Showing posts with label love. Show all posts
Showing posts with label love. Show all posts

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Loving Can Hurt Sometimes

Last week I had a cardiac ablation. Wires were taken through my groin up into my veins and then to my heart to burn out unnecessary tissue that had been causing me to frequently have an irregular heart rhythm. In the days leading up to the procedure, it took everything in me not to hit up google and seek out the risks associated with it. Because with every medical decision made to hopefully improve the quality of your life, there comes a list of risks and almost every one of those lists ends with 'stroke or death.'

But isn't that the way it should be? I mean as far as the human existence goes, we should be compelled to have a better 'quality of life' about us, should we not? Just living it and managing a physical heart rhythm isn't enough. There needs to be more than just breath.

Still the only true and real thing that boosts the quality of our lives is LOVE. Love is our reason for  existing. It's the precise reason for our being alive. Our goal is to love the Lord God, love others, love ourselves. If we don't have love, we are nothing. Remember that?

Be that as it hurts. Although it’s true that a higher quality of life is embodied in love, it can feel risky. Because of the incredible depth of it, there is always that chance that on the other side of love... is pain. And the fear of pain...or ample experience with it...can hold us back from having a genuinely rewarding existence from here on out.
The many facets and types of love can leave us feeling jaded or even battered depending on our exact situation. Parents may have mistreated us. Friends may have back stabbed us. Relatives may have abused us. Our child may have fallen ill. A spouse may have cheated on us. A boyfriend/girlfriend may have left us. A church friend may have talked about us. A leader may have failed us. A loved one may have passed away too soon. A trusted person may have abandoned or betrayed us.

Any of these situations and the plethora of others you may have experienced can leave you feeling afraid to really love again.

Why take the risk? It hurts too bad. We don't like to be hurt. We don't like how people make us feel.  We don't like when people leave us too soon. We don't like to feel disappointed... or worse , completely broken.. So why lay everything on the line to love people if it's only going to leave you wounded? Intentionally or unintentionally.

These past few years have been hard for me. People I loved died. People I loved got sick. People I loved talked. People I loved walked away. Everything in me wanted to shut down. It felt like too much. I didn't want to love anymore. It felt too unreliable. The moment I felt some certainty  was the moment I'd feel myself sink and my heart ache all over again.
I didn't want to allow love while the pain that resulted from it threatened to wear me down. Over and over, I'd say no more. No more to letting my guard down. My heart had become too fragile.

But that would mean I'm just existing. Breathe in. Breathe out. Day after day. Year after year.
I would barely survive. I would become numb to the beauty around me.
There would be no real quality to my life and the quantity of my days would feel like an eternity.
I would never grow or learn anything.  I would never laugh with someone, or cry for that matter...
I would never feel amazing. I would never feel much at all.
Or at least I would tell myself that.

That is not the life we are built for. This time here on this earth is not for us to hold back and guard ourselves. But rather to continue to stretch and to pour into others, even if there are risks involved. True there may be no certainty in love as far as who, what, when and how much of a 'return' you'll receive on your investment into another human being, if anything.

But that doesn't mean we just stop.

Understand this... we are here for a purpose.
Utilizing the LOVE that is instilled in all of us makes all the difference in the overall quality of our lives. We are not here to be alone and die never giving our best to someone else. We need to do more than just breathe. We are here for that child. that friend, that parent, that sibling, that significant other. We're even capable of loving strangers. People do it all the time.

Despite our misgivings, bad experiences and our fears. We are capable of choosing love over it all.

Loving can hurt. Loving can hurt sometimes.
But it's the only thing that I know
When it gets hard, you know it can get hard sometimes
It is the only thing that makes us feel alive

Loving can heal, loving can mend your soul
And it's the only thing that I know, 
I swear it will get easier
Remember that with every piece of you
and it's the only thing we take with us when we die

Ed Sheeran- Lyrics to Photograph

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Loving Them Well

I started writing this around Thanksgiving and seemingly got busy and sidetracked and never quite finished. Fortunately, I can say with some certainty that it wasn't too much of the 'holiday rush' that consumed me, but just having a family. And that's a good thing. It's a good thing to have people to love. It's even a better thing to love them well.

All year long, most of us pour our lives into our people... our families our friends. And this is unquestionably a season where we intentionally set aside time, funds and thought to others outside of our circle. During the holidays, we make an effort to extend that extra hand in particular those that are in need. It's what we are called to do at all times, to love. But as we celebrate the gift of Christ each Christmas, we are reminded to love and give to those around us. We go above and beyond. However, going above and beyond for many of us may just mean to start at learning to love the people in our lives better.

We live in this era when there is something to be said for just being there in that moment without having to document it for the world to see. There is something to be said for loving our people well...for no other reason than just because. Not for a photo op, not even to make ourselves feel better, but just because those are the people that have stuck by us, will stick by us and they deserve our best and our better most days.

