The forgotten one

wedding1As the kids went through the usual nighttime routine last night, Sloan looked at me over his toothbrush.

“Hey, Mom,” he gurgled. “What are we doing tomorrow?”

“Oh, not much, babe,” I answered. “Tomorrow is just another day.”

As I said these words, I had a nagging feeling that I was forgetting something. What could it be? It’s been a doozy of a few days. I can’t share publicly what’s gone on behind the scenes because my children would die ten thousand terrible deaths if I shared everything that ever happened ’round these parts.

All I can say is motherhood is NOT for the faint of heart.

And also, thank heavens for wine and mindless chick flicks, because I might not have survived otherwise.

“So we’re not doing anything?” Sloan asked.

“No. Not really anything at all. All I really need to do is get my oil changed, but other than that it’s just…”

My anniversary. That’s the thing I was forgetting. Thirteen years ago, I said ‘I Do’ to my studly stud of a man. Thirteen years of making babies, raising babies, moving, growing, laughing, learning, and navigating this awesome adventure called life.

Life is so different now than it was thirteen years ago. If someone would have told me what I’d be doing in the year 2013, I’d have laughed at them. Out loud. Right in the face.

Before you think I’m a terrible person for forgetting, I should tell you that Lee and I were talking last night about something that was concerning me and he leaned forward and looked at me with his serious Lee-face.

“What have I been telling you for the last fourteen years that we’ve been married?”

Me: “Uh…we’ve only been married for thirteen years.”

Year thirteen has been a doozy and I think we’re both ready for it to be over, but if I had to ride out a storm, I’d want to do it alongside this guy.


1999: Rocking the short overalls and a hottie on my arm.

1999: Rocking the short overalls and a hottie on my arm.


I can’t think of anyone I’d rather be on this journey with for all sixty years, four months and twenty-two days…plus.


I am blessed.

Read more of our story here.

In case I forget to say it later…Happy Anniversary, Babe!

A Bridge Between Here and There

Image by Keely Scott. Compassion Bloggers Tanzania, 2012

Shaun Groves wrote a post the other day that’s been rolling and spinning in my head as I’ve digested the information he shared. He gave a rather concise breakdown of how and, perhaps, why women give more generously than men and asked a simple question at the end of the post.

How do we change this?

Both Shaun’s post (which you should read) and the comments offered a lot of insight into reasons why men may be less inclined to give generously than women, particularly to charitable causes. From the actual emotional responses that women experience when viewing photos and story to the pressure men feel as the providers of their own homes, it is not necessarily surprising that men are less inclined to jump at child sponsorship after hearing a simple presentation.

Men are pragmatic and practical where women are emotional and intuitive. These two differing responses to emotion will, naturally, lead to different outcomes in giving. Men want to know the bottom line. Where is my money going and how is it going to be used practically? Women just need to see the big eyes and round cheeks of a child and we’re ready to sign the check.

But there was one piece of this puzzle that left me feeling a like perhaps there is a bridge  to be built between the pragmatism of men and the emotionalism of women. And my female friends? I really think the bridge rests on our shoulders.

Shaun writes: “According to a Pew Research study from 2008, in 43% of heterosexual couples polled the woman was the primary decision maker in four areas: what to watch on television, weekend plans, buying things for the home, managing finances. (31% of couples “evenly divide” decisions.)

…So it’s possible that a man being asked to commit $38/month to sponsor a child is unsure he has the authority to make such a commitment alone. “I need to talk to my wife first.'”

The first time I read this I had to stop and pause for a moment. And the more I thought, I wondered if perhaps this could be the very key to unlocking our men’s freedom to give more generously.

What if we let them do it? What if we as wives gave our husbands full reign and leadership over these important and necessary decisions of how, when and where to give of our time and resources?

I can hear the arguments and I see some of you cringing. “She’s gonna use the ‘S’ word, isn’t she?”

Ahem. Maaaayyyybeeee…

Submission is hard. It’s really, really hard. But, here’s the kicker, it actually produces a lot more freedom than most of us are willing to admit.

