It has been a while since I wrote. Can't say I really feel guilty about that.
Starting up school, celebrating our tenth anniversary and surviving a hurricane took precedence over writing for a while.
We have all these ideals. The ideal way to start school. The romantic getaway appropriate for a decade of matrimony. What trials we expose our children to. We see what others do and we dream of what we might do, but until you are there and juggle the variables you really have no clue.
I remember pre-children watching people discipline their children and I'll admit - I judged. Until I had my own toddler throw a tantrum in public I had no clue what other variables played into the decisions and reactions of parents. I just assumed I would have the infinite patience and wisdom to be a tough but loving mom. We all have our ideal way we would do something, but what we have to keep in perspective is whether we ourselves are in our ideal state when said situation comes into play. This school year started off with a new board game. It was a flop. I'd like to say the first week was easy with everyone wanting to learn, but homeschool involved typical, cantankerous children just like public school. It takes us a few weeks find our rhythm.
I had this idea of what romantic vacation I wanted to take for our tenth anniversary, but time constraints, sitters, energy, and finances did not cooperate. Face-time is key....no not on your phone, but shoulder-to-shoulder enjoyment and laughter go way further in marriage sustenance than any perfect trip to the Bahamas. Because we tried that trip to the Bahamas for our fifth. Ha! What those Instagram photos won't show you is the hurricane that changed the course of our ship, the food poisoning that ruins your night of passion, and the inconsiderate wall mates who make too much noise for your to get proper sleep. Smile - this is the trip of a lifetime - snap! This time we got two nights to ourselves in the city, saw a show, swam and held hands. It wasn't nearly as Instagram glamorous, but I'm so thankful that after a decade we still dream and laugh together.
The real storms blow in and you are watching the weatherman attempt to predict and you realize he is no better off that you were trying to judge a situation from the outside with no idea what the variables really are. All you can do is patiently weigh out the pros and cons of staying or evacuating. The last hurricane was predicated as a direct hit at cat 4 maybe cat 5, so we chose to go. It wasn't fun, but we were safe. This time was all over the place in its predictions, but we chose to stay. We had a night of high winds and nerves were a little jittery, but life resumed the next day.
The thirties have hit hard with three kids, one income, and a mortgage, but my perfectionism still runs strong despite life upping the game. As part of my hurricane prep, I borrowed a puzzle. I normally love puzzles; I find them calming. This 2000 monster was making me angry despite a few friends helping her and there. It was mocking me from our only table four days later! I got down to just the sky which was one solid night color....absolutely no shading left. Just endless blue-black. Ugh! My ideal was in its completion. It would bring satisfaction! I always complete the things I start! I called my mother...
Earlier in the week, we had been discussing photo albums. I had helped mom scan them all, but she was having a hard time parting with the physical albums. I told her to have a bonfire and set herself free. She could keep her favorites, but she wasn't required to keep every photo from 6 decades. She has dreams, goals, and ambitions! It is hard to do the things you need to when you are carrying around baggage. So essentially I absolved her guilt about needing to hang onto every heirloom. She has all the photos online and can take her time making keepsake books to give away as we have children, but in the meantime travel and live lighter.
This time, she asked me a few questions... "Is the puzzle bringing you joy? (Not anymore!) Will it really bring you a sense of accomplishment? (For a few seconds, maybe minutes.) Are there other things that you would rather be doing? (Yes!) Then break it apart and relish it!" So, I did. I broke apart the pieces and felt very satisfied in choosing NOT TO DO SOMETHING! I didn't finish! I didn't complete that checkbox!
And yes, as a thirty-four-year-old, I needed my mom to absolve me from completing a puzzle! I will admit it. I call her pretty regularly to absolve me of guilt for lots of things: not being the best wife, the most patient mother, having the cleanest house, or people-pleasing. I just need to hear another sane person tell me I am not crazy for giving up or being human. I know God absolves me of it all, but sometimes you just need an audible voice.
So, I am back to my mantra with some tweaks -
Walk humbly with God today and do the work at my hands.
But I am learning to ask more questions about the word work...
How important is this work?
Does it really need to be done? ... by me?
What will happen if I don't complete it?
Work sometimes means to create and invest, not just drudgery. So...
What do I feel God is calling me to do today? - Everyone/everything else can wait!
Coming up on our ten year anniversary and I can't believe how the time has flown by. I am not the same woman who said I do ten years ago. My husband is not the same man. I know we have sharpened each other into better human beings. Our differences and perspectives have challenged and forced us into improved spouses. We have also added three children as passengers to our life. That has defintely changed our journey in beautiful, but exhausting ways. The more and more I think about it, the more I compare marriage to a car. Marriage is the vehicle that embodies our journey.
As most people know, driving with children in the car, is completely different from the days where it was just the two of you going for a weekend road trip. In the beginning you share navigation and driving responsibilities more equally, but then patterns develop and needs change. Mom has to crawl in the back to nurse a baby, Dad has to drive and navigate simultaneously, and the children have to learn to get along or the driver will pull the whole vehicle off the side of the road. Like any good vehicle though, there are times for required maintenance and preferably this happens before tires are bald and the engine seizes. We don't want to put everyone at risk! Safety is key to a fun road trip!
