On Eve, Valentino and that Juicy Red Apple

The heat of the day made the walk pleasant, the sun lighting my face and quickening my step.  An unexpected blessing of a weekend, added to my list of gifts, made my steps light – my heart full.  Life, when looking through the glasses of thankfulness, is no more than a series of gifts strung together.  Thank you, Ann Voskamp, for helping me to better see and understand that.

I walked Rodeo Drive with wide eyes, unaccustomed to strolling amidst such wealth.  I came upon the Coach store and stepped inside, the girl in me clapping her hands with excitement.  I don’t even carry a purse – never have.  But I appreciate them and have convinced myself that I could learn to love it if the purse was made of spun gold, as I imagine the Coach purses to be.

I strolled and oohed and aahed.  I touched, but only with one finger.  There were no prices on the shimmery bags, a clear sign that I was out of my league.  But the looking was all I needed.  I lowered my ten doller sunglasses back down over my eyes and continued my walk.  I stepped into the Yves Saint Laurent shop and a sales person walked up to me with a smile.

“Can I help you find anything in particular?” she asked, her white California teeth glistening in the golden California sun.

“No,” I replied.  “I’m just here to dream.”  I didn’t ask her to tell me exactly how to pronounce the name of the store.  Didn’t want to seem that much of a country bumpkin.  Yez Saint Laurent? Y’ Vez Saint Laurent?  Vez Saint Laurent?  Is there a silent Y?  I JUST DON’TO KNOW!

And she smiled knowingly.  I think a lot of people come into these stores to dream, and maybe touch with one finger.

I moved on.  Gucci.  I found an outfit for Tia and texted Lee.  “For one month’s mortgage, I can get Tia a spectacular outfit at Gucci.  Whatcha think?  Huh?  Huh?”  I finished it with a good old fashioned smiley face emoticon so he wouldn’t know I was serious.  Didn’t want to send the poor man into panic mode thinking the glitz and glam of tinseltown had gone to my head.

He, shockingly, responded with, “Nyet.  No.” Oooohhh…No in two languages.  He was serious.  Maybe he didn’t understand my emoticon?  I moved on.  I came to Valentino and stopped, sucking in my breath.  The gowns in the window were stunning.  Really, really stunning.  I stared for a long time, my heart racing, before finally pulling myself away.  From there I walked to the GAP and bought a pair of shorts for 50% off.

That’s how I roll.

As Lee and I drove home from church yesterday, me in a zombie-like stupor from lack of sleep (the red eye flight home was not my friend), I mentioned my momentary affair with Valentino’s gowns.

“What is it about those gowns that makes them any different from a dress you could buy at Banana Republic or Dillards?” Lee asked.  And then I cried in shame.  Naw…I kid.  But I do think my eyes spaced out for a minute.  “As a girl, when I see those gowns I immediately begin to dream,” I answered all mooney.

“About what?” my manly man asked.

“What it must be like to even have an occasion for such a dress.  What it must feel like to be a princess for a night.  How it would feel to slip one of those gowns on and walk out the door.  I just…dream.”

“And the Coach bags?”  Lee asked.  “What is it about them that makes them any better than a purse from K-Mart?  Is the functionality any different?”


“No.  The functionality is not that different, except that maybe a Coach bag will last forever and a K-Mart bag will last six months.  But that’s not the point,” I answered.

“So what’s the point?”  I could sense his consternation.

“The point is, Coach bags are so preeeetty.” And then I sighed.  They are pretty.

We drove in silence for a few minutes before Lee spoke again.  “This is why the serpant went after Eve in the garden, you know,” he said with a grin.  “He held that shiney red apple up and Eve immediately felt her heart grow mushy.”

I wanted to deny it, but I couldn’t.  He’s right.  Shiney things make us girls act…like girls.

“And Adam is like every other guy who loves his girl in the world.  She held it up and told him she wanted it and he just nodded his head.  I would have said yes, by the way, if you called me up from LA and told me you wanted to buy a Coach bag.  Because I want you to have that princess feeling and I want you to have nice things that make you happy.”

