Tuesday, May 28, 2013

13 Years

It's been 13 years since Jeremy and I got married...May 28, 2000. The day I looked forward to for over 365 days.

 It's been 4745 days that we've been married now...that's a lot of days. Lately, I haven't been really like the pilgrim part of these days.

 We don't know what we're doing or where we're going, but we're still committed to doing...whatever it is we're supposed to be doing...together. It's been a challenge to keep believing the best about each other, but goodness, we've really come so far in this area...I look back over the years we've been married and can see and be thankful for how much we've grown. I once heard someone say, "I've been married 12 years, 7 of them happily." Honest. Surprising. Slightly reassuring. I won't divulge what my numbers would be if I filled in the blanks on that statement...the numbers could be depressing to some and sound like I'm bragging to others. But I will say something that I read once on the front of a marriage book:

What if marriage was more about our holiness than our happiness?

 I think about the way I've been challenged, the rough edges that have been worn off, and the reflection I've seen of myself in my husband's eyes...and I'm thankful. I'm thankful for the growth that's taken place over the years.  And by the way, I'm glad Jim and Pam finally figured it out, aren't you?
Ready to leave our wedding...I dedicated the song, "Cowboy Take Me Away" to him.  How romantic in a giddy, 22-year-old kind of way (I still love that song).
Our honeymoon, where I learned that my husband is different than my family and that picking up hitch-hikers is totally okay and that there's never a time that I'm off the hook from serving Christ, others, and my husband.

Newlyweds in our new apartment where I learned to NOT make new recipes that call for  27 ingredients I don't have on hand and that I can still be a good wife even if I don't pack a sack lunch for my husband.

On our first anniversary, I had "I will go with you" engraved on the inside of Jeremy's wedding ring...they were words from a song at our wedding.  In some ways, it was an act of my will and sacrifice of my human desires to write them.  I wanted to stay, I didn't want to go...but I made a promise.
We went...to Kazakhstan.
And it was a wonderful 2 years of travel, community, purpose, friendship, and more sacrifice.
We got to see the coast of Spain...
...go Wadi-bashing in Dubai

...and snowboarding in the Italian Alps (just to name a few places we got to see)

More importantly, we learned to trust each other and depend on each other (and I learned important lessons like not to walk ahead of Jeremy when we walked down the street).
We got to be outsiders together...humbling.  We will never see the world the same because we got to experience this together.
And I learned that a wife can make a home anywhere, even if she is far from home.

We came home and learned to be parents.  I think Jeremy was naturally better at it than I.

Then we spent some really really really hard months in Phoenix.  I honestly didn't know if we would make it.  I allowed myself to harbor resentment, hold grudges, and not be trusting.  My baby son was my best friend.  This was literally the only picture I could find of Jeremy and I together the whole time we lived in Phoenix.  It was hard.

But God, in his mercy, provided a way out...slowly.  We moved to Tucson and tenderly put the pieces back together again.  We were hopeful once more (most days).

Refreshed and renewed, we had the amazing opportunity to go to Flagstaff and serve at our old church.  A month or so after we moved there, I got to sit in the cry room at church and eavesdrop as Jeremy told the college group about God's timing and his struggles over the past year.  I learned a lot...about my husband and his heart and his relationship with God.  I should have trusted him more.  And Him.

Life in Flagstaff was wonderful, but real, with all its ups and downs.  Here is some of that real...the birth of our second son.  I promise we were truly happy but this is just real life...I think we were both thinking about the fact that we now had 2 kids to take care of and that we had in-laws and parents to coordinate and that the epidural that I caved in and got was going to cost $900.
Over the course of our years in Arizona, Jeremy earned his Master's of Divinity and I learned to be okay in a supportive role and to sacrifice for my husband's passions and dreams.  I learned what an intelligent and diligent man he really is.  I had been suspicious before, but it was confirmed.
Here I am being the wind beneath his wings.  But that's a really cheesy song.

We had some good times enjoying each other's company and I learned to relax and be in the moment more and to put effort into my appearance for my husband's sake.