Earlier this year, I really felt God tugging on my heart to step out of my comfort zone to love my people better. I'm a home body. I'm perfectly comfortable pretty much never leaving the house. I adore my friends and I love my family, but getting up and out takes work and energy.  Mustering up the words via email or a text or vox to let someone know I have their back when I wont actually leave the house to have their back seemed pointless. So I knew God was calling me to stretch a little and make sure the people who have laughed with me and cried with me knew that I loved them truly.

As the body of Christ we are called to be the hands and feet of Jesus to this world, but I  have always had a problem with the person that can be kind to the stranger or will give more time and thought to the passerby in their life, yet fail to treat those who have always been in their life with respect, honor and kindness. I don't want to be one of those people.
I happen to believe most of my family and true close friends are God given. Those are the people who have defended us, who will repeatedly forgive us and who will go on trusting us over and over again when others wont. Those who will try and talk us out of the bad decisions or even tattle on us when we make them are the people who love us. And first and foremost, if we are to practice love, we need to learn to honor them with our time, our integrity, and our sincerity... I truly believe if we can learn to love our circle of people well, that love will spill over naturally to the world outside of our circle.

This past February, we very unexpectedly found out my dad had to have open heart surgery. I don't want to say I was scared, but I was prepared. At least as I could be.. And I made sure I was there every moment possible of his 10 day stay in the hospital. With four kids, school, my husband being out of town for 5 of those days, it wasn't easy and I was exhausted. But I knew how important it was for me to be there. It was important to me that I was there for him, and I needed my dad and mom to know how much I loved them. The previous year, my mom went to the ER and was told she was a week away from a heart attack. Those are hard and scary moments. I'm a faith girl and I believe in the promises of God, but those moments are just hard and I am thanking God for his peace through every moment.

Since then, I've thought a lot about whether I've shown my love and support for family  and friends the way I needed to over the years. And until this year, I don't think I have. At least not as well as I could have. And over the course of this year, it's something I'm still working on. I've been selfish. I've been negligent. I've been busy. But I've come to this place in my life where I realize a lot of the 'issues' we have with our people simply aren't worth the inner fuss and they definitively aren't worth the fight. Our goal in life is simple. To love. And to love well. To be there first for those God has placed  in your life and that are there just for you... and let that ministry of loving well, then, seep over to others... on the outside as well.

I'm really good at saying I love people, because in my heart, I do. I am empathetic. I am sympathetic. In my heart, I rejoice with those when it's time to rejoice. I mourn with those when it's time to mourn. But love isn't an empathetic feeling or a smile or a tear alone. Love moves you. And I want it to move me to be present in the lives of the people that mean the most to me.
In between the week of starting this post and today...One of my aunts who I am closest to had a stroke.... My heart aches. I see her almost weekly... at church, on visits, we spent Thanksgiving laughing and cracking as we all played Heads Up and Catch Phrase, we spend every Christmas Eve with her and her family, and she always has such a giving heart and is such an example of faith to me. And as I've witnessed and experienced these hard moments with people I love these past 2 years, somewhere in between shock and heartbreak, I am reminded how much I really love them, but even more, how much more I could be loving them. And this isn't my goal for 2016, but it's something God has been laying more and more on my heart. Love them well. From now on and forever, love them well.

The question we need to ask ourselves is, who are those people?  Who are the people that have been there for us? Who are the people that we spend our holidays with? Who watched us get married or came to a funeral of someone we love to support us? Who cared enough to tell us like it is when we messed up?  Who cried with us when we lost someone or something? Who texted us to ask if we were okay? Who laughed with us over and over at the same dumb joke? Who visited the hospital when we were sick or having a baby? Who taught us to be more like Christ? Whose words of wisdom have stuck with us? Who hand held ours? Whose arms hugged our neck? Whose shirt was wet from our tears? Who forgave us over and over? Who trusted us again after we hurt them? Who trusts us enough to tell their frustrations? Who looks up to us to care for them? Who do we laugh so hard with we need our inhaler to breather (ahem...)?

Chances are there are several people, friends, family members, leaders, pastors, classmates, co-workers, etc that fit several of these categories... Chances are these are your people. People that are in your life, right here right now, that need your time, your patience, your generosity, your forever support... These are the people you need to love well.
My husband always teases me when I drive through Starbucks or am on the phone with a customer service rep. Apparently, I  talk "pleasant." He's messing around me with me because my voice gets extra high and perky and I suddenly pull out the ultra nice card. I get a good laugh out of him joking with me. But the truth is, it convicts me of how I treat and talk to him or my kids or the people I truly truly cherish. Why do they not get this 'pleasant' side of me? Am I more kind to a stranger than I am to my own people? Do I put more thought into how I treat someone I don't know than how I treat those I love?

It's certainly something to think about...

I pray as we embark upon another year, our hearts aren't broken or afraid or tattered before we learn to love and cherish our people. I pray today, right here and now, before difficulty comes, we stop and make the decision to really love.
To realize and remember those that really impact our lives and we all learn to love, love them really really well...

