05 Jan

The Year I Dated my Husband

year of dates January

There were days when the space between us felt like a canyon.

I wanted to blame him. He was pulling away. He was choosing not to spend time with me. He….him….it was his fault.

But, we are one flesh.

If he was pulling away…I was letting him.

If he was choosing not to spend time with me…I was letting him.

Him….me….us….

Like the long lost Wallenda sister I flung a rope over that canyon and have decided there is only space where we let there be space.

The relationship of Christ and His bride is one of joy and love. If our marriage was to reflect that it was time to tap into our joy and love.

So, this year, I’ve decided to date my husband.

In the fall I began to hatch a plan to give my husband a year full of joy and love for Christmas. I combed Pinterest, read blogs, and found awesome websites like Dating Divas.

Armed with ideas and cute printables, I worked like a crazy woman. In the afternoons while the peanuts played, I scoured the computer, compiled lists and began assembling envelopes full of fun stuff. It dawned on me AFTER I gave him his present on Christmas that no only did I keep this gift a secret (which was REALLY hard and almost didn’t happen) so did our sweet lil peanuts!

It is not realistic for our lives or our budgets to pull off a date night with going out + babysitter + whatever every week. So, the envelopes make sure that at least one weekend a month we are out of the house sans peanuts. Then at least one other weekend we do something fun after the peanuts are tucked all snug in their beds.

For instance, for January we went to a lovely bed and breakfast this past weekend. We enjoyed a beautiful beach themed room in the mountains complete with gas fire place and comfy a king bed. It was like starting the year in a beautiful oasis (with YUMMY food) relaxing next to my hunky hubby. Next weekend we will watch/listen to a marathon of our fav comedian, Brian Regan.

year of dates January

I don’t know what this year of dates will hold. I pray it brings more relaxation and laughter. Likely there will be revelations, adventures and funny moments to share. All I know for sure is one thing, I will spend time with my hunky hubby and get opportunities to be close to him.

Years from now, as our family recounts our history and shares stories, I hope 2015 is regaled as the year I dated my husband….the year that found no space between us.

18 Aug

Cue the Woodland Creatures

snow white

It is a scene that will probably unfold a thousand or more times in our lifetime. Nothing special or exciting. Me with a broom. Him, elbow deep in the day’s dishes and soapy water.

As I swept through the kitchen wearing my sweats and my hair pulled back in that I-haven’t-showered-yet-and-my-hair’s-a-wreck style, I felt invisible. Or maybe hoped I was.

Psssstttttt…

Green eyes sparkling he smiled at me.

I love you.

And then there they were…those butterflies my hunky hubby can still give me. Not the I’m so nervous are those vultures or butterflies (although I did get plenty of those when we were dating!!). No, these are the, how in the world did I land you kinda butterflies. The good ones.

As I stood there and looked at him my sweats and t-shirt could have been a ball gown. Someone cue the woodland creatures and fire up the orchestra,  because I felt like a princess.

Love is a beautiful thing. Steady. Always there….

…and so easy to take for granted.

I think back to those newlywed days, when the nearness of my hunky hubby was intoxicating. How a touch of his hand sent electricity through me…that often just shorted out my brain and made me dumb. His love was all I could want on this earth.

We celebrate 10 years of marriage in a matter of weeks. His kitchen proclamation of love reminds me….we are in love. We are parents, homemaker and manager, we are neighbors, friends, son and daughter….we wear more titles on most days than I can count or would care to admit. But, more than anything else…before anything else…we are husband and wife.

I love that man with everything I have, but I so often forget to tell him. I try to show it in favorite meals cooked, ironed shirts and a picked up house. I try to model it for our children in respect, reminders and commitment. I try to tell others as I sing his praises, write about him in my blog, or plain brag on my man. But, sometimes, the simplest, the most direct just falls by the wayside….the words.

We all need to hear words of love and adoration….whatever the relationship. Parent-child, friend-friend, husband-wife…you name it.  Speak them today. These words of life and love. These words that change moods, battle demons, lift spirits and make hearts beat faster. In whispers or in shouts! In ball gown moments or sweats in the kitchen moments.

Speak. Love. {and cue the woodland creatures!}

 

25 Nov

Unlovable

I spent the first few years feeling uncomfortable and embarrassed when he said it.

