Weekend To Remember

A few weeks ago, Shane and I had the opportunity to experience one of the most amazing things.

Over the last few years, we have heard about A Weekend to Remember (WTR).  Since hearing about it, we have wanted to go and learn how to improve our communication, how to fight fair, and how to work through the tough situations without either one of us ‘losing’ our stance or beliefs.

This year is the first year in four years that it worked with our schedules to go – so we decided to go!

I’m going to start this by saying, those of you who have heard about it and are thinking of going:  stop thinking about it and go.  Those of you who haven’t heard about it: I’m going to tell you about it and encourage you to go.

I’ll start off easy by asking you to rate your marriage on a scale of 1-10; one being the only thing left to do is sign the divorce papers and 10 being fantastic!

If you asked me a week ago how I rated my marriage on a scale of 1-10, I would have told you an 8.5.  I felt we had good communication, we never fight, we discuss things calmly, we compromise, and we forgive.  There are moments of irritation and frustration but there is not a single marriage out there that doesn’t suffer that.  However, after attending WTR, looking back on that same question, I would have rated our marriage a 6.5-7.


Because personally, sometimes when I’m frustrated or irritated, I tend to default to responding without taking into consideration the other side of the table.  I get selfish.  I get short tempered.  I’m not consistent.  I have moments of ‘jealousy’.  I’m messy.  I’m forgetful.  I’m busy.  I’m tired.  I’m stubborn.

In order for you to understand exactly what we went through, I need to start at the beginning while not revealing any of the secrets that happen there.

There are so many outside forces that try to work their way in between a husband and wife and drive wedges to try and make the marriage weak, crumble, and fail.  Things like the inability to make adjustments to stay as “one flesh” instead of staying two, that the ‘love’ that caused you to get married was based off of performance or looks, being so divided in differences of thoughts/opinions/views, affairs (this can range from adultery, addictions, busy schedules, chasing material items, etc), and our own selfishness when it comes to our spouses ‘weaknesses’, ‘mistakes’, ‘failures’, or unmet unrealistic expectations.

Sometimes, we don’t even realize that these things exist in our marriages.  I didn’t.  I didn’t realize that an extramarital affair was even present in our marriage.  Now, before you jump to conclusions, hear me out.

Shane and I are yes people.  We enjoy helping people, we enjoy supporting people, we enjoy being a part of things that help us learn and grow.  However, we quickly realized that weekend that sometimes, yes gets in the way of our marriage.  As we were sitting there, I couldn’t remember the last time I had a meaningful conversation with my husband without an infant screaming/crying/tugging on an arm or leg, without teenagers dropping an ear in or jumping in mid conversation with something completely unrelated, without one of us rushing to eat so that we can quickly get out the door, or without being out and about at an activity that we are a part of.  It really sunk in that we’ve gotten so busy with everything around us that we were starting to lose us.  As much as we enjoy the busy-ness to pass the time, we needed to take a step back, reevaluate, and start saying no.

Communication needs to be key in marriage.  But when you start adding all of these other things into it, communicating effectively is HARD.  Communication shouldn’t be hard, it should be easy.  It should be an avenue towards oneness with your spouse instead of being a driving wedge.

“It is understanding that gives us an ability to have peace. When we understand the other fellow’s viewpoint, and he understands ours, then we can sit down and work out our differences.”
~Harry S. Truman

Sometimes the wedge in communication can be that we don’t know how to effectively communicate how we are feeling.  It’s hard to take off the mask of protection and allow us to be completely transparent.  Even though I was at WTR and I heard all this (and took notes on it) I still find it hard to take that mask off.  Shane deserves transparency, but I still struggle with even admitting to myself that I have emotions because for so long I wasn’t able to express them in a healthy way.

The end goal in a marriage is oneness; leave and cleave.  The level of which you leave is the level that you can cleave.  If you are unable to leave your family, outside forces, addictions, etc, you are not able to cleave to your spouse and it leaves space for doubt, insecurities, and loneliness.

Sometimes, these things can lead to conflict.  Conflict occurs when we feel that our “rights” have been violated, unmet expectations, or something has hurt us.  However, we need to be slow to anger and to take a step back and evaluate where our heart is at.  Are we trying to retaliate, restore, punish or pursue peace?

Contrary so semi-popular belief:  YOUR SPOUSE IS NOT YOUR ENEMY.

In order to peacefully move forward, there needs to be forgiveness.  True, unconditional forgiveness.  That is sometimes hard to give because we tend to hold onto things that once hurt us.  However, we are told in Ephesians 4:32 that we need to “…forgive one another, and God in Christ forgave you.”

In the end, God wants our marriages (or relationships if you aren’t married) to achieve oneness.  Sometimes, this oneness hard to achieve because (in case you haven’t noticed) men and women are different.  The way that I see things in our marriage, Shane sees them completely different and sometimes not at all.  But these differences are not to be viewed as reasons to not achieve God’s purpose for marriage.

What we need to achieve this level of purpose is to know the true definition of love.  Without looking in the dictionary, can you define what love is?

Love:  loving an imperfect person for a lifetime.