Now before you throw the typical arguments my way, let me say this – when I speak of submission, I am in no way condoning abusive or dangerous situations. If you or your children are being abused, then my advice is to get away and do it quickly. So know that the submission I am speaking of is one that applies to a healthy relationship between husband and wife that is built on mutual respect, love and communication.

Submission is often portrayed as weakness, as bowing down and being trampled on by the big, bad men. But I don’t believe that is what submission was meant to be at all.

Submission is actually powerful. It gives us the opportunity to build our men up, support them and give them the confidence to make the right decisions. I wondered when reading the above statement if, perhaps, we as wives could do a better job of building our husbands up in the area of leadership, finances and decision making within the household. What would the outcome be if we communicated to them our belief in their ability to make wise decisions? What would happen if men felt they did have the authority to make important decisions for their families?

Image by Keely Scott, Compassion Bloggers Tanzania, 2012

How might it affect a man’s desire to give generously if he believed his wife saw him as a generous giver?


Remember, ladies, how exciting it was for your man to pursue you when you first began dating? The outcome of the dating situation rested on his ability to properly woo you. Men thrive on that challenge. If we remove the challenge of leadership after saying “I Do,” we have full potential to leave men paralyzed in the areas of decision making.

Simply handing over the reigns of leadership in finances and decision making alone will, of course, not turn men into automatic generous givers. It doesn’t even mean that all men will automatically make wise decisions regarding finances. But perhaps it would build a bit of a bridge between desire and action when they are presented an opportunity to give.

At any rate, it will remove one more excuse for not giving.

So what are your thoughts? Ladies, do you see the potential impact you could have on your husband by giving him the reigns of decision making? And men, what do you think? What do you need from us as women to help support you in becoming men who give generously and lead confidently?

Image credits

This is another article that was presented in the comments of Shaun’s post. I thought it was a great read for me as a wife and a woman who desires to see her husband reach his full potential as the head of our home.

Love Wins

In light of the Supreme Court’s upcoming decision on marriage equality, I’ve wondered if I should/would address the issue at all on my blog. There are enough voices clanging through the interwebs and I’m not a fan of noisy blogging.

That said, I read an article today that really speaks to how I feel about the issue at hand and I thought I’d share it here. I hope we can have respectful dialogue…if you want to have dialogue at all about the issue. Maybe you’re done dialoging. In that case, just leave a comment and tell me your favorite Easter candy.

Either way, let’s remember that above all else, love wins. Love is the thing that always, always wins. It’s also important to remember that disagreement does not indicate a lack of love. 

There is no law that says we must all agree with one another in order to love one another well.


This is an issue without an easy answer, as much as many people want it to seem easy. But healthy, open dialogue is always a step in the right direction. No matter what the Supreme Court decides, I pray we can all remember that love wins.

And my favorite Easter Candies are those Reece’s Peanut Butter Cups shaped like Easter Eggs.


The Article: How Might Christians Respond To The Question of Homosexual Marriage?

It’s like he doesn’t know me at all

Update: Lee took me out to dinner on Saturday night, but before we went to the restaurant, we went to Target. He bought me the hat. He’s a fast learner, friends. A very fast learner. Let’s all give him a round of applause. *winky face!* 😉

Today, after dropping Landon off at preschool, I headed to the Promised Land. Target. The land of bright, happy colorful things that make the world a better, happier place.

While browsing, I came upon this hat:

I finished watching Season 2 of Downton Abbey last night and I have spent the better part of the last two weeks fawning over the fashions and styles of those days. This hat felt very Downton-esque to me and I quickly tossed it in my cart.

Then I stopped myself and put it back on the shelf, took this picture and texted my husband.

“Christmas gift idea. I love this hat from Target.” I included a winky face, of course, because every good wife should send her husband winky yellow ping pong heads when requesting a gift. It’s like wife-law in the new media age. 😉

I felt rather good about myself after sending this text for a couple of reasons, the main one being that I actually gave my husband an idea instead of shrugging my shoulders and asking the poor man (whose spiritual gift is decidedly not gift giving) to surprise me.

I went on my merry way, picking up on the items I needed and imagining wearing my new hat come Christmas day. Then I got a phone call that…well, frankly it took me very much by surprise.

Me: “Hello?”

Lee: “Alright, we need to get something straight here.”

Me: “Uh…okaaaayyyy.”

