Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Simple is Sweet

I love when my child spots a field full of yellow flowers and then takes off running for it, while squealing with her arms spread wide like an eagle soaring through the air.  Every flower in that field, she sees as an opportunity to pick or to dance around.  She also notices every bug, rock and stick along the way.
What I see as a simple lot beside a quaint cafe, she sees as a magnificent wonderland full of imaginative creatures, magical places and adventures to be had. 
Though we were more than ready to head home after my celebratory birthday brunch, both my hubby and I recognized that this was one of those simple moments in life worth pausing for. 

We both stepped into the green pasture and looked on with joy as our little girl picked flowers to her heart's content.  She picked some for me.  She picked some for Dad.  She kept some for herself.  She was as happy as could be and my heart was flooded with gratitude that something so simple and unexpected could refresh my spirit and bless my soul. 

Simple things are just that..simple and yet somehow it is the simple things in life that often have the most profound impact on us.   
  
"In character, in manner, in style, in all things, the supreme excellence is simplicity." Henry Wadsworth Lonfellow

and of course I asked the hubs to take a few pics of me otherwise I would never have existed in this memory...tis the life of a mom and a photographer! hehe And you may notice some yellow stain on Daisy's hands in some of the pictures above? The pollen had literally exploded this weekend and the ground was covered in a nasty yellow film. I have terrible allergies and for that reason alone I was unable to run through the field with Daisy which killed me. Nonetheless, we still managed to share a sweet little moment together. and not that this is really relevant to the topic of this post at all (aside from it being my birthday) but, I wanted to share a picture of the cake that my hubby so kindly helped make for my birthday. Simple and very sweet! 

 Hope you are all taking the time to enjoy the marvelous simple things in life!

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

9 Year Anniversary - Mewidge is What Bwings us Together Tewday


Today, 9 years ago (holy cow!), my husband and I walked down the aisle of our Calvary Chapel Church in California.  We exchanged vows and sealed our union before God, family and friends.  Sweet luau songs were playing in the background and we both wore white for the tropical themed occasion.  My hubby shed quite a few tears (he's always been the crier in this relationship..hehe) and I had a grin that couldn't be tamed.  If ever a perfect day existed in an imperfect world, that day sure came close.

My hubby and I have been on so many marvelous adventures together and I look forward to many more.  I've learned that my hubby is passionate about fishing and me not so much.   He's learned that I am passionate about traveling, photography and seeing new places. When possible we combine those different passions into one adventure to satisfy us both.  I think they call that compromise:). We've experienced incredibly painful losses together and found that we grieve very differently.  One of us prefers space and the other desires close support.  That has been interesting. lol


We are far from being the people that we were when we got married 9 years ago and that is a good thing.  I sure as heck wouldn't want to be the same gal now that I was at 21!  Life has shaped us, grown us, matured us, stretched us and forever changed us.  Life is a wild and wonderful journey of ups and downs and all arounds and so to is marriage.

As you all may have gathered by now if you've read my blog for any length of time; I enjoy sharing as openly as possible about my life and the different seasons that I go through.   One of the reasons I started this blog was to use it as an outlet to encourage and inspire others by sharing my heart and my faith.  I deeply admire people who are real and honest about life and what they learn as they go through it.  It's not easy to be open about things going on in our lives when life isn't going the way we want it to.  After all, it would be much easier for me to lead you all on to believe that I have a perfect life, perfect family, perfect home and everything is hunky-dory all the time.  Then you might have less to give me advice on, worry about, judge me for etc.  Plus that would make me look better and of course we all want everyone to think we have it all together but, I've come to the realization that I would rather risk my reputation being real than have a reputation built on falsehood.  That superficial kind of living reminds me of the movie, The Stepford Wives and that was just down right creepy.   I recognize that not everyone needs to talk about their personal lives and some people even refuse to.  I respect that.  Everyone is different and that's a good thing but, I've always been most inspired by the people who are brave enough to share their stories even when it is uncomfortable for them.  They face their fear and they surrender their pride for the sake of helping others and to me that is heroic.  I am so encouraged by those who tell their stories of going through hell and back and coming out victorious on the other side.  Their stories have given me hope to press on and the strength to cling to God's truth even when the enemy has wanted desperately to rip it away from me. (Don't you like that I have a picture of us "picking" our noses beneath such a serious paragraph. hehe Humor is the spice of life!)

