Thursday, October 08, 2015

Did You Plan a Wedding or a Marriage?

My husband and I just celebrated our 16th wedding anniversary last Friday. Sixteen years. That's a lot of years, Tony.  

We are what you would call high school sweethearts. Actually, we met when I was in middle school and started dating toward the end of my 7th grade year.  That was 26 years ago.  A lot has happened in those 26 years (and can I just say, I feel very old referring to that time as 26 years ago. Only old people talk about things that were "back in the day.").

We attended each other's junior and and senior proms. Danced together at homecoming dances. Cruised town in his candy apple red Chevy Nova with bench seats drinking slushies from Sonic.  We may have even made out a little in that car too, but I'd never tell.  We were there for each other's high school and college graduations. We had many firsts together.  Fun filled vacations, concerts, roller coaster rides.

Jeff proposed at sunset on the beach in June of 1998. I thought he was pulling at his underwear, not pulling a diamond ring out of his pocket.  He asked, I said yes, and we began planning a wedding.  

We planned the wedding. Not the marriage.  

And as I type out those words, I think about how much time, effort, and money we put into weddings. One single day.

To plan our wedding, I bought the necessities: magazines and wedding planning books. I sent off for every catalog I could think of.

I read them multiple times to make sure I was on target to having the perfect day.  I'd been to weddings that were ugly, unorganized, or boring, and I made a vow to have the perfect wedding.

I began getting free samples of invitations and printed napkins to compare prices and find something we liked.  

I made lists and more lists and lists for my lists.

I started dress shopping and tried on dress after dress after dress until I found The One.

Our total cost for the wedding day was about $2000. Probably not much more than that.  

All in all, I think we had a beautiful wedding.  The weather was perfect for the first of October in south central Kentucky.  Our friends and family filled the church. My aunts showed up with food for the reception which was a nice surprise.  Although the only food we got was the bite of cake we fed each other, everything was perfect. 

Looking back, I think about planning a wedding versus preparing for marriage.  In all honesty, we probably did very little in preparing for our marriage.  We were required to take a premarital counseling class with our pastor.  That was it.  

One of the things we had to complete was an Expectations Questionnaire.

1. How do you expect to be treated after you are married?

2. What are to be your areas of responsibility within the marriage and family?

3. What are to be your spouse's areas of responsibility within the marriage and family?

4. What were your father's responsibilities within the family?

5. What were your mother's responsibilities within the family?

6. Write a short autobiography about yourself. Describe  your childhood, religious background, major conflicts with parents, siblings, and/or God.

7. What are your plans for the future?

Those are all very good questions. Questions that all couples need to ask and discuss.

But I looked at one of my answers to question #2, and my heart smiled at my 22 year old self.


Work on the marriage.

Work on the marriage to keep it strong.

Work on the marriage to keep it strong and successful.

At 22 years old, I knew that a strong successful marriage took work.

Having the marriage I wanted would not just happen.  It would take effort. On my part and my husband's part. Before saying my vows, I was dedicated to doing that work.

I also knew, after having dated this man for many years before, that there was nothing I could do to ever change him.  I was marrying him, his quirks, and everything that would ever gross or freak me out. I was ok with that. I wanted to spend my life with him, and I knew that I would put a lot into this marriage.

When we said, "I do," my husband and I were not Christians.  We made a vow before God to keep our marriage sacred, but we had not yet given our hearts to him.  That would come some time later.  However, I had always prayed for our marriage. I had always prayed for my husband.  I had always prayed to be the wife he needed me to be.

And I still do.

We don't air our dirty laundry for all to hear.

We don't involve other people in the privacy of our marriage.

We pray.

God is the all knowing. God is the healer. God is the provider.  God is number one in our marriage.

I think one of the most difficult things about keeping our marriage strong would be putting my husband first since having children.  Now, I know that there are those of you who put your children first and your husband comes last, but I want you to consider what that does to your marriage.

Being a first time mom is hard.  Its even harder to have those deep, romantic moments with your husband. You are sleep deprived. You stink. You have spit up and poop stained clothes.  Being a new mom isn't very attractive.  But still. Your husband must come first.

