Some Thoughts on Some Things

Um, hello. (Sheepish wave and grin inserted here.)

I haven’t been blogging. I’ve been living. Sometimes it’s really hard to do both. I admire those who can.

Apparently, my last post was before we went to England. Well…we went to England.

In July.

We had an incredible trip, and made some really special memories with some of the best people I’ve ever had the privilege to serve with. God is so faithful, and He never fails to teach me a very specific lesson every time I give up my time and my priorities and my money to make Him known. The first year I went, it was all about seeing others as Jesus sees them. Realizing that so many don’t know Him, and don’t know how much they are loved by Him opened my very blind eyes and changed me so deeply I am not the same today as I was before I went. The second year, it was about the church, and the way we love one another and serve one another. I’ve been in church all of my life, and I’ve belonged to some great congregations, but we don’t love or serve one another in a way that demonstrates our love for Jesus. We love and serve because it makes us feel good, and we do want to help others, but there is not a desperation to be a part of the body of Christ. This year, it was about learning to lead. I’ve always been very comfortable letting someone else take the lead in situations that require a leader. This is not because I couldn’t do it, but because I didn’t want anyone to think I was being bossy, or trying to elevate myself in any way. I learned on this trip that leadership doesn’t mean you think you are above anybody. Being a leader means you see what needs to be done, and you help equip others to be able to do it. You also work alongside and share the labor and follow the leadership of others in the areas they are gifted in. My experience with working in this particular church led to several opportunities where I needed to be able to lead our group and know what had to be done next. It was a step out of my comfort zone, and I’m so glad I had the chance to learn.

Since we’ve been home, I’ve started homeschooling, and started a job. The leadership skills I learned while in England are paying off now! I spend much of my day overwhelmed. Teaching fourth and second grade, and kindergarten is a blast, but involves a lot of preparation and thinking. At night, when it’s finally all done, I can barely form sentences in my mind. But amidst the mental marathon of the day, and the constant housework (homeschool is messy, y’all!), the atmosphere in my home is wonderful. We laugh, we play, we create, my kids are reading constantly, they’re learning cool stuff, and I pray above all else, God is being glorified here. He is the only reason I’d even attempt this crazy endeavor. He equipped me for it, and so I’m doing my absolute best to be what my kids need right now.

But I haven’t talked about marriage yet. It’s funny, while writing about the England trip, I’m reminded of the hardest part of the experience. Michael and I love serving together. We love traveling together. We love working alongside one another. We celebrated our thirteenth anniversary while on the trip. But it takes a toll on us. We have very different personalities. I am so verbal. I love to talk things out and at the end of the day, I process my thoughts and emotions by discussing every little thing. Mission trips are so emotional for me, I need to work out all those feelings at night when we get to our room. Michael, on the other hand, wants to stop talking. He has used all his words for the day, and he wants to spend some time in God’s Word, and then just get some rest.

Now this is not a comparison to say that one way or the other is a better way to decompress. I have my way, he has his. But after three or four nights of me needing to discuss and him not wanting to talk…there is tension. Nothing major, but tension nonetheless. We’ve made this same trip together twice, and have experienced the same struggle each year. Both years, at the end of the trip, I got on the plane and asked myself if it was worth it: going on a mission trip with my husband, only to struggle with communicating with him. Both times, the answer is a resounding yes. It’s completely worth it. We’re always able to work it out. It may be after we get home, but we work it out. I’d rather have the stress of those few moments than give up the experience altogether.

And as for recently, I’m learning how to be a wife in the midst of being a mom, teacher and employee. I’ve always worn just the two hats, wife and mom. Putting on more hats is a challenge, because Michael is wearing several of his own. We both feel strongly about the things God has called us to do. Right now, more than anything, I think we are to encourage one another at all times. We’ve started going to the gym, and that calls for encouragement. He’s teaching and counseling, and working his very busy job. He is also committed at church, and is the best dad our kids could ever have. I’m doing all my stuff, and every now and then I sing in church, and try to invest in the lives that God has put in front of me. We don’t take any of those things lightly. So we encourage one another. Just today at lunch, Michael had to remind me of some things I needed to hear because I was having a tough time with school. He is such a cheerleader for me, and makes me feel like I can do anything. I know God put us together, but I am certain at times like this that God is sovereign and knew before “we” ever happened that I’d need him at this time in my life.

