Marriage & Family

11 Things I Love About You

Friday, August 17, 2012
Wedding day August 18, 2001
Tomorrow we celebrate 11 years my love!
11 things I love about you…..

1) Your relentless pursuit of God.  
First and foremost, this is what makes our marriage work.  Your passion for the Lord continually challenges me.  And your intimacy with Him brings life to our marriage and family.  You maintain your “first love” and that brings much vibrancy into every other aspect of your life.  Thank you hon for keeping Christ as the supreme priority, your driving force, your reason for living.  Your growth in the fruit of the spirit is unquestionable and we your family benefit greatly from your heart that seeks God above all else.

2) Your relentless pursuit of me.  
When it would be so much easier to let distance and resentment creep in at times, you are determined in tirelessly pursuing reconciliation and healing in our relationship!  You romance me.  You strive to understand me.  You forgive me.  You spoil me.  You seek to delight my heart.  You love me.  Unconditionally.

3) Your leadership of our family.  
Not a job for the faint of heart.  Our life with six kids and ministry and travel and the physical and financial demands of this lifestyle make my head spin sometimes.  But you take it all in stride.  Always calm, cool and collected.  Unwavering.
I love more than anything to see you interacting with our children and discipling their hearts.  Your individual attention to growing their gifts and fostering their relationships with Jesus is invaluable.  The spiritual leadership of our family and your intentional goals for our kids and our marriage give me great hope and anticipation!

4) Your friendship.
Your capacity for people is not large.  In contrast to me, (the social butterfly), you are content with just a few close relationships.  I cherish the fact that I am among those.  Your selectivity in relationships and your dedication to ours makes me feel like the queen of your castle.  There is no doubt in my mind that Im your best friend and I feel like a million bucks because of that!  I love that you choose to spend time with me.  That you share yourself so vulnerably.  That we feel safe sharing our greatest struggles and celebrating each others victories.  That out of this wide world, you chose me and choose me daily!
There is no one Id rather be fighting with, laughing with, and walking life hand-in-hand with!

5) You turn me on.  
Eleven years, baby!  After four-thousand-fifteen days and nights as your wife, you’re still the one!  I find my greatest solace in your arms and wake up delighted to see you next to me.  Your hand in mine still fits just right and my heart still skips a beat when I catch your eye across a crowded room.    I find you more attractive today than the day I married you, and I cant wait to grow old together!

6) Your work ethic.
You are an incredibly hard worker!  No one who knows you would question this one.  You are driven and gifted.  Your abilities and capacities give you an incredible platform for influence and you are dedicated to the people, projects and provisions you responsible for.  You sacrifice yourself to see that things are done and done right.  Your ability to function with jet lag and to give up time, resources and sleep are truly gifts that are uniquely yours!  Our son has an amazing example of a leader, husband and father in you!

7) Your generosity.
I love to see you give.  You are an incredibly sacrificial person not only with your finances, but with your time and energy as well.  Often, I am the recipient of those sacrifices.  Other times, I am blessed to stand back and watch others receive the gifts of your labor and love.  “To whom much is given, much is required”.  I see you exemplifying this beautifully to your children and I.  You manage your resources in a way that lets you be a blessing to others.

8) Your quirks.
I cant complain….not really.  Your intolerance for clutter and your neat-freak tendencies make life with all the clamor and activity of our home a very unique challenge.  And it cramps this creative girls style sometimes.  But, as you are quick to remind me, its far better than the alternative!
All joking aside, I am so grateful for the ways you complement me and help maintain an orderly home and lifestyle.  Lots of girls would love to have a husband who picks up his dirty laundry…..and hers! 🙂

9) You complete me.
Sure its cliché, but its true!  We have laughed often that if we were to take one of those “compatibility” tests on a dating website, we probably would never be “matched”.  We are so complexly different and it presents unique challenges!  But the things that truly matter, are beautifully in harmony.  Our differences make us assets to each other.  Its a delicate balance, but we are learning the intricate steps of this dance!  Learning to dance means there are ‘stepped on toes’ sometimes, but thats happening less frequently. There are many opportunities to extend grace to one another and to draw from His perfect love in this marriage that He is ‘perfecting”.

10) Your care of us.
You manage it all so seemingly effortlessly.  The finances.  The yard.  The technology that I use and benefit from, but would be entirely lost on how to navigate if left to my own to figure it out.  My friends are envious that I have a husband with impeccable taste who likes to shop for me….who does that?!
What may not be common knowledge to many who know you is your ability to cook.  Your omelets have become a bit of a legend and your girls get excited when Daddy gets the wok out to make stir-fry.  You are often willing to run school drop-off and pick-up to give me a break.  And on days when my sanity is hanging on by a thread, I know you’ll step-up and help me get through.

Key West 2012

11) You give me much to look forward to.
Our “second honeymoon” to Key West this spring was a little taste of whats to come.  While I would never wish away a millisecond of this chapter of our life, I know we have so much to look forward to.  The craziness of life with 6 little ones is not conducive to a lot of uninterrupted conversation.  We often find a kid or two sandwiched between us in our big king bed when we wake up in the morning.  And on the rare occasion that we do get out on a date, the effort of getting kids fed and packed and placed at grandmas beforehand usually means Im just a hot mess when we sit down to order our food.
But someday, it will just be the two of us hon.  Someday, we will get that cabana on the beach.  And someday, those sunsets will be ours to walk into, hand-in-hand!

Recent bridal portraits provided by Patty Hallman Photography.  She asked us to be an “experimental” shoot for her and I treasure the fun rain pictures she captured!