As women, we want our husbands to love us and show us that love.  Our husbands want us to respect them and show them that respect.

We can fuss about our husbands not meeting our needs, but we have to ask ourselves, "What have I done for my husband?"

The best thing I can do for my husband is belong to Christ. He must come first. If my relationship with Christ is flawed, then my relationship with my husband will be flawed. If my relationship with my husband is flawed, then my relationship with my children will be flawed.

It all starts with Christ.

So many women have a problem with the word submission.  They cringe and laugh and run.  But girls. I'm telling you. It's biblical.  Submission doesn't mean to be a doormat.  It means to be the wife God has called you to be.  Really. You should read Sara Horn's book My So-Called Life as a Submissive Wife.  

In all of this, I am asking you, did you plan a wedding or a marriage?  Most of us plan weddings and give little to no thought about what happens once the honeymoon is over.  What do you do when it gets hard? When the bills can't be paid? When illness comes?  When Satan tries to destroy what God deems as holy?

Marriage is work. It's hard work.  It's good work. I encourage you as you are filling your hope chest or taking things out of it, be sure that God is there with you.  Be sure that God is first in your marriage.  Seek Him.  You won't have a perfect marriage. You'll have a God centered marriage.  

Tuesday, October 06, 2015

On the Fence?

First off, I want to say THANK YOU to everyone that has participated in the survey. Whether you have chosen to participate with me and this group or not, your feed back is very helpful.

For those that sent me your email, I will be contacting you very soon with more information.

For those of you that are on the fence,  let me say a few words of encouragement.

You are not alone in your journey.  Whether you decide to participate with me or not, you still have a heart to become the woman God intends you to be.  That is your first step, that acknowledgment that something just isn't right and you want to make it better, make it holy, make it God's.

You do not have to participate in this group to do that.  You just have to make a commitment to meet Jesus right where you are and let Him do a good work in you.

If you have questions, please feel free to email me.  I would be happy to answer any questions you may have that will help you make your decision.  Again, either way, this is up to you and God.  While I hope you would join me, I fully understand if you don't.  I will still be here to encourage you.

If you are new to this conversation, I invite you read this blog post and take my survey.

Sunday, October 04, 2015

Higher Calling

We spend our lives searching for purpose.  We asks the question, "What am I supposed to be doing with my life?"  We want to do something worthwhile, something we enjoy, something that makes a difference.

But what determines our purpose?

Do we seek the path of others?

Do we say....Well, if she's writing, then I should be writing? If he went on a mission trip, then why shouldn't I become a missionary?

Do we compare ourselves to others to find our purpose?

I think sometimes, maybe too often, we do.

We forget that we are fearfully and wonderfully made.

We forget that God broke the mold when He created each of us.

We forget that there is no one on earth like us.

We look at others and we covet.  We want what they have. We want their journey, their purpose, their calling.

Sometimes, its our own sin that causes that. Sometimes others draw us into that covetous attitude.  Consider this....Have you ever looked down on someone because they weren't serving God the way you were?  Do you think you are holier because you have gone on a couple of mission trips?  Do you stick your nose in the air as you walk by those who can't put more in the offering?  Do you make people feel bad because they aren't called to do the same thing as you?

We have all been given special gifts.  The bible says so.  1 Corinthians 12:4-7 says,
 Now God gives us many kinds of special abilities, but it is the same Holy Spirit who is the source of them all.  There are different kinds of service to God, but it is the same Lord we are serving.  There are many ways in which God works in our lives, but it is the same God who does the work in and through all of us who are his.  The Holy Spirit displays God’s power through each of us as a means of helping the entire church.
The apostle Paul went on to discuss the various spiritual gifts God has blessed us with.  He's called some people to be teachers and others to be preachers. He's called folks to encourage and others to heal.  He reminds us that as the body of Christ, we all have different jobs.  We can't all be feet.  We can't all be ears. We can't all be arms, legs, hands, or mouths.