Lee: “Target is a store for buying kitchen items. You buy can openers and trash bags and maybe a brushed nickel picture frame from Target, but you do not buy hats from Target.”

Me: *silence*

Lee: “I’m not going to buy you a hat from Target.”

Me: “Why?”

Lee: “You don’t wear stuff from Target. That’s not fashion.”

Me: “You DO know that most of my clothes are from target, right?”

Lee: “That’s neither here nor there.”

Me: “Well, I mean, technically it’s here, because it’s true.”

Lee: “Go to Macy’s or some place like that and pick out a hat. I’ll buy you a hat. You look sexy in hats. But go to a place that makes quality hats.”

Me: “No, that doesn’t make sense. I could find a hat exactly like this one at Macy’s and it would cost $50. This one only costs $16 and I like it.”

Lee: “I just can’t buy you a hat from Target. It doesn’t feel right.”

Me: “Um, babe? You do know that Target is basically the Mothership for women, right? I mean, this is Mecca. It’s the Homeland.”

Lee: “No. It’s a place to buy kitchen utensils.”

Me: “It’s like I don’t even know you at all.”

Lee: “Women really like Target that much? I don’t get it.”

Me: “Clearly….so are you going to get me the hat?”

Lee: “I don’t think so.”

Me: “Huh. Can I buy it for myself for Christmas?”

Lee: “No because I’m going to get you a hat. I’ll get you the greatest hat you’ve ever seen.”

Me: “For sixteen dollars or less?”

Lee: “Go to Kohls. See if they have hats. Kohls is better than Target.”

Me: “I…I just…I don’t even know what to say.”

Lee: “Target is for kitchen supplies.”

I hung up the phone and couldn’t decide whether to laugh or cry. So I just laughed until I cried, which seemed like a happy comprimise.

First of all, I’m not sure I’ve ever bought kitchen supplies from Target so that alone is cause for a bit of confusion. Secondly, it is clear – CLEAR – he is seeing Target through blue glasses while I see it through pink. That can be the only explanation. Is it the male testosterone? Is that why he’s confused? Maybe he just doesn’t know…doesn’t understand. I think we should all pray for him, that his eyes would be opened to the truth, to the retail glory to which he is so tragically blinded.

I also think that this MORE than makes up for the shock and horror I caused during our conversation about The Natural.

Babe, we’re even. 😉

Now about that hat…

The Date

Lee has the day off so we are taking advantage of cooler temps and an overcast day to go to Busch Gardens.


Just me and him.


We’re going to ride all the fun roller coasters that we haven’t been able to ride because we’ve always had the kids with us.


This is an unexpected and lovely treat leading us into our weekend. A date. During the day.


I’m not excited or anything…

What’s the most fun or creative date you’ve ever been on?

Til Death

His bent frame curved low over the chair in which he sat. His head was bald, but a photograph in the corner told me he once sported quite a mop of dark hair. His face bore a perpetual smile and his hands trembled mildly as he passed me a black and white photograph of a young woman dressed all in white.

“We were married 60 years, 4 months and 22 days before she passed away,” he said and he offered a wide smile. “She was the prettiest girl I ever laid eyes on.”

I was in a Waco nursing home on an afternoon service project. On my left hand, the engagement ring sparkled and shined and I wore it with such pride that some days I wondered if my heart would burst. As I sat and spoke with Abe, I couldn’t take my eyes off of the picture of his wife, who had passed away only months earlier.

“Tell me about her,” I said. When he spoke of his wife, his face split in two and his eyes sparkled. Love has a way of preserving youth, doesn’t it? I could see the young man Abe had once been when his eyes danced in the memories.

“She had a lot of spunk,” I remember him saying. “Did you know we were married for 60 years, 4 months and 22 days before she died?” I nodded.

“That’s wonderful,” I told him. “I am getting married in just a few months.”

Leaning forward he looked deep in my eyes. “You enjoy it,” he said very seriously. I nodded and he leaned back, satisfied and content. He was, quite possilby, the most joyful man I have ever had the honor of speaking with. “Did you know,” he asked me again, “that we were married 60 years, 4 months and 22 days before my wife passed away?”