So every stage, every experience, is a time to learn and grow. Marriage, just like life, should never go on autopilot. It’s worth our full attention, and our one hundred percent. I’m sure I thought when I was younger that by thirteen years of marriage it would be cruise control from here on out. It’s never going to be cruise control if we want this to be the best it can be. If marriage is a reflection of our relationship with God, then cruise control is not an option.

And I’m glad, because I don’t want to miss a minute of this trip.



My kids have been out of school a few weeks now and we’ve gotten into a summer vacation groove.

Apparently, they think that ten o’clock p.m. is the appropriate bedtime these days.

It’s nine o’clock now, and they just went upstairs and they’re talking. Loudly.

Michael and I are exhausted. He works really hard all day long, and I work hard here and come up with activities that keep them from watching the television all day.

We would love a little bit of time together in the evenings, because that’s what helps us deal with the constant demands of our jobs.

Next week is VBS, and the kids and I will be really busy every morning. My hope is to get bedtime back on track as of Sunday night.

However…in the midst of my grumbling about being really tired…we are LOVING summer. I love doing crafts, and reading books, swimming, and picking up Michael and making a run to Sonic during happy hour for cherry limeades.

Our kids are vastly different in their approaches to summer vacation. Aidan wants to lie on the couch and watch tv or play the wii. He thinks summer should be brainless. Molly has made four friendship bracelets, colored a million pictures, painted, read books, played games, built forts, and had long discussions with me about things I didn’t know a seven year old thought about. Today I bought her a workbook to do over the course of the summer and she worked twenty-two pages in it this afternoon. Paisley wants someone to play with her at all times. But not her mother. She wants her brother or sister to play with her toys and do what she tells them to do. This is not going over very well with her siblings.

So during the day I motivate (Aidan), plan creative activities (Molly) and referee (Paisley).

And when it’s finally quiet at night, I think about all the housework that I need to do, and my head begins to ache.

This is really good material for a blog on marriage, huh? But life moves in seasons, and when you have three kids close in age, the summers are pretty much their time. Michael and I have to be very deliberate to have time for us during these months. We have to put away computers and phones. We have to pray together. We have to watch funny stuff on tv, because laughing at the end of a long busy day feels awesome. (Duck Dynasty is our favorite these days!)

It’s now almost ten. I figure I have about an hour before both of us are passed out cold. I’m going to pay attention to the most important person in the world to me.

The dishes in the sink will be there tomorrow.


I grew up thinking that every kid got along with their parents. I thought everyone went to church and all the activities offered there. I thought everyone stood around the piano and sang Disney songs with their families. I thought everyone put God first, their family second, everyone else third, and themselves last.

I was wrong.

People are selfish. Our society has a sense of entitlement that goes beyond my comprehension. We are told that if it doesn’t make us happy, then we don’t have to do it. Adjusting our behavior to accommodate the feelings of a loved one is a ludicrous suggestion.

Tonight, Michael and I were talking about this and I asked him why we treat each other the way we do. I wanted to know because apparently, I have been completely delusional about how most folks act at home.

His answer: the Holy Spirit.

Michael and I are both Christians. We have given our lives over to Jesus and strive to follow His leading in every area of our life. However, we’re also very normal, sinful people. We have a sin nature, like everyone since the beginning of time, with the exception of Jesus Christ. When I get angry, my first thought is not a verse of scripture. I wish it was! I pray that the Lord will give me that discipline and ability as I grow. But right now, it’s not my instant reaction. However, I don’t attack my husband or children in my anger. While my first thought is not, “Man’s anger does not accomplish God’s righteousness” (James 1:20), I know through the things I’ve been taught and the presence of the Holy Spirit in my life that acting out in anger does not glorify God. I may not be actively thinking about how I can glorify God in the moment, but because of His dwelling in me, He glorifies Himself through me by giving me the self-control to not verbally attack my family.

