Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Everyday Moments

Bill, I can't believe it's been almost half a year since we stood on that beach just before sunset.

Time is going by so fast and I want nothing more than to slow it down so I can take in every minute of it.

We've already had our fair share of big moments.... a cancer scare, two surgeries, a proposal, a marriage, a move, a new job....but there are also so many moments in between.  Moments of love intertwined in our everyday life.  Moments where your love and devotion to us shines.


  • Holding my hand.  Whether we are sitting across from each other in a restaurant, driving, or just sitting on the couch.
  • Greeting me with a kiss when I walk in the door.
  • Sharing your water with me.  When I wake up thirsty in the middle of the night.
  • Sweet text messages in the middle of the day.  And the spicy ones, too. ;)
  • Helping the girls with their homework.  Especially Kinsey's Greek and Latin root words.
  • Doing laundry.  And putting mine away.
  • Taking an active role.  Taking off for preschool graduation, doctor appointments, parent teacher conferences, etc. because you understand that those things really matter.
  • Kisses on the back of my neck. When I'm standing in the kitchen cooking and you pass by.
  • Cuddling in the recliner.  Because we are that much closer.
  • Cooking breakfast on Sunday mornings. Because I am busy getting myself and the girls ready.
  • Stopping at the grocery store on your way home from work. Because I forgot something, or changed my mind on what I want for supper.
  • Lunch dates.  Making it a priority to still have 'us' time in the midst of raising 3 daughters.
  • Taking the girls to school in the morning.  It's something they will always remember.
  • Tackling many home improvement projects with me.  
  • Putting out oven fires. And laughing at my monotone voice when I told you to grab the flour.
  • Changing the oil in my car.   So I don't have to spend hours sitting at the dealership.
  • Running your fingers through my wet hair.  After I've just washed it.
  • Going to the gym together.  Because it just makes it more fun.
  • Giving the girls spending money. So they could surprise me with gifts when the school was selling Breast Cancer items.
  • Wanting to peel back my layers. And continuously reminding me that our marriage is my safe place.
  • Taking baths together.  Because...what girl doesn't dream of taking bubble baths with a really hot guy?!
  • Growing your facial scruff out.  Even though it's itchy.  Just because I like it.
  • Giving the best back scratches.  
  • Being spontaneous.  When I decide I'd rather have chocolate than vanilla.
  • Never complaining about a single thing I cook. And eating the edges when I burn something.
  • Approaching parenting with grace.  And knowing you have to lead by example.
  • Always, ALWAYS having my back.  
  • Silently hugging me. Because you know words aren't needed.
  • Driving 600 miles. To cheer me on as I finished walking 60 miles.
  • Looking past my failures.
  • Hitting the snooze button. Starting our day off right by snuggling for just a few more minutes.
  • Never being afraid to say "I'm sorry".  Our relationship matters so much more than being right.
  • Making a point to say how thankful you are for our marriage, and just how happy you are.

There are so many other things that I could say about all the things you do, because you are just such a phenomenal husband and parent.  

We are so blessed to get to call you ours.

I can't wait to spend the rest of my life:

  • Telling you about my day.  Because you care about all the ups and downs.
  • And hearing about yours.
  • Laying my head on your shoulder. I think it was made just for me.
  • Standing by you.  When you need a partner AND a friend.
  • Admiring (and getting lost) in your eyes.
  • Falling asleep in your arms.  In less than a minute.
  • Listening to your goals and aspirations for our life.
  • Leaning into you.  
  • Eating oatmeal together. Because it takes me back to when I realized I was falling in love with you.
  • Letting you hold me.  When there's nothing to do but cry.
  • Going for scenic drives.  And talking about our wants for our forever home.
  • Saying "I'm sorry".  Because I really mean it.  
  • Telling the world just how thankful I am to be married to my best friend.
  • And thanking God for allowing me to know this kind of love.
  • Celebrating many anniversaries.  And birthdays.
  • And saying 'I LOVE YOU!' For the rest of our lives.

Friday, October 11, 2013

For My Girls

Girls,  I've spent some time making a list for you of things I've learned along the way.  There will be times in life where I will probably be the last person you want advice from, but know, I've been where you are and will stand, and I love you more than anything in this world.

