiting before His promise would even become a remote possibility, that I would be almost 40 years old when love would finally show up in my life and I could take that long-awaited walk down the aisle. God didn’t warn of the trials, the heartbreaks, the journey to come. While I felt ready to blossom much sooner, God would have me in the shade for over a decade and a half of waiting.

Yet still, God wanted me to hold onto hope.

Often, He reminded me of that precious promise from many years ago. Sometimes, the reminders hurt. When I managed to keep my heart in a place of contentment, any reminder of that missing promise-to-come would kick up that desire like wildfire; contentment would be out the window. I would assume if God were bringing up the topic that the time was imminent. Oh, how many times I would be wrong!

And yet, God still asked for my faith; He still asked for my hope.

It was through the fire of waiting that God refined me, built my trust in Him, prepared me for marriage, taught me to love unconditionally, and showed off His extraordinary sense of impeccable timing.

What God wanted from me was absolute surrender. A surrender of my purple pen. (The pen I would use to write in my journals from a very young age about how I thought my love life should go. I made that purple pen a character in Never the Bride. I used that purple pen to write Finally the Bride: Finding Hope While Waiting. And waiting. And waiting.)

God didn’t want me stealing back the pen once I gave it up to Him, during all those times I didn’t like what He was writing.  He was definitely not taking any of my suggestions—for timelines, for specific guys I prayed about, for the changes I ached for.

Instead, God surprised me by writing something completely different. Almost seventeen years after God first promised me that one day I’d get married, He reintroduced me to a friend from long ago, Chris Price. I’d met Chris just barely a year or so after God first made me that promise of marriage. We lost touch after a few years of being causal friends, then reconnected over a decade later in 2010.

Chris knew right away there was something to this connection. (Though wise man that he is, he kept that tidbit to himself and waited for God to talk to me about the future of us.)

With Chris, instead of me trying to convince God like many times past to “give this guy to me,” God was trying to convince me to say “yes” to this man. So, what did I do?

I said no.

For six months, I said no.

I had my ideas about what I wanted, and this idea of God’s didn’t fit my plan. But God wanted me on His plan. Slowly, He worked on my heart. He revealed to me what His best was.

Once I was willing to walk through the door and give Chris a chance, everything moved rather swiftly. Once I started cooperating with God’s plan and stopped fighting it, I stepped into the best, most loving relationship I’ve ever experienced. (Well, outside of my Heavenly Father, that is.) For the first time in my life, I fell in love with someone who actually loved me in return. Completely and unconditionally. That had never happened to me before, in almost forty years of life.

I could have continued to say no.

I could have missed out on God’s best.

What’s funny, in hindsight, I see so clearly why God chose this amazing man for me. In the beginning, I may not have been able to see it. But now, having just hit my one-year wedding anniversary, I see the extraordinary gem I could have missed out on, had I continued to say “no” to God’s perfect plan.

Do you ever get impatient in the waiting seasons? Do you get distressed? I had no idea, during the wait, why God had me “on hold” for so long (also known as “the holy pause” button). But as sappy as it may sound, my husband was worth the wait. He was worth the pain and anguish those years of waiting brought into my life. When I think back on the people I wished God would have given me, I have no doubt now why God said no to me every time.

When God says, “It’s not time yet,” trust that He knows what He’s talking about. He knows what He’s saving you from.

Whenever I get impatient for God to move in other areas of life, I try to remember how He had my best interests in mind with the timing of my marriage. He can still be trusted with the timing of the rest of my life.

If you are in a waiting season—no matter what you are waiting for—try not to give up hope. Hope can only make your heart sick when it’s a hope we have given up on. Trust, that if what you are waiting for isn’t here, it’s either not for your best or it’s not the right time. I can attest that though weeping may remain for a night (or even many nights), joy will come in the morning.

In the meantime, do not hide or shrink away, like those flowers that refuse to show off their colors. The world needs your beauty, that unique contribution that only you can make.

Even while waiting, you can still shine.

Blog photography by:

Christopher Price Pix

Blog originally written for and published on:

Southern Belle View


To purchase Finally the Bride on Amazon, click the Paperback or Kindle link below:

Finally the Bride: Finding Hope While Waiting (Paperback):


Finally the Bride: Finding Hope While Waiting (Kindle) :

Now available as a two book set:

Finally the Bride & Finally Fearless (Two Book Set): Overcoming Obstacles to Finding True Love (Kindle)


The fictional version, Never the Bride, is available in paperback, ebook, and audio book at various book retailers:

Never the Bride at Randomhouse
Never the Bride at Barnes & Noble
Never the Bride at Books-A-Million
Never the Bride at Amazon
Never the Bride at Christian Book.com

Never the Bride

Finally the Bride Front Cover Photo by Lisa Crates of Lisa Crates Photography (lisacrates.us)

How to Plan a Day Trip

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(Coronado Island, San Diego, CA, Dec. 2012)

One of our favorite ways to bond and enjoy some fun is taking day trips together, or an overnight weekend getaway. We prefer to go places that we can get to within a couple of hours by car, if possible, unless we have more than two days. Therefore, a lot of our travel blogs will include areas around or outside of the Los Angeles area, that we can get to without spending an entire day in the car.