I like to tease Shane that he’s stuck with me forever.  No trading me off for a newer model, can’t bring me in for warranty work when something breaks, and attitude adjustments cost too much.  But, it’s not really teasing when we have entered this life sentence together.  Shane and I vowed to one another in front of family, friends, and God that we will stay together through it all – no excuses.  When we talk about our relationship journey, dating until current, we tell people that we were put through more in our 12-18 months of dating and marriage that most people don’t experience in a lifetime.  Our relationship was put through the ringer, through the garbage disposal, through the shredder, but we are still standing with heads held high and hands praising the One who got us through it.

“Heaven will not be filled with people who are scared of Hell. Heaven will be filled with people who walked through Hell to follow Jesus.”

I can’t share everything that was shared at WTR, but I promise you that it is worth every penny.  Not only did we walk away with new tools and a new understanding, we were able to have a date night.  That’s right.  A night to ourselves with no social media, no phone calls, just us.

One of the many highlights was walking along the River Walk in Sioux Falls after sunset.

In addition to a date night, we had a couple of hours to sit and write each other love letters.  It was a moment in time where I was able to get back to the root of why I walked down the isle and committed to spend every day walking with him for the rest of my life.



Shane and I have been on our faith journey together for a few years now.  One thing that has been on our hearts is that we needed to minister.  At first, that’s why I started this blog.  To share experiences that I went through and how my faith got me through them.  But this blog wasn’t enough.  I was left wanting more…and so was Shane.  We joined as youth leaders within our church’s youth group.  While it helps, there is still a feeling of needing more.

That being said, God answers prayers and He answers them abundantly.

I can’t share all the details but there are good things in the works right now that we need your prayers on:
1.) That Shane and I be led in the way of ministry through Family Life Ministries that God sees fit in our lives.
2.) That God will provide us with couples (near or far) who want to pursue Christ that we can disciple to, befriend, support, and encourage on their journey.
3.) That potential opportunities in Shane’s military career reveal themselves and we can see the clear path that he needs to take.
4.)  That we may make an impact at an even in January that we have been invited to be part of the leadership of.

God is doing some wonderful things in our lives and at times it’s almost overwhelming.  But I need to remember that He is Lord and He has a purpose and a plan for everything that is coming our way.

If you have ways I can pray for you, please leave them in the comments below or send me a message on my personal Facebook page. (SIDENOTE::  I do not respond to friend requests if you are unfamiliar to me)

“Whatever you do, do it enthusiastically, as something done for the Lord and not for men…”
~Colossians 3:23 HCSB



The step away.  The much-needed breath of fresh air to be able to bond with my new family, analyze where I have been and where I want to go, and to try to find my purpose and drive behind this blog.

If you’ve followed me for any amount of time or ran across my blog in a web search somehow, there is no secret it is faith-based.  I have a strong foundation in my marriage and in our family that is on our faith.  But after having been through some of the things we have been through over the last few years, I would be lying if I said my faith wasn’t shaken a little bit.  Not in the sense that I lost it, but more in the sense of “Why?”  “Why us and why now?”

I needed that time away from the keyboard to come to peace with a lot of things.  Things ranging from family, to work, to faith, to just general anxiety about the new road laid in front of us.

When I last left you, I was about to have a baby.  What an experience that was!  We welcomed our handsome little fellow January 31 and fell in love immediately.  He has such an amazing birth story – one that maybe in time I will tell, but for now, I will just say God is good and blessed us that week.  Everyone, meet our spunky almost 6 month old (where has the time gone!?), Elijah.  ❤

Shane and I have learned a lot over the last 6 months.  He’s experiencing being a dad all over again (and loving every minute of it!).  We are learning Eli is a perfect mix of mom and dad.  Although, he gets his spunky attitude from is Auntie Bee and Uncle Derek. (He loves them too!)

We’ve loved spending the much-needed time with family and watching Eli grow and learn.  But while watching him grow, we’ve also done some growing.

When I returned to work after maternity leave, I worked my tail off for one week fixing errors, making phone calls, and cleaning up messes only to be let go after everything was back to par.  I asked for a reason and they had nothing to lean on other than “Minnesota is an at will state, and we can let you go for no reason.”  Well, ladies and gents, let me tell you why:

They couldn’t handle the fact that I wasn’t able to work 6-7 days a week and 60+ hour weeks while trying to care for my newborn son.  They didn’t like that when it came down to brass tacks, I was not willing to sacrifice my family for the sake of the company.

This was the point where my faith hit a low.  Our new family of 5 was cut down to a single income.  I battled with the fact we (I) were (was) being punished.  I struggled with the fact that God has blessed me with a child I was never supposed to have but it came at a price.  I would even go as far as to say I was angry at Him.  But, really, I had no reason to be.  The job was stressful and thankless.  I had wanted to find a family friendly place of employment for quite some time.  But did it really have to come at this price?

Man, I struggled and wrestled with this for a while.  But over that period of time, I was able to dig into a Bible study called “No More Perfection” and it dealt with the need to be ‘perfect’ in every way.  I knew I was struggling with emotions and feelings so the first thing I did was write this sticky note and threw it in my purse.


When I struggled, I’d pull it out and pick one and read.  But there was one I found a couple of months back that I didn’t add to my sticky note.  But it was one I found through another Bible study that really hit home and started the “closure” process for me.

“Make every effort to live in peace with everyone and be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord.” ~Hebrews 12:14

That was the point where I started reflecting back onto this blog.  If my goal was to minister to people through real life experiences, I needed to find peace.  I needed that peace for everything that had happened in our lives for the last four years.  I needed to be able to let go of the anger, bitterness, and maybe a small amount of jealousy that I held onto.

