And like that, my sweet babies are both in school. Second grade and kindergarten.
Our morning went smoothly, for the most part. Don't they look so grown up and handsome? I hope they have a wonderful first day, but they are in their teachers' capable hands, so I'm certain they will. I just have to get used to all this...quiet.
Yesterday marked the second anniversary of your passing. I suppose I should still be in grieving, but I find myself still feeling rather little. Your last words to me still burn in my brain: "You were the biggest mistake I've ever made." I have reflected on them quite a bit over the past two years. Your mission to hurt me was once a success, but now those words have only strengthened me.
How could I be your "biggest mistake"? You didn't even know me. You left long ago. You chose to miss out on countless birthdays and Christmases, band and choir concerts, spring and summer breaks. You weren't there for first loves or first heartbreaks, cram sessions, book reports, or science projects. You weren't there to see me graduate high school -- even my dad was there for that one. You missed my engagement, my wedding, and the birth of both of my sons. You missed all of their firsts, as well; they don't know you at all. Tell me again how I ruined your life?
Today, I don't grieve you. I pity you. While you may have considered me your mistake, God doesn't make mistakes -- I was meant to be. Meant to be disowned by a mother, but adopted by the Father, who sent His Son to redeem me and grow me into who I am today. And He has always been there, every single step of the way, especially when you weren't. Thank you for making your "biggest mistake", because it has turned out to be my greatest blessing.
Ah, vacation. It's a glorious thing. We took a whirlwind roadtrip to California, driving from one end to the other. Our stops included the Northern Coast, the Redwoods, San Francisco, Oceanside Beach, Nana's house, and LEGOLAND. Eight days, four states, and over 2,300 miles driven. It was nuts, but we had a blast!
I know I haven't posted in quite awhile. Life, again, has been crazy. You know how it is. But during this time, we have started picking up a fun assortment of books for the boys and I wanted to share a list of our favorites.
I'm not associated with Amazon.com in any way, but I shop there frequently and added links to each book for convenience.
This book is our all-time favorite! As the title suggests, this book contains no pictures, but instead forces the reader (usually an unsuspecting grown-up) to say some pretty silly words. The boys love it because Daddy and I have to make total goofballs of ourselves because "that's how books work...those are the rules". I highly recommend this one for some great read-out-loud/bonding/laughing time.
I love the creativity of this book. A little boy just wants to color, but instead he finds a stack of letters from his beloved crayons. Many of them are voicing their complaints, but one is perfectly content with his job. It's really fun to read aloud and the illustrations are adorable.
We just recently bought this one, but it was an immediate hit. It all starts with a disgruntled Kansas, who just wants a change of scenery. He and his neighbors decide to throw a party to get to know the other states. By the end of the night, the states decide they want to switch places, which they quickly find to be a huge mistake. This book is so funny and a great way to learn US geography. And, evidently, Idaho is the "politest state", which I find amusing and not very accurate. =)
This is one of Drew's favorites. A little boy has a monster under his bed, but they're on a first name basis. All is well and fine until his monster decides to take a day off. Now the boy can't sleep. So, the monster agency sends replacements, but none of them are HIS monster. I love this book because it addresses a common childhood fear of something under the bed and puts a funny spin on it. Now we joke about the monster under the boys' bed and imagine what he might look like. The illustrations are extraordinary.
We watched the short movie on Netflix before we bought the book, but the story is basically the same. To avoid being eaten by various woodland predators, a little mouse makes up a fake, fearsome creature that he claims is afraid of him...until that creature turns out to be real. This is a fun rhyming book with an unexpected ending. Another Drew favorite.
Once upon a time, there was a little girl travelling with her grandparents. They were whizzing down the highway in their motorhome, just outside of Missoula, Montana, when the little girl decided to play with her Rainbow Brite Twink Doll near a window. The little girl did not realize that the window was open and before she knew it -- whoosh! Twink was gone! The little girl cried frantically, "Grandma, Grandpa --- Twink fell out the window!", but it was too late. There was no where to pull off and retrieve the toy.