In her book, Let's All Be Brave, Annie Downs talked about her faulty understanding of being a Christian and fulfilling your calling. She said at one point she believed that you were "ranked" based on your service.  For instance, missionaries were top ranked while "normal" jobs were lower ranked.  You could still be a Christian, but you just weren't as awesome if you weren't sacrificing more than others.  She realized this sort of thinking was wrong.  We can't all be missionaries. We can't all be teachers or praise and worship leaders.  God has called us all to do different things, all equally important.

In the book of Numbers, God gave Moses instructions for service.  The Kohathite clan were to prepare the Tabernacle for moving.  Their duties were to cover the items, the most sacred objects so they would be protected when the camp moved.  The Gershonite clan would be responsible for general service and carrying loads. The Merarite clan would also be responsible for carrying the loads during the moves (Numbers 4:1-49).

Doesn't sound so glorious or glamorous does it?  Might sound a little ridiculous like Baby from Dirty Dancing, "I carried a watermelon."  Nothing awesome about that is it?


It's the Lord's work.

God didn't grant us all the same gifts.

We have to seek to find our strengths and our weaknesses.  Then we must commit to using our gifts to serve God.

Can you sing?  Join a choir or praise band (Justin Beiber.....If you really want to live like Jesus, maybe you should sing songs of worship).

Can you organize?  Join a committee.  Ooohhh, the activities committee.  Plan events and activities for your church to minister to others, for your church to grow in their relationship with Christ.  Plan Trunk or Treat and Block Parties.

Can you teach?  Teach a Sunday school or VBS class.

Can you shop?  Buy items for the Angel Tree or Operation Christmas Child. Take needy kids shopping for new clothes now that the weather is changing.

Can you sew?  Craft blankets for the elderly or homeless.

Can you cook?  Bake something for someone.  Our local Methodist Church treated my family to their Manna Meals while my husband served in Afghanistan.  Our home church, those good ol' southern Baptist women, have delivered fried chicken, Happy Meals, and banana pudding for us in times of need.  Christ can be felt through the taste buds......Taste and see that the Lord is good (Psalm 34:8).

Can you landscape?  Help an elderly person clean up the yard since he can't get around like he used to. Plant flowers or bushes at your church.

Can you build?  Help someone whose siding is falling off the house.  Replace those shingles.  Fulfill that church Honey Do List.

My point is.....there's always something to do.

We want to sit around and gripe and complain about what needs to be done. We expect others to step up and get the job done.  If no one does it, we fuss about it. If some does it, but not to our liking, we fuss about it.

Stop fussing. Stop complaining.

Do something.


Whatever you do, do it in the name of Jesus Christ.

We can all do something.

What is your spiritual gift?  Isn't it time you do something with it?

52 Books in 52 Weeks Update

First off, let me say that I have NOT completed this challenge.  Not. At. All.

Let me say, also, that I have not given up. Not. At. All.
Here are the categories I have fulfilled:

A graphic novel
The Invention of Hugo Cabret

A book you stared but never finished

A book you own but have never read

A book that became a movie 

A book by a female author

A book based on a true story

A book you can finish in a day

These categories are "under construction" because I have either started them or will start them soon:

A book that scares you
A book with antonyms in the title
A book that takes place in your hometown
A book set during Christmas

What all have you read this year?

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

I have decided

I'm on journey.

We all are.

As a child of God, I'm on His journey, not mine.

Every once in a while, I get side tracked, knocked off course. I lose my way.

More than anything in the world, I want to be the woman God created me to be.

I became a Christian in 2004. I was almost 27 years old. I was a wife and a mom of a two year old. My life wasn't over night, but slowly, I started seeing the world differently, with the eyes of Christ.

Now, I'm not perfect.....NO! Not by any means, and I will NEVER claim to be.  I've got a long way to go before I am truly the woman God created me to be.

I struggle.

I have a bad temper.  I don't beat my kids or cuss my husband or anything.  I just yell. And ya'll, there's so many days where I just haven't liked myself because I yelled at my kids.  I reacted instead of responded.  Yes, there's a difference.