Of course, we make mistakes, but through the presence of the Spirit in our lives we are given what we need to change our behavior if we need to. Because we know we are not our own, and we belong to Christ, it is easier to be selfless. When you’ve already died to self, then you realize that you are not in relationships for your own good, but for the good of others. This is only possible through a relationship with God through Jesus.

When I do something Michael is not crazy about, he never fusses at me or tears me down by telling me how his way is better. If there is something I’m doing that really upsets him, he asks me to adjust, and I trust him enough to know that he’s asking me for my good, not for his selfish gain. Y’all, this makes us sound like we have it together. We don’t! But we practice, every single day, loving each other selflessly. Michael takes seriously the scripture that commands him to “love your wife just as Christ loved the Church and gave himself for her to make her holy…” (Eph. 5:25-26). He wants me to be holy before God. He desires for me to have a close relationship with Jesus, so he does his best to love me as Jesus loves me. He loves me for how it benefits ME, not him.

I hope this doesn’t sound self-righteous. I don’t mean it to be at all. We’re as messed up as anybody when it comes to the everyday sin in our lives. But we know we have a Savior who has paid the price for our sin and given us a new life. Because He lives in us, we can live every day in marriage and know that it’s not about us. It’s about Him. We love only because He loves us first.

I’ve learned that what I thought about the world as a child was not the reality. But in my house, in my marriage, in my life, I can create my own reality based on what God wants for my family. That’s not naive’, that’s being responsible to protect my marriage and my family from the ugliness of the world, while loving those that God puts in our path.


Q&A With the Dude

After a long Mother’s Day of church, lunch, visiting parents, kid-wrangling, and grocery shopping…my best guy is going to answer some questions. We’ll see how this goes…

Me: So hey Michael. What’s up?
Michael: You’re putting me on the spot. I have nothing to say.

Me: Okay, legit question: After eleven and a half years, how is marriage different than you thought it would be when you were single?
Michael:  I thought we’ve been married twelve and a half years.
Me: Seriously? Dude. We got married in 1999.
Michael: I don’t remember what it was like to be single.
Me: Do you want me to say that?
Michael: Yeah, go ahead.
Me: You’re really into this, I can tell.
Michael: I still haven’t gotten past the whole roommate “equal chores” thing and I still put away just my clothes. But it’s only because I don’t know where to put your clothes.
Me: That’s okay. Now that I’m the one that is home more often, it makes sense for me to put my own clothes away. Is that your answer?
Michael: Who are you, Regis? Okay…turn the question back to you. How is it different than you thought it would be?
Me: I honestly don’t know. New question.

Michael: What were you least prepared for?
Me: Conflict resolution. I stink at that. In every relationship, not just marriage.  What about you?
Michael: Same thing. I avoid it and I’ve had to learn to face conflict with you, and learn that that is a good thing.
Me: I hate conflict. I’d rather just say I’m sorry and move on.
Michael: Then you just make a smart-aleck comment thirty seconds later.
Me: True. It’s not a characteristic I’m proud of.

Michael: When did you lose a year?
Me: We’ve been married eleven years.
Michael: We’ve been married twelve.
Me: Let’s count. (holding up fingers….) WHAT? We’ve been married twelve years? When did that happen?
Michael: Maybe you lost a year during Paisley’s first year of life. You had a four year old, a two year old and a newborn.
Me: That would explain a lot. I feel like I should apologize to the world for my miscalculation. I hope it doesn’t cause any conflict I need to avoid later.
Michael: Well, when you’re aiming for sixty years together, what’s one or two?

And that folks, is why I married him.