When they returned to their home in Idaho, the little girl begged her grandfather, who drove a truck, to search for the little doll whenever he passed through the area. Each and every time the grandfather returned from a trip near the spot where Twink took his fateful flight, the little girl would run and meet him at the door, asking with great hope in her bright eyes if he had finally found her tiny friend. With sadness, the grandfather had to break the hard news to her that he had searched, but had not yet found Twink. The little girl slumped and turned to walk away, once again missing her beloved doll.
Many years rolled by and soon the doll was forgotten, but remembered from time to time and shared as a charming tale at family get togethers. The little girl was no longer little and no longer needed her doll, but she still remembered how sad she felt when she lost poor Twink and wondered what had become of him. Soon, she had children of her own and recounted the story to them. Her two boys sat and listened intently to the story of the wayward Twink, also wondering what had happened to him. "Perhaps we'll never know," their mother told them.
One sunny afternoon, exactly one week before Christmas, a strange, small white package arrived at the girl's house. Upon examination, the girl found that the package was from her grandmother in Arizona. "Probably Christmas presents for the boys," she muttered to herself. She tossed it aside and shuffled back to the kitchen to fill her mug with fresh coffee. But curiosity suddenly struck her and soon she was hastily tearing away the wrapping, eager to find the contents of the mystery box. A funny thought crossed her mind, as she opened the re-purposed Christmas lights box to find an item simply wrapped in a paper towel along with a note. "I really hope it's not a dead road runner or jack rabbit," she chuckled to herself. Her grandmother was well known for her quirky sense of humor and it would not of surprised her to find such a "gift" hidden inside. She set the oddly-shaped item aside and opened the note. Neatly written on a piece of yellow note paper was a letter, which read:
A lot has happened to me since that fateful day I blew out of the motorhome window just out of Missoula, MT.
I do not blame you for the accident -- I know you were just having fun tippy-toeing me along the window sill and you didn't realize it was open -- a little tooooo close and out I went --- POOF!
I remember seeing your startled face as I drifted out. I heard your plaintive voice as you cried, "Grandma, Grandpa --- Twink fell out the window!" My little life flashed before me as I floated into space. I watched from the tangle of brush beside the road as the motorhome disappeared into the distance. Oh woe is me! And where is me?!
I lay there for quite a while -- through rain, snow, exhaust fumes, and the roar of traffic. Every once in a while your grandpa would go by in his big red feed truck. He would slow down and look for me. I would feebly wave my little arms, but to no avail --- he never saw me.
Then, one day a car stopped nearby, they had a flat tire. As the man was changing the tire, a little girl stood watching. Her father told her to stand back farther from the highway. As she moved back something caught her eye. It was me -- tangled in a bush. She gently picked me up and dusted me off. Oh, it was so good to be held again! I went to live with her for a long time. When she outgrew me, she put me on eBay. Your grandma found me and now I have found you again.
I am SO happy!
Tears streamed down the girl's face as she finished the letter. Her thumb gently caressed Twink's smiling face and she gave him a little squeeze. "Welcome home, old friend. I've missed you all these years. No more windows for you."
Twink now lives happily on the family's living room shelf, enjoyed and loved on by the girl's own children, far away from any windows or highways. He was finally home.
Matt and I have had to face some pretty hard situations and it's rubbed our marriage almost threadbare a few times. Yet, here we are, by the grace of God.
I know I rarely write anything personal here, anymore. Life is crazy like that. I generally only have time or energy just to post photos of the boys, a quick entry about our last adventure, or a plug for my businesses. But this weighed on my heart and I thought it was a nice reminder to other wives who may be struggling like I am.
It seems like when life gets nuts...when the storms come rolling in...when you're nothing more than roommates because you never have a moment together, everything you loved about your husband or know about what God had planned for your marriage goes out the window. You forget exactly what your marriage means and what your role in it really is. Statements are made without thought and feelings are hurt. Bitterness and resentment begin to creep in. Anyone with me?