Go ahead.  I know you want to say it.  Aaaaawwwww…

It’s amazing what power we as women can have over our husbands, isn’t it?  Knowing that they do want good things for us.  The Prince wants to take his Princess to the ball, to show her off.  My point here, of course, is not whether or not purchasing a Coach bag or a Valentino gown is right or wrong.  I don’t have any problem with people doing either one of those things.  For me, at this phase of life we’re in, such purchases would not be wise.  It would place unnecessary financial burden on us.  But maybe someday…

The point is this: My husband (and probably yours) would do whatever it takes to make me feel like a princess because he wants to give me the Garden. He wants me to have the best and if I’m not careful, I could manipulate him in such a way that I got all the pretty things I ever wanted.  But…at what price?

“I don’t expect those things from you,” I told him quietly.  “I wouldn’t be comfortable in a $1,500 dress anyway.  But it doesn’t mean I don’t want to dream every once in awhile.”

The truth is, I’m not sure the apple is always worth it.  It sure wasn’t in the garden.  The apple was beautiful, a vibrant red shining in the warm afternoon sun.  A diamond.  Eve touched – with just one finger?  Unfortunately she didn’t stop there.  She plunged her teeth into the center and I have no doubt that apple tasted as good as it looked.

But the price was far greater than she imagined.

It’s a loose analogy, but the point is this – we ladies have more power than we realize over our husbands.  Your man wants to be your Prince – what is the price he must pay to do that?

Image Credit

Don’t Go Chasing Waterfalls


Last night we watched the American Idol finale.  We haven’t watched American Idol all season so we had no idea who the finalists were, but we knew that the final show was bound to have good entertainment.

It had excellent entertainment, if slightly inappropriate for young eyes.  What the heck was up with J-Lo’s dress and dance?!

Yes, the show was good.  Only Idol could bring together Judas Priest, Kurt Franklin and Gladys Knight all within a ten minute time span and make it work.  But I must say, the real entertainment did not begin until TLC walked on stage.  When they announced it Lee looked at me with wide eyes.

TLC is coming on stage?”

“Who’s TLC?” Sloan asked.

“TLC is old school, son,” I replied.  “They were popular when I was in high school.”

“They were popular was I was in high school!” Lee said with a laugh.

When they hit the stage Lee’s shoulders immediately began to shake throwing me back to 1999 when I first entered a dance club with my soon to be husband…

*squiggly lines* *dream sequence* *squiggly lines* *dream sequence* *squiggly lines* *dream sequence*

I stood in line outside the club with the man who had not long ago professed his love for me.  We were waiting to get into Midnight Rodeo, the hottest dance spot in Waco, Texas.  At least I think it was still called Midnight Rodeo – the name of the club might have changed at this point.  This part of the dream is a little fuzzy.

“Why is it so crowded tonight?” Lee asks the couple in front of us.

“Vanilla Ice is going to be here tonight,” the guy replies, his cigarette bouncing between his lips.

“Seriously?” I say.  “Did Vanilla Ice have any other songs besides Ice, Ice Baby?”

We finally paid our admission into the club and, for the first time, I am able to enter without being branded with a giant X on the back of my hand by a Sharpie wielding bouncer.  I’m 21 now so I don’t have to be branded anymore.  How cool am I?

We start the night by watching the two steppers in the middle of the hard wood dance floor.  Lee and I marvel at the size of the mens belt buckles.  The only thing that rivals them is the womens hair.  After watching for awhile, we decide to try and join the ranks.  We don’t know how to two step, but how hard can it be, right?

It’s hard.  Two stepping is country’s version of swing dancing.  There’s twisting and turning and their arms intertwine into four knots then they spin and unwind and Voila! They are no longer tied in knots.  All the while they’re two stepping their feet in a slow circle around the stage.

We try for one song and decide to quit embarrassing ourselves.  But then Strawberry Wine comes on and everyone slows down, so we do too.  Because who doesn’t want to dance to Strawberry Wine, right?

After our slow dance, we head to a small room on the right where it’s just been announced that Vanilla Ice is about to take the stage.  We head inside and cram in with more people than I thought would care about Vanilla Ice.  And take the stage he does.

“He’s short,” I shout to Lee over the noise of the crowd.

“And he still has the same haircut!” Lee shouts back.

Vanilla Ice starts and it’s horrible.  His songs…they’re horrible.  They don’t make sense, every other word is the F-Bomb and it’s just terrible music.  We decide to leave when we hear it.