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Doing Life With You

When we started dating, he was just 23. I was 19. I remember that summer, asking my mom to pray with me about finding a husband. Now when I see newlyweds who are my age then... it just seems so young. But that was the truest desire of my heart. Simply to find a husband. Each new guy that showed up at church I kept my eyes on and my heart open. It was the summer before I was supposed to go away to college. I had taken a year off after high school and decided I wanted to do "something." But I really had no idea what that something was, so college it was. On a whim that summer, I went on a month long missions trip to Albania. It was there, the girls I was bunking with kept talking about marriage. I came home with a changed heart. Yes. Marriage was what I wanted. I broke up with my boyfriend, who I knew wasn't "the one."
And I prayed....

A few months later our church opened a venue that was to host christian concerts every weekend. My parents, being the pastors, had asked long time friends of our family that were attending our church to manage the place. It was then, in preparation for it's grand opening that the unspeakable happened. We were reintroduced and sparks flew.

Our families had known each other since I was about 6 years old. When people ask me when we met, I never know what to say.  As a little girl, I remember spending the night at his house after church with my family because of snow storms + their house being near by. But we moved away to Michigan. And that was a long time ago. I'd see him occasionally in passing as a young teenager when we moved back. But he usually nodded at me & that was it.

He didnt attend our church at that time, but that summer,  he swung by the "light club" to help his mom prep for the grand opening.  I was there helping my parents, as they were the pastors of the church opening the place. And as Jeff & I painted, the jokes and giggles between us were obvious. He was a tight jeans, mullet sporting, duster wearing cowboy and I was a baggy jean, purple hair wanna be skater girl.
Clearly we were not meant to be.... or were we?

Long story short, we flirted. I got scolded by my parents to not break his heart since they were friends with his parents.
I got mad at my parents & I tried to avoid him to punish my parents, I guess. But our feelings for each other were undeniable clearly. So one day, he asked me if I could be his girlfriend. To which I said 'no.' To this day, I still can't believe I did that. I was so young...and stupid. I had a hard time getting past his style. It just wasn't "me." And I guess I couldn't get past the fact that I sorta "knew" him basically my entire life.  But I am so glad God knew me better than I knew myself. Eventually (like 3 days later) I told him I made a mistake and I had changed my mind and said "yes." We got engaged 2 months later. Married 13 months later...
And a year after we got married we left our families in Wisconsin and headed to Bible college together,  both majoring in supportive ministries.

Jeff is exactly the person I needed... not just needed, wanted.
We have been together for 19 years now. 18 years married in November. We have had our shares of ups and downs. Mistakes made. But we have grown from them. We are not always hot and heavy. I mean, we have our moments. But we are always best friends. No one can make me laugh and roll my eyes ( in a good way) as much as he can. He is the perfect mixture of annoying and funny and loving.  I can't imagine my life without him and I am so thankful to have celebrated 18 birthdays with him.

Today is my husbands birthday and I want to wish him a Happy Birthday...
Jeff, I love you. You have made my life so happy. I am so thankful for you and our 4 wonderful crazy kids that God has entrusted us with. I look forward the the chaos, the adventure, the love, the tears & the laughter with you for the rest of our lives.

I'm so grateful I get to do life with you...
Love, Julie

Sunday, June 22, 2014

I've Been Meaning To...

Isn't this picture fun? As much work as it is attempting to get the kiddos to do what I want them to do in a photo, the end is always worth it. Somebody's eyes are at least half closed, but that is what makes real photos real.

I wanted to take a little break from my busy & slightly selfish mom life attitude because obviously more is on my heart than I sometimes let on. It just takes a lot of effort for me to break away from the daily routine of family to say what I'm thinking.

I'm just going to say it. I've seen a lot of heartache lately. A lot of brokenness. And while things in my life have been going well, I look around to my people... the ones I love and care for, people I know and people I wish I knew better and I see tears and struggles. I've seen hurts far bigger than any person should ever have to bare. Unimaginable pain.

And it's affected me. I've cried tears for others. Wept as they wept. Wishing I could do more...
or would have done more before it was too late. It has given me a chance to reflect on how real this world is. How real troubles are. How real pain is. Even if sometimes in our mind, "their" struggle isn't as big as 'our' struggle is or was, it is still worth our time to reach out because you never know unless you look a little deeper. 

Unless you love a little bigger.
Because you just never know...
unless you do.

We need to look beyond the smiling facebook or instagram photo and see people for who they are.
People that need you...or me. People that need your friendship. People that need your love.

I don't want this to come across the wrong way, because in the end of all ends and the beginnings of all beginnings, Jesus is our hope. He is the ultimate answer to life's problems. His word truly does provide a solution to every question we ask.

But sometimes people need more than to know "God loves you and has a wonderful plan for you life." Let's just be honest. People need more than just a smile and a 'Jesus loves you' as we walk on by. We pass by doing our christian service to others with a simple pat on the back and a "It will be ok. You know why? Because Jesus loves you."
As if we put in our time with people for the week,
like we put in our hour on Sunday mornings with God each week.

People need more. People need people.
Even God saw that when he made a companion for Adam.