I spent the next couple of years craving hearing it. Going out of my way to create moments that sparked it.

Now, I just feel overwhelmed by grace whenever it comes up.

When he stares in my eyes.

When he touches my face.

When my hunky hubby tells me I look great or calls me “hot mama”.

I just linger. A warm sensation from some dark corner of my scarred heart rises up and I feel the weight of an overwhelming grace.

He thinks I’m beautiful.

He loves me.

Me.

That girl who was called “chubs” in elementary school, never got asked to prom and once chased men around hoping for something that felt like love.

Me.

That girl who on any given day hates her hair, has nothing to wear and chooses not to look in the mirror.

When we were first married and there were whispers of beauty or long, loving gazes it made me embarrassed. Uncomfortable. I felt like I had to reject the compliment or ignore it. Because I wasn’t worthy of what he was offering.

Despite a whirlwind romance, a beautiful wedding and this dream boat of a guy. I still felt unlovable.

Most of my life I have felt unlovable.

Unworthy of love.

But his love didn’t stop.

I went from squirming underneath his compliments to craving them. Like somehow it was only in his words that I could find affirmation…that it was only his love that could save me, keep me whole, or heal me. That’s a lot pressure for a guy to live under. And its a lot of work to chase words that cannot be coaxed or set up if they are to be heartfelt.

But still, I felt unlovable.

His words. His compliments. Him. Someone in those moments, I felt loveable and if I could just hear it again or linger in the space where they hung maybe I could feel loveable a bit longer.

But life moves on. Words fade. And emotions change.

I felt unlovable.

But his love didn’t stop.

And in this life where I teach school, dig in the Bible, sweep up endless piles of dog hair, try to match all the socks and nestle in his arms whenever I get the chance. Something changed.

I changed.

Compliments kiss my soul. His touch still sends electricity straight to my heart. And his green eyes gaze somewhere deep in my soul. And I linger there….

Not for more…but because there is grace there.

There is love there.

I don’t know when I knew or even really realized it. But, one day I noticed.

I’m okay with being loved.

I’m loved…and I feel lovable.

Worthy of being loved.

Saved by grace…searching for Christ in me…somewhere…somewhere way down deep something began to grow.

No scar makes you unlovable. No mistake or wrong doing takes away your worthiness. No man, no boy, no indiscretion will ever change how much God loves you or how much He thinks you are worth.

I needed to learn about God’s love.

To learn to accept. To feel it. To live in it.

And God knew that.

So he sent me my husband. A man wise and gentle. Crazy and funny. Hunky and romantic. He sent me a man who would whisper to my soul words I couldn’t understand….

….over and over again….

…until one day like a new language learned it would begin to click.

 

19 Nov

Beautiful Disaster

Light plays across the ceiling as the candles burn low on the mantle. The smell of fresh bread lingers in the air. Snuggled up with a cup of tea, a warm blanket and a book. Pandora quietly plays the perfect low key station. His soft snoring fills the space in around me.

Insert contented sigh.

As I sit, warm and safe…content and loved…home…I hear the quiet notes begin. I know the lyrics before they come…I know the pain that hangs in the melody that’s coming. The song is me…the girl in the rearview mirror…I know her…I was her…I am her….Beautiful Disaster…

I’m sitting in the driveway. The sun is just starting to rise and I catch my reflection in the rearview mirror.  Salty trails of massacre and tears cut down my cheeks. My eyes are red, bloodshot and puffy. My hair is a mess. I look old. Tired. Used.

I lay my head on the steering wheel and bawl.

She’s giving boys what they want
Tries to act so nonchalant

Under cover of darkness I was someone else. I had gotten involved with a man who didn’t want people to know we were “together”. When the sun went down I began to drink and party. One more beer, one more bar. Waiting for the phone call. When the phone rang I’d drop everything and run to where he was.

I would act as though I didn’t care about him or for him. I’d allow him to do things to me that made me ashamed and hurt me. I held my breath and hoped he’d call, because I didn’t want to be alone. And I knew he didn’t love me…despite his drunk dialing “confessions” of love and need for me…I knew I didn’t deserve love…this was the best I could expect.

