Anything Goes, Daily Encourgement, Life in General, Wifehood

Fulfilling God’s Plan

Proverbs 18:22

He who finds a wife finds what is good and receives favor from the Lord.

3

Daily Encourgement, Life in General, Wifehood

A Husband’s Strength

As you know, my husband and I recently learned of a congenital heart defect that my oldest daughter has. Repair is needed so a couple trips to Mayo are in our future.

Since learning of her diagnosis, I’ve been quite worried — as to be expected. I say lots of prayers and shed many tears. Bad dreams have been wreaking havoc on my sleep. And, of course, we can’t NOT include the rest of our life. All the kids. Jobs. School. Homework. Bills. Grocery shopping. Doctor’s appointments.

You know….just living.

Miraculously, my husband and I have been doing very well in dealing with everything on our plate. We are thankful for God’s presence in our lives, the support of our loved ones, and the friendships that are a source of encouragement, love, and joy.

Our home is busy from the moment we open our eyes until the last child falls asleep for the evening. Basically, our time clock runs from dark-thirty to dark-thirty.

And finally, when those quiet moments roll around, we enjoy that little space of time together completely uninterrupted by chattering, squealing, laughing, sometimes fighting children. We snuggle in for talking or a movie…..quality time. It’s in those moments when my mind slows down and my emotions are relaxed that my fears about my daughter sneak up on me.

At that point, my so-very-sweet husband provides a strength that I seem to be lacking after a full day of devotion to my home and my family. It’s in those moments that I don’t have to pour the 50th glass of milk or clean the sticky mess on the floor for the umpteenth time in a span of 10 minutes or step on that same darn Jenga block that has magically reappeared haphazardly under my feet. No more arguments about getting homework completed, who was talking first, or who’s turn it is to do dishes.

In that quiet time with my husband, my heart lets go and my mind slowly morphs into wife mode. In light of my daughter’s diagnosis, many of these nights have been spent held tightly in his arms, soaking up his strength, his words of encouragement and kindness, his reassurances as I cried into his shoulder.

Strength.

His strength.

That very quality in a man that the female persuasion is drawn to from the beginning.

Strength of mind, body, and soul.

Strength to keep going when the going gets rough.

Strength to be the husband who provides and protects, the father who meets his obligations without fail, the friend to all who come to him.

Strength to lead a Christ-centered home.

Strength  to endure, overcome, grow, and teach.

Strength to be the man that God has created him to be.

Women everywhere, since the time of creation, look for that quality of strength in a man. We are attracted to it. We look for and eventually we find it. And then we depend on it.

Unfortunately, women also overlook the fact that a man who is providing strength oftentimes doesn’t divulge his own fears/questions/concerns because he is too busy being that strength for her. His struggles are just as real. Since my daughters’ diagnosis, my fears and tears have been quick to arise at any given time. If he happens to be home at the time, he’s more-than-willing to console me, to calm me down, to reassure me. He’s listened each time with patience and concern. I’ve not seen him cry, question, or show anything but faith that she will be right as rain after it gets repaired. Upon his reassurance that he is fine and he believes she will be fine, my own worries subside. I guess me knowing that his faith is so strong, makes me okay.

I learned recently that although he is that source of strength for me during this time, he’s had his own doubts. He doesn’t come to me with them because his character, the protective quality in him, is so deeply ingrained that taking care of me by providing strength for me, for his family occurs without thinking about it. It’s at this time he turns to God and his friends or family members.

It’s kind of archaic, but I get it.  I even agree with it to some extent, but I do appreciate when he shares it with me rather than try to shield me from it. I mean, how can I not appreciate the -shh, don’t tell him I said this, but– the softer side of him?

I love this wonderful man that God so graciously crossed my path with.

Daily Encourgement, Life in General

Happy Anniversary

A special shout-out to my parents on this very unforgettable day for a couple of reasons.

Forty years ago, my parents said their “I Dos”. The relationship, albeit a rocky one, withstood the test of time and I am so very excited and proud to say that they have made their marriage work amid the troubles they faced. To bless their marriage even more, my sister was born the very next year, to the day.