I wish I could remember all that Abe told me that day. He shared at length stories of his life with his beloved wife. Stories of the war, of raising children, of traveling and of growing old. And every other sentence was peppered with the fact that they had been married 60 years, 4 months and 22 days before she died.

When I walked out of that nursing home, I rushed to Lee’s house and told him all about Abe. “That’s what I want for us,” I said, lacing my fingers through his. “I want to be married for 60 years, 4 months and 22 days…plus some!” And that became our mantra. I even had it engraved inside his wedding band, which he lost a year ago. Some day I’ll replace it.

On our wedding day, Lee and I recited vows that we had written ourselves. In the vows we included the line, “I will never divorce you.”

Later, someone made the comment that she thought we were irresponsible for using those words. “How do you know what will happen in the future? How can you say you’ll never divorce someone?”

My first inclination was to react defensively. What do you think ‘Til death do us part’ means? Our vow was not meant to be a holier than thou approach to the institution of marriage. Rather, it was the acknowledgement that  marriage is hard and we were in for the fight.

Yesterday we marked twelve years since vowing to spend the next 60 years, 4 months, 22 days plus with one another. I can honestly say it’s been the best twelve years I could have ever imagined. Not the easiest, but the best. Our path hasn’t been smoother than anyone else’s. We’ve had to fight for one another, but it’s been more joy than fight and for that I’m so desperately grateful.

We have been through unemployment, the frustration and discouragement of wanting to be pregnant and not being able to get pregnant, the fear of nearly losing a child, two big moves, a house renovation (oy), the death of loved ones, loss of hair, thickening of waists and the list could go on and on. There have been times when I did not like him much and other times when I was not all that likeable. We are no different from any other couple on the planet.

But in the midst of it all there has been joy so deep that sometimes it takes my breath away. Lee makes me laugh harder than anyone else on this planet and there is no one on this Earth I would rather spend a day with than him. Marriage hasn’t been easy, to be sure.

But it hasn’t been that hard either.

I know how blessed we are. I have seen marriages fall apart and I know that sometimes divorce is the only option. I used to not think that. I used to believe that one should stick it out no matter what, but I know better now. I’ve seen people who were abused in their marriages, emotionally and physically. I’ve seen friends fight tooth and nail for their marriage only to realize that it would be healthier for everyone to just walk away. There is a lot of healing that can take place when someone leaves an unhealthy marriage. Sometimes walking away is necessary and I will never stand in judegement of a failed marriage.

I don’t proclaim immunity to difficulty in our marriage. We are falliable human beings, Lee and I, entirely susceptible to temptation and selfishness and capable of breaking the vows we uttered a dozen years ago. But deep in my heart, I know that there is no one better suited for me than the man I stood before as a fresh faced, naive twenty-two year old.

And with that in mind, I will continue the fight and will keep carving a path toward forever by his side. I will fail, he will fail, but together I believe the two of us are in for quite a journey. One thing I know without a doubt, we’re going to have a good time along the way.

We’ve got 48 years, 4 months and 22 days plus some to keep figuring this thing out.

Image by Avodah

Edited to add this link to my current favorite song. I love me some Ingrid Michaelson. Listen to it. Download it. Love it. Amen.

40 Years

He was 19. She was 21.

In an age and time when marriage is often taken lightly, an institution that can be tried on and worn for awhile, but discarded when it no longer feels right, it is quite an honor to be able to celebrate a couple who have fought and battled for love and managed to hold on to it.

My parents celebrate their 40th Anniversary today. Lee and I are so blessed to have two sets of parents who have remained dedicated to one another over the years, who have fought through the hard times and laughed through the good times and who have shown us that Happily Ever After isn’t just a thing of fairy tales.

This is something to be celebrated!

Happy Anniversary, Mom and Dad. You are amazing and I love you so much. Thanks for being a light to the world.

Smokey Bones Not Included

Photo by Avodah Images

He came home and called my name.

“I’m back here,” I yelled from our bedroom and he rushed back, his eyes lit. He had a plastic bag in his hands and a huge smile on his face. “I got you something,” he said with a lopsided smirk. I know that smile – it’s pride and mischief all rolled into one goofy grin.