When he was done with me he’d drift off to sleep. Never looking me in the eye, never holding my hand, never calling me by my name. Under cover of darkness I’d get dressed, slip quietly out to my car and drive home….ashamed…broken.

She prays one day she’ll find someone to need her
She swears that there’s no difference between the lies and compliments
It’s all the same if everybody leaves her

Oh, how I wanted more…dreamed of more…but I never felt worth it….never.

And one day, he moved on…someone cuter…funnier…whatever. That man who had no use for me dropped me like I was yesterday’s trash and moved on. I was devastated. I couldn’t even give myself away….

I sat in my car and cried.

—-

His snores bring me back out of tear filled memory.

Just his presence. His snoring….his breath…pulls on my heart.

This man who loves me…even when I feel unlovable…even when I’m hurt and broken and failing. Even when I haven’t showered or I’m not in the mood. Even when I lose my temper or am hormonal. Even when I admit who I was before…..

There are so many miles between me and the girl I was. I don’t miss her…or her life. Or her heartache.

I remember sitting in that car, like it was just a breath ago. I wanted everything to be different…anything to change.

I drank more. Cried more. And just wanted to give up.

And then grace whispered….in a little room under the eaves as late afternoon sunshine streamed through the window I felt a whisper of my worth….

Jesus

It took months, weeks, really maybe even years for me to believe that I could be loved….was worth loving. That even this amazing overwhelming love that I knew Jesus had for me felt more like obligation…I mean He’s God…doesn’t He have to love everyone???

Would anyone choose to love me? Fight for me…protect me…love me.

I’m not sure when my heart got it….really got that picture of my Jesus.. arms spread open wide on the cross….fighting for me….protecting me….choosing me….loving me.

I still struggle with it…and in all truth I’ll never fully understand it.

But I waited for someone to take me home…to love me…and He was already there waiting.

I was so that girl from that song….and I never believed that my life could change.

My life isn’t a Beautiful Disaster anymore….more like a beautiful (dog hair covered, toys on the floor, laundry piled up) mess. And sometimes I take it for granted…I’ve been doing that a lot lately.

Feeling put upon or like this isn’t what I wanted, and then this song blows a memory through my living room.

I’ve seen sayings on Pinterest and Facebook that say something like the things you take for granted, someone else is praying for. And then today, I realized the things I am taking for granted…I used to pray for…..

18 Nov

Don’t Pin This Image

men are idiots

Every time it pops up it drives me crazy.

Every. Time.

I want to stalk the pinner. Find out what board they pinned it on and what other things they pin.

Why did they pin it?

Do they get it?

{I don’t, for the record, I don’t stalk them…I don’t visit their boards…I do it all in my head…most of the time}

Did they pin it for the image or the link…cuz they are very different.

Very. Different.

The image:

men are idiots

The jist of the link (and the link):

All Men Are Idiots – basically my daughter and I saw this t-shirt on a family vacation. While I pondered what it meant and who would wear it made me think of how I treat my husband and how reading this would affect my daughter.

Every time the image gets pinned I wonder if the woman thinks the t-shirt is funny or if she heard my heart in the blog post. Heck, if she even read the blog post — so much of Pinterest is just for the images people seem to ignore the content.

No judgement here. I’ve laughed at (and likely pinned) things that people find inappropriate or rude. I’ve been in a place where I don’t see my husband for the leader and lover he is (and has the potential to become). But this one goes right to my heart…for our marriage…for  your marriage…for all the marraiges.

Cuz here’s the truth…your husband needs your respect.

More than a good job…more than a balanced checkbook…more than his car or a guy’s night out. Your man needs to KNOW you respect him. FEEL you respect him.

Because the world won’t give him that.

The world offers cars, boats, bikes…stuff. The world entices with cheap thrills that carry high price tags…porn, sex, drugs. The world will tell him how to be happy — watch any commercial break — stuff, thrills, meds, and more. And then in the very commercials they use to sell to us they will paint men as inept, whipped, helpless, and just plain stupid.

God’s plan. Ephesians 5…women RESPECT your husbands. Cuz ain’t nobody else gonna.

So here’s the challenge. Don’t wear the t-shirt…in real life or figuratively. Find out what respect looks like in your home…to your husband.