Prayer, prayer, and more prayer.  Maybe a few more “why me”‘s in there than I would like to admit, but I’m human.  There are times I cannot process my emotion in a ‘healthy’ way.

Then, after a couple of months of prayer, I found a job that I love.   (Or maybe it found me? (:  )  I mean, it couldn’t be a better fit for what I was needing and looking for.

But all that being said, I still felt like a piece of me was missing, and I knew exactly what it was.  But, I made a promise to myself that I would not touch this blog site again until I could do a couple of things:
1.  Find closure in ALL things.
2.  Find a way to minister without coming off as pushy or gloating
3.  Find a way to love my family and myself the way that God loves us – unconditionally.
4.  Find a way to relate my life experiences with the same experiences that some of you may be going through (this one is going to be tough as we are all at different places in our lives)

Until I could move beyond all the yuck, no one would see the Lord in what I was saying, they would only see me.  I don’t want you to just see me when you come here.  I want you to be able to experience the Truth and see all of the miracles that God can do for you.  I mean, for us, Elijah is living proof of that!

I was able to do 3 of the 4 so now we are here.

After 6 months of prayer, heavy thought, and a push from a new blogger, I took that step.  With a little encouragement from The Soap Box , I signed in, said a prayer, and let my heart and feelings pour out.

I’m hoping that this is just the beginning of a newly rejuvenated blog.  I hope to keep you all updated and post more often as my spirit is led.  ❤

Until next time!


*Please take a moment to hop on over to The Soap Box blog linked in my post.  Also, follow them on Facebook!  I feel a lot of good things coming from them in the future!

**I would also like you to leave me feed back.  Any questions, comments, etc are welcomed and encouraged.  Maybe they will even spark a post for you! ❤

The Paths We’ve Traveled.

As the time is ticking down, I can’t help but feel this huge rush of different emotions.  The 40 week wait is almost over!

As I was sitting in our game room talking with Shane, there was one question that I asked him:  “How the heck did we get here?!”

For those of you who know us or that have followed or story on here, you know that 4 years ago, we were both on very different paths.  Paths paved by the broken pieces of who we once were, the plans we had made for ourselves, and any type of feelings and emotions that were anything other than the feeling of being numb.  Paths that eventually led to one another but not without some hiccups in the road.

I couldn’t help but look around at everything that has happened in the last 4 years and just be humbled.

As I looked down at my fully inflated belly, I got chills.  I’m 40 weeks pregnant with a child I was told that I would possibly never have.  I’m 40 weeks pregnant with the son that I had only thought that I would get to meet in my dreams.

Then I look over at Shane who is just taking it all in.  He’s looking around at the wife he felt for so long he didn’t deserve, at the house that he’s put blood, sweat, and tears in order to make it our own, and my growing belly at another son that is soon to make his debut.

Seriously.  How the heck did we get here!?

In a sense, the answer is so simple while in the same breath so complex.  With everything that has happened, all aspects of our lives had to have been in the perfect place at the right time.  There is only one answer as to how this happened – both when we were on separate paths and on the path that we are on now.  God’s plan was bigger and the story is told with our shoes.

God’s plan for us was bigger than any called off wedding plans.  Bigger than bone scans, blood work, and x-rays.  Bigger than any doctor diagnosis based off of nothing more than ‘science’.  Bigger than the legal “one bedroom” house that we were trying to raise a family in.  Bigger than anything that we could have ever  imagined and planned for ourselves.

It’s just such an odd mix of emotions to be sitting in this chair and feeling all of these feelings: excitement, anticipation, fear, joy, nervousness, happiness, anxiousness, calm, and the list goes on.

Truth of the matter is that within the next week or so, I will have a tiny babe laying next to me.  Well, he will probably be in his bassinet or rocker and I’ll be staring down at him just in awe that my “slim chances” is laying right in front of me.

The picture of our shoes tells the story of our family.  We have a daughter who is so shy and so quiet.  But she slips on those shoes and walks across a stage and transforms into numerous characters while telling a story for judges and peers.  We have a son that puts on his drill masters and marches across football fields and performs marching shows that he has put countless hours of practice into.  I click my way across the floor at the dealership to work with my salesmen and their customers to help provide a good life for the two children we have.  Shane puts on his boots daily and labors in extreme heat, extreme cold, and everything in between to be sure that all of us are well provided for and taken care of.  Elijah’s shoes have yet to be worn.  Those shoes will soon be the cause of the pitter-patter sounds running across the floor followed by the excited squeal of a toddler running away from his hard working father, his expressive sister, or his determined brother.  It just seems so surreal…

How?!  Just, how?

God is so good.  If you give Him the chance, He works such miracles.  His plan is bigger than yours.  He will bring you places that you never thought you would go.

I just love this picture!  Our lives have been so serious in preparation for our little guy that we needed a good laugh tonight!  ❤

The Art of ‘Perfection’

This morning, I saw something from my past that really brought the last couple of years of my life into a new perspective.

My TimeHop said that 4 years ago, I wrote a status that read:
“It’s not about having a ‘perfect’ relationship. It’s about finding someone who will be there through everything without giving up.”

No.  Joke.