“Okaaaaayyyy,” I replied slowly and I held out my hand. Our seventh anniversary was just days away. Earlier he had asked me what I wanted to do for our special day and I told him I didn’t care as long as he planned it. I hoped this little package had something to do with the big day.

The bag said GOODWILL across the front. This didn’t bode well for him or for me. I reached inside the bag and pulled out…light blue leather pants in a snakeskin pattern.

“Uuummm…” I said, because I didn’t know what else to say. Was he serious? WAS. HE. SERIOUS?! So I just stood there awkwardly and he burst into laughter.

“I’m just kidding,” he said, holding his sides. “I saw those today and thought they were hilarious and thought I’d give to you as a joke.”

My face probably looked something like this. Ha ha huh? Photo by Avodah Images.

“Oh,” I said, stuffing the world’s ugliest pants back into the bag. “Um…ha. ha. ha?”

He stood up and wrapped me in a hug and kissed me, still laughing at all his funny. “Seriously, though,” he said, grinning. “I thought of the perfect place to go for our anniversary this weekend.”

I smiled back and leaned into him. “Really?” I asked. Planning has never been his forte’ so the fact that he’d put thought into this was thrilling. “Where are we going to go?”

“There’s this awesome new restaurant that opened up in the Valley a few weeks ago. The food is amazing – I love eating there.”

“Cool!” I said. “What’s it called?”

Smokey. Bones,” he replied, his eyes wide with excitement. “They have the BEST barbeque.”


I was waiting for him to say he was just kidding again.

He didn’t say it.

“Oh…” I let my voice trail off because seriously? He wanted to go to a barbeque joint called Smokey Bones? For our anniversary?!

He picked up on my disdain and quickly assured me we didn’t have to eat at Smokey Bones. “Where do you want to go?” he asked.

That’s when I tried to smother him with the leather pants.

The next day we went to our small group Bible Study. I was still a little angry at the Great Smokey Bones Debacle and may have been a bit cold on the ride over. We walked inside our friend’s home and as per usual, we all stood around chatting and visiting.

“Hey Lee,” our friend Brad said, walking up to us. “I’ve got some clients coming to town this week and I’d like to treat them to a nice dinner. Do you have any places you’d recommend?”

“Oh sure,” Lee said and proceeded to rattle off five or six really nice, fancy restaurants around town. And then my jaw fell to the floor.

“SERIOUSLY?!” I interrupted and the room grew quiet. “And Smokey Bones was the best you could come up with for our anniversary?” Lee stammered and shrugged as our friends all burst into laughter, gripping their sides.

I can assure you all that we did NOT, in fact, end up eating at Smokey Bones for our anniversary dinner. In fact, I don’t think I have ever eaten at a Smokey Bones. Truly…truly…I am okay with that.

Photo by Avodah Images

My sweet husband has improved in the romancing and dating department in recent years. He learned a valuable lesson from the Smokey Bones incident and that lesson is that my idea of a romantic evening out doesn’t include plastic table cloths or food delivered in a basket. This is something that every man should be aware of, really. I’m doing all of you a favor by letting you in on this little secret.

Are you taking notes, gentlemen?

My birthday is Monday, so my husband is whisking me away for the weekend to a fancy place (which has been preapproved) where I plan to sleep, read, soak up Florida sun and eat good food at fancy restaurants, none of which will require a bib or wet wipes to complete the meal.

In other words, no Smokey Bones.


Do you have any funny dating stories? Do share. We can laugh our way through the weekend…

Photos used by permission by Avodah Images.

Love, Marriage and the Stranger at the Bar

I got married about five minutes after finishing college. I felt so grown up and mature but really, I was a babe. I’m okay with this fact. I don’t regret the decision to marry young, nor do I regret starting a family shortly thereafter.

Mostly because this means I’ll still be young enough to kick up my heels and party when we get these kids shipped off to college.

And also because, you know, I love my kids and stuff…

Marrying so young means that I never experienced the dating scene. I met, fell in love with and married my husband in the span of about eighteen months. Before him I dated a few boys, but nothing serious. I don’t remember much, but I don’t think I would have been classified as a huge flirt in my younger years.