Despite adding a 3rd child to the mix, we still found ways to pursue things we enjoyed together (with the help of grandparents who were willing to babysit, of course).
For our 10-year-anniversary, we got to go to Europe together.  It was wonderful and hard work...I guess it was kind of representative of our marriage!  It keeps getting better in my mind as I remember it.  We did that together!

I also learned that doing things side-by-side with my husband--like taking exhausting trips to Mexico with the youth group--were priceless.  We grew so close, even though we hardly had 2 minutes alone with each other.  Jeremy was in his best form on those trips.  I was so proud of him.  Watching your spouse do things that make you proud is really important for them and for you.  Wives, go do it!

Now we live with my parents and Jeremy puts up with me singing silly songs with my mom and  never putting the laundry away and wearing pink bows in my hair (it was Annie's birthday party)...well okay, he told me to take it out immediately but the other two are still true.  We are being tested and tried in new ways, but we are sticking together and reaping the wisdom we have learned in other trying times.  And he's aging pretty well, which helps.

So, I shudder to think of who I would be without the refinement of my marriage to Jeremy.  And the results have been deep and full of love and joy.  Love is patient, love is kind, love is not self-seeking, love does not hold a record of wrongs; love always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.  The year we got married, both sets of our parents celebrated their 30th wedding anniversaries.  This year marks 43 years for each of them...we are thankful for that example to follow


This morning, I had the words to a Sara Groves song pop into my head.  People if you aren't getting the picture that there is a Sara Groves song for every situation, you need to get with it.  Part of it goes like this:

better than our promises
is the day we got to keep them
I wish those two could see us now
they never would believe how
there are different kinds of happy
different kinds of happy
there are different kinds of happy
different kinds of happy

Happy 13 years, Jeremy!

Thursday, May 23, 2013

The Other Stuff That's Good

Spring Pictures

Annie's Hair (seriously, I'm loving it now!)

An outdoor concert with my hubby and Jenny & Tyler (love them, you should love them too)

Spring soccer with Evan and the Purple Ninjas
Turns out, he's a pretty good soccer player!

His favorite position is goalie.  His father and I disagree.   I think he likes to wear the cool gloves and  do the exciting part where he runs really fast to the corner to throw the ball while everyone is running back to their positions.

His other favortie position is "Power Sub" (way to put a positive spin on that one, coaches!) .  I think it's because he  LOVES to cheer on his teammates by name, it's so cute!  And maybe because he gets to pick his nose.  But that couldn't be true because he picks his nose in all the other positions as well.

We love soccer because we all have fun at practices and games!

Cul-de-sac shenanigans
This is Leilah who lives next door but might be moving.  Her house is listed for $750k...the kids thought we should put an offer on it.  We said "It's a lot of money".  They said, "Let's pay them a hundred".  "No, much more than that"  "TWO HUNDRED?!!!"  Oh, to be a kid.

Dinner with friends

Park playdates with our late bird crew

We brought costumes and weapons for the kids

I think we might have scared off any other random park-going families from trying to join in!  Sorry!   They were kind of a gang, but a very cute gang.

The hot (or rather cold) Gangsta Mommas

Sorry, Fabiola, I just had to put this one in here!  And she says she doesn't like playing with kids... :)

I have to say it:  "Arrr!"

Moustaches with friends

 And lastly but not leastly...Little Isaac has been found!!!!

(I'd post a picture but...er...we can't find him right now.  But I promise we are really happy and many of us (okay, just me) cried when he was found (at the neighbor's house in his stuffed animal collection...hmmm))

Thursday, May 16, 2013

I Heart Flagstaff

For Spring Break, we went to Arizona.  We got to spend the week in Flagstaff, but first we stopped in for a few nights with Jeremy's sister, brother-in-law, parents, dogs, and multiple scorpions in Phoenix.
Easter service..."There's no childcare for your children, but there WILL be an Easter  egg hunt on the lawn afterwards!"   (Thanks, friendly welcoming committee, now my children not only have to wiggle and squirm next to me during church but I have the added pleasure of telling them "Not Yet!" in my fierce mother-whisper over and over as they pester me about the impending Egg Hunt.)