It’s been almost 3 years since Shane and I began this crazy journey that we are on.  Sometimes, I just sit back and think about all that has happened and think “It’s only been 3 years?”  Other times, I sit back and think “That 3 years has gone by so quickly.”

I look back on all of the church events, school events, family trips, lazy evenings at home, and other events that have been such blessings in our lives.  We’ve gained friends, we’ve lost friends, we’ve changed jobs, we’ve had really positive experiences, and we’ve had some not so positive experiences.

But I keep going back to one thing; all of these experiences would have had a completely different impact if it was anyone other than Shane standing by my side.  (Side note:   None of these probably would have happened if Shane wasn’t by my side because my life would have been completely different.)

One of the most exciting things we’ve been through thus far is finding out that our family was growing by 2 little feet.  I found out back in May while Shane was in California that we were expecting a new bundle of joy!  He had his suspicions before he left but anything can happen in those early weeks!  Since he was at training, I was unable to call him so I wrote him a letter and sent him a picture of the “6 week”ultrasound to let him know that he was going to be a dad again!  We battled a lot of sickness and some health scares with this pregnancy but thankfully, through a lot of prayers, we found out at our 20 week appointment that our little BOY was strong, stubborn, and most of all; healthy.  After looking at the few ultrasounds that we have, I’ve decided that the little bugger has my nose and Shane’s mouth.  He is the cutest little thing but of course, my opinion is biased.


We’ve also been through some not so fun stuff.  I won’t go into detail because while we were able to make our way through it, some of it is better off not shared.  But I will say this on it:

I am really glad that Shane and I have our faith to lean on when things begin to go sideways in our lives.  There has been numerous times throughout the last five months that we have been put in a position where all we could do is pray and lean on His word.  In short, the passage of
“…Be satisfied with what you have, for He Himself has said, I will never leave your or forsake you.  Therefore, we may boldly say:  The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid.  What can man do to me? … Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.” ~Hebrews 13:5-6, 8
is nothing short true.  Man can sit and try to throw things at us to tear us apart, but in the end, we have a mighty warrior on our side who will never abandon us because of all the “junk” in our lives.

But all that being said, my relationship with Shane has not faltered.  Have we had moments of weakness?  Sure.  But never once have I questioned my decision to be with him.  The only questions I ever held were for the outside sources who thought they pulled one over on us.  He has been my rock and my supporter from day one.  We may not have the ‘perfect’ relationship to those who may look at us, but for us, I couldn’t have asked for a better fit.

The same goes for my relationship with Christ.  I am human.  There have been times/are times where I go against what He has commanded me to do and how I should live.  But He doesn’t turn his cheek on me when the going gets tough.  Instead, He stretches out his arms and loves me unconditionally no matter the bumps and bruises that I’ve gathered along the way.

In reality, no one will ever have that ‘perfect’ relationship.  There will be trials.  There will be stress.  There will be outside opinions.  But if you can look at the other person at the end of the day, take a deep breath and say “I love you” and mean every word of it, that’s when you know that you are in the ‘perfect’ relationship.

That Special Feeling.

With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, I can’t help but notice the amount of stuffed animals, flowers, candy, and special plans that are listed out on my Facebook, Instagram, and other social media feeds.

I was going through and enjoying what I was seeing.  I am happy that people get flowers, candy, and other gifts for Valentine’s Day.  But as I was going through and seeing all this, I felt like I got hit by a bus:

If your man or woman only does special things for you or makes plans for you one day out of the year, they are failing the other 364 days.

…that means that you feel special 0.0027% of the year.

I was just having a conversation with Shane yesterday about how I felt like I wasn’t good enough for him.  That I was a failure.  That he deserved better.  It was one of those days that was looking like I was going to have a late/no lunch break.  I let him know and found out that he had planned something special for us.  Being the supportive man he is, he found a way to make it OK.  But that didn’t change the little seed of doubt that started.

I failed him.  I failed to be able to schedule the day where I was able to take a decent lunch break and allow him to carry out this plan he had…but the car business is unpredictable so we have to work around it.

But as soon as that little seed was planted, I realized not only had I failed to take a decent lunch break, I also didn’t get dishes put away from the night before, I forgot to switch over the laundry, I was distracted with getting the kids to school and the dogs outside that I didn’t get the bed made, I hadn’t swept the floor, vacuumed the rug, dusted the shelves, and I forgot to pull bread out of the freezer for supper.  As you can imagine, the list continued to grow throughout the day.

After a long night of letting my mind spin on these things, we sent the kids off to bed and sat in silence.  I apologized.  For what?

For not getting anything done while getting everything else done, for encouraging M in her speech practices while coming down on her for neglecting her responsibilities to practice before 24 hours before her first competition, for guiding M and giving him room to grow while getting upset that he’s ‘wasting time’ and ‘procrastinating’ when we need some speed in the routine, for loving Shane with everything that I have but still not being enough for him.

As I opened up to him, he just sat and listened.  No judgement, a few laughs, and a few shakes of the head.

But when he asked me if there were things that had been done that made me feel like I was good enough, it was almost overwhelming.

