Saturday, May 2, 2015

Jared's Heart

When I remove the external factors and I dig and sift, cutting through the bramble that covers my secrets, I find My Greatest Fear for my children. My greatest fear for them is that they would ever question my love for them. I want it so ingrained that they feel it in their bones; that the very idea of ever wondering if their mother loves them is preposterous. In the months following Jared's birth I kept hearing, If only you'd loved him more. Things could have been different. I felt such guilt over what happened in the hospital and then, in a nice Catch 22, I continued to feel even more guilt over my postpartum depression. I was depressed about being depressed. It took several years for me to pull myself completely out of the lies that were replaying in my head. In the reality, I got out of my hospital bed, rubbery legs from the epidural, and I walked across the room to get him. Because nobody was taking my baby from me. In reality, I cried for him while he was in the transition nursery and went every 10 minutes to check on him until he was in my arms. In reality, I decided to never again take pain medication during birth because I never again want to hear the words, "You can't come here to him. You've had the epidural." In reality, I love(d) him fiercely. 

But the moments of early birth can shape you as a mother and I always wondered how Jared would be one day. My little Jared is 5 1/2 years old now and the kindest one out of all of us. 

We went to an Easter Egg Scramble a week before Easter Sunday. The children were separated by their ages, with the youngest going first. That meant that Isaac had to stand on the sidewalk while his siblings all had their turns. I worried for him and his patience, but he did very well. When it was his turn to go, Jared started pumping his fist in the air, shouting, "Go Isaac! Go Isaac!" Grayson started doing the same thing. Then Jared ran over to Isaac. I was worried he was going to start picking up eggs. But Jared is a Rule Follower and that was never on his mind. Instead, he leaned down to Isaac and said, "You're doing great, Isaac! Good job!" 

I have a theory that Satan's primary goal and objective is to ruin relationships. If he can ruin your earthly relationships, then maybe he can ruin your relationship with God in the process. I have another theory that Satan strikes hardest against those he feels the biggest threat from. I believe that's why he attacked my mother so viciously over the years. And I believe that's why I heard those lies so strongly following Jared's birth. Jared's heart is so big that I think Satan could feel the love from him the moment he was born. Jared, the one who sings Twinkle Twinkle to Katie as he walks backward from her bed at night. He times it just right so he closes the door right at the end of the song. He is the one who offers suggestions to his hurting brothers when they are sad. He is the one who wants to make sure everyone is in the van before we leave. I am so so grateful that God blessed Jared with his huge heart. He was able to overcome that first year and show me that God is always bigger. I feared that my lack of connection with him that first year would shape him in a negative way and may possibly influence our relationship forever. But again, those are the lies of Satan. And he does not have control of my son's heart. He wants it, though. He thought he could damage it. But all he did was prove to me how great our God is. Because God took my smallest son and gave him the biggest heart. 

I no longer fear for Jared and his future. My prayers now are simply that God continue to grow his heart and I know he will do great things with his love. 







Monday, January 26, 2015

Salvation

One of the biggest difficulties I have as a Christian is sharing my faith with nonbelievers. I know I'm supposed to. I know that bringing people to Christ is really the biggest, most important thing we can do in our lives. But I just can't do it. I can't do it because I understand. I was there. I was a nonbeliever for several years of my life and I get it. I wasn't brought back to my faith through anyone's testimony. I was brought back to faith because I was at rock bottom and it was Jesus who pulled me out. The life that has followed that prayer continues to be full of valleys and mountains and sticky suffocating mud. But through each season, God is incredibly present. But His presence in MY life doesn't fix the hurt and questions in someone else's life. And I get that. So I tend to stay quiet. Fighting my own vices and battles and sins. Hoping that Good peaks out when it should. 