Bum dum dum dum da da dum bum

That’s the beginning strains of Ice, Ice Baby.  Couldn’t you tell?

And Lee freaks out.  He waves his hands in the air and then starts doing a move I’ve never seen before.  His fists ball up at his sides and his shoulders start shaking up and down.  I laugh and join in.

Alright stop.

Collaborate and LISTEN.

Ice is back with a brand new inVENTION.

Something. Grabs a hold of me tightly,

Pulls like a harpoon daily and nightly.

Will it ever stop? Yo!  I don’t know.

Turn out the lights and I’ll go.

To the extreme something something like a candle

Light up the scene somethingsomething like a vandal


I stop singing because I don’t know any of the words after that, but Lee does.  He know the whole. dang. song.  And he sings it while bouncing his shoulders up and down, his body moving to the rhythm.  It was hysterical and terrifying all at once.

After he woos me with his impressive knowledge of early ’90’s music, we head to the third room in the club where they are playing true dance music.  We take to the colorful dance floor and Lee continues to dazzle me with his impressive shoulder shake.  He shakes his shoulders to every song that comes on.  It is a move I’ve never seen before and I’m slightly baffled by it.  He accompanies the shoulder shake with a great deal of attitude in his face.  Lips pursed, brow furrowed, I’m a hip dancerman type face.


We dance until someone spills a large cup of beer in my hair.  As we leave I wonder if Lee’s shoulders are sore from all that bouncing.   Little did I know that the shoulder bounce is his signature move and he would bust it out anytime a song from his glory days (high school and college) came on…for all of eternity.

*squiggly lines*  *dream sequence ends*  *squiggly lines*  *dream sequence ends*  *squiggly lines*

As TLC sang last night, Lee’s shoulders shook out of habit.  It’s force of nature for him, you see.  But what I wasn’t prepared for was the TLC girls (what are their names) dance moves.

They were doing the shoulder shake!

“AHAHAHAHA!” I laughed.  “They’re doing your move.  It’s old school, baby!”

“THIS IS WHERE I GOT IT!” he yelled and jumped off the couch, his face full of attitude, his shoulders full of bounce.

Awe-to the-Some.

Fluctuating Between UberExcited and Totally Freaking Out

We leave for Italy in ten days.  Let me write that again in case you didn’t catch it the first time.


Someone actually asked me a couple of weeks ago if I felt guilty spending the money on such a “lavish” trip when the economy is bad, so many are in need and on and on.  Um…no.  I don’t “feel guilty.”  I am proud and grateful, actually.  Proud of my marriage of ten years.  Grateful to a husband who loves me so much that he wants to do nice things for me and have an adventure with me.  Grateful that God has blessed us with the funds to be able to take this trip (and the wisdom to be wise with our money and budget accordingly so we could save what we needed over the course of this past year).

We are not wealthy people.  Not even close.  But we are blessed.  And we work really hard to be good stewards of those blessings.  We don’t always do a great job at being good stewards.  Sometimes we (ahem…I) make frivolous, unnecessary purchases.  Sometimes we forget to tithe at church.  Not because we don’t want to, but because we just…forget.  We are working on these things (and many other things!).  But we are careful with our money and we do try to use good judgement in how we spend it.

There is nothing I love more than being with my husband.  I think he’s hilarious, fun, sweet, caring and easy on the eyes.  Why would I not want to see the world with this man?!  I can’t wait to spend ten days alone with him, exploring and making memories to last a lifetime.  Memories that we will look back on in fifty years (God willing) and laugh with fondness of the days when we were able to travel the world without a box of depends and a walker…

We won’t regreat doing this in fifty years.  We won’t regret it ten days from now when we step on that plane.  And I have a couple of photos to prove why.

One of the first places we will drive through is Lake Como, Italy:


From there we’ll be driving through southern Switzerland into Austria.  We’re planning on heading to Salzberg, although we have since found this gem of a town and are now contemplating skipping Salzberg, or at least just spending less time there, so we can have more time here:


Hallstatt, Austria.  Did your heart just skip a beat?  Because mine does every time I look at this photo.  I want this very shot on my own camera.  The hair on my arms is literally standing up right now.  Isn’t God’s creation magnificent?!

