Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Marriage is Tough

Marriage is tough.  I'm sure we can all agree on this, especially given the divorce rate in this country. Some things have been on my heart lately, in part due to the realization that Jay and I will be married 21 years in April and were married at age 21. Wow. We made it. (Thank you, Jesus, because without you we'd never be together today. Truth.)

I have daughters, two beautiful, strong, brilliant daughters. I have a hardworking, fun-loving son. My prayer and hope for them is, and has always been, to know who they are, to live out a life full of God-adventures, passions and dreams.

Here is the honest truth of my heart...to my amazing daughters and my precious son...Be You. Enjoy your twenties. Be fearless. Race motocross. Fly airplanes. Study midwifery in the Philippines. Backpack through Europe. Travel to a developing country. Go out on a limb--way out of your comfort zone--with only God to hold you up. Do the things that thrill your heart, the things that move you to tears. Learn to serve the marginalized and love the unloved. Love justice and change your corner of the world. Jesus is enough.YOU are enough. You don't need a wife or a husband to make you whole. Live out the Father's plan for you so that if you do meet the "one", you begin that relationship knowing who you are.

I believe in marriage. Through all of the difficulties and hard times, I have grown to love and cherish my man. We aren't perfect and there are still days when I'd just as soon smack him as look at him. (Hey, just keeping it real.) Rarely does a day go by that he doesn't make me laugh, however, and I know that our next 21 years will be our very own God-adventure. But I cannot leave without saying this. I love my kids. I love my husband. I don't believe in regrets. Would I make different decisions if I were 20 again and knew what I knew now? Yes. I'd finish my degree, travel, sing, do the things my heart longed to do when I was in my twenties. And yes, I would wait to marry. Perhaps you married at a young age and you feel differently. That's ok. We all have our own experiences, opinions and paths to follow.

I read this blog post a couple of days ago (link here) and love this woman's perspective.  It's worth reading, particularly if you are the parent of a daughter. Love to you all!

Aaaand here's a laugh for all of you "old" marrieds out there...
from www.memeinside.com



Wednesday, January 22, 2014

More Than You Can Handle

The Father recently afforded us the chance to be a teeny, tiny part of a big, beautiful, difficult moment in the lives of the sweetest little family. Unable as of yet to have biological children, this couple had been in the process of international adoption when they unexpectedly received a life-changing call. A precious little boy, born the previous day, had no home to go to. These amazing young people immediately flew to Houston from Atlanta--nervous, terrified, excited, but willing to embrace this gift and love with all of their hearts. It just so happens that this new young mom is someone recently brought into Kyra's life through her travels. Who could have imagined that we would be able to take part in this, all because of a move to Houston and a trip to Rwanda?  Although our part was small, it was a blessing to be able to help a bit, to give encouragement and hugs, to see and hear of all the love our God was pouring out into the life of this little boy, born alone with down syndrome and no mommy to hold him.

As I sat talking to this woman, who was suddenly and unexpectedly a mother, I saw fear, exhaustion, worry, and stress, right along with the love. I was suddenly overwhelmed with a realization as I found myself almost spouting off a little Christianese and saying something like, "You can do this. God doesn't give us more than we can handle."  Struck by the realization that sometimes, perhaps even all of the time, God does exactly that--He gives us more than we can handle.  It's called life. Life is more than we can handle.  All of these trite sayings that we like to spout off, you know the ones..."Let go and let God." "The Lord works in mysterious ways." "Everything happens for a reason." All of these are to me, quite honestly, neither helpful nor true.

This is what I know to be true. Life is hard, even the beautiful things can be full of adversity and trials. God isn't the author of the ugliness, the grief and heartbreak, the bad things that devastate this world. Being human and a citizen of earth means that we'll experience these things. The amazing truth of the Father is His faithfulness during it all...the good, the bad, and the ugly.  Perhaps a better way to respond to the difficulties in life is to acknowledge the hurt, the fear, the grief, the worry and then remember this...
 




Monday, January 20, 2014

Books for the Little Bitty Ones


 


While out shopping for a baby gift this weekend, the girls and I happened upon the stinkin' cutest baby board books ever.  Seriously.  If you need a baby shower gift, or if you have little munchkins of your own, these are a must have! A series of classics made into darling board books, these are filled with wonderful illustrations inspired by the original stories. Stinkin'. Cute.
Check out the website here, but be forewarned...you'll want to buy one of everything.




I want to buy all of them and keep them, but am having trouble justifying that expense since my kids are 15, 18, and 20.  Hey, wait just a minute--someday, in what better be the VERY distant future, I'll have grandkids! I'm off to Barnes and Noble...

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Taking a Moment




And suddenly....it's all over.  Gifts, thoughtfully chosen and wrapped to shiny, sparkling perfection, are handed out, oohed and aahed over, proper thanks offered. The Christmas ham, the hors d'oeuvres, the brightly frosted cookies are no more. Family has come, bearing more food and more gifts, and they've gone.  Gift boxes have been flattened, ribbon rolled up and stored until next year. Strange, this whole process of preparation, planning, anticipation, execution...and then exhaustion.