And then I had kids. The panic of raising Warriors for God is overwhelming at times. I asked Christ into my life at 6 years old. Not because I truly understood what I was asking, but because I went to a Baptist Church that gave you a toy when you walked down that aisle to kneel. My friend got a toy. It looked awesome and by golly, I wanted one too. It wasn't until I was 25 and praying at that stop light that I truly asked God into my life. That I understood I wasn't asking some white haired ghostly figure into my "heart," but rather I was asking Jesus Christ, the One who loves me more than anyone else, the One who created me in my mother's womb, the One who knows my beginning, middle and end, the One who never turned against me even when I pushed him away- I was asking Him into my LIFE. To walk with me each day. To show me a new path. To guide me and help me. I was asking for a new difficult life, but one I wouldn't need to walk alone. 

But that initial experience when I was 6 and the questions and doubts I had growing up led me to stay quiet in regards to Salvation in my home. We pray. We read the Bible. We go to church. I certainly want them to ask Christ into their lives, but I didn't want it to be for the wrong reasons and I had my doubts that it's something a child truly understands. 

So tonight Isaac brought me his Action Bible to read at bedtime. I told him he could choose a PART of the Bible and I would be happy to read it. He chose Revelations. So I read it to him and at the end there was a part about Jesus knocking on your door and asking you to let him in. He said, "Yeah, but no one's knocked on our door!" And then the words came. The words I was so scared would never come to me. The words I didn't have before. They were there. And I was reminded of a verse I read earlier this week in Matthew. Jesus was speaking to the disciples and said to them: 19 But when they arrest you, do not worry about what to say or how to say it. At that time you will be given what to say, 20 for it will not be you speaking, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you. I told Isaac how God created him and has a very special plan just for him. I explained that God wants a relationship with him. That God wants him to turn to Him when he's sad or angry or scared and He wants to know everything going on in his life. I told him how, when you have a relationship with God, you have a desire to know Him more and to learn more about all that He's done. But you have to ask him into your life. He's knocking, but it's up to you to answer. Isaac said, "Yeah, but one time I prayed to God to give me a lab." I explained that asking God into your life doesn't mean you get what YOU want. It means you get what GOD wants. I told him that God's plan is always bigger and better than our own. I told him that I was planning on getting married, having 1 child and being a teacher forever. But instead I got to have Jared and Grayson and Katie too! Now I work from home so I can be with them more. God's plan was bigger and so much better. I told him that God may decide that a lab is something he is meant to have later. He may decide that he's not supposed to have a lab because he's going to have something better instead. We don't know. All we know is that God wants what is best to glorify Him. Always. 

We left it at that and I read a Christmas book someone else had chosen. Then it was bedtime and Isaac started his prayers his usual way. But then he said, "And God, please come in my heart and into my life. Help me to be brave and not scared." He said something else but I was crying. Because there are no toys. There are no promises. There's just a young boy who heard God knocking and he decided to open the door. I am forever grateful to my Heavenly Father for showing me again and again that all things are possible through Him. I am forever grateful that He can work past my own doubts and fears and insecurities to grab hold of the heart he desires. I have no doubts that my other 3 children will hear the knocking of Christ when it is their time. I am so incredibly grateful that God's plan is bigger and so much better than my own. 



Ephesians 1:3-13
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will— to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that he lavished on us. With all wisdom and understanding, he made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, 10 to be put into effect when the times reach their fulfillment—to bring unity to all things in heaven and on earth under Christ.
11 In him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will, 12 in order that we, who were the first to put our hope in Christ, might be for the praise of his glory. 13 And you also were included in Christ when you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation. When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, 14 who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession—to the praise of his glory.


Sunday, December 21, 2014

'Tis the Season

I'm not a giving person. I have the best of intentions, but the worst follow-through. My closest friends tend to be givers and I find myself studying their actions to find out how they do it. They never seem to ask people if they need help- they simple know how to help them and they do it. I could give lots of excuses as to why I don't do that, but at the end of the day, I simply Don't.

