Tag: marriage

If you’ve been reading here for any length of time then you probably already know about Let’s Play Oprah.

If you’re new here, (hey! hi!šŸ‘‹šŸ¼) let me explain: It’s a game we play each month in which I share my top 3 “Favorite Things” at the moment, and then at the end of the month I give one of those things away to a lucky reader.

You’re always invited to share YOUR Favorite Things too, so I hope you leave a comment and tell us all what you’re digging right now. It can be anything- food, products, podcasts, t.v. shows, movies, drinks, music, clothes, you name it. There are no rules, except you must dish because that’s what friends do.

If you’re subscribed to this blog that means you’ve invited me into your email inbox which is a privilege I don’t take lightly, and also why I’ve decided that ALL subscribers are automatically entered to win the monthly giveaway. Forever. The only time your name comes out of the drawing is if you unsubscribe or if you just won (in which case your name goes back in 6 months later).

Sometimes I’ll spice it up by adding extra ways to enter, like commenting on a FB live video or over on IG/Twitter, but by far the easiest way is to subscribe by email, so if you’re picking up what I’m putting down, just scroll to the bottom of this post or to the right margin of the page and enter your email address!

Okay, now that we have all the business out of the way, let’s get to the fun stuff!

This month my 3 Favorite Things are: Read More…

I can’t believe I’m showing you this picture…

But I’ve always said I don’t mind being the butt of a joke, as long as it’s a good joke.

And, well, this obviously was. I’ll give him that.

A few weeks ago I actually got Nate to come along and help me with some back to school shopping for the kids.

I set him loose in the mall for ONE hour and he came back to me wearing thisšŸ‘‡šŸ¼:

I’ll just give you a moment to really take in this horrible photo of me… sleeping, slack-jawed and frowning.

It’s just so great, isn’t it?

Isn’t that just so nice?

The thing is, he’s been collecting photos of me like this FOR YEARS. He has a whole arsenal of them actually, because every time we’re in the car for more than 20 minutes my face just automatically does that. It’s been a long running joke in our home because he’s been snapping photos of me ugly-sleeping and promising that “one day” he’s actually going to use them for something.

So when he came walking up to me in the mall wearing THAT ā˜šŸ¼SHIRT, it only took my brain about 20 seconds to register what he’d done.

Read More…

My friend MelissaĀ writes the best love stories. Her tales are enchanting not just because they’re real and true, but because her wonder of Love seeps through every word. For her birthday recently, she asked all the humans of the Internet to send her their love stories. Seriously- she really did that.

My sentimental, nostalgic heart jumped at the chance to write a love story of my own so I took her up on her offer. Husband and I went out that night, and over drinks we sat in a booth for hours recalling and retelling our own version of what happened between us 15 years ago. It was quite possibly the best date we’ve had in years.

I rushed home, typed it out, and sent it off to Melissa. She wrote me back at 5:30 am to say that she was crying on an airplane somewhere, because this story was beautiful and she thought that I should share it. I decided to leave it here for you guys because I think she’s right.

I think allĀ love stories are important and worth sharing.

Here is what I wrote her:

“Dear Melissa,

I suppose if I’m going to tell you my love story, I should start by telling you that I too, have always been a lover of Love. I was a hopeless romantic with big ideas about what my story would look like, but one thing was for sure: I always took Love very seriously. In high school when my friends were trying on different loves like they were outfits, I was always too cautious to let myself go all in. Read More…

“I’m sorry I’m ruining our sunset cruise” I said as I leaned my greenish face against the ropes of the banister.

“It’s okay, honey” he said, patting my back until he remembered that the last thing I want is to be touched when I’m feeling like I’m about to die of nausea.

It was our 15th anniversary so we decided to splurge on a romantic sunset dinner cruise.
I’d managed to sit up and applaud for the couple who’d just gotten engaged on the bow of the boat (or maybe it was the stern?) but then I crawled right back into the coffin sized bathroom below deck to wretch and sway while everyone else slow danced on the deck as the sun went down.


He waited outside the door, gently asking if I needed anything at 5 minute intervals.
It was maybe the most romantic thing he’d ever done.

One of the newlywed couples with us on the boat mentioned that we struck them as “a couple who seemed to get along really well”.

img_6256We looked at each other and smiled because it’s true, we do, but it feels hard-earned in a way worthy of acknowledging.

Last year I wrote about how sometimes love is like a battlefield, but that’s okay as long as you’re fighting your way TOWARDS each other.

This year our love feels more like a garden, with beauty springing up out of tender places.
And so it goes.

This is real life.

Some years you get sick and ruin your romantic celebration.