90 Years Young

Thursday, June 21, 2012
Its not every day you gather to celebrate someone turning 90!!
I think the headcount was 36 at my parents last weekend when we all pulled up with cars piled high with kids, pets, pack-n-plays, luggage, sleeping bags, food, games and 10lbs of candy and two-thousand waterballoons (thank you uncle Adam:)

We packed it all in under one roof (and a tent in the backyard for the cousins) for a crazy weekend of fun celebrating this special lady and her 90 years of joyful service and love to us all.  She is one remarkable woman and a grandmother we all admire and cherish!
The girl cousins did a “fashion show” of all Grandma’s old hats from “back in the day”.  We listened to her tell stories of special dates and events she wore each to.
Since Grandma is known for her pie-making skills (of which I sadly did not inherit), we all brought pies which were enjoyed all weekend long reminiscent of childhoods in her kitchen when she’s whip up rhubarb and strawberry pies from the goodness of the garden my grandfather tended.
Not much sleep and hardly an uninterrupted conversation, but so much laughter and good clean fun came out of 4 days with the crazy bunch we call family.
A little poker…
A lot of water…
…a few rivalries….
…some high speed wheeling around…
…sparklers, whiffle ball, swimming, games…
…and more food than Id like to admit…!!
Here’s all but one of my siblings.  Think there is a family resemblance?
 This year, these two will celebrate 70 years of marriage.
The sweetest conversation took place between my grandma and I.  After our first long crazy day together, we all went to bed exhausted.  I knew it had been lot for my grandmother to be around all the activity, so I asked her the next morning if she had gone straight to bed.
Oh no,” she replied.  “Grandpa wanted to watch the end of the baseball game, so I sat up with him.  I just couldn’t sleep if I went to bed without him“.
That…..THAT is the picture of two people who have fought through everything life has thrown at them…….A war.  A disabled daughter.  The depression.  Cancer……and they’ve come out the other side so blissfully in love.
Oh that that would be said of me 60 years from now!!  These two have set a shining example.  Their lives are a beautiful legacy!
To God be the glory!

We Are Married! Very!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012
Well if the six kids, the mini van and the pet cat weren’t evidence enough, here it is officially.
We are….
10 years and we still got it baby!!

When my very talented photographer friend said she needed a “model couple” for an “experimental” bridal shoot she wanted to do, I thought why not?  I never did get my dress cleaned and preserved, so it would be fun to have an excuse to get it out of my mom’s attic and show it off to my girls.  My only regret from our actual wedding day in August ’01 was our photographs.

Wedding August 18th 2001

Being that it was just a year or two before everyone converted to digital, all we have are a couple small prints.  Immediately following our beautiful beach ceremony, it started raining a tropical thunderstorm blew in, so we really didn’t have time to get a good formal “bridal portrait”.  And our photographer disappeared from the reception before the cake was even cut….still not sure what happened there.  So I agreed and held my breath (literally) hoping my dress would still fit after 6 pregnancies.

C didn’t exactly share my enthusiasm at this golden opportunity that I was so keen on, but he very kindly cooperated and even watched all the kiddos for a couple hours that afternoon and sent me to get a little pampering.  My friend Ashley from Shear Indulgence offered to do a little makeover and hair-do which was a treat.  She very graciously overlooked the fact that I hadn’t had a haircut in 6 months and did a lovely job with what she had to work with.  It was a fun afternoon in a nice salon and just the ticket to help this blushing bride tired mommy feel pretty.

There really was so much about this shoot that made me laugh.  A comedy of errors actually….

~Patty’s original plan was to photograph us in a blooming peach orchard on horseback.  Well, the horse…..croaked.  True story.  It died a week or two before the scheduled shoot.  As truly sad as I am, Im so relieved this pretty pony went to horsey-heaven before I rode her, not after. Or while I was riding her.  Pretty sure my man wouldn’t let me live that one down!
~When we arrived at the peach orchard the day of the shoot, it was past its prime and there were no blooms left.
~And what happens when a couple whose wedding photos were rained out tries to retake them 10 years later?
… rains of course!

Patty was so completely calm, cool and collected about the fact that we had to move from Plan A to Plan B, then C….D….E,F,G……
Her “feathers” were completely unruffled by the rain and location change and being the true artist that she is, she simply found beauty somewhere else and adapted.  It is such a fun memory and treat to have these lovely, dreamy, romantic rainy-day wedding photos.  Thank you Patty!  Patty also did our family portraits (righthand sidebar) last fall.  I really love her work!

And while we really are madly in love, let me clear up any misconceptions that our life is a steady diet of candlelight and long-stem roses.  Let me paint the real picture of what was going on at this intimate moment….
Instead of a Rolls Royce waiting to whisk us away to the honeymoon suite at an exotic location, there is instead, just out of the lens view, an overcrowded mini-van with steamy windows from 6 clamoring kids in the backseat.
And instead of leaving the bridal shoot for a 5 course ritzy reception banquet, we instead drove through Dominos and picked up 2 large pizzas as promised to bribe said children if they would cooperate for an hour while mommy and daddy got their picture taken.

Regardless, it was fun to play the part.  To look in the eyes of my beloved and have him whisper “sweet nothings” in my ear.  To be reminded of the day we made the vows that we have every intention of keeping for the next 60+ years.  To look back at our young love 10 years ago with the certainty that our commitment and affection for one another has only grown through the weathering and trials and joys and tears of the past century.

I love you C with all my heart!