Hopefully we are always on the alert for the low oil or check engine light to come on in our relationship. Being aware of the state of our vehicle is important, but even more so in our marriage. There are some people that never learned to check their oil, but when you pay tens of thousands of dollar for a car trust me when I say - better learn quick. The same goes for our relationships; we can learn! We made the vow and maybe added passengers to this vehicle; we better learn the value in regular tune-ups, before the flat tire happens. Got premarital counseling? That is great! Should be good for the first few thousand miles. Those date nights are like checking the oil, or putting air in the tires. Those late night heart to hearts are like a tire rotation and alignment. Don't know what that is? That is okay, but let's not stay ignorant to the fact that a healthy marriage takes continual, intentional education. I can show my spouse that I value them, by learning how to keep them running - running well!
I can't tell you how many people that have helped put a little air in our tires. I know we wouldn't still be cruising along if we hadn't had a lot of road side assistance. Even with regular maintenance there will be a nail or two that you can avoid and that is when it is time to phone in help. Parents, friends, pastors and counselors are there for a reason. It is a sign of intelligence not weakness to do regular maintenance.
Sometimes I get a little film on the headlights; makes it hard to see. Happens slowly over time, sometimes I don't even know its there! Friends have helped me shine a light on things, restore perspective, so I can see the others properly. Sometimes I just need to drive and let Dad deal with the kids. Sometimes I get vehicle envy. Someone else has a spouse that does such and such or I berate myself for taking the long way around. Sometimes we just need to pull over and take a vacation!
I am extremely thankful to the many couples who come to my husband for counseling. They keep him having to practice what you preach. That has been a huge help in our own marriage. (And here is my shameless plug for my husband's counseling practice - Clarity Counseling.)
Without GPS (God's Positioning System) aka the Holy Spirit we would be totally lost! May He get us through another decade without too many bumps and bruises. I will continue to take all the road side assistance I can get!
Tips for Regular Maintenance
Our Relationships affects more than just us, so maintain better than a car!
March 1st was our 6-month mark.
I started looking back on the last few months. Most people say the first 2 years are the hardest, but so far it has been smooth sailing for us.
Don't get me wrong. We have our moments of miscommunication and hurt feelings. You get that with best friends too, not just in marriage. Those moments have strengthened us, making us learn more about each other, how the other thinks, and how we could be more clear in expressing our wants and needs.
It has really helped our marriage that we were friends first and love blossomed out of that. This weekend we went to Old St. Augustine. We walked around hand-in-hand enjoying the beautiful sunshine like we used to do when we were just friends. Minus the hand holding back then. It was so peaceful, we both wanted to fall asleep on the ride home. Josh was driving so he couldn't.
Everyone has their fears about marriage. I didn't want to turn into a nagging wife or live with a domineering partner. I am happy to report that we are still best friends and neither of those things has happened. I love him more and more every day for the man he is striving to be for God, for the friend he is to me, and being a husband I can trust. I look forward to many more years of serving God together side-by-side, loving the beautiful life we have been given and enjoying the adventurous ride!
So now that I am married the next set of questions comes.....
Are you enjoying being married??? YES!!
Josh is an awesome husband and makes it very easy to follow him (so far) as we both seek to live a life only for the lord. Josh was my best friend first and he remains that still! He is such a servant (like my dad) and has remained my friend first and foremost!
Are there any bad things about being married? Sure.
Occasionally, when things aren't communicated well, you are reminded that you no longer can make your own decision to please only yourself. I now have a husband to take into account and he isn't as perfect in his thinking as I am. Ha Ha... God has balanced us well in actuality. Where I am weak, Josh is strong and vice versa. Praying first before ALL decisions prevent mistakes/fights/miscommunication.
What is it like to live with the one you love ALL THE TIME does it ruin it? Well, most of the time it is loads of fun.
Not having to say goodbye anymore at night is a plus! Having another person to help with chores is helpful! But the same way when you had a disagreement with a family member and there was no getting away from it until you came to a resolution...well duh, now you have to apply that to your husband. Pillow talk/pillow planning is no longer done alone!
To sum up - Married life has more perks than inconvenience!
The typical questions are coming from everyone so I figured I would answer them here.....
Are you excited about the wedding? ....of course!
Are you anxious at all? ...not really
Are you ready to be a wife? ...I don't know. I have never been one before, so I don't really know what to expect. I'm sure God will equip me as I learn the new position.
How do you know he is the one? ...the more I try to explain it...the more it comes back to the typical answer that everyone hates to receive. "You just know." God gives you a peace about him and he loves the Lord as much as I do.
Posted by Joshua on Tuesday~
You KNOW its cool when you just know. I can't explain it either. This is the last place I thought I would be, but it is and it's good. God speaks, I follow. God moves, I follow. What a way of life! It's so freeing and the misunderstanding is not 'how can you live like that?', but rather 'how can you afford not too?' God is alive and we will be living testimonies to that. I wouldn't want it any other way. With Jesus, with you and with His lead. Love you...)
So, everyone wants the story! "How did he propose?"
We had been talking about marriage for a while so the surprise thing was kinda out. One day while talking with our mentor about our future plans, Josh proposed and I said yes. The romantic part came later when he presented the ring! He placed it in a teddy bear that sang, "when you wish upon a star."
Funny thing is -I had wished upon a star that we would get together!
He proposed a second time after telling me about the romantic adventures he hoped we would have in the years to come. My sister-in-law had dressed me up and did my makeup. I felt like Cinderella on her way to that dinner! We went from friends, to more and I wouldn't have it any other way.
The ring? you ask? It is gorgeous! It has some nice bling, but as the diamond is pressure fitted, I don't have to worry about knocking it off! He did good and I was very pleased! As far as a wedding date...hmm hmm
My Current Mantra
Walk humbly with God and do the work at your hands....