Yes, their one year anniversary gift was the birth of my sister.

Forty years!

I have much faith that my husband and I will one day celebrate our 40th anniversary.

In this life, it’s a blessing to meet someone whom you can spend your life with….growing and learning and changing and falling in love with over and over again.

To my parents, I would like to say how much we learned from yall growing up and how much we continue to learn as adults. Thank you for keeping our family together all of these years. It’s not been a perfect life, but it was always full of love and that’s what matters. We didn’t have the most money, the grandest home, the nicest car…actually, we didn’t have much at all. There were plenty of times we had more on our plates than it seemed we could handle, but nobody gave up. You both kept striving to make our life the best yall could. As an adult, I have never wanted that relationship that ended in divorce because of how heartbreaking it can be for everyone involved. As our parents, you taught us that foundation of marriage, you both taught us to work through the troubles of married life. In my adult years, in my own marriage to a man who was also taught that firm foundation of marriage through his own parents and their beliefs, I have furthered my understanding of marriage now in the biblical sense. I appreciate what yall taught me about  mothering and being a wife. I appreciate my childhood and the love that sustained us which is now carried forward to my own family. As children, we witnessed unfaltering love between a husband and wife. We witnessed forgiveness even when forgiveness was hard to give. We witnessed kindness in times when kindness was not warranted. We witnessed hard work, commitment, and strength. We witnessed sadness and joy. And we witnessed more love. Thank you. I love you both so much. Happy 40th Anniversary! I hope there are many more.

Life in General

A Remarkable Story

Twelve years ago I met the man I am blessed to call my husband. He wasn’t a prince by any means. He came from a working class family who attended Mass multiple times a week. They have a deeply rooted faith in God that extends to every facet of their life. He was taught to work hard and earn an honest living which is evident in everything he does. He worked hard, but he also played hard. His interests were wide and his responsibilities low. He had no wife — obviously. He had no children. He had no debt. He worked for his money and he saved it. At that point in his life, he was able to pay cash for most purchases. His work required him to travel so he didn’t put down roots of his own. When he was home (the town where he was born and raised) from a job, he stayed with his folks. When he wasn’t home, he was working. As I said, no prince by Webster’s Dictionary definition, but he WAS, IS and always WILL BE my prince. We fell crazy mad in love and have been together every since. We had to work at it. A LOT! But here we are, 12 years later and still going strong, through outside issues, children, etc….you know, just life.

But, the focus here is not he and I per se, but what we created. I brought three children into the relationship with me and we proceeded to have five more, as most of my readers know. So, there it be….what we created: our first creation turned out to be twins. Boys! When we found out I was pregnant that first time, he told me a story. Without including all the detail, the story basically consists of his prayer to God that he not have kids until he was 25.

So, here we are, 12 years later and quickly approaching the birthday of our first creation: our twins. What a blessing that pregnancy turned out to be. Don’t get me wrong, all my pregnancies have been a blessing. How could they not? Almost every one ended with a beautiful, tiny little human being placed in my arms. We did have a miscarriage at one point, but that little blessing who didn’t make it into my arms was surely welcomed into his/her forever home: heaven. Anyway, the pregnancy with the twins turned out to be a blessing for multiple reasons:

  • They were twins! It was scary, but exhilarating. We were super excited!
  • They were their dad’s birthday present as the three of them share a birthday, and….drum roll please….
  • They were born on his 25th birthday!

Now, someone please tell me that God doesn’t answer our prayers!

We have created many stories in our years together, but that story has to be my all-time favorite!

I love my wonderful husband to the moon and back.

And I love the family that we have created as he has loved the three whom I brought into the relationship with me without skipping a beat. We are truly gracious for the wonderful man that my husband is. Servant to God. Wonderful man. Amazing husband. Fantastic father.

Happy birthday to the man I love, the man who taught me the true meaning of lifetime love. I wouldn’t want to share this life with anyone else. Every day I wake up to a prayer that gets answered over and over with each rising sun. For that, my heart leaps with joy.