Easter dinner, where my children always excel in the area of manners and Special Holiday Meal Appropriateness.

Oh well, the guys were watching Mythbusters the whole time so whatever!
We had a wonderful visit and got to swim in a pool with rock waterfalls and a sandy beach.  And there were scorpions.  Then it was on to Flagstaff.  

Here are some reasons that I Heart Flagstaff: 

Dinners with friends who don't mind my crazy kids because theirs are just as crazy...

Heartfelt (and sometimes irreverant) conversations with good friends who can pick right up where we left off 10 months ago...

Playing at my college roommate's house in the woods

...and sleeping in a trailer they borrowed just for us to stay in!

I heart Flagstaff because my kids get to hang out with people who have real "toys" to play with...

...and there are animal pelts and taxidermized animals in the kitchen.  (And sometimes we get to eat the animals who formerly lived in those skins!)

It was good to spend time at a house where character is more important than safety (and where the owners have been known to surprise their late night guests with a singing bass attached to a plaque on the wall of the guest room)...
(but having good character means following the rules and loving one another so no one gets hurt, mostly)

My former roommate and kindred spirit, Amanda.  Where did all these kids come from?  Oh, us!
There were so many sweet moments, like my friend Lori reading to and caring for my kids (and opening her home to us even though her husband was out of town all week)...

Evan being reunited with his special girl, Wylie.

She's a keeper (but unfortunately she now lives in West Virginia.  Suddenly, Evan has taken a strong interest in visiting West Virginia.  Uncanny).

Flagstaff has some of the best views...like standing back and seeing a park full of my old MOPS friends and their kids.

If you are my friend on Facebook, you might remember my lament at the lack of open, bumpy dirt for my kids to ride their bikes on without having to pay an arm and a leg and sign a thick packet of waivers.  We got our dirt fix in Flagstaff.  This girl can ride big jumps (across the street from the grocery store...they rode while I shopped...excellent setup)!

A long, full day at our favorite park (just ignore the newspaper reports of gunfire and stabbings--it's really okay during the day, I promise) with friends friends and more special friends.

Sam was reunited with the Fantastic Four.  They really like each other, can you tell?

Look at Sam's smile!  He was so happy!
It's a good day at the park when your friend shows up with his special gloves on (awesome rad time, August)... 

...when you end the day with dirt and snot caked all over your face

...and when you are so played out that you fall asleep in the swing.

Annie had some of her own special reunions, especially our last night when my friend Sarah hosted a sweet party for us and whoever we wanted to invite (well, we couldn't invite everyone we wanted to, that would have been slightly overwhelming).

Another wonderful Flagstaff view...

Sonoran style hot dogs (or as they say in Mexico "Hot Dog Con Todo")...the hot dogs are wrapped in bacon and smothered in every topping you can imagine...sour cream, guacamole, salsa, cheese, onions, beans, lettuce (you get the picture)

My kids love coming to this house (that was completely fixed up by our friends after they bought it), can you see why?

Not a great picture, but the conversation out back around the fire was so wonderful....and this time it was the guys who stayed late talking instead of the women.  It made my heart happy for my husband, who has spent most of the last 10 months finding holes and corners to hide in and study.

I had some pretty good conversations, too :)

And I think the kids did not have one bored moment the entire week...a week of sleepovers and playdates!

I guess kids in Flagstaff love gloves?

Amidst the fun and happiness of the trip was catching up with friends who have experienced many trials and heartaches over the last year.  There were stories of babies who died too soon, losses of dreams, relationship struggles, and serious illnesses.  And yet, there was a deep sense of joy in hearing what God is doing and how he is using these trials to do truly beautiful things in people's lives.  I left with tears on my cheeks but deep, deep joy in my heart...and even though I was EXHAUSTED, I felt refreshed and renewed.  And I could go on about the joyful weeks I have had immediately following this trip back here in CA, where God is showing me many different and equally good things...but my post has been long enough already.

My cup runneth over.