  1. Be Kind - even when you don't want to be.  You never know when it might change someone else's life.
  2. You are BEAUTIFUL! Just the way you are.
  3. Learn to sew.
  4. Read.  Often.
  5. Cherish and protect each other.  Sisters are a blessing.
  6. To have good friends, you have to be a good friend.
  7. NOTHING is worth having if you don't have someone to share it with.
  8. Seek Him.  Always.
  9. Trust your instincts.  Don't second guess yourself.
  10. Love worth having is worth waiting for.
  11. Work hard, but don't forget to play.
  12. Serving with a joyful heart will reward you in more ways than you could ever imagine.
  13. Learn to bake.  It's comforting in all seasons of life.
  14. You'll know love when you realize that someone else's happiness is a part of your own.
  15. No what matter - the sun IS going to come out tomorrow.
  16. When you look deeply into any anger you have, you will see that the person you are tempted to call your 'enemy' is also suffering.  As soon as you see that, the capacity for accepting and having compassion is there.
  17. Don't judge.  JUST DON'T!
  18. Find a cause you are passionate about, and support it!
  19. Don't ever take advantage of another person's weaknesses.
  20. Be in love with you life - Every minute of it!!!
  21. Don't just memorize scripture - Dig in to it!  Understand what it means.
  22. Keep a journal.  It's therapeutic.
  23. Pray for your future spouse.  That he will know the Lord as you do.
  24. When you find yourself in a useless battle....walk off the battlefield.
  25. Make Peanut Butter Pancakes - they are good for your soul.
  26. You are worthy because you are loved by the King.
  27. You were put on this earth to achieve your greatest self, to live out your life, and to do it fearlessly.
  28. When you think about wonderful things, don't forget to count yourself in.
  29. Sing.  Loudly.  With the windows down.
  30. Always wash your make-up off at night.  And moisturize.  You'll thank me later.
  31. Invest in your footwear and bra's.  It's a must!
  32. Spend time in nature.
  33. Laugh.  A lot.  Learn to find the humor in life.
  34. Light some candles and soak in the tub.  Every night...if it makes you happy.
  35. Marry a man just like Poppy.  Your life will be abundantly blessed.
  36. Keep some room in your heart for the unimaginable.
  37. Forgive.  But NEVER let anyone abuse your heart.
  38. Let the refining and improving of your own life keep you so busy that you don't have time to criticize others.
  39. Taste the food you put into your mouth - don't just eat it.
  40. Take care of your body, you only have one.
  41. Stop and smell the roses.  Especially when you think you don't have time.
  42. Travel.
  43. Be with someone who gives their love openly and generously.
  44. Don't let anyone's ignorance, hate, drama, and/or negativity stop you from becoming the best person you can be.
  45. When someone is going through a storm, your silent presence is worth more than a million empty words.
  46. Forgive yourself.
  47. Marry someone who isn't afraid to help you clean, cook, and fold laundry.
  48. When you just need a break from the world - Go to Emerald Isle.
  49. Learn to paint.  You can change the entire look of your house with a few coats of paint.
  50. Know that NOTHING could ever change my love for you.
  51. You don't ever have to feel guilty about removing toxic people from your life.  It doesn't matter if someone is a relative, romantic interest, employer, childhood friend, or a new acquaintance - You don't have room in your life for people who cause you pain or make you feel small.  It's one thing if a person owns up to their behavior and makes an effort to change.  But if someone disregards your feelings, ignores your boundaries, and 'continues' to treat you in a harmful way...they need to go.
  52. Never question where you've was a step to where you're supposed to be.
  53. Never compare yourself to others.
  54. Don't hide your trials; allow other's to see God's grace in your life.
  55. Part of finding the right partner is being the right partner.
  56. Dance in the rain.
  57. Learn another language.
  58. Never be ashamed of the scars that life has left you with.  A scar means the hurt is over, the wound is closed, you endured the pain, and God has healed you.
  59. Strive to be a Proverbs 31 woman.
  60. Know that Poppy and I are always here for you... no matter what.
  61. Live your life with integrity.  Be the same person in front of others that you are behind closed doors.
  62. Cling to your faith when life gets hard.
  63. A fresh batch of cookies make everything better.
  64. Art is the accomplice of love.
  65. Be modest - it's attractive.
  66. Even though it may be hard... DO NOT ever sell yourself short by taking the easy road.  Challenge yourself.
  67. Accept the fact that sometimes you just need to cry, and you may not even understand why.  (Your husband will not understand this either.)
  68. Even when it doesn't seem like it, never forget that I am your biggest fan.
  69. Take naps.  And enjoy them.
  70. Be the friend who seeks out and sticks up for the person left behind.  You are better than no one.
  71. Don't waste your time worrying about the small things.   They are a waste of your happiness.
  72.  Tell Jesus everything.  He's always ready to listen.
  73. Pay attention to the details.
  74. But don't try to be perfect.
  75. Look for the blessings in life.  Attitude is everything.
  76. Surround yourself with people whose sense of humor rivals your own.  Laughter can cure almost anything.
  77. Don't cook and clean because someone expects you to do it.
  78. Find what brings you joy.
  79. Serve others.  And be gracious to those who serve you!
  80. Know that you deserve respect.
  81. And always respect authority.
  82. Learn to enjoy the little things.  Even the shaded spot in the car pick up line.
  83. You don't always need a fact, some of the best things in life come when you least expect them!
  84. When you're at Nana and Papaw's, sit on the porch and breathe in the fresh smell of the rain during a storm.
  85. Honor Him in what you put out into the world.
  86. Find time to just be still.
  87. Love.  With your whole heart.
  88. If it gets broken, know that I will be there as your shoulder to cry on/
  89. Go to church, and get involved.  Don't just sit in a pew.
  90. Do a Bible study.  
  91. Be the first to apologize.  
  92. Sometimes you need - and deserve - to spoil yourself.
  93. Be spontaneous.
  94. Don't assume the worst in people.  Give everyone a chance.  Oftentimes people have many scars that they are afraid to show the world.
  95. NEVER close yourself off - this world needs your heart.
  96. Keep a rainy day fund.
  97. Live as debt free as possible.
  98. A good book, a blanket, and a comfy chair make any rainy day seem better.
  99. Don't buy into the lie that your way is the only right way.  Different things work for different people.
  100. Marry a man who will take bubble baths with you.  