Several years ago when we had one child (maybe 2?) I read an article in a parenting magazine by a mom of 2 boys. I don't recall all of the details- but her two boys told her they didn't want Christmas presents that year. Rather, they wanted to raise money to give to one of the third world organizations to provide families with goats and food and housing. I remember reading that and thinking, "THAT! That's what I want MY kids to be like."

Larry and I have talked about what we want our kids to be like when they grow up. We have a list of important character attributes and accomplishments we want for them. At the top of that list is: Servants. We want our children to be warriors of Christ and to demonstrate Jesus' servitude toward others. We want them to be giving, generous, loving. We want them to know how much God loves them, and we want them to show that love to the people and the world around them. We don't know the careers or avenues that they will have as adults, but we do know that we want them to display those characteristics in whatever place they are.

Basically, I want them to be everything I am not.

It's the struggle of every parent. I remember watching an Oprah episode years before I became a Mom about parents who gave their children ALL THE TOYS because they had nothing growing up. So they worked hard and now they make a lot of money and so they lavish their children with anything and everything they want. And oh how I judged them. But the reality is, my children ended up with a Mom who wanted to join the Peace Corps and didn't. So now they have a Mom who wants them to be un-materialistic and giving. Which is probably why I have children who refuse to believe that Santa is not real because (and yes, these are direct quotes): "Christmas is a season of being nice to others and getting presents! Yep. You get presents because you are nice! Santa brings us presents!" Which really, I have to laugh at. Our children (and I say "our" in a collective, universal sense) challenge us in every way, right? Our children are not born to us knowing the mistakes we've made, ready to do better. Rather, our children are born pretty much just like us. The good, the bad, all of it. And then the struggle comes. Because it's not our job to ensure that they don't make our mistakes. It's our job to continue to work toward our own goals in life that God has for us, while helping them discover the goals God has for for their lives. It's difficult.

As this year has gone by and as I reflect I have come to realize, that I am not even close to raising boys who want to give their presents away at Christmas. And I'm not saying that's what God wants for them. But I do have to examine why my children do not even see that as a possibility. I have to examine why my children are materialistic. I have to examine why my children tend to be selfish. Mostly? It's because they're little kids and that's all natural and normal. But you know what I else I realized? They never see it.

My children don't know what it means to be giving. They don't know there are people out there who are hurting and struggling. They don't know there are kids with cancer or families struggling to find food each day. They don't know because I've never told them and I've never shown them. Because, as I mentioned earlier, I have the best of intentions, but I am not a giving person.

Once I made that realization I began to make some immediate changes. I realized that I don't know what God is calling my children to do. But I do know what he's calling me to do. He's calling me to be a servant. He's calling me to show love and generosity and kindness to strangers and people I love. He's been calling me to do those things since I was a little girl. But I always found ways to simply not follow through. And I'm never going to be perfect. There's going to be missed opportunities. There's going to be excuses. But I at least have to start. Because Jesus came and he did some pretty incredible things. And he was not selfish. He did not tell the leper, "I will pray for you" and then walk away. He healed. I cannot heal ailments. I cannot fix poverty or cancer or divorce. But I can pray and then do something more to help a friend. I can pray for a family and then find a group of friends who can help give presents to that family. I can do small things. Why? Because God has done huge things for me. He has moved mountains and calmed raging seas for me. He has sent his son to be born to save me. To ensure that I am forgiven and can receive eternal life. And the very least I can do is be a servant and pay his love forward.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Marriage Advice Tip 3: Keep Dating!

This should actually be Tip 2.5 since I wasn't originally going to write about this. However, recent conversations with friends has shown me that this is more important than I realized.

People, you've got to keep dating your spouse. You must be intentional about this. The husband and I really do enjoy hanging out together, so going on dates was easy for us. However, when we had our fourth child we realized we HAD to continue dating. It could no longer be a choice. Each month we set a date on the calendar and we go on a date. It's a No Matter What on our calendar. The busier you become in your life, the more dire the need to date your spouse becomes. You have to set time to be together. To be adults. To be you.

