Normal Is Relative

Guest Posting over at The Glorious Table today.

I’ve been accused of being a lot of things in my life, but normal has never been one of them.

I will admit, on the surface, my husband and I together look pretty normal. We have a house, kids, and a dog. We follow a couple of sports teams, and we eat at the local pizza place weekly. We work hard, play harder. Sometimes we just lie on the couch and eat an entire barrel of cheese puffs.

Some things I do or don’t do, however, set me apart, making a personal normal for which I am grateful.

 

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Marriage Is…

This is marriage.

It is holding her hand when things are uncertain. It’s sitting at the hospital for hours, waiting for news about her dad. It’s dropping your plans to go to the ER because his mom has been taken there unexpectedly. It’s hanging on by a thread to the last ounce of energy you have to stay awake, because it is late, and he has been driving for hours.

Marriage is picking up milk, kids, and prescriptions. It is standing by your spouse when people have ugly things to say. It is being a light in a room full of dark and crazy for the person you cherish most.

Sometimes marriage is walking away from your church together, looking for a new home in Christ. It’s making sure her heart can serve again, and his is not hard because of the ugly he protected her from.

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Twenty-Four Years & Counting

My husband remembers everything.

Our first kiss, (middle school cafeteria) our first date,(Christmas Vacation Movie) our first everything. He remembers it all like it was yesterday, and I am grateful. I am grateful for the man God has provided me with. He has been the best friend I need, the lover I want and the father my children deserve. He has gone above and beyond when duty calls in every single situation. I couldn’t love another human being more. The only relationship I have which is more important to me is the one I have with Christ. The best part about that is, he feels the same way.

There is a diagram of how a Christian marriage is supposed to look:

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Today

Today, we make a choice.
We choose to roll out of bed, get our coffee on and begin our day.
Maybe we start out quietly, softly, slowly.
Maybe we turn up the music and preach our worship loud to a song.
Maybe we get our prayer on then get our day on like it’s nobody’s business.

Today, we make a choice to respond well.
We walk away from the pessimistic undertone of others and see what joy we can bring to the table.
We turn over in our hearts the thoughts of tiresome conversation which circles us back around.
We renew our promise to ourselves to be better, do better, think better.
We stop gossip in its tracks, looking for words filled with hope and understanding.
We have compassion to the core- we leak love all over every room we enter.
We smile at everyone, we show love and mercy to each person we encounter.

Today we make a choice.
We stand up against hatred, bigotry, violence.
We take the hand of the brother or sister next to us and we stand for something.
We stand tall, shoulder to shoulder, and break the cycle of alone.
We work to inspire and we declare addiction will not take from us today.
We look to tomorrow with hope and promise, learning from yesterday and living in today.

Today we make a choice.
We love hard and play harder.
We hold up those who need held and we reach out to those who are drifting away.
We look ourselves in the mirror and we say
Today, I have a Choice to be better than I was.

Renovating Our Vintage Camper as Marriage Therapy

If you are looking for high adventure and bonding with your spouse, look no further than a renovation project. There is nothing quite like diving into a large unknown with the person you are married to. Much like those wedding vows you took ,( however many years ago), these projects will prove to test your love, bravery, and respect for one another. And if nothing else, leave you with a true sense of where you need to do some growing as an individual who is part of a marriage.

John and I hope you enjoy this sneak peek into our chosen project for this past summer- and one of the reasons I didn’t get as much writing done as I planned. Spending time together is sometimes exactly what we need- even in the confines of a small space such as this one.

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This is where we started. After countless dead ends, bad frames and inflated prices, this is the little 1968 Cardinal Deluxe we settled on. In our eyes, she was a dream. In friends’ eyes, she was a hunk of junk on wheels. But we fell in love with her the second she became ours, and we never looked back.

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20160330_162913She was looking a little rough. She had rotten wood, holes in her aluminum and faulty electrical wiring. But she also had all her original appliances and trim. The previous owner had started to tear her apart- renovation was the plan. Then he got tired and decided to sell her and move to something a little more finished.

We made a game plan and a lengthy list of things to do, trying to prioritize them. Framing needed to be replaced, along with all the insulation and some of the paneling. The back had some adjustment issues that needed to be done on the aluminum shell, so we started there.

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We had to cut off lots of nails and screws that came through the siding where the rain rail was placed. We replaced almost every metal screw and nail on the exterior. We re-sealed windows, replaced broken glass and window jalousie style cranks. (note- if you ever decide to do a project like this- these will make you cry- a LOT). We researched, framed, insulated and sealed the entire thing.