The Weird Thing About Marriage

The title should probably say, “One of the many weird things about marriage”, because marriage, as cool as it is, is pretty weird. I mean, two people who are as different as night and day in many ways are coming together to live, work, play, and be a family. We want it, but when we get into it, we sometimes think to ourselves, “Seriously? This is the ‘for worse’ part they told me about!'”

Why is that? Why is it a relationship unlike any other?

Because it’s all our relationships balled up into one.

Think about all the relationships we develop with others. Friendships, co-workers, family, romantic, teammates, roommates…we build different types of relationships with lots of people based on how we know them.

Then, when we get married, there is one person who is our friend, our co-worker in the home, our family, our lover, our business partner, our support and backup, our companion. All of those relationships are rolled up into one person. That’s a lot of relating! It means that all the joys that come with each of those relationships are found in our relationship with our spouse.

It also means that all the frustrations and things that bug us in those relationships are found in our marriage as well.

We will have conflict with every person we know if we spend enough time with them. Every person we know will get on our nerves at some point. When you get married, and all of those relationships are represented in this one person you are committed to, conflict is inevitable.

The difference is, we don’t expect to have conflict with our spouse.

I mean, we know we’ll disagree here and there. But conflict? It’s hard to see that coming through the rose colored glasses we put on. During the engagement, wedding and honeymoon, we’re so excited about being together and our expectations are of years of joy and happiness.

Then, in the face of conflict, we’re disappointed because our marriage doesn’t look like what we thought it would look like.

If I can encourage anyone, especially young adults starting out, but even people like me who have been working at marriage a while…please let me say that you have permission to lower your expectations. Please expect the conflict. Please anticipate your spouse getting on your nerves. That doesn’t sound encouraging, but I really mean it to be. I can’t tell you how many people have told us, “We really don’t foresee any problems with ____.” Our expectations are for all of our relational needs to be met in this one person who represents all of the roles people play in our life. But all of the people in our life can drive us nuts! So it’s okay to assume that your spouse will, too. There is freedom in lowering your expectations and knowing that there will be conflict.

And the cool thing about conflict is that in dealing with it, you become stronger. Conflict has a wonderful way of bringing about intimacy. There are a million metaphors I could use here, but you’ve heard them all. We assume that intimacy is built through a lack of conflict. It’s actually the opposite. Working through conflicts yields intimacy. Basically, if your expectations are lowered, then your relationship will grow to a higher level of understanding. It’s weird how that works, but I told you…marriage is weird.

Weird…and worth it.




When we were first married, one of the biggest adjustments Michael and I had to make was in the area of doing chores.

I remember spending a few hours washing, drying and folding clothes in our little laundromat at our seminary apartment complex. I was still so happy to see our clothes all mixed together in the basket. I carried our neatly folded clothes to our apartment and left the basket in the living room, with the intention of putting them away. I got busy doing other things and had to leave for a little while. When I returned, Michael had put away the clothes.

Hold on, let me rephrase…Michael put away HIS clothes.

Mine were still neatly folded in the basket.

I started to notice a pattern when soon after that, I cooked dinner for both of us to eat. I set our little table and we enjoyed our meal. Then Michael got up, washed off his plate, and put it in the dishwasher and left the kitchen. I think he was studying when I sat down beside him and asked if we were just going to split all of the chores fifty/fifty. He gave me a blank stare and said, “I don’t know.” I told him that if we were going to do that, I was just going to start paying half the rent and half the utilities. (He was in school and I worked full time.) He was taken aback by that, and I explained that if we were going to live as roommates, we were going to pay the bills like roommates.

We were brand new at marriage, and had no idea how to live with one another. It has been so much fun figuring it out! That is one of my favorite memories, because it shows how different our lives were before we got married. Michael lived with a bunch of guys. They split the chores and responsibilities. I lived with my parents, and had been declared “unmarriageable” by them because I didn’t know how to do anything.

We have worked it out. We’ve found our way. We’ve argued and discussed and laughed about it.