So in the spirit of keeping it real I'm going to share a wee bit with you.  I think my hubby and I would agree that our personal lives and our marriage have been in the trenches for a few years now...and I mean really in the trenches.  Life has been incredibly hard and often extremely painful for both of us for various reasons that I won't get into at this time...someday perhaps!  Our relationship has been stretched farther than we could have ever imagined and in many ways due to circumstances outside of our control.  I think we were both blindsided by the rough turn that our lives and marriage took.  Things had been going so well overall and we were without a doubt each others best friend.  We were both passionate about maintaining strong communication, openness, trust and respect.  We've always loved being together and doing just about everything together.  We are both passionate about marriage and we worked hard to have a strong, Christ-centered relationship.  We have attended marriage bible studies and read lots of relationship books.  We have gleaned wisdom regularly from older couples that we admire.  We have done all the "right" stuff and all the "Christian stuff" to protect our marriage from all harm and threat.   Marriage hasn't ever been easy per se even when it was great...but, the work was edifying and worth it.  It was like the feeling you get after working hard in your yard all day.  Your body aches from the labor but, when you look around and see how your efforts created something beautiful, it makes all that pain and labor worth it.  It takes work to have a good marriage but, the work is well worth the beautiful relationship that grows out of the effort, the sacrifice and the compromises.  You simply cannot have a good or healthy marriage without lovingly tending to it. 

Sometimes things in life happen that you simply could not have prepared for or ever imagined.  These things can catch you completely off guard and knock the wind out of your sails and your marriage.  Maybe the death of a child or other close family member.  Maybe complete financial ruin.  Maybe infidelity. Maybe betrayal.  Maybe horrific illness or permanent disability.  Sometimes, even the best marriages go through incredibly rough seas and many don't make it.  I suppose our nearly 60% divorce rate in the US is a sad indication of this reality.

Source: favimages.com via Casey on Pinterest
My husband and I have been married for 9 years and have been together like peanut butter and jelly for over 13 years... that is almost half of my life at this point!  Crazy huh.  I can't tell you how many people have nonchalantly said to me, "you guys will always be together.  Marriage just comes so naturally to you guys.  It's effortless for you."  I can't decide if I want to smack them in the face for their shortage of intelligence or say thank you because I know they mean well.  The truth is, we are still married in spite of all we've been through, because of Jesus and our desire to surrender to Him.  We are still married because we want to honor Him with our lives even in the midst of incredible pain and trial.  We are still married because we believe that marriage is worth fighting for because God created it and we know how awesome it can be.  We are still married because we are choosing to be.



Lemme tell yah, marriages are at war with a brutal adversary.  There is an enemy and he does not want our marriages to succeed.  I always keep that fact in mind because I see things differently when viewed through that lens.  The enemy has been working over time in his efforts to destroy the beautiful marriage that my husband and I had built together on Christ as our foundation.  The enemy thrives on the destruction of beautiful things.  He wants to hurt us and in fact he takes great pleasure in breaking our marriages and our lives apart.  If the enemy wants marriage that bad it must have incredible value. He seeks to devour only the things that he knows God loves.  So be alert.   This is one of my many favorite passages in scripture, "Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power.  Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place,  and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people." Ephesians 6:10-18  I hope that I never have to go to war for my country but, I can tell you that there are times in our lives that we are at war with the enemy on a spiritual level and that warfare is downright intense. God's armor is SO powerful and it DOES protect us from the enemies attacks.  You must put it on every single day.