 There have been years when I would un-deck the halls as soon as the hoopla has ended. Not so this time.  Lights still twinkle on the tree. Snowflakes still surround the glittery "Let It Snow" that hangs on the mirror.  A teeny manger scene continues to sit on a bookshelf as a reminder of a night in a stable when Love came down.  I find myself rather pensive and unwilling to let go.  Perhaps I need a few days more to accept the ending, to gather the gumption to face a new beginning.  Already I know there are challenges to overcome, joys to be discovered, plans to make.


What lies ahead, the known and the things we can't possibly imagine, they roll soon. But not today.  Not this moment. Today I am choosing this quiet with my journal, a hot cup of coffee, good music and a little something full of chocolaty comfort. This moment is mine to just be. Quiet. Rest.


The new year?  I'm allowing myself a Scarlett O'Hara moment. I'll think about that tomorrow. After all, tomorrow is another day.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Reminders

Anyone who knows me knows that crafting ain't my thang.  Really. Just thinking of sewing, knitting, scrapbooking and the like, I start to feel dread. I can spend an entire day in the kitchen chopping and creating wonderfulness, but give me paper, pencil, scissors and glue, and I can promise you disaster. Allow me to share an example of my ineptitude...
The really sad thing here is, I was actually trying to draw Harry Potter. Honestly, I was. When Maddy was younger, she liked to give us family art lessons (how cute is she!?) and this was my project.  With Harry's neck so thick, I decided to rename the book.

 All that to say that, in spite of my decided lack of crafting ability, I created a little something a few days ago. Ok, Kyra helped a bit.  She's marginally better than I when it comes to paper and scissors. As I was reading a post by a favorite blogger, I discovered a link to yet another blog (you know how that goes) with the most wonderful idea, a creative and beautiful way to celebrate Advent.  Take a look at it...it is lovely (she probably actually enjoys crafting.)

Here is our version---photos of some precious people (many are newly-made friends from Kyra's Rwanda trip) hanging at the foot of the stairs to help us remember to pray. Some nights we choose one to pray for as a family, but their beautiful faces are there for us to see many times during the course of every day, a reminder that there is so much more to this world than our little corner of it.  I love it.  Think I'll keep it up after Christmas, changing out and adding to the photos as God puts people on our hearts.



Thanks and blessings to Devi at My Daily Bread and Butter for the beautiful idea!

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

What to do with The Ugly

The past.  We all have one. Some of ours may be a bit more "colorful" than others. I have to admit to a bit of a rainbow myself. Yep, I've got a past full of mistakes of all shapes and sizes, bad choices, and seasons of falling flat on my face in a nasty mess of horribly lacking faith.  But...I have a Savior whose sacrifice has covered my past, removing it as far from me as the East is from the West. I choose to walk in that grace, that forgiveness--to believe Him and trust that He keeps His word. I choose to trust that He is enough.

So what do we do with our pasts once we are forgiven, once we have been delivered?  We extend grace, love, and mercy to others, just as it was extended to us. Use the ugly to make your little corner of the world more beautiful. Did you get pregnant in high school?  Go love and support a scared, stressed teen mom. Have you overcome an addiction?  Give real help and mercy to someone in the throes of their own struggles.  Were you guilty of condemning others, mired in graceless judgement? Go be there for those in the fringes, without a place to belong.  Be Jesus...grace, mercy, kindness and true empathy.  

What do we not do with our pasts?  Wallow in them or let them control our present. Don't believe the enemy when he tells you that the hard times are punishment for your shortcomings.  See this for what it is--a big, fat lie. His desire is for you to walk in defeat, but you already have victory...you've only to claim it, walking into a new future. 

My heart has been heavy these past few weeks for some of you struggling so and allowing your pasts to affect your present. This quote from Graham Cooke spoke volumes to my heart.  I hope it touches yours as well. 

"Whenever God gives freedom, it is always implicit that the freedom He gives you can be given to other people. You go around setting other people free from the very thing that you were victimized by.  God comes into your life and He turns the areas of abuse into areas of ministry and significance. He gives you a calling in the area where the enemy tried to strip you of your identity or even kill your life. Your testimony is the beginning of your ministry!"





Thursday, December 5, 2013

Best Ever Hair Product...No Jokin'

A quick little post today for those of you with fine hair or (like me) fine hair AND a cowlick on the crown of your head that ALWAYS wants to make a part from the crown of your head and down.  Ugh...freakin' annoying.  Anyway, I have found the solution.

About a year ago, my full-of awesomeness niece, Bobbi (who just happens to be a rock star hair stylist), introduced me to this....

Poor Bobbi, so nicely listening to my lamenting of the cowlick and subsequent lack of height where hair should have some height, says to me, "You just need to get some Big Sexy Hair Powder Play.  Sprinkle it in your roots.  Gives it some grit."  Simple words.  Big life-changing impact. (I'm only sort of exaggerating here.)

I love this stuff, people, in case you can't already tell. If someone were to tell me that it was made of radioactive plutonium, I'd have to give serious thought to whether or not it is worth it to give it up. Kyra has fine hair as well and she would wholeheartedly agree.  On a recent trip to Boston, I introduced my cousins to the wonderful new world of Powder Play, which was followed by a trip to TJ Maxx to buy every bottle they had (it was half price there, just so you know.)

So there ya go. That's all I have for today.

You are welcome.

Bobbi, I love you anyway....but I'm pretty sure I love you more now. :)