Looking back a few years ago, remembering the pain I felt and the mental anguish I struggled with every single day, living with depression. It was so real to me. It consumed me. Yet very few people knew how intense the burden was that I felt I was baring. The vast majority never tried to reach in and break through the walls I had built. I felt whispers and wonders as to how I 'got there' but you know what... it doesn't matter how someone got to that 'breaking point.' 
They could have made all the poor choices in the world, but that's what makes them the perfect candidate for love. 
The perfect candidate for hope.

Hope that you were meant to deliver 
...from the ultimate source of comfort and purpose and life.

There is a whole world of people who 'know' Jesus loves them. Yet they somehow feel alone.
They feel hopeless and lost and stuck in their troubles. Why is that?

Could it be because we, as the hands and feet of Jesus, aren't always doing our part? 
We aren't being obedient when we feel that tug on our heart to call someone or write someone. 
Or we are looking at people's cry for attention on facebook as them being 'needy' and get annoyed with them instead of loving them the truest of ways.  
Well maybe they are needy. Maybe they do need something real. A real friend. Someone who will really talk to them...or better yet listen to them. Someone who will step up and pray for them right then and there. Not just someone to 'like' their status.

I was talking to a friend a few weeks ago about a situation and we both were crying and she said "I just feel bad because I've been meaning dot dot.... for like over a year." 

And I totally got it. I've been that same way too. I've been meaning to...
Someone crosses our thoughts or is on our heart... and sure our intentions are good...
We mean to, but we just never get around to it...
We all have things in our lives~ our families, our jobs, our churches, etc that take up our time and deserve our attention. Believe me, I know. But how is it that I can't come up with 2 hours in an entire year to hang out with this friend or write to that person I have been thinking about?

I just feel that this world is such a broken place. And I'm not just talking about broken in the general sense
It's broken in the very near and dear sense. People we know and love are breaking and falling to pieces, and yes, feeling hopeless.  And sometimes we don't even know it because we haven't spoken to them in six months. We think their happy profile picture tells the whole story.

Let's stop. 
Let's stop for a minute. For an hour... and call that person you have been meaning to call. 
Write them and ask them out for coffee. Do something. Be intentional with people. Be real.
Dig a little deeper than social media and love people a little bigger and a little better.

I really want to strive to be a better friend, even a better family member, a better people person.

I want to know more. Be there more. Love more.
And this goes just as much on the inside of my home with my husband and four little noisy people I am with every single day as it does to others...

I want to turn my 'I've been meaning to' into 'I did.'
Not even just that, but to 'Today, I am...'


Sunday, March 16, 2014

Love in 2014

love is
calm, gentle, forgiving, tolerant & quiet
love is
compassionate, considerate, gracious, kindhearted, & charitable 
love is not
malicious, prejudice, covetous, spiteful, or ill willed
love does not
boast, exaggerate, or is pretentious
love does not
have an ego, delight, glorify, or admire oneself
love does not
disgrace, discredit, insult, disfavor or offend others
love is not
egocentric, superior, bragging, aloof or narcissistic
love is not
easily irate, sore, maddened, upset or riled
love keeps no record of
wrongs , hurts, offenses, crimes, faults, or bad behavior
love does not
delight in anything malicious, corrupt, hideous, wicked, or destructive
love rejoices
in genuineness, authenticit y & validity
love always
defends, cares for, looks after, shelters & supports
love always
banks on, counts on, believes in, looks to & leans on
love always
believes in, has confidence in, is optimistic, has faith in, looks forward to,
love always
keeps going, continues, plugs away, stays the course, & sees it through.

I Corinthians 13: 4-8

Basically, love has not changed.
Live it.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

The Facebook Rant (camouflaged by scripture)...

 Alot of stuff I post on here started out as a topic of discussion on facebook. I have to admit, I've always been sort of the kind of person who likes to give out wisdom or opinion, but I fear hearing the comments in reply to me. Because I'm super sensitive. And any comment that remotely disagrees with me, I get hurt feelings. Dumb, I know. But it is what it is.

Obviously I know that we don't all agree, so it has been something I have had to work out on my own. And I have. I've gained confidence in who I am and what I say so that not every ounce of criticism drives me to offense, but I gather up the pieces that might be true and I use them to work on myself ...and on my facts, so that I am a person of integrity, not just pride.

But even so, it's not often that I will start a discussion on facebook, because I hate confrontation, nor do I think debate or argument is right. Especially when there is no end. Or if there is no specific moral right or wrong. Obviously, I am unashamed of being a follower of Christ and I will defend his truth to the core, but if you want to argue with me, I smile politely and shut up. If you want to talk or discuss something rationally and calmly in respect of one another, I will. 
Just know, I still might cry. Haha.

Usually when I say something, I do say it with confidence in what I believe. And I think hard over things and pray about things and make sure it's something I even need to share.

Maybe there are people that have no business sharing every thought that enters their mind, but I feel confident enough in myself and what God has placed in me to use discernment and write out my thoughts now and then, or to share what God is dealing with me on. And I look up to others who do the same. There are just certain people, who God placed compassion and wisdom in and who voice it well...
and somehow we all come to respect them...
and there is nothing wrong with learning from people who God placed in our lives, even if it is via social networking. We might like it or hate it, but it's a part of our culture now, and as much as we want to cherish the good ole times of talking on phone and writing letters, I doubt it's going away anytime soon. So we make good use of it.