Some years you struggle and you wound, but you refuse to quit fighting for the best version of “us”.

Some years you laugh more and kiss more and you make new inside jokes.

Some years you celebrate your anniversary with little fanfare- at home, over takeout on the back porch. But some years feel special so you run away together to celebrate all the good, the hard, the new, and the old.

Because marriage is all of it together. Forever. Amen.

Today I’m over at The Mudroom, sharing a personal glimpse into the real truth of (our) marriage. I’m only posting part of it here, but I hope you click the link and read the rest of it over at Mudroom, because I think the ending is important. I really bared my heart in this one and I hope that you find it useful.


This morning I sat down with my coffee and some old photos with no other intention than to reminisce. Today marks 14 years of marriage for my husband and I,Ā and to celebrate, I decided to take a little trip down memory lane. Because if there’s one game in life that I enjoy more than “Name that movie”, it’s “Remember When”.

Everyone close to me has grown accustomed to my random blurting of (completely out of context) sentences that begin with “Remember When…”

“Remember when we all snuck out of bible college to pull an all-nighter at Taryn’s house and Danny and John climbed through the window to scare us at midnight? Remember how we all panicked and thought we were going to die, but Amber B. was the only oneĀ smart enough to run out the front door?”

“Remember when you had giardia, and you were high on pain medicine and came into the library where I worked at 11pm in your sweatpants loudly demanding some kind of meat, preferably jerky?”

“Remember when we were dating long distance, and you’d call me every night at the same time, and you’d always be wearing that same noisy jacket that crinkled in the background? I still have that jacket.”

I could go on, but you get the picture. I like to relive the past. There is a whole compartment of my heart dedicated solely to nostalgia. Usually the memories I find myself returning to again and again are the happy moments, the funny moments, or the unbearably tender moments. But today was a little different. I found myself looking through old photos, scanning to find an echo of some of our more difficult moments.

Because, can I be honest? This last yearĀ was harder on us than we expected, and today I found myself simply needing to remember another time like this. A time when we overcame. A time when we burrowed down into the foxhole together until the storm passed. A time when we learned to tear down certain walls in order to strengthenĀ our foundation.


While we’ve always been a couple that generally gets along, we’ve certainly had our share of trying seasons before. (Side eye to you, colicky babies.) But if pressed for a reason, I’m not sure I could even tell you why this year was harder on usĀ than most others.

Maybe it’s the fact that after 14 years, we’ve been married just long enough to actually have baggage. Old wounds that have been healed and forgotten can be pricked right back open again in an instant.

Maybe it’s all the new dreams sprouting in our hearts, and the fact that those dreams require a bravery and vulnerability that haveĀ left us both feeling fragile and exposed in our own ways.

Maybe it’s all the outside pressures of work, money, schedules, and ministry that press in and down on us at times, threatening to burst our happy, intimate little bubble.

Or maybe?

Maybe it’s just growing pains.

After all, growth means change, and change can be rather uncomfortable at times.




My life is full of imaginary brick walls. Some thick and looming, some crumbled and deteriorating, and still others that are bright red and sturdy, shielding me from outside winds.

But the walls are everywhere.Ā 

I told you recently about the wall I’d been building between my husband and I. I confessed how I had picked up each brick one by one, felt it’s weight, and then foolishly set it down between us. Never looking up, I worked tirelessly at my wall. It wasn’t until I stopped to see it for what it was- a lie,Ā that I had the sense to stop. The wall was a lie because I always thought it kept me safe, but it turns out that it really only kept me separate. You see, some walls need to be brought down.

Other walls are brought down by accident, by sudden impact, or even by neglect.

There’s a wall that I haven’t told you about. I don’t think I’m ready to name it just yet. Maybe it’s not even mine to name, but it shares my landscape. This wall has begun to crumble. At first I was all action- running in every direction trying to catch the bricks as they fell away, trying desperately to stack them back into place. But now…

Now I’m just paralyzed in the moment.

I feel myself standing there at the bottom, frozenĀ in a dust cloud of smoke and rubble, watching it fall. I want this wall to be strong again, but I am helpless because it is not mine to labor over. Some walls represent shared spaces, and at the end of the day that is all they are. Shared spaces. I can help clean up the wreckage but I cannot build the wall. It doesn’t belong to me.

Which got me thinking…

I’ve spent too much time toiling over the wrong walls. There are other, more important walls, after all. My marriage, for instance, is a load-bearing wall. It shelters me, protects me, and holds me up. It not only deserves, but requires my constant care. I must abandon my habit of building walls between us and instead build the wall of us.