The husband and I discuss our date nights so we can plan them in advance. The night goes on a calendar and we get a babysitter. Oftentimes, there are special events going on and we can arrange our date around that night. Other times, we find a free night and we keep it free.

Except for those emergencies like when your 2 year old swallows a battery and you have to end your date early to take him to the ER (true story), there are few things more important than the time with your spouse. Honor it.

Think about it this way: You and your spouse are going to hit hard times. Seriously hard. If you do not invest in your spouse and in growing your relationship, what do you think will happen when the bad times hit? You will be fighting your husband. The husband and I are in bad times right now. But those bad times are not affecting our relationship because we have been investing in one another. During these times I know I am going through them with my best friend. We are not blaming each other. We are not fighting. We are united and that is because we are intentional and deliberate in growing our marriage.

If you live in Atlanta, you are so incredibly lucky. There are SO many great date ideas. I am pretty sure the last dinner/movie date night we had was to see The Hunger Games and we ate at Longhorn, where we had our first date. We usually go do something different each month. Often, finances play a big role in how elaborate our date is. I've collected what I think is a very extensive list, though certainly not exhaustive. If you are not local, hopefully these ideas will help you think of other ideas in your town. A great tip: Google "Events in ______ on June 14." Remember, have fun!

Fun Dates Improv in the Park- This is on the first Wednesday of every month in Atlantic Station and it's FREE! http://wholeworldtheatre.com/improv-in-the-park-is-back/

Aquarium spend the night- Did you know you could spend the night at the Georgia Aquarium? How cool is that?! They have Family ones, and then they have Adults Only. There are only a few a year, so this is something to prepare for in advance and get your tickets early! http://www.georgiaaquarium.org/explore-the-aquarium/events-and-programs/sleepovers.aspx

Brew at the Zoo This only takes place once a year, but the zoo has other Adult nights that are lots of fun! http://www.zooatlanta.org/home/events/brew_entertainment#ff_s=aHgsy

Sometimes, you need to be creative with your time. Don't have any? No worries! You can have the sitter come over after the kids go to bed, and just go out for an hour for dessert. My favorite dessert places are Menchies (get ALL the things you want!) and Ghiredelli. Not much more decadent than that! Also, think about breakfast as an option. Head over to J Christopher's or Waffle House. If you work outside of the home, see if you can get someone to watch the kids during lunch and meet him for a lunch date. Dates do not have to be at a certain time of day- they just have to include you and your spouse!

Test drive cars- This is another freebie that is actually quite fun. Don't test drive a van!! Test drive some BMWs or that convertible you hope to get one day. One of our favorite date nights was when I surprised Larry by taking him to the Ferrari dealership. He loved it and I had a lot more fun than I had expected!

Sporting Events- We have some great teams in Atlanta! Try something different when you go to a game- did you know the Braves have All You Can Eat seats? They are amazing and gluttonness and beautiful ;) http://atlanta.braves.mlb.com/atl/ticketing/ayce.jsp

Go old school and try mini golf or bowling. It's still just as fun now as it was always was!

Brewery- Atlanta has some really cool breweries. We just went to Monday Night Brewing and had a great time! http://mondaynightbrewing.com

Concerts This link has a lot of concerts (and other things) in Atlanta listed http://www.atlantaplanit.com/outandabout/

Six Flags- Leave the kiddos at home and just go by yourself for a few hours! 

Romantic Dates
First date- Replay your first date and go to the same places you went way back then. It will bring up some fun conversations as it will spark memories about getting ready, your first impressions, and your thoughts the first time you had a date with your spouse. 

Skyview This is new and super cool! I can't wait to go- it's a ferris wheel in Centennial Park. http://www.skyviewatlanta.com

Five Star Restaurants One thing is for sure, there are some good places to eat in Atlanta! You can google "Five Star Restaurants Atlanta" but I would just recommend asking some friends to let you know of some amazing places to eat. You will get LOTS of ideas! We've eaten at some of our favorite places after suggestions from friends!