But I have been guilty of the occasional facebook rant or vent. Now that I think about it, most facebook rants, vents or complaints that I see are by women. Ha! Hilarious. Women are so emotional and respond out of emotion. And I've seen in myself in times past, my attempt at "correcting' someone's attitude or actions or theology in the form of an generalized facebook rant, obviously backed up by scripture. (Because if it's backed up by scripture, then it's not a rant, right?)
In hopes that 'so and so" would see my status full of Godly wisdom and fall to their knees in repentance. Or is it my anonymous way to publicly shame them and hope everyone knows who I am talking to and agree with me and "like" my status?
"Yes! Amen! I know exactly who you are talking about! THEY need to hear that!"
  I don't sound mean ( I don't think), afterall it is just the word of God, but the heart behind what I have said here and there has been more out of irritation than Love...

Am I the only one?
I know I'm not, because I've seen other people do it too and it prompted me to ask this question on facebook over the weekend and I was honestly loving the feedback. Even though I KNEW I was guilty of it. 
Now, how's that for growth, huh?

This is what I wrote:
Do you think that its ok to correct or instruct someone subtly & anonymously on facebook? Even if you are using scripture to back your thought up?  I feel as though God corrected me on this awhile ago, because I've been guilty of hinting via facebook that what someone is doing or saying is wrong.
If our heart truly is to help someone specific when we go into Gods word and dig up a scripture and post it on facebook, then why not just speak or contact them directly?
Instead we use the word of God to publicly shame someone who is usually just misguided or having a bad day. And we hope they will see our status and everyone who are our mutual friends will know we are indirectly talking to them. To me, that doesn't seem like the correction is done out of love, but rather out of our own personal annoyance with what they did or said...
and it could wind up hurting someone we care about or making them feel talked about, rather than spoken to. Again, I've been guilty of this...and I felt like God spoke to me on my intention and to really watch myself on what I do or don't say something publicly, no matter what it is.
Do we get glory out of it? Does everyone applaud us for saying what needed to be said?
Or does He get the glory? Is someone really helped in this manner...?
Something to think about, I guess.

And that was what I said.

The feedback was great. No tears here! I even had some people who do not profess Christianity to join in...
and I loved this comment, very true, not taken from scripture, but truth dripped from it...

"It seems to me that making a generalized statement... In hopes of reaching a specific individual. Is cowardly and self serving... Shame, fear, and humiliation are the least effective vessels of leadership. If you have genuine concerns with an individual... Contact them directly... Without making yet another generalized statement seeking justification."

Could that be any more true? How self serving are our remarks we make? Are we only out to prove we know more scripture? That we are right?And gain the hi-fives of those around us? If our hearts are genuine, and meant to "speak the truth in love" to a specific individual, then public shame and humiliation aren't the way to do that, even if you never mention a name or are "anonymous" so to speak...

I also received this comment, which spoke volumes to me.

"I've been seeing certain people do this a lot lately. It makes me sad when I see these passive-aggressive posts that are so obviously directed at somebody...trying to disguise it behind scripture. This is definitely the opposite of being a witness. I was very upset about something I saw just yesterday and this post put a smile on my face. Bravo♥"

Granted I wasn't writing my facebook post to receive her "bravo", but simply because it resonated with me and things I would say so often, and God had dealt with me so often on it. But it was good to know that I wasn't the only one aware of these secret motives of the heart, camoflaged behind scripture make us feel justified in spouting off a rant on facebook or to make it look like we are only trying to help in our all our vast wisdom & knowledge...
and perhaps arrogance? 

Perhaps when God has challenged us or corrected us on something, from that point on we see it more often in others. But whether or not we say something about it has to come from a place of genuine LOVE, never out of irritability or disgust...and never should publicly and indirectly preach a combination letter of humiliation & correction.
This is not speaking the truth in love.

God's word isn't sent to humiliate people into obedience, but to help them...
Nor does he ask us to humble people, but people are to humble themselves.
As a matter of fact, WE are to humble ourselves...

Guidance or instruction (coming from our thoughts) in the form of a blog or facebook post may or may not be directed at a specific person or a specific group of people. Only WE know within ourselves. It all boils down to our attitude or heart while we write it or publish it. We ask ourselves, do I say this hoping someone will see this so they can see how wrong they are?
Or do I say this, out of love, because God has dealt with me on this very topic and it helped me get a grip on life a little more?

It's a matter of our heart...