20160730_124744 The attention to detail on John’s part was exhausting to me. He didn’t miss a single little thing. In a space this small, you really can’t take the chance. Just like in marriage, the most important things happen in the details. The biggest impact on our continued years together has been in the little things. For our little camper, it was caulking and touching up the paint, making things clean and smooth. In our marriage, it’s being flexible and considerate, always looking out for the other person, even when it feels like an enormous undertaking.

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The exterior of this camper was already white- it just needed some major TLC. It has previously been parked outside in the weather, inside a garage, been pulled down the road and covered with a tarp. It has been through a myriad of environments and weather situations, yet it managed to stay in one piece. In marriage, we go through storms and we weather various degrees of tragedy, difficult situations and circumstances. There is never a day in which we have  perfect conditions. But we hang on to the vows we made the very first day, and we hold one another up through each moment as if our lives depend on it.

 

20160821_150108As we were nearing the end of 8 weeks of working on this tiny project, we kept putting off painting the final colored wings. It was a super scary concept to me- only having one shot to get it right. Finally, I gathered up some courage- and a full night of sleep, and we taped it off. It didn’t hurt at all. In fact, it turned out quite nice. The blue wings and tail feathers really pop on the white camper. All the hard work we have put into this little tiny space has been worth every second. Just like our marriage, we fixed the things that were broken. It doesn’t matter how they got broken, or who broke them. We took the time to mend them because we wanted it to work for us. In marriage, when things get broken or even just a little out of sync, it is important to stop and mend them. There is nothing that cannot wait when your spouse needs to be held. There is nothing that cannot be put off for the two seconds it takes to say a prayer over them before they head back out into the world. There is no reason to feel disconnected when you have the ability to control your time.

 

 

20160821_153145As we pulled the tape and paper off the camper, the wings took my breath away. The bold blue paint was striking against the pure white undercoat, and the little camper took on a personality of its own.

We haven’t put a name to her yet, but my personal favorite is Smurfette. I am not sure how John feels about this feminine n20160821_154756ame and attitude I have given her. But I am sure of this- it will not be a sticking point for us. We have done other projects together and survived it- a simple name will not deter us now.  Having this little space available to us to go away for a weekend or even a night is definitely a benefit. As we grow older and our kids move out into the world, we need a plan. Working together and investing our time in this project has been an investment in our relationship as a married couple. After all, we were married before kids, and we will remain so after they have their own families.  We have always had a “me & you” type of mentality.

Now that we have finished this little project, who knows what is in store for us next.

But I am sure excited to find out.

 

 

 

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Revising Your ability to be like Christ

The truth is, we don’t get a say.

We don’t have the luxury of being a Pharisee, and when we act like one, it drives people away from Christ. When we, as individuals, behave as if every sin has a different cost, we decide we are big enough and important enough to be just like God- and we are not. When we influence others to make those decisions about who is right and who is wrong, who has a greater sin, who has weaker flesh, we become exactly the opposite of what Christ expects of us.

How is it over the course of 2000 years, we keep repeating the exact same mistakes as are written in God’s word? Read More

Just Let Me Take a Breath

Just let me take a breath, if only for a minute.

Let me come to terms with all the things this world has thrown at me.

Let me sit in silence and revel in the quiet.

Let me sip on a cup of coffee without the phone ringing.

I want to look at the horizon and see it for what it is, still and beautiful.

I need a moment.

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As a Christian, you don't always have to agree, but you Always have to Love.

God is Good, All the Time

God is good.

All the time.

By far, my favorite and most repeated saying of 2016. I normally have a go-to scripture or a quote which I use to lift me on days I feel less than good. This one has been lifting me for quite some time, and mostly because I believe it fiercely.

There is something to believing and having uninterrupted faith. I personally believe in Jesus. He is the savior of the world. The story is true about him and his sacrifice. His mother, giving birth as a virgin, pure and made holy to carry this tiny miracle. She must’ve had tremendous faith after the angel visited her. Imagine- an actual angel came to her. How frightening and overwhelming it must have been. Gods personal messenger, standing before her. Bringing her news otherwise impossible for men to understand, let alone believe. And here we are, all these centuries later, still placing our hope in the one true king who began his human journey as a helpless infant.

We were given a simple plan of instruction, really. Read More

Wreck My Life by Mo Isom

Mo Isom has written a book, and it will change the way you look at the things that hold you back.

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The Raising of the Boys

These boys are disgusting, and I am their mother.

Holy Smokes

One time when the kids were small, I had someone tell me to pay special attention to the work it took raising a girl because, after all, girls are much harder to raise than boys.

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