Thursday, October 10, 2013

A Week

Has it really been a week since I was sitting at the ACM in Philly?

The evening before I left, I was finishing up printing off signs to hang in the PJ's when Bre came into the office and handed me a picture.

A picture of the two of us, outside in the garden - her favorite place in the world.

She promptly told me that it was a picture for me to take on my 'field trip' so I wouldn't miss her.

My baby really is a special kind of special.

She loves fiercely and with her whole heart.

Once I got to the airport, I had to stock up on a few favorites: Redbook, Banana Nut Bread, and a Chai Tea.  Which was, of course, accompanied with the need for some extra insulin, but well worth it!

Later that evening, I was FT'ing Bill and the girls when Bre asked if I got the other picture she made me.  Bill promptly told me to check my bag.  I did, and pulled out a picture with a pink ribbon on it.

I took a lot to hold back the tears.  Tears of love for the sweet little girl who wants her Mommy to know she is loved and for my husband for sneaking it into my bag as a surprise.  That's just the kind of man he is.

Did I mention I was the Co-Captain for Lunch Services this year?

When Lauri contacted me about taking it on, quite frankly, I was questioning what I was getting myself into.  I had never walked that city and seen the lunch set up, let alone co-captained anything quite as important as setting up and feeding 1200 people for 3 days straight!

But I knew she'd take me under her wing, and all would be fine.

(Me, Nicole, Lauri, Matt)

I walked with Lauri and her husband, Matt, in Atlanta in 2011.  LOVE THEM!  

And Nicole....I want to be just like her when I grow up.  She's the 'BIG BANANA!' for crying out loud.

After our ACM we met up with 100+ other crew members and had dinner at an Ale House close to our host hotel.

Opening ceremony.  Can you guess what our lunch theme was?!?!

50's, of course.

I wonder how many people have read this sign and never noticed sandwich is misspelled.

Nevertheless, it gives us a good chuckle.

I've been on the receiving end of getting that Panera sandwich 10+ miles into your 20+ mile walk, and let me tell you, a turkey sandwich never tasted so good.

I spy a banana!

Our fabulous lunch crew.

Most of this crew are lunch veterans.  I was truly amazed by how well the veterans took the rookies under their wing, showed them the ropes, and seeing the end result....A UNIFIED TEAM!

THE LARRY ROSHFELD (of the 60 mile men and The Underground Guide) was on my crew.

He may have tried to claim me as his daughter....until he realized how old I am (Thanks again, Larry, for knocking a decade off my age. HA!) and promptly changed my status to 'his niece'.

Norma Jane (no, that's not a misspelling. She's Jane!) transformed into Marilyn on Day 3 and was a huge hit.

Among all the other amazing moments in Philly, I had the privilege of honoring the woman who walked by my side in Tampa, a year ago.  The one who was taken from us too soon, but who we will carry with us until there is an end to this awful disease.

We will honor you, ONE STEP AT A TIME, GLORIA!

This year I made the decision to walk into closing with my team...not as a survivor.  Watching that sea of pink walk in was breath-taking.

After closing, Nicole, Larry, and I said our 'C-ya Later's' to the team and made our way to the airport.

When Nicole walked away towards her terminal, I shed a few tears.  These people are not only my close friends, they've become a part of my family.  

My life is truly better because of each and every one of them.

I got to my terminal, found a seat, and the sparkle of my ring caught my eye.

I'm not sure I'll ever get over starring at these rings.  The representation of our family of five means everything to me.

It was a perfect weekend, but I couldn't wait to get home to these smiling faces.

In true Bill fashion, he and the girls surprised me with a clean house (including bathrooms!), a freshly made bed to climb into, a prepared meal to heat up for lunch the next day, and A SHOWER of hugs and kisses.

I really don't know how I got so lucky.