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

17 Years of Marriage

This week, Jeff and I celebrate 17 years of marriage. That means I got married when I was twelve.
Hehe. There are some things that just don't go without saying and my gratitude for this man as of late is beyond enormous. If you are facebook friends with me, you may have read that I have not been feeling well the last few months. I've been absent from the online world and certainly anti-social. Several physical issues combined have left me exhausted, both physically and emotionally and in pain and weary and somewhat frightened at times.  Jeff has certainly pulled double parent and grown up duty in our house lately. Not to mention he sat and hugged me in between his responsibilities for about 20 minutes last Saturday as I sobbed and sobbed. He didn't try to fix anything. He was just there for me.
My general status the last couple months has been laying on the sofa or in my bed, with no makeup and sweats watching him run the kids everywhere, pick them up, make lunches, do laundry, make dinners, do dishes...meanwhile work his own job. Today, I felt like crying as I looked at myself in the mirror and thought, "The least I could do is put on some makeup and look pretty for him." So I did.
I am forever in debt to my husband for his uncompromising commitment to be there for me when I didn't deserve it and when I needed it most. Although I know marriage isn't about debt, but it's being a part of a team and unconditional love. Yes, he has definitely taken more than one for the team.

Just wanting to wish my hubby a Happy Anniversary this week.
And let you all know I am alive, not exactly kicking, but happy and alive.

I want to say a special thank you to Thrive Moms, Mackenzie, & Lena for your continued prayers and encouragement. It has meant and helped alot.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Valentines Link Up: How Well Does Your Spouse Know You?

Ever wonder if your spouse really knows you?!    Like even the simplest questions? 
Well now is the time to find out!

How long have you been married?
Julie: It was 16 years this past November
Jeff: 16 years

Where was your first date?
Julie: Our first date was TGIFridays. Romantic right?
Jeff: TGI Fridays in a snow storm
(I told him I forgot about the snow storm. He said he doesn't expect a woman to remember
details like that.)

 Where was your first kiss?
Julie:  Jeffs living room. He probably claimed I said "I know I just had Taco Bell, but"... psssshhh
Jeff:  At her parents house, in my jeep after Taco Bell
(I knew it!)

Who first said, "I love you"?
Julie: Me. Pretty sure we were at Gurnee Mills Outlet Mall about 2-3 weeks into dating and I said "I think I love you" or "I think I'm in love with you." Something like that.
Jeff: Julie

What were your wedding colors? 
Julie: Burgandy girls dresses. Pretty sure the guys just had black on black.
Jeff: Red

What is her most commonly used phrase? 
Julie:  "Stop being gross." "Why are you like a jr high boy?"
Jeff: Gimme some suga.
(really Jeff? really? It didnt say what do you WISH she would say?)

Who is her celebrity crush? 
Julie: Hmmmm...Brad Pitt, Jim Caveziel,  Ryan Gosling...and Zooey Deschanel haha.
Jeff: Brad Pitt

If she was ordering drinks for both of you what would you each get? 
Julie: Sprite for him. Pepsi for me.
Jeff: Pepsi for her, Sprite/Sierra Mist for me

What is the best meal she has ever cooked you? 
Julie: I don't really cook, but he likes what we call "kielbasa"...which is really just potatoes and
 polska kielbasa cut and fried on top the stove with onions in it.
Jeff: Kabasa

What is the worst meal she has ever cooked you? 
Julie: The one where I start crying and threw the mashed potatoes away because they sucked.
Jeff: Noodles with sauce/ no meat
(Hahaha. Yeah, that's gross. Not my fault if we don't have any money.)

What is the most-played song on her iPod? 
Julie: Hmmmm...a song from Anberlins acoustic album
Jeff: The 16 Candles Soundtrack
(I don't even own the 16 candles soundtrack, but whatevs...)

What would she say is your most annoying habit? 
Julie: The way he dances so ugly to gross me out. The things he says that are slightly perverted
and childish...the hat he never takes off his head?
Jeff: She would lie and say I act like a preteen boy.
(You can even ask my IRL friends. He does it in front of them.)

What is the last thing she does before she goes to bed? 
Julie: I watch Friends
Jeff: Watches Friends

If you could throw out one item of her clothing what would it be? 
Julie: Maybe my hot pink tights?
Jeff: Her clothes are all very nice.

What would you say is your favorite thing about her? 
Julie: I have no idea. He never tells me...haha. Maybe he likes that I care about people...
and my hair?
Jeff: She's very caring.

What's her go-to drink at Starbucks? 
Julie: Java Chip or Caramel Frappucino
Jeff: Caramel Frapp or Mocha Frapp
What's her blog name?
Julie: From Awkward To Art
 Jeff: From Awkward To Art

Here are the instructions:
  1. Fill out the Valentines Day Questions. You can find them here.
  2. Hand over the same set of questions to your spouse and see if they can answer the questions about you. 
  3. Write your post and compare both of your answers
  4. Link up your blog post below! 
 LINK UP HERE for VALENTINE'S Bloglovin Hop!
   photo donatebutton_zps31048f94.jpg

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Neon Pink & Valentines Day Link Up Questions

Here Are The Instructions:
  1. Fill out the questions below with your answers
  2. Hand over the same set of questions to your spouse and see if they can answer the questions about you. 
  3. Write your post and compare both of your answers
  4. Link up here on February 14th
HA, I am so excited to read all the fun answers, should be interesting to say the least.
Here are the questions: Feel free to add or take away any questions you want. 
 How long have you been married? Where was your first date? Where was your first kiss?
Who first said, "I love you"? What were your wedding colors? What is her most commonly used phrase? Who is her celebrity crush? If she was ordering drinks for both of you what would you each get? What is the best meal she has ever cooked you? What is the worst meal she has ever cooked you? What is the most-played song on her iPod? What would she say is your most annoying habit? What is the last thing she does before she goes to bed?
If you could throw out one item of her clothing what would it be?
What would you say is your favorite thing about her?
What's her go-to drink at Starbucks? What's her blog's name?!