Happy birthday to our twin boys who added more of everything into our lives. Twin A and Twin B, yes you are twins –identical even — but don’t think for one second that one is less valued because both of you are unique, created exactly as God planned. We are grateful for each of you.

And I am one lucky lady……9 times over ❤

Anything Goes, Life in General, Wifehood

Marriage

Dazzling thought for the day:

My parents will be celebrating their 40th wedding anniversary this year! Boy, does that put my age into perspective?!? Wow!

My mother- and father-in-law have been married at least 45 years, I believe.

My grandparents, at the time of my grandpa’s death in 2005, would have celebrated their 50th anniversary the following year.

And this paves the way for this particular post topic: Marriage.

The marriages of longevity mentioned above are symbolic of that era: 40+ years ago. The hard life that people who lived during that time-frame endured taught many life values that have since disappeared such as hard work, commitment, putting others before oneself, looking ahead rather than living for the moment (the ‘I want it now, I deserve it now, I will get it now’ attitude that is so prevalent in society these days) and the understanding that the actions of one affect many.

One simple and often overlooked concept I’ve learned over the years, one that covers of multitude of circumstances is: Just because something can be done doesn’t mean it should be done. Sadly, society today operates completely opposite of that concept – again the ‘I want it now, I deserve it now, I will get it now (often at the expense of others)’ attitude.

My husband has often informed me that I carry that very same attitude (I want it now) sometimes.

And you know what?

Much to my dismay, he’s right!

Finally acknowledging that truth will now allow me to reevaluate certain things in my life and to improve those shortcomings through prayer and conscientious change.

I want a marriage of longevity. I want my marriage to last until death do us part. I want a marriage to sustain and thrive through all that life throws at us. I get that you can’t force someone to remain married. It only takes one person in the marriage to file for divorce. I’m not quite certain how it works, but as many divorces that occur each year, I’m under the impression that one is granted even if both parties don’t agree. Put simply, a judge will grant the divorce regardless. Again, I’ve not experienced divorce so I don’t know how it works, just assuming.

Going backwards, though, to marriage and longevity. Again, the premise that just because it can be done doesn’t mean it should be done applies during the times of trouble. Marriage has become commonplace and completely disposable. Couples promise their love and commitment to one another (and all that that entails) only to divorce at the first sign of trouble, ranging anywhere from months to years.

 

What I’ve learned during my marriage is marriage takes more than just husband and wife. It also takes God’s presence and requires husband/wife to trust in Him first. Trusting in God doesn’t eliminate troubles and trials, but He is a source of strength, love, forgiveness and so much more. He affords us many graces during marriage that strengthen the bond between husband and wife.

I pray that our marriage will last our lifetime.

Daily Encourgement, Life in General

Her Wedding Day

The BIG weekend was upon them. A weekend that had been in the making for the better part of a lifetime, but the actual planning process only 8-10 months. The wait seemed to go rather slowly, couldn’t get here quick enough, but is now only one night’s sleep away. As happens quite frequently where time is concerned, it goes rather quickly when we want/need it to slow down with the exact opposite effect when we need/want it to speed up. A very well-known fact that is proven daily in the workplace, home-life, just about any area of life.

It’s the celebration that most every woman anticipates from her childhood. It’s a day that some girls spend a small fraction of their life fantasizing about, perfecting even the smallest detail. It’s that memorable moment in a girl’s life when the dream of an innocent young girl meets the reality of a beautiful, ready-to-spread-my-wings young lady. It’s almost a right of passage into the next chapter of her story.

As a result of the childhood anticipation, dreaming, and all that led up to this long awaited moment, her dream is about to come true. Through hours and hours of endless planning that progressed at a snail’s pace, tweaking of details as one idea led to another, changing what was questionable because questionable is not okay, and finalizing what was agreed upon resulting in one more item checked off the list, she is now at the threshold of one of the most dramatic and rewarding changes in her life.