Yes; you planned a special dinner for us, you’ve planned an anniversary weekend event, you’ve demonstrated patience, you’ve been understanding, you built us a bed frame with your hands while I was in Texas, you’ve lost sleep to make sure I was OK, you’ve taken leaps of faith with me, you’ve supported me, you’ve blessed me with M&M, you’ve encouraged me when I’ve lost any type of luster to continue, you’ve built me up when I’ve been knocked down, you’ve allowed me to grow, you’ve loved me through every trial and tribulation, you’ve gone out of your way to make sure I’m comfortable and feeling loved, and the list can go on.

He makes me feel like this every day of the year.  I never go to bed wondering if I’m loved or cared about.  I never question if he is being honest and faithful.

So why, the day before Valentine’s, are all these women raving over feeling ‘special’?  Do you not feel loved every other day of the year?  Do you not receive the respect that you deserve from your someone special?

When it comes to love, 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 is the ‘go to’ verse.
“Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.”

I once read, to know if you have the love that you deserve, replace some of the words with the name:
Shane is patient and kind; Shane does not envy or boast; Shane is not arrogant or rude. Shane does not insist on his own way; Shane is not irritable or resentful; Shane does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

If you replace those words with the name and you cannot say that is 100% accurate in your life, maybe it’s time to reevaluate some things.  I’ve been in situations where every single statement was false.  I didn’t have patience or kindness, I was surrounded by envy, boastfulness, rudeness, arrogance, resistance to compromise, irritation, resentfulness, and someone who celebrated wrongs instead of doing what was right.

Women (and men too); listen to me:

You DO deserve patience and kindness and endurance.
You DO NOT deserve any type of envy or boastfulness.
You DO NOT deserve arrogance or rudeness.
You DO NOT deserve someone who is resistant to compromise.
You DO NOT deserve someone who is irritable or resentful.
You DO NOT deserve someone who rejoices in wrongs.

While I am truly elated that you have been able to receive flowers, candy, and other things, please keep in mind that you deserve more than 0.0027% happiness and love throughout the year.  You deserve to be 100% happy, 100% loved, and 100% special 100% of the year.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Nothing But A Memory.

As I’ve gotten older, trying to find the perfect gift to buy my loved ones has become harder.  It’s also become harder for me to decide what I would like to receive as a gift.

Last night Shane and I began discussing things that we have put off for ourselves; things that would make Christmas gift ideas.  I got to thinking and my list was a pencil sharpener, a travel coffee mug, a stamped mothers ring, a hair cut, and a few other small things that just aren’t necessities.

Same with Shane.  He’s been wanting things such as a mider saw, a drill press, a chop saw, wood clamps, U-clamps, and other things that can help with woodworking crafts.

As a couple, things like a bathroom renovation, an over-the-stove microwave and a new mattress/frame for our bed that was damaged in the move became the topic of conversation.

However, since these things aren’t necessary, we put them off.  We save the money and later put it toward something for the kids, gas in the vehicles, or food on the table.

But as I’ve been sitting behind my desk at work, I can’t help but think of how greedy people have become.  We sit in our homes the last Thursday in November every year giving thanks for the things we have, the people in our lives, the experiences we had over the year, and so on.  But within 24 hours, people are standing in obnoxiously long lines chomping at the bit to get the best deals on big screen TV’s, video games, clothes, shoes, toys, home decor, and more.


Why do we feel the need to buy a large amount of gifts for those in our lives in order to celebrate a holiday that has nothing to do with material items?  So we can “buy” the love of those around us?  So we can “flaunt” the money in which we may (or may not) have had?  So that we can try to out-do one another?

As we crawled into bed, I heard Hugo walking around downstairs followed by the jingle of his tags laying down on the floor, I heard Marley curl up on his bed next to my bedside table, and I knew the kids were fast asleep.  I began thinking about the next couple of days.

One more day of work before a day off, a trip up to visit my sister and brother-in-law and parents over Thanksgiving day,  and another day of work rewarded by an annual tradition that evening.  I couldn’t help but smile a little bit.

Because through all of the hustle and bustle that has become our lives, we still strive to make memories, we still find joy in the little things going on in our lives, we strive to carry on traditions and throughout it all, actively practice our faith and give honor, praise and glory to Him for all that he has blessed us with.

We treasure the memories over the material items.  We would rather build a foundation on Him than functionality of expensive goods.

Just after having 12 hours to think it all over, straighten it all out in my cluttered little brain, I have finally finalized by Christmas wish list:

Nothing, but a memory.

No Sweat.

Competition is so ugly.  Tempers flare, nasty words are exchanged, and actions are taken that wouldn’t have been done under “normal” circumstances.  But, it gets uglier when it is between people.

I may not be “old” by many standards of those friends, family, and others around me, but I’ve been around long enough to see competition between different areas of people – most often, family.

When you lose contact or when life gets away on you, people who you were once somewhat close with start to feel as if they were put on the backburner.  They begin to read into actions and words and begin to draw conclusions where conclusions should not be drawn.  From there, jealousy begins to boil.  It begins to overtake all aspects of your life.  You can’t enjoy getting together with friends and/or family because you are too focused on what you believe to be true – not what IS true.  You start to play out scenarios that may never be.

It becomes the main focal point in your life and you are determined to “fix it” by walking away – because you fell “victim”.  You don’t take into consideration all aspects because truth doesn’t matter to you and you feel you don’t have to “deal” with the consequences of your actions because as long as you are happy, that’s all that matters.

Does this sound familiar to you?

Sadly, I have been in this position one too many times and so has my husband and kids.