Linked up at Ma Nouvelle Mode for copycat closet & The Pleated Poppy for WIWW.
Valentines  link up HOST is The Life Of A Not So Ordinary Wife.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Baby Blue Eyes

This little angel turns four today. I can hardly believe how quickly the time has flown by.
It seems like just yesterday I was taking a pregnancy test in tears, crying to first my
little sister, then to my husband how I wasn't ready to have another baby.
I wasn't even sure I wanted one.
Now my hubby ALWAYS teases me with that song, "I Loved You First" as he sings it to Leila.
How mean, right? Obviously once the shock wore of, I was completely enamored of this 
little girl. If you follow me on Instagram, you probably already figured that out.

Like seriously, sometimes I just want to squeeze her so hard, I can hardly stand how much
I am completely in love with her.

My Dear Sweet Lallies (as your big sister start calling you when you were still in the hospital),
You are truly Mommy's little princess. Girls can't get more girlier than you.
Princess dresses, Christmas dresses, Easter dresses...
it's easy, those are your every day clothes. It's a fight to get you to wear anything other than
a dress.  It's a nice change from your big sister who I beg to stop wearing Wesley's clothes.
How those big blue eyes in a family full of brown eyed people can not catch anyone's attention,
I am not sure. But that certainly makes you extra special.
One of my favorite stories to tell when people notice your big blue eyes, is how your pediatrician
told us that a blue eyed child in a brown eyed family has a 25% chance, but a brown eyed
child in a blue eyed family is impossible...and one time he came across one...
He said "I didn't say a word." I always get a little laugh out of that story.

I very seriously have contemplated homeschooling you, because you are the first baby I have 
had with me 24 hours, 7 days a week since you were born. I don't know what I will do 
when you are away at school. It will make Mommy so so sad to say goodbye to you every day.
Each day,  I try to get stuff done and you ask me "Mommy, will you play with me?
Mommy, will you snuggle with me and watch tv?" And I try to remember that one day you won't
be there all day for me to snuggle and play with. You will be a big girl.
You already are a big girl. Today you turn four years old. You keep telling me that you want to 
stay a "wittle girl." And that you don't want to go to school. Yet you love to have friends around
you at all times so that you have something to do. Possibly the amount of time you spend at home
with mommy and daddy will make it that much harder when that moment comes...
oh that moment is coming much quicker than I want it to.
I want you here with me, your sweet baby girl voice, asking me to snuggle all day long.

I am head over heels crazy in love with you, my baby blue eyes. God knew what he was doing,
God knew exactly what I needed when he gave you to me. I can not for a minute imagine my life
without your smiles, your laughter, and your complaints that "My hair looks crazy."
You are my little perfectionist when it comes to how you look. Sometimes that concerns me at
your tender young age. It concerns me that you are so beautiful and if your bow is out of place
you tell me "I don't look perfect." 
I pray that we can turn this issue into something useful in your future ;)
My dear sweet Leila, thank you for being YOU. There is nobody else alive that could ever 
take the place you have in my heart.
I love you.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

When I See You, I See Me

When I see you, I see me
When I see you hiding in your bathroom, in streams of tears
Hoping no one will find out how much pain you are in
but at the same time, frantically wanting someone to ask
someone to care
I know you, because I know me
When I see you desperately pleaing inside of yourself that someone
would just give you a chance
that people would stop criticizing what you have done,
but see you for who God made you to be
for that person you are trying to be
  I know you, I know that person, because I know me

When I see you weeping over the heartache of a little life,
a heartbeat you once carried inside of you
that now beats in heaven and is cradled in the arms of Jesus
You cry, reminding yourself, you will meet your baby one day,
but wondering how you will make it through today,
that promise of one day, still sometimes is not enough
Your tears were once mine
When I hear the silent cry behind a computer screen
and I hear people anxious to laugh with or at you, to question, to wonder, 
or to think you have it all together,
yet all your words, all your pictures that you post don't tell the story
the real story, of a heart isolated and alone
That heart that you live with, I know it well, it once beat inside of me
Because when I see you, I see me 

When I see the half hearted attempt for attention
that kind of attention that makes you feel beautiful and worth something
to someone, for just that moment
but inside knowing that the feeling won't last
because ultimately that someone that gives you that moment, the attention you seek
is longing for the same
I see two hearts, seeking momentary highs and temporary lows
you seek it over permanent satisfaction found in real love
I know that empty heart, oh so well
When I see that guy or girl, disappointed with their life,
disappointed in themselves or how things "turned out"
I know your questions, I've asked the same ones
I see that unsatisfaction, I know you, because I know me
When I see the boredom of life, in your eyes, in your words
the same ole same ole, day in and day out,
I wonder if you know that we are the same
When I see the fear of death, the torment of sickness,
the worries over poverty cloud your tired eyes
My eyes beg you to look into them 
Because you are not alone
I have been there. I have been scared of all these.