Because if a wall is truly strong, it cannot be easily brought down. Read More…

“You have to be willing to be hurt by me.” His body language was casual as he said it. He leaned back against the kitchen counter, his hands folded in front of him. But his words wereĀ anything but casual. Almost like a plea, they hung in the air between us for a long moment as I froze, absorbing his meaning.

I sat across the room from him at the dining table. The distance between us was short but full of emotional wreckage- the kind that quietly builds up over years and then tumbles out everywhere, touching everything. The tears collecting in my eyelashes finally spilled over onto my cheeks.

My husband is a man of few words. He thinks before he speaks, whereas I tend to throw words around like confetti at a parade. I knew he’d considered his next words because he said them gently and with care.

“I will never intentionally hurt you. But I’m just a man. I’m going to get it wrong sometimes. You have to be willing to GO THERE with me. You can’t close yourself off and leave it all up to me to draw you out. I can’t do that all the time. I can’t be the only one. It’s too much pressure. I want more. I want your vulnerability” Read More…

Today’s guest post is near and dear to my heart. I met Ashley Hales earlier this year through an online group of bloggers. Event though we’ve never met in person, I feel like Ashley is a kindred spirit- not just because we are both writers, but also because we both know what it’s like to live life behind the scenes of ministry (I grew up a pastor’s kid and Ashley is a pastor’s wife).

I know that for me, growing up in the ministry with a pastor for a dad, I always felt like people had a predisposed opinion of me- and more often than not they were off-base. I asked Ashley to share her story here and shed some light on life as a pastor’s wife, because I think it’s a unique story that a lot of people are curious about. I also think it’s a role that isĀ misunderstood at times.

I love that she is real and open, and that her heart is full of “vulnerable hospitality” as she so eloquently puts it. Here is her story. Read More…

We said nothing was off the table, right? When we started this writing challenge we said we’d keep it real. We even said we’d talk about sex…

While I wouldn’t exactly qualify myself as a sexpert, I have been having sex with one person for a very long time. Thirteen years to be exact. There are a few things I do know. So let’s talk.

In the spirit of transparency I suppose I should tell you that the first time my husband and I had sex was on our wedding night. We were both virgins until then. Maybe you find that storyline to be antiquated or shocking or unbelievable. Maybe you don’t. Either way, it’s our real story so we may as well start at the beginning.

Of course it wasn’t even remotely easy but we did manage to wait, and there is really only one thing I want to say about that: It can be done, and it can be beautiful. We were able to freely give ourselves to each other without one bit of doubt, guilt, or hesitation. There was only passion and an unflagging joy between us that night. We belonged to each other in every way, and the fact that he is only for me is something I treasure still.

As you can imagine we spent the first portion of our marriage making up for lost time. There was no shortage of seduction on either side. We were finally here, and we were ready to party if you know what I mean. It was simple. It was good.

Cue video montage of life happening in fast forward. Moves. Jobs. Kids. Pets. Different jobs. More moves. If you’re not careful your regular life will take over your sex life and you’ll be less busy gettin’-busy, and more just busy in general. And, well, that just doesn’t sound like very much fun, does it?

Much like any other married couple, over the years we’ve had ups and downs and over time we’ve fallen into patterns. After all, we are creatures of habit, yes? After a certain amount of time, we became a foregone conclusion with each other. We know each other’s signals. We know what to expect from each other. We know each other’s bodies and how they work.

This can be a double edged sword. Read More…

Husband and I have married for 13 years and for the most part, we tend to get along. We don’t argue a lot over every day issues like where to eat or what movie to rent, or how to parent our children. Of course we don’t agree all the time, but in the big scheme of things we work well together. In fact, I’d even go so far as to say that we never really fought at all until our fifth year of marriage when we simultaneously fell on hard times financially and had a colicky baby.

No sleep, no money, and a baby that screams bloody murder for 5+ hours a day is a recipe for conflict. But we got through it. Together. It was one of those seasons in life when you understand that you’re being grown and stretched even while it’s happening. It sucked and it was difficult, but when we did fight, it was an unspoken agreement that we were fighting our way through and towards each other, not away. We were fraying at the edges and had little to give each other, but there was a sense that we were in it together, like we’d burrowed down in a foxhole together until the storm passed.

Regardless of all the storms we’ve survived in our thirteen years as Mr and Mrs, there is one problem I’m not sure we will ever get over. It is the one thing we will neverĀ agree on- which one of us is funnier. The underlying and perpetual theme of our entire union is that of Humorous Hubris. We are each fully convinced that we are the “the funny one” in the couple. We joke and tease each other endlessly about it, but deep down in our hearts we each know the truth. (That I’m the funny one.) Read More…