  • Say thank you…A LOT! Acknowledge what he does, how he does it, and why…A LOT!! To him, around him, in front of him…and yes, even behind his back…this is the only time I’ll tell you to speak behind your husband’s back!
  • Support his dreams — find out what they are, encourage him, help him chase them, believe in him
  • Pray for him — for his abilities as leader and provider, say thank you for him, ask God’s blessing upon, etc.
  • Listen. Not prepare what you are going to say while he is still talking kind of listening. I mean shut up, clear your head and hear him kinda listening. Repeat back to him what you heard…make sure you really heard him.
  • Follow. {Oh, don’t roll your eyes at me, yet!} I know this submission…this following thing is hard and painful…hello hot button issue…for women to take on. But try it. Talk to him, discuss life and decisions and then follow his lead. Trust him. Oooohhhh, yes…this thing of submission is more about you and your ability to trust God and your husband than it is about him.
  • Praise him to your children. Follow him in front of your children. Don’t demean him or argue with him in front of your children. Respect his leadership and teach them to respect him too.
  • Tell him what you need. Don’t leave him guessing or expect him to figure it out. Don’t wait around for him to do what you want only to be angry when he doesn’t do it. Talk to him. Communicate. It will do you both some good.

Oh, sweet sisters, the list could go on for days. Don’t like mine…make your own…don’t know what to do ask him. A great place to start on this journey to figuring out what t-shirt you wear in your marriage. Start with him…draw closer to him, by letting him know you want to give him respect.

{and btw, you will see a change in him. Men respond to respect, because it is what they need!!}

I truly believe we can change the world in the little things we do. And this is a HUGE little thing…changing the atmosphere of our home (to more closely reflect God’s pictures) has a ripple effect through every corner of our churches, our schools, and beyond.

So, friends, do me a favor…save me from stalking you on Pinterest. Don’t pin this image….unless you get why you shouldn’t….

04 Nov

Our Shabby Chic Love

wildflower love

It is nearly 5 p.m.  I am in sweats, I haven’t showered today and I smell like a combination of sweat and carpet cleaner.

Over the past few weeks I have battled with shingles followed by a cold/bug/system slowdown/thing, keeping me at arm’s length (if not more) from my husband.

And today is our anniversary.

As I try to guide the carpet cleaner over an area rug that slides and moves and flips over, he comes to my rescue. Planting his big ole boots on the corners of the rug my hunky hubby helps me finish this push to clean our home. And I begin to clean the rug he begins to dance. He shakes and gyrates as I clean and laugh. Then he jumps up, lands both feet back on the corners and gives me a view of the same dance from his backside.

I love him.

I think back over our nine years. We were one of those newlywed couples, the ones that always wanted to be together, to somehow be touching…close. I don’t think we were too smoochy in public, although in all truth I can’t remember because somehow I only had eyes for the green-eyed boy I married. I remember spending hours getting ready for our anniversary date…working hard to look good for him.

And I wonder, for a brief moment is romance dead? Did I kill it? Shouldn’t I be showering, makeuping, trying on half my closet only to put on the first thing I picked??

But, then there is this man gyrating in the entry way and I laugh. And I know. Romance isn’t dead….its different….it is intimate and just ours.

As newlyweds we lived our love out loud and in front of everyone. Smooching. Holding hands. Cute. Cuddly. Sickening. (he, he) It was sweet, this blossoming marriage. Our days were filled with each other….because that is all we had.

Then came children, more furniture, a bigger house, more land, church commitments, serving, homeschooling, and so much more. And what was cute and cuddly was tested through postpartum depression; sick kids at 3 a.m.; the death of loved ones; lean months and rough patches.

A few years ago I lamented over the loss of that newlywed stage. Saddened that we just weren’t those two people anymore. I focused on what I thought was lost, not on what we had found.

We found what love looks like when it is refined by the fires of life. That at 3 a.m. we are like a Seal team — silent and on task we combat sick kids, huge messes, and nasty things quickly. That death comes, to us all, and there is no other place to lean but on each other when our hearts hurt. That money will be tight, nerves will be stretched and plucked and life is hard.

I’ll always adore the time we had together when our love was new and shiny. Before life began to “distress” it (think shabby chic here!) a little. I’ve learned that romance isn’t dead…it just isn’t shiny or store-bought anymore. Like these wildflowers (weeds maybe?!?!?) that my hunky hubby put on the breakfast table a couple of months back….our romance is simple, intimate and just for us.

wildflower love

 

Some women may not be moved by little things like chalkboard expressions of love and vases of wildflowers, but I was…am.