For some, every flower, boutonniere, head-piece, and table setting was crafted by her hand in any spare moment she could snag. For others, she may only have to show up, dress up, and say her “I Do.”

No matter if she took part in the planning process or if she hired someone to worry over it for her, she is now a beautiful bride escorted (hopefully) by her father to a moment of truth for two people madly in love. Standing, arm-in-arm with her father, at the back of the waiting guests, a million thoughts flip through her mind. Excitement for what the future holds. Fear of the unknown. Anticipation of possible changes. Happiness at knowing she’s been blessed with something wonderful.

As her father slowly walks her down the aisle, she feels none of the nervousness the had anticipated knowing all eyes would be focused on her. She feels beautiful in her white gown with the flowing train trailing behind her, shooshing around her feet with every step. Her eyes shine with the love that she feels for her soon-to-be husband. The joy she feels radiates from her as she walks, spreading to each individual she passes. She doesn’t see them. She knows they are there, but all she really sees before her is the man she loves, the man she’s about to promise the rest of her life to.

And, as they say, the rest is history. Jobs. Homes. Kids. And a hundred plus other things that occur over a lifetime.

Time, as slowly or as quickly as it moves, doesn’t ever stop so every second counts. Each moment in our life is a moment creating a memory to be cherished. It’s my goal to make each one matter.

 

Anything Goes, Daily Encourgement, Life in General, Wifehood

That Person Who Changes Everything

It’s a rare occurrence that one might meet another in this life who completely changes everything. Well, maybe not so rare, maybe it is. I’m not certain, but I am certain that just such an occurrence changed my life.

Twelve years ago I met the most incredible man (outside of my father of course) who changed my world. Over the course of our years together we have lived much happiness, but we have also lived much sadness. Our trials have been strong, but our love has been stronger. We have shown weakness. We have shown strength. We have endured so much that one or both of us couldn’t possibly imagine living under the same roof with the other at one point or another. We’ve been through births, a miscarriage, loss of jobs, jobs that required us to be apart, good paying jobs, lack of money, angry words, many sleepless nights, and threats of divorce.

It’s marriage.

And marriage is not easy.

But something….

Something bigger than either one of us…

Something completely outside of ourselves…

has helped us stand firm, hold on tight, to see that ever evasive light at the end of the tunnel.

Every once in awhile, life throws a curve ball that will either make a marriage stronger or will break the marriage. The curve balls that have come like bolts of lightening toward my husband and I have threatened our rather shaky relationship. There are many times that I was convinced it was over between us and I just waited in angst for the divorce papers to arrive, but never did. I counted my blessings once more each time I was proven wrong.

Recently, I learned something that touches me to the very depths of my heart……

In that very special moment when forgiveness is granted from one to another, a stronger bond is formed and love begins to flourish once again.

In all these years of my life, forgiveness has never touched me so deeply as it did most recently with my husband. There’s one financial trial that we have been going through for quite some time now that has hit us yet again in the past couple of weeks. And as many married couples know, there is nothing that can tear apart a marriage quicker than financial issues. In this most recent bout we’ve had with this particular money matter, the tension between us has been…..present. We haven’t been arguing. We haven’t been in vocal disagreement. We’ve just been. Not ignoring one another, but not really talking either. We’ve said a few words here and there, but mostly, we’ve been working through the bumps in our own way and with very few words (good or bad) between us.

Until finally……

We had the heart to heart that is meant to put a married couple at ease, the one in which they exchange their fears, concerns, sentiments…..you know the one.

It was in that moment that I rediscovered the greatness about my husband, those very same attributes that made us fall in love at the start and make us fall in love all over again. It was in that moment that God showed me once more why He helped our (my husband and I) paths cross. It was in that moment that I witnessed a part of my husband that he very rarely shows in the way that he showed it. He shows his love in many ways throughout our days, but only every so often does he show it in the way that I am speaking of. To really understand what that means, you’d have to know us, our personalities.