The largest contributor?  Social media.

It has become so large,  so ugly, and so misunderstood.  It has become an outlet for things such as this blog, sharing pictures of growing children with family miles away, finding little quotes here and there that strike a cord with what you are going through.  So, naturally, this get shared onto your Facebook Timeline, your Twitter feed, your Instagram feed, and other outlets that you may have used.

Yesterday, I found a picture that rang very true for Shane and I.  We have had so many toxic people in our lives and even have had some in our lives as a couple.  To which, we have weeded them out.  Toxic people make for a toxic life – a life full of pessimism, anger, and drama.  The picture quoted this: “I do not HAVE to allow anyone in the lives of my children.  I don’t care if you’re blood.  If you’re toxic to me, you are toxic to my children!”

I shared it.

Of course there’s going to be that one (or two) people who see it that feel it was posted against them.  Well, it wasn’t.  It was shared because it was something I agreed with and something that Shane and I have dealt with.  We are not strangers to burning bridges with those people who do not do good to us or for us – individuals from past relationships, friends that had used us for everything we had, old managers/employees/co-workers that thought it would be hilarious to put the kids’ safety in danger.

It was in no way directed at anyone in particular on my page.

But, if the shoe fits, lace it up!

Our friend circle has greatly decreased and it’s been a blessing.  We have very few close friends.  Personally, I have two women I would consider myself really close to.  Katelyn has been by my side since college and has literally seen me at my highest highs and my lowest of lows.  She healed me in times of hurt and she encouraged me to go after the things that made me happy.

Holly has also become someone very close to me.  Our men work together and are in the guards together.  I’ve been able to talk to her about things that no one else would understand unless they have been through it.  What makes it even better is that most of the time, we are going through it together.

There are a few other women here and there that I have been getting close with and who I am able to talk to.  Especially the ladies I work with.  They have been so supportive and so understanding of the things that have happened.

Shane has a few men that he can lean on for support.  Men that he has served this country with and men who he has grown close with from church.

Aside from that, we don’t interact with many people for this reason.

The well-being of the children come before our social needs/desires.

So, all of that being said:

You feel it’s best to step away because you feel that you were considered one of the toxic ones?  That decision is on you.  We offered our peace and we offered a sense of genuine reconciliation, but it wasn’t good enough for you – I’ve never been good enough for you.

But that’s ok with me.  I married Shane and as long as I’m good enough for him, that’s all that matters.

I pray that you find a sense of peace.  I pray that you strengthen your relationship in Christ because when He is left in control, wonderful things begin to happen.  He will open your eyes to the things that you are not able to see.  Maybe then you will understand that everything we have said and done has been out of love and has been an extension of God’s love for us.

“God is love.  Therefore, love.  Without distinction, without calculation, without procrastination, love.” ~ Henry Drummond

I Owe You.

Entitlement is such an ugly thing that has become all too popular among children as of late.  They feel they are owed everything they could ever want “just because”.

I can’t even go to the grocery store without hearing a fit or two from children who were denied candy or something of the sorts.  They will scream all the way up and down the aisle until suddenly, mom or dad gives in.  Right there, children are learning that if they scream and cry, they can get what they want.  And so it begins…

M&M are beginning to learn that hard work pays off.  With them getting older, they want to do more things, go more places, and buy more stuff.  But, Shane and I were not handed anything growing up and we didn’t want the kids to begin to think that if they beg and plead, they will get what they want.

We had tried a couple of different things; chore calendars, chore lists, verbally telling them what needs to get done, etc.  But nothing ever got through to them.  We got the famous “I forgot…” or “I didn’t realize you wanted the ENITRE bathroom cleaned…” or “I did do (insert chore here), but I forgot this part and this part and this part…”

The list of excuses was getting extensive and some-what hilarious.  However, it didn’t get them out of re-doing the job if it wasn’t done right or even doing it in the first place if it was forgot.  What we were really teaching them was work ethic.  Let’s face it, once Shane and I are done with them, they enter the working world.  If they don’t have good work ethic and integrity, no one will want to have them (or keep them) as an employee.

They really got a shock when we offered (well… I offered and then told the rest of the family later) to pick rock for my dad out on the farm.  I forewarned the kids it was A LOT of physical work.  To my surprise, both of them got on the hayrack and worked until they couldn’t work anymore.

Then, we come up on this big move.  The house needed a lot of work done on the inside before we were able to move in – refinishing floors, painting, cleaning, etc.  So, we approached the kids and asked for help – we needed as much as we could get!

They were at the new house every afternoon for the two weeks they were with their mom and then the last week of prep they were with us so they were stuck with it anyway.  Then, it was time to move on to the rental house.  We needed to pack, clean, re-paint, and patch the lawn.  It was a lot that needed to be done in a short amount of time and they really stepped up to make our dream home happen.

Watching them grow in their work ethic and their enthusiasm to help with big projects is a lot like how I view my relationship with Christ.  I can be so forgetful when it comes to what I should be doing – praying, reading, discipleship, and being a Godly wife and mother.  But when I do any of those, I am so excited to do them to the full extent that I can!

I’ve seen people who feel like God owes them.  Whether it be due to someone close to them passing, a battle with a disease, a battle with a handicap, or something else that triggers everyday struggle.  They feel that because God has blessed them differently than someone else, He owes them something more than His life that he gave on the cross for full forgiveness of all our sins.