Some women may not be moved to laughter and overwhelmed with love at this rug-cleaning Magic Mike moment, but I was…am.

And that’s what I mean.

In the nine years we’ve been married we both have more grey hair, a few more wrinkles (mostly laugh lines!), we have both grown a bit around the mid-section, but we’ve also grown into our love.

I never thought I would get married or be a mother, and I am so thankful that God’s plans weren’t my thoughts. I am blessed beyond measure to be the wife of a man who takes life as it comes, seeks God, laughs heartily and loves whole-heartedly. Here’s to another 60 years, hubby….now I think there are more rugs to be cleaned.

28 Nov

A Tradition We Happened Upon

puffins

It was just the two of us…so in love that the rest of the world just faded away.

Him and me. That green-eyed boy who made me his wife.

 

Our honeymoon was an amazing, extravagant cruise around the southern Caribbean.

We wanted something to remember the trip by…each island…each excursion…each time he introduced me as his wife…each place we celebrated this gift of marriage. We found a Christmas ornament on the first island we visited and thus a tradition began. At each island on our trip we found a Christmas ornament that said where we’d been. They were the beautiful highlight of our sparsely decorated tree that year.

 

Reminders of that trip for years to come….

We do it (or try) on every trip we take now. A Christmas ornament to hang on the tree, something that whispers of trips and love, memories and laughter. And this year, as our kids excitedly yanked each ornament from the bins we heard the “ooh”, the “aw”, the “remember”!! The memories began coming to life and played across the screen of our Christmas decked memories.

Princesses and Pirates….and a magical family trip.

 

The trip to Louisiana that was a walk through family history.

The last trip to a family vacation spot before illness and time changed our family landscape.

 

 

 

There are dozens more ornaments from all over…trips where we forgot suitcases, grieved for loved ones, and enjoyed the scenery. Trips that filled photo albums and family stories. And as each year passes and the Christmas tree bears more and more memories can you imagine the stories, the time…the love? That our yesterdays will decorate our tomorrows is a gift I didn’t know to ask for, to plan for, to give or to receive.

Tonight, as I sit in the glow of the Christmas tree and remember all the moments, all trips, all the Christmas, all the love that shines  into my life I’m sure I will be overwhelmed by it all. Gloriously, gracefully, happily overwhelmed by a tradition we happened upon.

05 Nov

Who is Flirting with Your Man?

anniversary

I watched her tilt her head slightly as she talked to him. She leaned in against the counter, head tilted, laughing a little when she spoke.

She was flirting. With him.

WITH HIM. Him…my husband…she was flirting with him.

I  grew to the size of the Hulk…big, imposing, angry…a force to be reckoned with. {in my head} Outwardly, I stood close by watching, trying my best not to snarl or let on that I was one head tilt away from needing bail money.

And somewhere deep within me a whisper pricks my heart, makes my soul ache. Are you mad cuz she’s flirting or mad because you don’t flirt with him like that anymore?

He never flirts back with her. In fact, he says later he didn’t notice her flirting, and that should be enough to make my wretched, jealous inner witch stand down, but it’s not. I am irritated and wound up, and the more I dwell on it, the more I wonder why I am upset. Why is this nameless girl in some random restaurant {who my husband didn’t notice} causing me to lose it?

That voice somewhere in me really is at the core of what’s bothering me…do I flirt with my husband?

I think fondly back to dating, engagement, and newlywed moments. Times before kids, ministry, bills, family struggles, and life put space between us. Stolen kisses on the way to the car; holding hands across the center console; secret winks and glances across crowded rooms; being excited when he walked in the room; emails sent full of flirtations and plans; late night calls that whisper “I am home, I miss you;” being introduced as “Mrs.” and “my wife” made me giddy and proud.

Love blossomed under showers of flirtations, discovery, interest and chemistry. Electric moments punctuated the every day sentences of our life — his hand on the small of back, kisses under the mistletoe in our kitchen, a hug that lingers in the moonlight.

Perhaps this nameless girl awakened something in me…the drive to be the one that flirts with my man. Do you flirt with your husband?