One of the greatest gifts God gives people in marriage is the time to learn about each other. You don’t have to know it all when you walk down the aisle. You don’t have to be good at it. You learn about each other and about yourself. It does take patience, but God has given you the rest of your life. It does take understanding and commitment, and forgiveness if needed. It takes a good dose of humility as well, because sometimes you have to say, “Okay. This is not how I would do it, but I’m okay with your way.” The world is not going to end if things don’t happen exactly like you think they should.

You’re more than roommates. You’re in this for good. Enjoy it.

Encourage One Another

Every now and again I’m reminded very clearly of why God gave me Michael.

I promise not to brag on him in every blog post. But if I don’t write about this today, I’ll forget about it because my brain is so full of the things I have to remember to functional normally.

Today as I was driving to pick up the kids from school, I saw someone that needed help. You don’t need the details, and this story is not about what I did. Just know that I couldn’t get past the need that I saw in this person’s eyes. It made my heart and my stomach hurt.

I texted Michael to tell him that I really wanted to help this person but I was afraid. He wrote back and asked me why. I said I didn’t know if I was being safe and smart. I didn’t know what to say or do. I was afraid of going alone without him.

Basically, I was having a spiritual tug of war, knowing what God was telling me to do, and feeling the fear of doing it.

Michael’s next text to me said, “‘do not be afraid, for I am with you.’ -Jesus”

I read that, I prayed, I acted on what I felt I was supposed to do and God opened the door for me to show grace to someone who needed it. Three people, actually.

I’m very capable of doing what God tells me to on my own. However, because I’m quite human, my fear of the unknown can sometimes debilitate my efforts, even though my heart longs to obey.

I needed encouragement, and Michael said just the right thing. Rather than discuss it with me, or give me pros and cons, or tell me what he thought about the situation, he told me what Jesus said.

Because in the end, what Jesus says trumps all of our words. He is the final word. And if He says He’ll be with us, then He will be. And because I’m His child, he’s more than just WITH me, He lives IN me.

So I can obey because He is in me and is actually doing the work through me.

In any relationship, the best encouragement is when someone can speak scripture to you and you know without a doubt that God’s word is true and active and alive because it was EXACTLY what you needed at that moment.

In marriage, encouragement is crucial. Building each other up and cheering each other on is a huge way of showing love to one another. I depend on Michael’s kindness and him cheering me on. But saying, “I know you can do it” is one thing. Letting me know that Jesus is with me and I have no reason to fear, that’s loving me as Christ loves the church.

Know God’s word. Read it together. Encourage one another with it.


The Little Things

My husband is great.

He does small things for me that are really huge things, and they matter a lot.

He is supportive when I do what I love, and is a great cheerleader. He goes to family events without complaint, and has fun. He plays with the kids while I cook dinner and then washes the girls’ hair when they take a bath. When I say, “Look at this cute necklace on Etsy”, he looks, and usually acts interested.

He recently did something that made me smile. My all time favorite movie is Singing In the Rain. I have seen it so many times, I can quote it word for word. We watched it last weekend with the kids and I fell asleep. The next morning on the way to church, Michael told me that he spent some time watching YouTube clips of Gene Kelly and reading about his background and how he got started in movies. He wanted to show me the videos he watched, because he knew I’d love them.

I did love them. And I love my husband so much more because he loves me enough to take interest in what I am interested in.

I just recently finished the book, The Blind Side. It’s a good story, and I’m fascinated about what happened in Michael Oher’s life, but I also learned so much football history while reading it. I would tell Michael what I learned about Bill Walsh and the way he structured his offense and used the left tackle to protect Joe Montana when he played for the Forty-Niners. Never in my life have I cared a whit about football, but it was fun to talk about something he enjoys and to learn about what actually is happening on the field, rather than just watching where the ball goes.

Making the effort to know your spouse and then building on what you know about them is fun. You have to try a little, and step outside of your usual interests, but when is learning and growing ever a bad thing?

So I’m thinking…now that the Dodgers are having a good season, it’s going to be a good year for baseball.

Maybe we’ll also take tap dancing lessons.