I can’t understand why people would feel like He would owe them more than that.  Have I lost someone I loved? Yes.  Do I personally know people battling with cancer?  Yes.  Do I personally know someone battling a physical or mental disability?  Yes and yes.

But that doesn’t mean that I’m mad at God for putting these blessings in disguise on people in my life.  Are there days I’m saddened about it?  Sure.  But you can’t go on being mad about something you can’t change; and honestly, there is probably a lesson behind it that only the people fighting these things are aware of.  Maybe it’s strengthened their faith, maybe it’s solidified their faith, maybe it’s allowed them to find faith.

If anything, we owe it to Him to continue to spread His great story, to bring others to him.

He has blessed us with His truth, His mercy, and His eternal grace.

“But God, who is rich in mercy, because of his great love that He had for us, made us alive with the Messiah even though we were dead in trespasses.  You are saved by grace!” ~ Ephesians 2:4-5 (HCSB)


In Good Times And In Bad.

Over the last few weeks, we have been on our roller coaster of life.  We’ve had some really good times and we’ve had some not so good times.

We knew as soon as we got engaged, our lives were going to be busy busy busy for the following months, but nothing could have prepared us for this whirlwind we’ve been caught up in for the last 6 months.

We went from engaged to married in 29 days, we had events with kids come up, we had personal events come up, but nothing could have prepared us for the last two events we have experienced; which, ironically, kind of work together in a sense.

A couple of months ago, we were beginning the hunt for a new home.  The one we were in was cozy…a little too cozy.  All four of us were crammed in to a two bedroom (legally 1 bedroom), with a cat and two large dogs.  It was a single level home with a loft style upstairs and a semi-finished basement.  The bathroom was only accessed through the master bedroom.  Needless to say, our not-so-little family had outgrown the house and we were starting to feel it.

So, our search began.  We learned quickly that the housing market where we live is either one extreme or the other with little to no in-between.  You have mansion style homes that are $150,000+ or you have run down houses for $30,000-$90,000.  The few that we did see that fit our needs square footage wise failed us in the amount of rooms we needed.  So, we did what we always do in times like these; we began to pray.

I’m one of those people who knows that everything is done in God’s time, not mine, but I tend to forget that He knows when the time is best for us.  So while we were strikeing out on houses, He was planning something great for our family.

I had hit discouragement but I continued to pray.  One day after work, Shane found our “dream home” on his way to the post office.  He read the sign and read the number and recognized it as someone who attended our church.  He ran the idea past me and I immediately agreed that we needed to call on it.  From the outside, he could tell that there was more than enough room for our family with room to grow, God willing.

We met up with the owner and we were able to go in and take a look around.  We made it three rooms into the house and we both just knew that this was our home.  It was warm, it had character, it was open, and there was plenty of room for the four of us and our three fur babies.

So, we began the process of funding and finalizing closing on the house.  The process was moving quickly; as in, about 4 weeks from beginning to end fast. But, while we were giving thanks to God and enjoying the moments of pure joy, relief, and happiness, there were outsiders planting seeds of doubt in others about our family.

I thought I had heard all of the rumors about us that I could hear.  We got married shortly after our engagement because I was pregnant.  There were bouts of unfaithfulness.  But the last one we heard was nothing short of astonishing.  I won’t get into much detail but I will tell you this; it was big enough that it caused us to stumble backwards a bit and put some aspects of our lives on hold.  We had thought that all rumors had been addressed, forgiveness was expressed on the parties that were affected (or at least acceptance, healing, and moving forward), and that we were on our way to a very happy next couple of months.

I’m not sure what hurt worse, the rumor that we were approached with or the fact that some individuals who know us inside and out believed it to a point.  (Let’s be honest, if they 100% didn’t believe it, they wouldn’t have approached us the way they did and they would have been able to put the rumors to rest right then and there.)

I wrestled with the fact that this was supposed to be a time of joy, a time of Thanksgiving.  God had given us this beautiful home, but we were having a hard time enjoying it because we were so focused on clearing up rumors, helping one another through it, and trying to find a way to move forward.

After a lot (and I mean A LOT) of prayer, we have finally reached a spot where we have accepted what trials God has given us and we are trying to find the lesson within it.  The lesson I took:  There are always going to be people (no matter how friendly, how loving, how supportive, how sacrificial you are) who will always try to bring you, your family, and your happiness/satisfaction with life down to their level.  We vowed to one another that we would stand by each other in the good times and the bad times.  This marriage isn’t just for the good times.  Who would want a flawless marriage?

I’m also not one to pass judgment on the individuals who first started these rumors.  Instead, all I have to say is that I’m praying for you.  I’m praying that God will give you the courage to face whatever issues need to be faced.  I pray that He will allow you to see the truth and give you the ability to celebrate it.  I pray that He will show you love and compassion in ways that you have never felt before and that you are able to find peace in Him.

I am also not upset with those who addressed the rumors.  I’m praying for you as well.  I’m praying that God gives you a sense of clarity and understanding.  I’m praying that you are able to understand and forgive all aspects of the situation.  I am also praying that you are able to help and encourage us to heal through this situation.