Sundial When talking about great date-night restaurants in Atlanta, this is my favorite. The top floor of The Westin hotel actually turns while you eat, giving you a 360 view of Atlanta and beyond. We did one overnight date in Atlanta and ate here, then had a hotel room and went to the Aquarium together the next day. It was a lot of fun!

The Fox is always such a grand place to go on a date http://foxtheatre.org

Fernbank Science Museum has Adult Nights including Martinis and IMAX http://www.fernbankmuseum.org/visit-fernbank/events-activities/

Movies in Central Park- This takes place in Atlantic Station and the next one is tomorrow! Get a babysitter! (But they have them throughout the summer.) http://atlanticstation.com/events/?event_id=100013536

Still having a hard time? Worried about what you will say to each other? Download some Great Date Experiences. They will send you on an adventure, they have different $ options for you to choose from, and they really are fun!
http://marriedlifeonline.com/greatdate/

If you have kids, it can be stressful (and expensive) to set up a date night. But it's worth it. When Larry and I were planning our overnight visit in Atlanta, I was worried that maybe we shouldn't do it. A wise friend said: "Yes, it's going to be expensive. But it's cheaper than a divorce! GO!!" Our monthly date nights, some expensive, some cheap, are all investments. We are investing our time and our money into our marriage. My 5 year old asked me a few days ago: "Mommy, when are you and Daddy going on a date?" I told him we were going on a trip this month and we have a date planned then. "Oh, OK. When you get married you go on dates!" 

Yes, son, that's right!!

We have our picture taken at each of our date nights. Since this year we are committed to one date night a month, I'm hoping to make a cute little photo book of our date nights at the end of the year! 


Sunday, May 25, 2014

Marriage Advice: Tips 1 and 2

Tip 1: Listen!

Yes, yes, it's important to listen to your spouse, but that's actually not my first tip. Listen to ALL THE PEOPLE  is actually what I mean. Everyone loves to gives advice on everything. Thanks to Facebook and other social media, we are slammed with pieces of advice all day long. (And yes, I'm guilty of doing some of the slamming. I'm working on it. But first, listen to my marriage advice.) The difference about marriage advice, is that I have found the majority of it to actually be helpful and applicable!

When Larry and I got married, we didn't have a list of elders we could turn to in order to ask the infamous: How have you stayed married for so long? question. He actually does have some grandparents on his side of the family who have stayed married, but there were none on mine. That doesn't mean we didn't have advice! Divorce (I've been told by divorced people) is extremely painful, whether you are happy to be divorced or not. I've heard it compared to a death and you tend to go through the same grief process. People who have been divorced don't want to see their loved ones "make the same mistake." All of the pieces of advice I have for this blog series came from other people- some married, some divorced, some single. But all of the people have loved us and none of them want to see us divorced. Think about the important people in your life- if they are married, ask them for their favorite pieces of advice on marriage. If they are divorced, find out why they got divorced and more importantly, how do they intend to prevent that same thing from happening in the future? Go ahead and apply the prevention tip now before it becomes an issue.

Tip 2: Pray, pray, pray
Have you ever heard the phrase: The couple who prays together stays together? Well it's actually true.  My pastor, Andy Stanley, recently did a message on this. He reported that the divorce rate among couples who pray together is about 1 in 10,000. Around the time of that sermon I saw something somewhere (which is very reliable, I know) about a couple and they would randomly pray together. As soon as something came up and they had an important discussion about to take place or they were in a fight, they would simply stop and pray. You can imagine the results. In my opinion, praying with your spouse is not just about asking God for help in a time of need, though that is important. When you pray, you you are reminding your spouse and yourself that you are working toward something much greater than yourselves. It can be so easy to get wrapped up in our own selfish desires. But when you stop and pray, it really can help clear your head and focus you.