I have a time management problem.  I like blogging and Facebook and Pinterest and Etsy, and....well, you get the idea.  Before I know it, I can lose track of time and that causes the laundry and dishes to stack up, the school work not to get done, or the Sunday school lesson to get prepared an hour before church.

And there's this four letter F word that I have a problem  I like to eat.  Bread, Snicker's bars, scrambled eggs, watermelon, cantaloupe, macaroni and cheese, Big Macs, onion rings.......see. I like food and coffee, and Dr. Pepper.  Needless to say, I don't always make the healthiest choices.

I've also been know to get into gossip. I wouldn't call myself the town gossip. There's so many things I am totally out of the loop about, and sometimes, well, ignorance is bliss.  There are times, however, I have gotten into conversations I was not proud to be in.  Either I said some things that I wasn't proud of, I didn't stand up to someone for the things she said.

My friend, the list could go on.  Although I proudly call myself a Christian, I admit, I am sinner.  That's why I need Christ in my life.

So, I am on a journey.  I want to be the woman God has called me to be.  It isn't always easy, but I must make the effort.

And that brings me to this....

What journey are you on?

What is that you struggle with?  Is there a relationship that needs healing? Is there a habit that needs breaking?  Is there a lifestyle change in order?

I would love for you to work with me in getting back on track.  Let's join together in strengthening our relationship with Christ to become the women He has called us to be.

The first thing you can do is click HERE.  This is a simple, short survey that will show me the needs that women have, the areas in which they feel they can/want grow.

At the end of the survey, you have the opportunity to help me write my first book.  Yes!  I have decided to write my first book, but I can't do it alone.  If you would like to help (and you may remain anonymous, there will be an opportunity for you to do so.

Secondly, if you have decided to join in this journey, I will contact you with the specifics.

God has given us a life worth living.  This is our time to get back to basics and get back to our calling as Christian women.

I look forward to hearing from you.  Also, if you know someone who would like to join in or may appreciate this post, please share it with them.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Book Survey

Good news!  I have finally decided to get started on my first book.  I need your help.  Please click on the link below to fill out a short survey.


Thank you so much!

Friday, September 25, 2015

Five Minute Friday: Doubt

In the fight for life, there is no room for doubt.

For me, it's either all or nothing.

What about you?  What are you fighting for?

Your kids?
Your marriage?
Your life?

We are all fighting for something....

for that pay raise
for that new job
for a cure
for healing

In our fight, we have to march in, shoulders back, head held high, determined.

Determined to fight.
Determined to win.
Determined against all odds.

If we let the slightest bit of doubt creep in, Satan can and will have a field day.  He loves when we doubt.  It weakens our faith.  We fight a little softer, a little less, and finally we quit.

We give in.

But you know what?

The victory has already been won. Christ has overcome the world.  There is hope!

My hope is in Him.

I've learned that my ways are not His ways.

My timing is not His timing.

His answers aren't my answers.

But His way is perfect.  And to be in His will, there is NO room for doubt.

So we must lean on Him.  We must be guided by His nail pierced hands.  We must believe that we will be victories regardless of the battle ahead.

Thank you for joining me this week for Five Minute Friday!  New to the FMF movement?  Well, basically, you start at Kate Motaung's fabulous blog and get her one word prompt. Then you write for five minutes.  You let the words flow.  Five Minutes. No overthinking. No editing. Just writing.  Head over to to join in the fun.

On Being a Writer: Limit

Do I wear many hats?


Wife of an associate pastor/army chaplain/amazing man

Mama/maid/personal assistant/chef/chauffeur/referee to 3 boys (13, 9, and 5 years old)

Soccer coach (on break until June)

Sunday School teacher, nursery worker, VBS teacher

Robotics coach

Teacher of all things fifth grade and Common Core

Aspiring writer

Yes, many hats.

I told my friend, aka assistant robotics coach, I was considering taking over academic team.  She begged me to rid my mind of that thought.

Nope, don't really need anything else to do, another hat to wear.