From Austria, we plan to scoot down to Italy where we will spend four days in Tuscany at a gorgeous resort like this (we’re waiting on confirmation that we will be able to stay here):


We plan on tooling around Tuscany visiting Florence, Sienna, Montepulciano and wherever else the apartment owners tell us to go.  Just me and my man.  Why would I feel guilty about that? 

I will tell you what I do feel…a little nervous.  If I think about us being gone for ten days, driving through foreign countries, too long, I start to panic a little.  What if something happens to us?  What if something happens to one of the kids and we’re so far away.  What if, what if, what if???

So I try not to think about it.  Because the fact of the matter is, something could happen to one of us at the end of the street.  I can’t live my life in fear of the what if’s.  I can think about them and I can even panic momentarily, but then I need to move on and trust that the God of the Universe is in total control.  Our children will be in the loving hands of all four of their grandparents.  They will probably be spoiled mercilessly.  They will likely be watched closer than they are when I’m home.  You know…because I encourage them to play in the street and juggle knives.

I’m kidding.  I never encourage them to play in the street.

And I am praying with full trust and belief that my God will answer my prayer, that Lee and I will be kept safe and we will be reunited with our children as a stronger, more united front in our marriage and parenting.  I think this trip will make us better parents and better partners.  So no, I don’t feel guilty about leaving for ten days to celebrate my marriage. 

I do feel fleeting moments where I’m quite certain I could dissovle into a massive freak out.

But mostly I’m just so excited it’s kind of hard to sleep.

Not that hard, though. 


Post edit #1: I wrote this last night when I was wiped out from a fun but busy weekend.  However, when Lee and I went to bed we started talking about the trip and got so excited we couldn’t fall asleep.  So Lee got up and searched the internet for more places to go and things to see while I tossed and turned, imagining all the fun we’re going to have.  So it turns out we really are so excited we can’t sleep.

Post edit #2: I had the wrong date in my head when I wrote this.  We’re actually leaving in eleven days.  Whic isn’t quite as thrilling as leaving in TEN days.  Re-read this tomorrow and I won’t be a liar…

Boy and Girl Reach a Decade

First there was a boy:


And a little girl:


Through the carefully woven threads of life’s tapestry, they ended up in the right place at the right time.  Both boy and girl knew, after only a couple of interactions, that they were designed to be life partners.

The boy and girl fell in love. And the girl learned a valuable lesson – you should always put pants on when a boy enters your room late at night.


The boy and girl spent more and more time with one another…sometimes crickets crashed the party (much to the girl’s dismay).  The girl and boy realized how much fun life was when they were together.  They even dressed up in vintage garb and headed out to a fancy restaurant for dinner, just to watch the way others would react.


They finally decided that they wanted to be together permanently.  So the boy proposed.  Eight months later, the boy and girl became man and wife.

In the ten years since we wed, Lee and I have climbed many mountains – some of them literal. We’ve weathered many ups and a few downs.  We’ve survived unemployment, personal heartache and frustration.  We’ve worked hard to establish individual careers.  Lee has been my cheerleader as I’ve pursued my own passions, and I have been his as he’s developed his own dreams and goals.

Along the way we’ve forged sweet, sweet friendships and we are infinately grateful for the way that we have been poured into, loved and encouraged over the years.

We have traveled to the Bahamas (twice), California, Florida (too many times to count) and countless other places in between.  In just two months we will embark on a new adventure as we travel through Italy and Austria together to celebrate our ten year anniversary.  We laugh often, fight little and work hard to appreciate each other every day.  It’s not always easy, but it’s seldom very hard.


In ten years, we’ve become mom and dad – three times.


It’s made being man and wife more of a challenge.  We have to work harder at finding time to be together, but we don’t have to work hard at enjoying one another.  I love to be with Lee as much today as I did ten years ago when I became his wife.

A couple of years ago, I shared the story of Lee’s wedding ring and the engraving on the inside.  We are ten years into that goal.  It is significant and I’m so honored to have spent the last ten years with this man who I love so much.  I can’t wait for the next 50 years, 4 months and 22 days…plus.

See how he adores me?

See how he adores me?

Happy Anniversary, Babe.  Glad you’re here to celebrate!

To read our entire love story, click here.