So here is the mission {should you choose to accept it}: flirt with your husband. Find little ways, every day, to turn his head…make him feel sexy and loved…be the woman who surprises him…the one he doesn’t want to take his eyes off…reassure him that he’s attractive, he’s wanted, he’s important to you…

…play footsie at dinner…

…catch his eye from across the room…hold his gaze…

…walk him to the door and kiss him {like you mean it} before he heads out the door in the morning…

…text him — thoughts, plans, what you are wearing….

…steal kisses…

 

…hold his hand in the car…

…touch his arm while he’s talking to you…

…stand closer, lean into him, linger…

…hang mistletoe someplace unexpected {hey Christmas is coming!} and hijack him…

…wear that shirt he likes on you, or those knickers, and make sure he knows you have them on…

…leave love notes on the mirror, on sticky notes around the house, in his shoes, on his steering wheel…

…flirt on Facebook or other social media…

…offer him a back rub or foot rub…

…greet him with his fav dinner dressed in something skimpy…

…be interested in what he’s interested in…

…do things to make him laugh…

 

So you get the point. I’m sure there are a million ways to flirt. So get to it…I am. Tonight, in mere minutes actually, we are headed out for date night. I will flirt with this green eyed boy who stole my heart. Not because some woman did, but because I have been given the amazing blessing of calling him husband and I want him to know he is loved, adored, attractive, needed and wanted.

I’ve heard it said before, and I’m sure they are right, if you aren’t paying attention to your man someone else will. And so my question is, who is flirting with your man?

24 Oct

We Were Made to Fit Together

wedding kiss

When he wraps me in his arms we are a perfect fit. My ear rests over his heart…I can hear it beat for me.

We were made for each other this hunky man and me.

Eight years ago {yesterday, technically} I stood and looked in green eyes that sparkled with love and a promise of his forever. I became his wife. He became my husband.

Two became one. Two woven together with the One became a cord of three.

Two are better than one,
    because they have a good return for their labor:
 If either of them falls down,
    one can help the other up.
But pity anyone who falls
    and has no one to help them up.
Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm.
    But how can one keep warm alone?
Though one may be overpowered,
    two can defend themselves.
A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.

Ecclesiastes 4:9-12

I had no idea when those words were read at our ceremony how true they were….how life and time would become object lessons….how God made  us to fit together in Him.

Two are better than one,
    because they have a good return for their labor

Oh how the work of life gets easier when we work together side-by-side, Jesus between us. Housework, ministry, parenting, gardening and life they aren’t so heavy when we carry it together. When we laugh and flirt our way through the everydayness of life. The good return for our labor is accomplishment, love, fun and glory for God!

If either of them falls down,  one can help the other up

Life has a way of knocking  you down, doesn’t it? Prayers offered in the depths of postpartum depression. Comfort food fixed for dinner when work is tough. A united front in parenting. Hands held over the death-bed of a loved one. When we seek to love each other and serve each other in the midst of this messy world we lift each other up.

But pity anyone who falls
    and has no one to help them up

For God made us to fit together in Him…when we step outside of Him our pride, sin and life get between us. When we are blinded to glory of God, we fail to help each other up. When the sun sets on arguments or doors are slammed on apologies. It is a moment to be pitied.

Oh, but the sweetness of grace! The warmth of an embrace when forgiveness has been offered. The reminders of how we are meant to be together when God steps in and settles the dust.

Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm.
    But how can one keep warm alone?

There is such security in knowing that I am his forever. That his love is bigger than whatever the scale says, deeper than my struggles and is rooted in the One who created him for me. Even as he snores and sleeps with his feet on his pillow there is warmth there. Because there is security there. A love secure in God.

Though one may be overpowered,
    two can defend themselves.
A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.

Alone, I struggle. With my husband we find shelter in God…defend ourselves back-to-back against the world and all it throws at us. And in God…it is right…we were made to fit together in Him. A perfect fit, him and me.

Marriage is God’s plan and it doesn’t get better than when we live out God’s plan for our lives.