Early on in our marriage, we talked about how we’d like to celebrate certain holidays or special occasions. Since both of our birthdays are in December—and we could still give Christmas gifts to each other—we decided to make it a yearly tradition to take a weekend getaway to celebrate our birthdays instead of exchanging gifts.  We also like to do the same for our anniversary in May. Those occasions call for overnight stays, normally two nights / three days. And it’s a fun thing to do two times a year, when we can swing it.

There are also times when we just want a day out of town, even if it’s not an overnight. Our goal is to take one day every other month and go on a day trip somewhere.

Our love of traveling together started when we made the long trek out from North Carolina to California, moving Chris from NC to Los Angeles after the wedding. I didn’t know that I would enjoy trip planning so much, but since that time it’s become a hobby. The funny thing is, from the moment we knew we’d do that cross-country road trip, Chris was excited about it.

I was not. I thought all that time in the car sounded boring. I was never a fan of being in the car as a kid (but my idea of a road trip was taking a whole day to drive from NC to MA and that’s a long time in the car for a kid. It wasn’t about stopping along the way to enjoy various touristy areas. It was about getting there.) That’s kind of how I pictured our cross-country road trip.

I saw Chris’s enthusiasm and wanted to find some for myself. We decided we wouldn’t be in a hurry to get to California, and instead try to enjoy the sites along the way. So I decided to start investigating the locations and map out a route. I found places to stay along the way and needed to plan reasonable mileage intervals for each day. We decided to make the trip like a second honeymoon. Planning it was a blast, and it was the beginning of a new hobby for me. We did that trip in eleven days, ten nights, driving no more than about 400 miles per day, so we’d have energy to enjoy the places where we stopped. (We will do a separate blog about that trip, for anyone thinking about taking that sort of trip.)

Chris & Cheryl Arkansas-2393

(Bed & Breakfast in Little Rock, AR, Day 4 of 11 on cross-country road trip, July 2011)

For those of you out there who “don’t get out much” (like I never did), I wanted to share some suggestions on how to plan a day trip or a weekend getaway, and how to make the most of your time, especially since, by nature, time is very limited when you only have one to three days to play with.

Take a look at a map of the areas surrounding where you live that you could get to within a couple of hours. Make a list of all of the places you may like to visit. Then start working on an itinerary for the trip.

How to plan a day trip:

  1. When you choose a destination, take a look at any of the cities or towns on the way to determine if there are any stops worth checking out.
  1. If there is more than one way to get to the place, determine if you should go two different routes, one on the way and one as you return so you can see different sites each way instead of retracing the same steps. Choose the prettiest route when it’s light out if it will be dark on the way home, unless there’s a stop you really want to take on the way there of the other route.
  1. Once you choose the destination, use a travel site that has a list of the best things to do with traveler reviews and ratings. Use them to decide which ones you would like to try that would be fun for both of you, or trade off and pick an activity one would love then one the other person would love. (When I plan our trips, sometimes I love to plan a surprise stop that I know my husband would enjoy, but I keep it a secret from him.) Trip Advisor has become one of my new best friends! It’s my favorite site for getting travel ideas.  It has a great system divided out by the best hotels (for weekend trips), restaurants, and things to do in a particular area. The reviews are very useful because people who contribute to that site give you tips that may not be obvious if you visit the official websites for the attractions. A site like Trip Advisor will rate the best things to do by most popular / highest rated. Most people will let you know costs, parking information, anything helpful like how to find a location if there’s something about it that makes it challenging. Knowing all of this information in advance has helped us tremendously to have a really smooth trip. When you only have one day or one weekend, you don’t want to waste time looking for things. They also can give you great information about the best times of year to go and why. (For example, certain flowers or animals / mammals may only be around during certain times of the year, so if that’s important to you, you can plan your trip to that destination accordingly. We have looked into trips based on butterflies season, or when elephant seals and whales are visible, or poppies and lavender are in bloom.)
  1. Make a list of all the potential things you’d like to do, then find the official website for each activity so you can get current information on cost, parking, and hours of operation. This will help you plan your trip. If it’s based on something beach related, closer to your trip you may want to check for the times of low and high tides, if an activity like tide pooling is on the agenda (where low tide is important).
  1. Create a schedule of what you will do and in what order. Naturally you can leave room for flexibility. Have enough planned but don’t be afraid to drop something off your list if you are enjoying a location so much you want more time there. You can always pick up what you missed on a separate trip. (And believe me! We have lists of things we didn’t get to.)  Just don’t make being in a hurry a detriment to enjoying where you are.
  1. Next, print off maps and address information for every place you want to go. (Don’t assume you’ll have cell phone reception in every area or even GPS signal.) To save us time, I would program all the main addresses into our GPS before we left town, so I wouldn’t have to mess with it once we were on the road. This way, when it was time to go to the next place, I just hit the address already found.
  1. Try to mix your activities up between outdoors and museums and give yourself a nice variety of things to do.
  1. Do a search for coupons if you plan to visit any museums. We often found buy-one-get-one-free or a few dollars off just by searching for the attraction or museum name and the word coupon on the Internet. Print those off. Every little bit counts!
  1. While you can’t always plan where you’ll be when you’ll want food, definitely research a couple restaurant options in each place you may be around mealtimes. A restaurant that sounds good maybe not be well reviewed. People may also review a place that is good for local flavor if you’re looking for something unique. You can also look into pricing so you can choose places within your budget for the trip. Also feel free to bring a cooler of drinks and a picnic lunch if you know you’ll end up in a place that would be good to have a picnic, early in your trip.  Sometimes, to save money, we’d bring lunch but eat out for dinner.
  1. Take photos! Track your trip in pictures or videos. I love to scrapbook our travel adventures. We also try to find fun places to take photos that aren’t your typical pose and smile type photo.

Chris & Cheryl Arizona-3426

(See what I mean? Wacky photos. 🙂

This was in Williams, AZ, about one hour below the Grand Canyon, on Route 66.)

In the future, I will be blogging about particular trips we’ve taken and some suggested itineraries for that place.

The focus of this site, Finally One, is also about bonding and finding ways to create intimacy in marriage, which sometimes comes just from getting out and having fun together. “Finally One” is a phrase that came to us, not only because of our books that start with the word “Finally” or out of the concept of being “one” in marriage, but being of one accord, in agreement, on the same page, or in peaceful harmony.

Every trip we’ve taken together we feel has been an investment in our marriage.  It’s not “money wasted”. Sometimes we’ll forgo eating out for the month to put our whole entertainment budget into one day trip. It’s worth it to us because of how meaningful these days have been.

I strongly encourage married people to take some time away together like this, because it gives you some focused, concentrated time to spend together, to talk, to enjoy each other’s company, and get away from regular distractions and technology.

In Jan. 2012, I had gotten pretty sick, and it lasted for almost two months. So Chris and I had very little we could go out and do for an extended period of time. When I started feeling better, I was aching for a day trip. We chose Newport Beach. Not for an overnight, just for a day. I can’t tell you how healing that day felt. To be outside, to breathe, and to get some focused time away with my husband where we just got to play and have fun together. It was so good for my soul and for the two of us.


(Newport Beach, Balboa Island, on top of the ferris wheel, Feb. 2012)

I think too often, married couples forget to have fun together. So I am suggesting, if you haven’t tried incorporating this type of activity into your marriage, give it a shot.  It’s so fun to experience new places together.

If you aren’t married yet, find a friend who would enjoy travelling with you. When I was single, I stayed home far too often. I never ventured out much to enjoy the places around me. I had no idea how much California had to offer in fun places to see until Chris came into the picture.  But there is absolutely no reason to wait for that! It’s safest to travel at least in pairs. So find a friend who wants to enjoy an adventure!

I got to take one such trip with one of my best friends, Caroline, before I got married. We road tripped from Niagara Falls, to Ontario, to Montreal, the east side of Canada, across New England (New Hampshire, Vermont) back through New York and home again. It was the trip of a lifetime, for me. I remember being so surprised by how awesome everything looked, how colorful, how unlike where I lived day to day. I was so fascinated by things, like leaves. (It was October. Having been in Los Angeles for the ten years prior, I hadn’t seen a real autumn in so long.) That trip made me realize I had stayed home too much in the so-called “comforts” of home and forgot there was life out there. I am thankful to my friend for encouraging me to go on that adventure.

Sample Canada Trip Photos (Oct. 2010): 

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I hope everyone is encouraged to get out there, experience life, and enjoy the trips along the way, whether you are single or married!

Stay tuned for future blogs about specific places you can travel.