Something I have been working on and praying about for a long time is my doubts wreaking havoc on the relationships in my life. As I’m sure many people are aware, doubts have a way of ingraining themselves into our psyches and leaving us breathless with fear of what the present is or what the future holds which, often times, concerns the relationships in our lives (especially if you’ve been through any kind of heartbreak). Those same doubts can almost make a person feel completely worthless. Doubts have plagued me throughout my life and I have entertained most every one of them. However, it’s during the aforementioned heart to heart’s with my husband that these doubts get put to rest.

It is through others that we witness the unfailing love of God. It’s among albeit not limited to these heartfelt moments with my husband that God chooses to speak to me, to strengthen the bond between my husband and I as well as my walk in faith.

Once again I have been reminded of my husbands’ strength:

  • of mind
  • of body
  • of soul

Strength that can only be found where God is welcomed and loved, a place in which He is made front and center. When He is the foundation of one’s life, then anything is possible. My husband has shown me that almost daily.

I am so thankful for the man of Christ, the husband, the father,  the everything that my husband is. He’s not perfect by any means, but the One who created him is perfect which is perfect in and of itself. He’s a man of his word, a heart so true, and a faith taught from childhood turned questionable, but always present and now re-emerged deep within that is always there in everything he does.

I am truly blessed that he chose me to spend his life with. With God, my hubby is the change in me. I love him to pieces ♥

 

 

Daily Encourgement, Exciting & Fun Creations, Life in General

OMGoodness, It’s Finally Friday!

I think I may have missed a Friday, maybe two even.

Oh well, here I am.

Today’s Fun Photo – Campfire Cooking

100_2343

Cooking over the campfire is one of my husbands’ favorite things to do while camping. Here, he is featured cooking bacon as part of our first morning’s breakfast during our most recent camping weekend. No bells and whistles for us. We sleep in tents and cook over the flame. The only amenity we enjoy is the air mattress because there’s no way this mama will be sleeping on the hard ground, tent or not. Oh, and I always choose a campsite close to the shower house and/or bathroom. 🙂

What are some of your own camping memories? Don’t be afraid to share.

As always, comments are welcome, encouraged even.

Daily Encourgement, Life in General

Week Four Kindness Challenge in Review

This week’s kindness challenge focused on being kind. When it comes to kindness, the sky is the limit. By that I mean, acts of kindness are just there, always available because most anything we do for another to help another or to promote positive energy can be considered being kind.

The exercises such as making eye contact, greeting people around me, holding the door for the person after me and leaving water out for stray animals were taught to my sisters and I good ole’ southern manners so these acts of kindness just come naturally to me.

To reach out and really show some kindness this week, I made more of an effort to keep any displeasure with my kids’ father to a minimum and communicated with him while choosing to ignore any jabs or innuendos he shot at me. And if you knew me, you’d understand that this is quite a feat. I’ve mentioned a few times that I generally tend to speak before I think. However, since I’m on the subject, I am content to say I have improved in that area.

My neighbor had surgery this past week and since she’s been home, I have devoted some of my time just visiting with her, offering help in anything that she may need.

Another act of kindness was toward the job that I just quit last week. I have been sending people that are searching for jobs to that location. I felt so horrible for quitting and by sending applicants to that location, my position will get filled quicker which means the other employees aren’t working shorthanded.

One big deal that I’ve been making more of an effort to do is make sure the kitchen is clean before I go to bed at night. I have no problem going to bed and waking to dirty dishes in the sink, but my husband likes the kitchen to be all tidied up so he wakes up to a clean kitchen.

One of my other neighbors has been a thorn in our side almost since we moved into our home many years ago (9 actually). However, with this week’s challenge in mind as well as kindness itself, I made extra effort to be the chatty neighbor with her this week. And I have decided that she can be as pleasant or unpleasant as she chooses, but I will no longer be unpleasant toward her.

It’s a wonderful feeling to show kindness all the time even when you don’t really feel the mood of kindness. And, yes, it is quite easy to be kind to others.

As always, whoever reads this has a wonderful day. Don’t be afraid to leave comments or offer insight. It bolsters community as long as the comments are made respectfully and with kindness.