I know this feeling all too well.
When life squeezes and stresses me, I drift farther and farther from my beloved, rather than rely on him to pray for me and guide me, and it gets to the point where I forget the basics of what we are, together. It's so easy to forget. Too easy. And it's miserable.
I was pondering this last night, as I was laying there in bed trying to sleep. It sounds silly, but I make myself "lists" of basic reminders to review when I'm really in a funk. Generally, it helps right my perspective and snaps me out of whatever ditch I've dug myself into. So, here is my "wife reminder" of the things I think are important for a godly marriage. It may differ from what you deem important, but, if anything, this is a reminder for ME. I call it "I Want to Give Him my H.E.A.R.T."
H: I want to give him my HONESTY. Do not hide things from him. Do not lie to him. Do not bottle up what's bothering you. God created him to be your helpmate, just as you are his (Genesis 2:18). Let him help and guide you through whatever is troubling you, through the Word or through prayer. Even just voicing your worries and woes to a loving, listening ear makes all the difference. He is my best friend, after all.
E: I want to give him my EAGERNESS. We should be eager to show our husbands love and affection, because loveless marriages are dead marriages. Without sex or any sort of emotional bond, bitterness and temptation can quickly seep in, driving the wedge between you even more (1 Corinthians 7:5).
A: I want to give him my ACKNOWLEDGEMENT. Marriage is meant to be an example of the relationship of Christ and His church (Ephesians 5:22-32). We must acknowledge our husbands as the head of our households, if he is indeed in Christ, and allow him to guide us spiritually by submitting to him. We don't like that idea, generally, in this feminist-laden era. The Bible talks about women being the "weaker vessel" (1 Peter 3:7), in that we are more emotionally-driven than our male counterparts and have a greater tendency to be irrational and illogical -- especially during particular times of the month. (If you have found a way to master that, kudos, but I'll be the first to admit that I can be one hot mess sometimes and I'm glad that my husband doesn't have to deal with hormones and tears when trying to make a clear-thinking decision.) This does not mean that our ideas or concerns should not be heard or taken into account. Marriage (and parenthood) should always be a team effort, but I acknowledge my husband as the head by being respectful of his decisions for our household and not try to undermine him at every chance.
R: I want to give him my RESPECT. As I said before, he deserves my respect for his role as head and for me not to bad-mouth him to my friends or family. No eye-rolling, name-calling, or tearing down during discussions -- especially heated ones. Is it giving God glory by being rude and uncivil towards him? Is it showing him Christ-like love? Not at all. You're not a teenager. PMS isn't an excuse. Act and talk like an adult. And if you did happen to fly off the handle at him, repent. ASAP. (Ephesians 4:32)
T: I want to give him my TRUST. This one is especially hard for me. I've been burned by people a lot in my life, so full trust in anyone is almost impossible for me. God is working on me. We must trust our husbands wholeheartedly. You have to keep in mind that he is a sinner, like you, and will disappoint you. You will sin against him and disappoint him, too. I was once told that marriage was two sinners trying to live selfishly together. This is true. But if you don't trust your husband to care for your well-being, love you, and guide you in Christ, you're sunk. What is any relationship without trust? Broken. But, ultimately, our faith and trust must in the Lord, first and foremost (Jeremiah 17:7), causing it, in turn, to flow into our marriages.
Now, this is assuming you're both saved and both on the same page, theologically. If not, you need to go here. And, as I said, this isn't meant for everyone. Everyone's situations are different, but these speak to my marriage, which is imperfect and flawed, but also wonderful, love-filled, and totally worth it. I can't imagine life without my best friend and helpmate. That's why I strive so hard to make it work. Yours is worth it, too.
"[Jesus] answered, 'Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, 'Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh'? So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.'" -Matthew 19:4-6-