A while back a friend pinned the fantastic video on marriage that I have attached at the bottom of this post.   I already know much of what Pastor Francis discusses but to be honest, I NEEDED to hear it again.  I needed to hear someone that I admire and respect, remind me of the truth and why it is worth living out in my marriage.  Everything that this couple discusses comes straight out of scripture and yet it contradicts just about everything that this world teaches us about love and marriage.  The world tells us to follow our heart...eh wrong. "The heart is hopelessly dark and deceitful, a puzzle that no one can figure out. But I, God, search the heart and examine the mind. I get to the heart of the human. I get to the root of things. I treat them as they really are, not as they pretend to be." (Jeremiah 17:9, 10 MSG) The world tells us to act based on how we feel...eh wrong.  Feelings change like the winds and basing decisions on our fickle feelings is never wise.

 
Pastor Francis and his wife have done a beautiful job of challenging us to consider our false beliefs about marriage and re-evaluate what marriage is really supposed to be about.  It's hard stuff to take in but, it is truth and truth heals, transforms and brings things to light that have been hiding in darkness. WATCH IT.  Take the time.  Really, 50 minutes of great marriage counseling is a sacrifice worth making.  And if you are not married they suggest you watch it anyways because this will give you a better understanding of marriage and what to focus on before tying the knot.

The truth is that I love my husband dearly even when things are messy and he loves me too...even when marriage isn't going as well as we'd like it to.  I love him to pieces and he is still my friend even when our friendship is being tested.  God has given us the strength to hold on to the truth of what it means to love someone. "Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails." 1 Corinthians 13.  Can you put your name in the place of love in each of these statements?  Don't worry..none of us can. :)  Only God can stand in the place of love and all things will still apply.  God IS love. This passage of scripture simply reveals that we all have room to grow and things to work on.


  I've known my hubby since I was 16 and we have walked through SO much together.  He is the hardest working man I have ever known hands down and He has provided for me and our daughter so faithfully without complaint.  He is handsome and smart.  He enjoys serving me by helping with the housework (every women's dream) and he does it happily.  In the harder seasons of life and marriage etc. it's so important to hold tightly to the good things and to the truth in God's word because the enemy wants desperately to rip it all out of your hands and leave you grasping for anything worth fighting for.  Hold tightly to Jesus and to His promises for your life and marriage.  Our emotions are so fickle and they change day to day and sometimes hour by hour.  Try not to make hasty decisions based on fleeting and unstable emotions.  Remember to filter your feelings and emotions through God's word and seek him first above all else.  He will let you know if your feelings and emotions are lining up with truth.  Seek the Lord in prayer, wait for His direction and then you can proceed to move forward with his blessing knowing that you are anchored in truth. "Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding in all your ways submit to him and he will make your paths straight." Proverbs 3:5-6

Source: godrite.com via Casey on Pinterest

Source: flickr.com via Casey on Pinterest

 Don't worry about us or take what I have shared in love and freak out or jump to conclusions puh-lease!  I only shared all this in the hope that if you too are going through a challenging marriage season now or perhaps if you go through one in the future you can know that a.) you are not alone!!  Sometimes it's incredibly encouraging just to know that other people can relate to what you are going through  b.) that God loves you to pieces and wants to see your marriage succeed and thrive and He will see you through. 

 I see the light in what has been a really long tunnel.  I have confidence in what God is doing and I trust Him at the helm.  I know we will be on a romantic vacation in Europe before too long.  Well, that's my plan...the hubby would probably like to go fish somewhere.  I'll let you know how that works out:). lol   Tonight we are heading out to dinner and a movie to celebrate the past 9 wild years.  YEEHAW!  Sometime life is like riding a bull aint it.  Just keep hanging on.  He'll get tired sooner or later!
   Humor has always been our secret weapon and we continue to laugh in spite of it all.  God is good both now and always and because of that we know that "every little things gonna be alright." 
Source: google.co.uk via Casey on Pinterest

WATCH THE VIDEO for GREAT MARRIAGE counsel

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