Marriage in the Real World

      25 years ago this weekend, I married my sweet man and inherited his two young children.  I thought I was going into it with my eyes wide open and my heart wrapped around him, but life has a way of intervening and being, well, real.  The Brady Bunch we were not, instead it was an emotional, and life-changing learning curve for me.  Single, never married, no children and enough baggage from my past to circle the world twice; I became his wife and another mom to our children.   Twenty-five years later we are still standing hand-in-hand, a little older, a whole lot wiser, and very proud to call each other husband and wife. 

     How I love this precious man!  He tells me I’m beautiful when I look like crap, he loves when I’m in shape and when I’m not. This sweet man never, ever criticizes, uses sarcasm or even raises his voice.  He’s loved me through every hormonal moment and mood swing.  My precious man knows exactly when I NEED ice cream and when I just need to be left alone.  Our love languages are on the different ends of the spectrum, he responds to touch and I deeply appreciate any act of service no matter how small.

     It’s not a fairy tale, it’s work between two believers who want to be a legacy for their children and grandchildren.   Don’t think for one moment that we never disagree, we do.  It’s not pleasant, but it’s also handled with kindness and assurance of love for one another.  Our marriage is also dealing with all that life throws at us.  He’s the methodical, logical one, I’m the one who’s up all night praying, crying, and being emotional for the two of us. I’m also the one who laughs at all the stupid stuff that happens on a daily basis.  I’ve learned to be calmer in his approach to life and He’s learned to lighten up being around me all the time. 

     We’ve lived through and gotten to the other side of relentless life issues: the death of our parents, a job loss, a difficult pregnancy,  constant financial strains, and ongoing health issues.  We’ve lived through, “it’s your turn to change the poopy diaper”, “you get the first nap and then I’ll take one”, 1000 rewinds of Veggie Tales, homework tears, and ballet classes.  As the children got older, life and its realness never let up for a moment.  Still, we stand, we pray, we never give up…no, it’s not easy, but life is not promised to be easy.  We are promised that God will never leave us, nor forsake us and we have clung to His promise too many times to count.

       Happy Anniversary to the man I married twenty five years ago.  You are my love, my best friend, my hero and the one I’ll stand next to always both now and in eternity. This redhead loves you forever and always!

Coffee, Prayer and Post-it Notes

     5:15 rolls around way too quickly each morning, but it’s in those wee dark hours when it’s just God, me and a cup of hot coffee.  I started this ritual way back in my college days at James Madison because I’m not a night owl and just could not stay up really late if my life depended on it.  Every morning, it’s the same routine, make the coffee, take a cup to Clif still snoozing the warm bed, and then I get to curl up on the love seat, prop my feet up and savor every sip of coffee. The scenery changes every season as I gaze out the windows in our sun room, but having my Bible, my journal and pens on the end table never change.  Ask my kids, if my Bible isn’t where it’s supposed to be, I turn into a crazy woman in 2 seconds flat!

     Having a morning routine like this doesn’t mean I’m a super woman or a perfect believer, it simply means I do this to survive each day. Life is hard and I wouldn’t be able to cope at all without my coffee and prayer.  It’s not formal, wordy prayers. Sometimes I just cry in my coffee cup when life is extremely overwhelming and just won’t let up. It’s not sing-song cheery praises; it’s prayers, pleas, and praises that come straight from my heart.  Some mornings, not a single word is written in my journal, or a word spoken but it’s still a sacred, wanted time with my Savior.  Other mornings, I can’t write the words fast enough and I’m shocked when the clock says 6:15 and I’ve got to run to take a shower for work. 

      Also, on the table with my Bible and pens is a stack of post-it notes.  They’re every size and color collected from every freebie source I can lay my hands onto at craft fairs, community gatherings and teacher workshops,  I’m not sure who invented the post-it notes, but they have earned every bit of my admiration.  I use them unmercifully for love notes, honey-do lists and don’t forget lists. In college (before they were invented) I used to use small magnets to attach notes to myself on my metal rectangular shaped desk lamp.  One evening while I was in the shower, my roommates took all my notes away and hid them as a practical joke…it wasn’t funny, I almost cried when I realized how dependent I was on notes so I wouldn’t forget something. 

      In our real world life here, it’s comforting to me have an early morning routine. I’m not advocating the early time for everyone. My children would probably be physically ill if they tried to get up so early.  I do encourage you to have your own routine and make your space personal and inviting, Of course, in the real world, that might be locking the bathroom door for five minutes! God meets us anytime, anywhere and He waits with open arms. Go, child, go, spend some time in Daddy’s lap.