I have felt fear, depression, sadness, loneliness, addiction.
I have grasped for attention as a dying man would beg for someone to help him
as his fingernails give way to a mountainside cliff.
I have longed to feel beautiful
I have wanted someone to care
I have wanted to be left alone
But when I see you, I see something else.
I see someone else
I see Jesus, hanging on a cross. Carrying the weight of your pain upon his shoulders.
I see the blood dripping down his face.
I see every cancer, every mental anguish, every hurt, every miscarriage,
every shame, every feeling of senseless purpose as a thorn on his crown of thorns
I see every stripe on his back from where he was whipped,
this innocent man, God in the flesh was whipped
And when I look into your water filled eyes
fearing what will happen to your children, your mother, your father, your friend
in the face of this disease
When I see that silent cry or that obnoxious plea for love,
I see the nails in His hands, the holes in his feet
crying out to you
to tell you 'THIS' is why I did this

DO you see the nails, DO you see the scars,
Do you see the glass embedded into my skin, the thorns that have stripped my brow?
Do you see who I am? I am love. I am peace. I am joy.
Ultimately, I am victory.
The love you need, the help you need, the purpose, the healing, the freedom you need...
It lies in this moment. This day where he let himself become all these things,
these fears, this guilt, these diseases, this heartache, these addictions, these disorders...
so that you wouldn't have to consume it upon yourself
When I look at myself and where I have been, I remember this moment in time
is more than history, it is eternity.
He did it for you.
He did it for me.
Because he knows it's real. Those feelings you feel...
I know It's real,
But that's why a very real God, became a very real man
To die a very real death, with the weight of all these things upon himself.
Yes, when I see you, I see me,
but then when I see me, I see Him...

I hope you do too...

Friday, November 23, 2012

Blessed: Thankful for 16 Years of Marriage to My Best Friend

Ahhhh, yes the last of my thankful posts. And what do we have before us?
A t-shirt? She is thankful for a t-shirt on black friday? Well, yes, who doesn't love tshirts?
 But that is not what this post is about. It's about what is on the t-shirt.
Two bunnies in love.
Are you ready to gag?
Today is my 16 year anniversary to my husband, Jeff... Or Jeffy baby
as it says on my phone. Or Bunny, as I used to call him and he used to call me when we first got married.  Don't ask me how that happened. I don't remember.
Nor do I remember how it stopped.
But I saw this t-shirt online last week and I immediately thought of Jeff.
Do you know what we used to say? Instead of saying "I love you"
we would say "Bunnies Love." AUUUUGGGHH, I'm gagging right now typing it out.
But I swear I am going to get that t-shirt.

Jeff, I don't even really know where to begin with this. This public love letter to you.
First of all I want to say thank you for loving me, for taking care of me, for being there
for me, even when I didn't deserve it. You have always been so steady in being a rock
to me. That is the only way I know how to put it (and I know what you are thinking, weirdo.)
I'm serious.  Even if it affected you, hurt you,
you still tried so hard to be understanding and be there for me. You will never know
how much I love you for that and am thankful to you for standing by me and never
giving up on me. You exceed the lengths most people would do for someone they love,
but I believe it's because you truly know how to love.

You are my very best friend and I think about that a lot. How much we laugh together.
How much we annoy each other. How we know what the other is thinking.
How I can sit and bawl my eyes out to you about something for an hour and you sit and
listen to everything on my mind, and try to offer up your best encouragement or advice.
And how you give me massages...every-single-day. And good ones.
And how you try to plant your "words" in my mouth all the time. You know what I mean.
And I think a few of my friends do too ;) wink wink.
But even though you are so jr highish and predictable, I must love you for it,
because I still end up laughing every single time at your disgusting terminology.

Sometimes, it still weirds me out that we ended up together. You would think I would
get over it, but nope. Still kinda weird. But I am so thankful that God has given me
someone that is so compatible with me, makes me laugh non stop and acts so ugly that
it's cute. You have been my everything for 17 years now and today we celebrate 16 years of marriage.
I love you. Happy Anniversary.

Lord, you knew the man I needed to teach me how to love. You knew what I needed to 
make me smile, laugh, feel safe. And I thank you today, this week of Thanksgiving, and for the rest of my life for bringing Jeff to me to watch over me and love me. Today, I am blessed.

Link up all your thankful posts with Tico and Tina and myself all week long. 
Everyone who links up will be entered in a giveaway. We are giving away a $10 Starbucks giftcard PLUS each of us are giving away a one month spot for our "In Post" Ads! 
 That's all you gotta do! Be Thankful and link up!

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