There was that unfortunate incident when I was seventeen on a yearbook trip to Kansas City when I took a boy up to my hotel room. I had impressed him with my Ace Venture impersonation. I’m not sure what he thought was going to happen in the hotel room.

What did I think was going to happen?!

We sat on seperate beds and I jabbered nervously until my teacher knocked on the adjoining door. I shoved him under the bed and flung the door open totally trying to act natural all the while looking extremely guilty (because I was guilty…). She asked who was talking and I was all, “Oh that? Haha…um that was the…TV! I was watching TV. Becaaaaauuuuuse I have…a…headache! And I, um, wanted to get away from everything for a bit. But…you know…I’m just gonna head back down to the party so…”

Oddly enough I’m not sure she bought my story, but she was cool enough to raise her eyebrow, nod her head and say, “Yes. Why don’t you go back to the party. Now.”

Me and the boy without a name (what was his name?!) fled quickly and I never did anything like that again.

Impersonating Ace Ventura was a risky little game to play in the mid-ninties. But it was the only trick I had in my bag and it worked like a charm every time. Like I said, I wasn’t much of a flirt.

Last night I somehow managed to convince my husband to take me to a movie. He hates movies, but he loves me so he agreed. We saw The Lucky One. The movie was lame, but Zac Efron is pretty so I consider it time well spent. Afterward, we went to a restaurant to have a drink.

Sitting on the ouside couches, Lee and I enjoyed people watching. Apparently Thursday night is when ladies come out to this particular bar to meet men. This is something I never experienced so I always find it fascinating to watch people engage in this social dance.

“Do men really saunter up to women at a bar and flirt?” I asked Lee. “I thought that only happened in the movies!” My husband responded by laughing at me.

“I guarantee if I left you sitting alone at the bar for thirty minutes, someone would come up and hit on you,” he said. To which I responded with a laugh and utter disbelief. “Not tonight, of course,” he said quickly. “You’re not dressed right.”

I was wearing a skort and keds. A SKORT! It’s pretty cute, actually. But it screams stay-at-home mom. I didn’t know we were going to a fancy restaurant for drinks!

But really? I had no idea that happened in real life. I absolutely thought that only happened on the big screen. Naive? Maybe a little. Not that I care. Looking around I didn’t see one man that I’d want to come hit on me. Other than, of course, the handsome man sitting by my side.

I sometimes wonder if I missed a lot by marrying so young. There were definately things I could have experienced had I stayed single longer. But I don’t think I would have made a very good single because I didn’t see one single woman at that bar impersonating Ace Ventura. Not one!

I don’t think I would be good at playing the bar game…

Forever Crush

“Mom, did you have a crush on someone when you were eight like me?” he asked, his deep blue eyes searching my face as we drove down the road. This question came on the heels of our visit to the store where we gazed at the heart shaped boxes of chocolates and talked about when it’s appropriate to give someone a love card.

“I did,” I answered. “I liked a little boy named Brandon when I was in elementary school.”

“Well, is it okay to have a little crush?” he asked. If I could bottle the innocence that hung between us, I would fill up a thousand jars.

“Sure, it’s okay to have a little crush,” I answered. “But it’s better to just stay friends. You don’t need a girlfriend for a very, very long time.”

He nodded then grinned, the bliss of puppy love washing over his face. I know who he is thinking about. I saw her chasing him on the field while they played capture the flag.

“When did you start to have a boyfriend?” he asked slyly.

“Well, I dated a couple of boys in high school, but it was never too serious. There’s no reason to get serious when you’re young.”

“And then you had crushes in college, too?”

“Yep,” I answered. “I had a couple of crushes and one boyfriend in college before I met your Daddy.”

He was 25. I was 21. *sigh*

“And then HE was your crush, right?” Tia yelled from the backseat.

“He sure was,” I answered, smiling at her big, round eyes through the rear view mirror. “And you know what?” I asked in a hushed voice.

“WHAT?!” three little voices shouted back.

“He’s still my crush today.”

“You mean you’ve never had another crush?” Sloan asked.

“Nope,” I answered. “Your Daddy is my only crush and my only boyfriend forever and ever.”

“And your only husband,” Landon piped from his seat.

“Yep. That, too.”

Always and Forever.

Happy Valentine’s Day.