Larry and I were terrible about praying together in the beginning. I was very shy about praying and always asked him to do it. I began to loosen up and become more comfortable, but I still wouldn't say we prayed together often. Today we don't pray together as often as I would like. I still want us to do a daily devotion together. But we are definitely praying together more often. 

Not too long ago, Larry and I were in a fight. It snuck up on us. We weren't mad at each other, but a discussion revealed that we stood on different sides of a very important issue. We stayed calm and simply talked, but eventually, hurtful things were said. I walked away for a bit, then came back and said, "I have three things to say and then I'm done with this conversation." Blah blah blah I said my 3 things and Larry didn't say a word. I'll admit, though I don't remember what I said, I do recall the feeling I had after I finished talking. I felt awful. I knew I was manipulative in some of the things I said. He looked at me and said, "OK. You said your 3 things. Now you have to listen to me." My heart sank. I didn't want to hear anything he had to say. I didn't want him to hurt me the way I was sure I had just hurt him. I found myself thinking, "Please, just say you love me. Say you love me even though I was just ugly toward you." He didn't say he loved me. Instead he looked at me and said, "We need to pray." Can we all just agree, Husband of the Year goes to the husband?? I breathed a sigh of relief and we prayed. Praying together did not make our issue go away, but it did remind us that this issue, the one we were so stubbornly fighting over, was not the Most Important Thing. Honoring God, following HIS will for our lives, was and IS the most important thing.

So, pray together. I recommend daily and as often as you can. I'm still working on that, but I can attest that our marriage is always stronger and better after we pray together. The issues aren't gone, but we are fighting together, as team, against those issues, rather than allowing the issues to tear us apart.


The husband praying for me during my labor with Katie. This will always be one of my favorite moments of her labor. Nothing says "I love you" like your spouse asking God to help you and care for you and your unborn child.


Some articles on praying together in a marriage:
http://drstoop.com/the-couple-that-prays-together/
http://thegospelcoalition.org/article/factchecker-divorce-rate-among-christians/

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Marriage- Introduction

Larry and I are about to celebrate our 7th wedding anniversary! It's been an honor to be his wife and I look forward to our ETERNITY together, which by the way, is fun to tell your spouse. That's not an "official" piece of advice, but trust me, it's fun.

I had an idea last year, when I thought we had been married for 7 years, to do a blog series offering any kind of tips and advice that I've accumulated over our years of marriage. Of course, The Husband, slightly concerned, informed me that we had actually only been married 6 years. Math is not my forte. Thankfully, you don't need a lot of it to have a happy marriage. Regardless of my math disabilities, I decided to wait until the 7th anniversary. I've heard about the "Seven Year Itch" and, ever so cautious, wanted to be sure I had the proper credentials to spew unsolicited and un-asked for advice on marriage to the Internet.