Right now, in this season of life, I find it difficult to limit things so I can focus on writing.  Family and church will always come first.  And, well, I have two mortgages to pay, so I have to continue teaching.  Want to buy a house?  Everything else I do is for fun, for my sanity.  

I want my writing to glorify God.  Therefore, I've been working to take steps to get closer to Him.  I've set aside time for each day to read His Word. I take part in prayer and Bible study.  I fellowship with other believers.  I'm trying to limit my time on social media, on mindless iPad games, and idleness. I am becoming more conscientious about my time, not wanting to waste a moment.

My goal is to be more consistent and persistent in writing. I am going to take advantage of writing opportunities that may present themselves and find time to write as much as possible.

This writing life is definitely important to me, and I want to use this gift to reach others.

On Being a Writer: Rest

I almost chuckled reading this chapter: REST.

What's that???

Let's be honest.  Some of us feel like we don't have time for rest.  As a mama, I have the mindset that I don't have time to rest.  My kids reinforce that as well!

But seriously, here in my writing journey, I don't rest intentionally.  My rest from writing comes from the busyness of life as I know it.

There are times I've returned here to the blog and apologized for my absence and went on to explain what had pulled me away.  Not that anyone really cared, but I felt the need to explain myself.

But rest from this place is a bit different for me than it may be for other writers.  You see, my time here is contingent upon my time with Christ.  I made a deal with God (yes, I'm one of those people). If I didn't spend time with Him, then I wouldn't spend time here.

So sometimes life pulls me away.

My family.....we spend time together. We play together. I told my middle child the other day, "We are family and will suffer in misery together."  That was partly a joke because he didn't understand why we had to drive an hour away for his big brother's soccer game.  But it's true.  Family first, no matter what's going on.

My church.....I teach and volunteer and do what I can to minister to those in my church.

My career.....I'd love to say I have a writing career, but that's not where I am on this journey.  Teaching keeps me pretty busy.  Planning, preparing, meeting, grading......all that that comes along with teaching these young children.

For me, sometimes I need a rest from real life.  For instance, when I attended the Five Minute Friday retreat, I was rejuvenated.  I felt refreshed and ready to conquer the world with words (or at least share them more confidently).  My life experiences have helped me with reviving my writing.  The busyness that comes along with deployment, the struggles that came with my miscarriage.....those and other seasons of life have allowed me to step back from this space and return with fresh words.

One thing I am learning is REST IS GOOD.  After all, God took a rest.  If He did, shouldn't I as well?  Maybe that comes with age and experience, the realization that rest is truly good, and we shouldn't feel guilty for it.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

On Being a Writer: Plan

If I haven't mentioned it, or if you haven't caught on, I am taking part in a discussion group with Kate Motaung and some other amazing writers.  For 6 weeks, (oh our time is almost up!) we have been reading On Being a Writer and discussing it's contents and how it is affecting us as writers.  As a newly proclaimed writer (it's surreal saying that), I have to say that this book has meant a lot to me. In fact, it has helped me with my brave.


During this season of life, it is very difficult for me to plan my writing. As Kate said on her blog, many of us wear a variety of hats.  I can totally relate.

Working full time as an elementary teacher + all the after school meetings that go along with that.

Robotics coach.

Mom of 3 boys who have lots of activities.

Soccer coach.

Sunday School teacher.

Yes, I think I wear quite a few hats.  Much of what I write, I would call impulsive.  Kate said,

"As a result, we would do well to make use of the moments we can snatch."

And that's what I try to do.  I try to snatch the small, quiet moments and write.  It's usually never planned.  Take today for instance.  After a faculty meeting, I was home alone with two children not feeling well. My oldest sone had not made it back from a round of golf with a friend, and my husband went on to church without us. My "plan" was to get this post typed up and published.  However, I had an idea about joy and thankful in times of trouble.  I couldn't shake the idea and just had to write it.

That's how much of my writing goes.

I have goals I'd like to reach in my writing, but I haven't actually planned anything out.  That takes time, the kind of time I don't have a lot of.  But I'm trying. I'm trying to be more consistent and more intentional. I think that's a start, and we've all got to start somewhere.