As you read this today, we are off celebrating the day God started our family. We are on a family road trip, hotels, pools, dinner out, Jonah at the Sight and Sound theater. I know he will look my way and wink or place his hand on the small of my back. Little signals of I love you. His green eyes will give me butterflies. His smile will make my heart flutter. There will be a card with words that cut straight to my heart. There will be holding hands, flirting and stolen kisses. And prayers of thanks for eight years of love and 63 more of this fitting together in our God.

Happy Anniversary, my hunky hubby. Thank you for making me your wife. I thank God for your love, protection, provision, laughter and heart. You are my biggest blessing.

26 Sep

We Love You and We are Armed

note 2

Hiding in the bushes, gun laying next to me, camera around my neck I had no idea how the next few minutes would turn out.

Children laying in the bushes and in the car. My brother strategically hidden next to the garage.

We were ready.

Would he be surprised? Would he have fun?

As my hunky hubby backed down the driveway I saw the door open on our van. One foot barely out of the car, hubby was barely home and there was a small child firing a Nerf gun at him screaming “happy birthday!”

Small child running off, my husband quickly made his way to the table on the front walk. Slapped on a birthday hat and picked up his gun. The look on his face told me he was surprised, and he was ready to play.

Over the next hour, our family shot at each other, screamed, laughed and played.

Somewhere in the midst of the “warfare” as I watched my husband run after our children and all of them laughing I began to think of all we have to be thankful for as we celebrate his birthday this year. A father that plays, prays, snuggles, leads, guides, protects, provides and loves fiercely! A husband that pauses in the midst of shooting at his wife to kiss her and say thank you. A husband supports and loves unconditionally.

What better way to say we love you than to shoot at him?? (oh, and, build memories, laugh and have pictures to speak the volumes of fun we had)

Today is my husband’s birthday. We will have birthday dinner, presents and more traditional ways of celebrating. But I think a new family tradition may have been started (we are all talking about just doing it now and then…oh and how much of a marriage workshop it could be!!). The gift of laughter is what I gave my husband this year. Joy.

Father, thank you for the man you made, for the roads he walked in the years before we met. Thank you for his sense of humor, his loyalty, his work ethic and drive to provide for our family. Today, though, more than anything I thank you for the chance to love this amazing man of God you made and a day to celebrate what he means to all of us. Amen.

29 Aug

What is Your Proudest Accomplishment?

Wedding 2

My husband’s arm around me, I sat consumed by grief.

My father was speaking. Recounting tales of my grandfather’s life. And while I strained to listen, to hear. To follow along and agree. My heart was twisting and turning inside my chest. The overwhelming tide of grief left me breathless and aching.

Yet, a sentence burrowed its way into my heart. Into my brain. Nearly a week later it seems to echo in my mind.

“Perhaps my father’s proudest accomplishment was marrying my mother.” I knew the moment he spoke the words there was great truth there. And a week later, the more I remember of my grandparents — of their life, love and marriage. The more I know my dad was right.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My grandfather took his roles of business man, provider, father, grandfather, and great-grandfather seriously. He worked hard and loved well. But nothing compared to his love for my grandmother. They would flirt, hold hands, laugh, and were utterly dependent on each other — even as her memory failed and their bodies weakened. He was her protector, her lover, her confidant, her comforter, her husband. Her Paul.

And this year as we said goodbye to my grandparents. My husband’s arms were always there to comfort me, to hold me. He dried my tears, kissed me tenderly, and whispered gently when grief robbed me of smiles and joy. He made me laugh. Brought me chocolate. He loved me…loves me…well.

The other day, hunky hubby and I were discussing my grandfather’s proudest accomplishment. And that green-eyed boy, flashed his sweet smile at me and said, “I know how he feels. You are the best thing I’ve ever done, babe.” Breathless. Eyes full of tears. I grabbed his hand. Oooh…he loves me well.

Not take away from the crazy romantic things my man tells me, but…shouldn’t we all feel that way. Shouldn’t the closest relationship God blesses us with on earth define who we are. And in that definition shouldn’t it become the thing we are most proud of in this life? Not that our marriages should usurp God’s role in our life {or how that changes and defines us}, but rather through our relationship with Christ it should be at the top of the list. When we describe ourselves {either in word or in deed and how our life is lived} shouldn’t the list read, (1) Christ, (2) Wife to hunky hubby…and on down the plethora of things and relationships we claim?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

{OOH, that I might always wear that look about marriage and his promise of forever!!}

 

When we value something, take pride in something, cherish something…it is easy for the world to see. Isn’t it? We slap bumper stickers on our cars; we update our statuses; we text, tweet, talk; we share it in ink on our skin and letters on our t-shirts; we buy tickets, watch it on tv, and listen in the car. We live, breath, and blab it. How many of those words…those moments are devoted to building up your spouse, to praising the good, to being honest in the hard stuff, in pursuit of loving well?