First, a little history. According to our family history, birth order, zodiac sign, and just about every Is He The One For You magazine quiz, The Husband and I are doomed to failure. Both of our families have more divorced couples than til-death-do-us-part ones, he's an oldest child and I spent my formative growing up years as an only, he's a Leo and I'm a Virgo, he's a dreamer and I'm far more practical. He's a musician and I can't even clap in beat. The one thing we have in common: He's an emotional spender and so am I!! Oh wait, that's bad. That's actually an area where you WANT the opposite- ONE of you should be a Saver. My point is, we came into our marriage KNOWING the risks. We came in KNOWING that by cultural standards and the stars, we were DOOMED. Thankfully, we are both stubborn (again, very rarely a good thing to have in common) and we set a plan before we got married. That's right- we planned for our marriage while planning the wedding.  Our first discussion about marriage was after I had seen a 3 part series by Voddie Baucham on marriage. Now anyone who knows Voddie knows that when it comes to Conservative Baptist Christians, Voddie leads the pack. As two people set for failure if we continued on our dating, marriage, kids path, we needed that no-nonsense verbiage. We decided, while sitting on my couch in my living room apartment, that IF we were to get married, we both agreed, divorce would NOT be an option. We had seen our families and loved ones go through that, we knew the risks of divorce rise if you come from a divorced family and we made it clear to one another that we could not, would not, under no circumstances, get divorced. It was quite a heavy talk and gave me much to think about as we continued dating, got engaged, and prepared for our wedding day. I often had moments of panic: But what if (insert really horrible thing here) happens? I can't divorce him then? What I realized, as I went through my list of Really Horrible Things, was that I was marrying someone who simply wouldn't DO those things. Not because he's perfect and I'm naive, but because I knew his HEART. The guy has the same friends since Elementary school. He's loyal. And his friends are loyal to him because he has a good heart, even IF he's a jacka$$ now and then. (Trust me, his friends would say that.) I knew he wouldn't beat me or cheat on me. He doesn't get in physical altercations with his buddies- physical violence is not in his personality. As far as addictions like drugs and alcohol- he had so many surgeries growing up that I have to thunk the guy on the head just to get him to take a Tylenol for a headache. He worked in a treatment center, which gave him a deeper understanding of the effects of drugs and alcohol. Is he perfect? No. Not at all. I'll never forget the fight we had when I said, "If I had known before we got married that we would be right here, in this situation, I never would have married you." Oh yes. I'll get more into that one later. But the point is, as you date, WATCH the other person. Watch them with their friends. Watch them with their mother and father. My dad always said: Watch how a boy treats his mother, it's how he will eventually treat you. And he's right, which is why I sighed with relief when I saw The Husband greet his mom the first time I met her. Getting to know your boyfriend's favorite color is fun, but it's not setting you up for a successful marriage. Learning how your boyfriend handles good news and bad news, what he does in bad traffic, how he tips his waitress- those things will teach you his heart. 

When The Husband and I got married, we didn't get married because we were in love, though we were. We got married because we knew God wanted us together. And we will stay together because our ultimate goal is to glorify God, and we honor Him through our marriage. So, without further ado, I hope you enjoy these blog posts. My plan is to do one a week for several weeks. I may write more often or less often. The point is to share tips I've learned along the way to a happy, successful marriage. 

Our dating days. I was wearing his shirt. He thought it was cute. This is an area where he did NOT think to the future, where I choose my favorite shirt to wear to bed each night and he throws a tantrum that I "always take his shirts, get your own shirts" and I threaten to purposely put breastmilk on his shirt if he keeps yelling at me. His shirts are softer than mine, I can't help that fact. This was a REALLY long caption. Bottom line: Weren't we adorable? My skin was so smooth and his hair was so brown. ;)


Sunday, May 11, 2014

Happy Mother's Day


I love this painting. I think it sums up Mother's Day quite perfectly. I asked for it when I was pregnant with Katie, excited about the connection I would have with my daughter that is special to Mothers and Daughters. As I look at it today, and I think about the women in my life, I understand that this image doesn't just capture Mothers and Daughters, but women in general. 

Today I am grateful for ALL the women in my life who I have been blessed to have a relationship with. I am grateful for Andi, who was there through the darkest years of my life, and continued to love me as her own daughter. I'm grateful for both of my mother-in-laws and the love they have showered me and my children with. I'm grateful for my birth mother and the most important lesson she ever taught me-- no matter what, a mother will ALWAYS love her children. I'm grateful for my friends' moms and their models of mother-daughter relationships. I'm grateful for the female relationships I've had as an adult. The women who have modeled, loved, prayed, shared, and helped me grow as a friend, wife and mother. Today I celebrate, not just mothers, but women in general. God created us in such a unique and special way. Our relationships go beyond blood and draw us together through the heart. Happy Mother's Day to all the women who have prayed for someone, loved someone when they were unlovable, hugged someone, wiped away the tears, and made someone laugh. You are the art of a mother.