But, in the mean time, I’m going to embrace my family, I’m going to take time to enjoy being a wife and a mom, and I am going to enjoy being a homeowner.  I’m going to continue to grow in His word and I am going to continue to cling to Him when times get rough.  I am grateful for all that God has given us and all that He has allowed us to see within the past year.  He has blessed me with the best.

Our first home!
Our first home!

Pray Or Be Prey

It’s been a while since I’ve last written something!  Over the last few weeks, I have found myself (once again) in the middle of this whirlwind of life.  How I was ever able to write once a day is beyond me.  The schedule of a full-time wife, full-time mom, full-time student, full-time employee, and full-time individual becomes a lot of chaos when one thing trips you up.

My absence started with a low.  I honestly can’t even tell you what triggered it but I found myself in a spot in my life where I felt like I was stuck.  I felt like I was at a place where I felt that what I had was as good as it was going to get.  Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m overjoyed with my life.  But something changes when you realize that there’s not much left to change – it’s the daily grind. Get up, go to work, come home, do housework, go to bed.

But, not long after I found myself at that point, I found a way to reconnect to real life – and not necessarily in a good way; but not in a bad way either.  A way that was able to grow my faith and the faith of the kids.

See, M has taken a liking to shows that deal with spiritual practices.  I’m not talking prayer and worship songs – I’m talking chants, Ouija boards, spells, etc., etc., etc.  Now, at first when it was limited to the show Super Natural, I didn’t think much of it.  But then she let it slip that her mom has taught her how to read palms – or “tell the future”.  She has also started the habit of throwing salt on her brother when he was “annoying” or “irritating” or anything of that nature.  There were also small things happening that were just throwing red flags that we needed to address and see what was going on.

Now, I’m not saying that there is anything wrong with any of these things, I just personally do not believe in them.  I have sat down and watched shows like this and had zero issues and even done research on things like the Ouija board and other things but it was more for education or understanding than to form a belief or adapt to a practice.  However, when you are not spiritually mature and you begin to dabble in these things and you start to practice some of these rituals, you begin to open yourself up to a world that you know nothing (or very little) about.

When I heard some of these things come from M’s mouth, I was shocked.  I knew her mother is known for saying “I’m not religious; I’m spiritual.” but I never thought that she would try to push her daughter to become the same.

M&M have been raised in faith.  They have attended Sunday School and church with us, and they chose to be re-baptized since they understand what it is and what it signifies.  They are no strangers to these conversations and they know what these types of things can lead to – or at least we thought they did.  It becomes almost surreal when you see these types of things coming from a child… your child – and they don’t even realize how much it goes against what we know they believe.  How do you sit them down and tell them “This is not what Christ wants for you.” without giving them the impression that their mother is full of “it”?  (I don’t agree with her beliefs and I personally do not feel they are “right” but I cannot judge and I cannot force her to believe.  She is entitled to believe and practice what she wants)

We sat M down one night before supper and asked her a few questions.  After some discussion, we realized that what she was doing was more-so out of curiosity (because she saw it on TV) than for “practice”.  We explained to her about the dangers of opening herself up to things like that.  She began to see quite quickly that “spirits” and “angels and demons” are nothing to mess with.  She didn’t realize that what she was doing was something her mother wanted her to do; it wasn’t what she believed and what she wanted.

Ephesians 6:10-12 tells us “Finally, be strengthened by the Lord and by His vast strength.  Put on the full armor of God so that you can stand against the tactics of the Devil.  For our battle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the world powers of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in hearts.” That’s really what it has come down to.

But it’s not just M that struggles with this, it’s me too, it’s probably Shane as well.  I get so wrapped up in things going on in my life that prayer and daily readings seem to be a chore more than they seem like a pleasure.

There was a time during my valley where I wasn’t praying.  Not because I didn’t want to, but because in that moment, I didn’t know how.  But it became quite clear (and quite fast) that if I didn’t pray, I was prey.

My Armor of God became weak without prayer.  I felt myself being tested in ways that only those evil forces would test me.  They put the blinders on and make it feel like God was testing me instead.  I had become the prey of all that could be considered “evil”.  Satan knew that my armor was cracked and he managed to find a way in.  He was as sly as the fox.  My faith became a little unstable and my view of Him became foggy for a brief moment in time.  But He didn’t turn away from me.  Instead, He guided me back to where my vision became clear, my mind was put at ease, and my armor was repaired.

I never realized how much I prayed until I didn’t.  A day or two had passed where not much prayer had been said.  But, one morning, Shane woke me up about 3:30AM telling me that he was on his way out the door for work.  He leaned down for a hug and immediately I wrapped my arms around him, my hands interlocked and I began to pray “Dear Lord, thank-you for blessing me with this man.  Thank you for blessing our marriage.  Please lead us and keep us on a path that is only pleasing to you.  In your name I pray, Amen.”

It was the first heartfelt prayer I had said in 48 hours.  It happened so quickly that it almost felt as if it wasn’t me doing it.  That day was a really good day.  My head was clear and my heart wasn’t heavy.

On Sunday, we heard a sermon that revolved around the power of prayer and how everyone has a story behind them but we are forgiven by His death and resurrection.

Because of that experience, I now remind myself “Pray or be prey.” I have so much to thank Him for and have so much to be happy and excited about – He deserves ALL the glory; in prayer and in conversation/blogs/etc.

I will not be prey.

Photo Credit:  Google Images
Photo Credit: Google Images