I’m not great at it. This making sure the world knows…that my husband knows…there is nothing more important than our marriage and our love in Christ. But I am trying. And in honor of my grandparents reunion in the heavenlies I have redoubled my efforts.

My efforts to live like my hunky hubby is the best thing I’ve got…cuz he is. {I’ve even dedicated a board on Pinterest to reminders of our love, dreams for us, and ideas for how to love him better…how’s that for l-o-v-e! 🙂 } In all sincerity, I will try harder to pray for him (and our marriage); to respect him in word and deed (no more complaining or eyerolling…in his presence or out of it); to meet his needs first; to laugh at his corny jokes (remember, no eyerolling); to honor him in front of our children; and to hold his hand whenever he’s in arm’s length.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Because one day our children will stand at our funeral {hunky hubby has informed me we will die peacefully in our sleep the same night so we don’t have to face life without each other…I know, “awwww” right??} and they will reflect on our lives. It is my hope, my prayer, that it will be said…they loved Jesus and boy did they love each other.

That my friends, will be a life well lived.

 

01 Jun

How to Make it from Day 1 to Day 23,044

ring

It is just an inscription.

Words etched in a ring for day number one.

If you don’t know the story, don’t know the numbers, don’t know the love…

…they are just words.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Staring at my green-eyed boy moments away from “I do” and “kiss your bride”, I thought there would never be love deeper than that moment.

Little did I know, that this was the beginning…the beginning…not the depth of love but the shallows.

That sickness and health and for richer and poorer, would mean wading in. Ultrasounds and c-sections. Drama and deaths. That everyday moments and late night giggles would make our love deeper, stronger…real.

That life would draw love into real light and real difficulties.

That Jesus will be what glues us together when the kids are sick, when the money’s tight, when the calendar is too full, and life is tough.

Standing there I was overwhelmed by roses and dresses, rings and vows, love and future.

I never envisioned myself a bride, a wife, a mother, a partner. Standing there a princess bride staring at my sweet, green-eyed prince I could not see our future or know what love what grow into, the truth of our vows (and the testing they would go through), or that day one was not the peak… merely the foothills.

As I dig through the jewelry box full of old suitcase keys, brooches and clip-on earrings, flashes of my Grandmother dance across my memory.

Then tucked under the flap a glint of gold makes my heart skip a beat….

My grandfather’s wedding band.

“Esther to Paul always 3-19-49”

Engraved with her pledge…always.

63 years they had together.

Her pledge of always…on day one.

I’ve begun wearing the ring on my right hand. A reminder of my grandmother, a Proverbs 31 woman. A reminder of her words in her autobiography about how they made it from day one to day 23,044. “One thing I know for sure is that Paul and I tried to laugh our way through troubles and we prayed our way through emergencies. We learned that helping others it the best way to be happy yourself.”

That’s it, isn’t it? The secret to 23,044 days full of the everdayness of life…prayer, laughter, service….love and Jesus.

This ring, now more than symbol of their years but a daily reminder for me…of the woman I can be in Christ. My grandmother loved Jesus. And she loved my Grandfather. And through Jesus she was a devoted wife, even after her memory was gone and she’d forgotten all of us she still remember him. Her love. Her Paul.

Some day, Lord willing, my hunky hubby and I will have thousands of days behind us. We will have years of love, parenting, and life and Jesus between us. I pray that we still have a spark…like my Grandfather (even into his 80’s) hollering “woo-woo” when my Grandmother would flirt with him. I pray that our lives will be filled with laughter and comfortable silences, memories and plans.

But I pray, more than anything, that the story of our life will point to our Jesus and our dedication to the love He has blessed us with.

This much I know…

…day one was amazing (although mostly a blur)…

…day 2769 finds us more in love with each other and the God who knit our hearts together…

…and we will be blessed to love each other one day at a time.

 

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