Tuesday, November 18, 2014

15 years of marriage

I've been excited about our 15th anniversary all year. I've thought about how we should celebrate. Should we renew our vows? Should we go away for the weekend? What awesome, incrediblely thoughtful gift am I going to get Erik that finally trumps all of the sweet gifts he has planned for me over the past 16 years?

This was going to be epic!  The day has come!  It's November 19th! We've been married 15 years! And guess what? I've got nothing. I mean I am completely and totally a major failure when it comes to gift giving. We are always operating on very little funds so a big expensive gift just isn't going to happen until all of our children have jobs (and I get a job too). 

Somehow asking him to give me the money he has worked for so that I can go buy him a gift feels less than fabulous. I should save up for things like this over the course of the year but life happens. Cars breakdown (or I run into things or other cars), moves across the country happen for the second time in two years, a new to us home needs to be purchased that while suits our style and uniqueness, needs some t.l.c. which causes major fund dispersion. 

That's just life or our life anyway. And then there is just normal life with kids. 3 of us have pink eye, 5 of us have a cold, 1 is injured, it just goes on and on because that's life with kids. It's unpredictable and completely predictable all at the same time.

The mess, pain, and heartache that occurs because we are human just happens. And for some reason it always takes us by surprise because we want to think that our lives should run smoothly and undisrupted by the natural occurrences of life. 

don't deal with life well on most occasions. Especially during pregnancy and probably for the year or so after. It just rattles me and crazy hormones don't help. But when I can't handle life, which is a lot, my husband is there. He's unshaken even though I cause a lot of tremors or straight up earthquakes. He stays. 

He doesn't let me give up and he doesn't give up on me. Even though I can be irrational, shocking I know, and unreasonable. Even though I can scream and hurt with my words because I'm just so tired of the daily struggles sometimes. He doesn't leave. He's helped me hang on the past few years when I really didn't see what I could hang on to. 

He would say I did the same for him in the past and it's just time for him to return the favor but I know the truth. He's been the glue. Even though we've both made mistakes I'm the one who flounders. I'm the one who wants to throw in the towel but not him. He digs in his heels even though he may not know what to do, he stands firm. He keeps us together. He keeps our family pressing forward. 

I don't know how he carries us all. We are an unbearably heavy load. I hope that as we press on that I'll feel strong enough to bear the load so he doesn't have to all the time. But I am so thankful that he continues to carry us so that our family can get stronger. 

Maybe my epic gift failure can turn into a victory. Maybe just for this one day I can help bear the load. Maybe I can show him how much I appreciate how he has kept us together, kept us afloat, and kept me going. 

15 years of marriage makes me excited because I'm not naive enough to think that a marriage is unbreakable simply because you say you will always stay together. The for better or worse, richer or poorer, sickness and in health is really a lot more complicated than it sounds.  

Life happens and we all have our own burdens and struggles. We aren't immune to it all. We haven't done it all right and we never will but I'm thankful that we can look back on these bumpy 15 years and celebrate that we've hung on and I hope we cling to each other for the next 50+. 

Reflecting on Veteran's Day

I am so very thankful for the men and women who have protected us. The men and women who have laid down their lives, left their families, their homes, their country to go to a foreign land where they are unsure of the dangers that may await them. Places where they are hated for who they are and what they do. They sacrifice everything to bring safety to others. Those who have served and are serving are to be commended for their bravery. 

While thinking about Veteran's Day and how thankful I am that there are those who serve our country, I began to think what if there were no need for any soldiers in the world? What if each and every human began to think of each and every other human in this world as worthy? What if we all saw each other as vital and important?

You see the evil and hurt in the world begin when life isn't viewed as precious. The degradation of life begins when we see others as less than ourselves and begin using them for our pleasure or hurting them for our gain. When we think that our view is so right that others should be treated as dirt or trash who do not share the same view. When people are killed and their lives thought of as expendable due to furthering a cause or furthering an extremist religion. 

We are all capable of this hate. There is not one of us who is so inherently good that they could not be capable of destroying another. Hate is passed down through families. It is taught. It is modeled. Hate is also forced upon children by others. They are forced or indoctrinated into these destructive beliefs. 

What if it all didn't exist? What if children were not taught to hate through abuse, anger, and judgement? What if we could raise a generation who sees the good in all people? 

There would be no more hate groups. No more terrorists. No more power hungry leaders who will kill to further their nation. No more kids who think the only solution is pick up a gun and stop the pain. No more drugs and violence. 

It all sounds so utopian and like a dream that will never happen. But I can't help to think that the Gospel calls us to this. It doesn't call us to hate. It doesn't call us to judge. It doesn't call us to kill. It calls for grace. It calls for love. It calls for mercy. 

Jesus asked His Heavenly Father to forgive those who violently murdered Him because they didn't know what they were doing. I can't help but to think that He looks at all mankind this way. We don't know what we are doing. We hold all of the keys to a world full of good things. A world full of people achieving the best that they can, being the best version of themselves that they can be. Jesus laid it all out for us. He lived the life. He walked the walk. He was our example. 

So on this Veteran's Day while I am so thankful for those who have served us, I pray that one day our soldiers wouldn't have to put their lives on the line. That all over the world people could recognize this short, precious gift we've been given, that is life. 

Monday, November 3, 2014

Writing Towards Sanity

I desperately want to write. I want to have something to do that I enjoy. Life is short. What am I good at? What gets my blood pumping? What am I passionate about?

I am passionate about my children and being a mom. But I have found myself losing the excitement of being a stay at home homeschool mom. (As glamorous and exciting as the job sounds :). I crave some sort of creative outlet. Creating with paint or other materials is too exhausting a job with a 3 year-old and a baby running/crawling around (plus I'm not really good at that). All I can seem to find time to do while nursing the baby, or lying extremely still beside them so they will nap, is write. 

Writing is my outlet. My husband, my biggest cheerleader and fan, tells me that I am an artist and I need to create. What?  No. Not me. I've never been artsy or creative. Everything I touch or try to create turns into a big mess or it looks really great for kindergarten art. 

I have to use my words. I need a release. We all do. Life is fleeting. We need to enjoy it. That's not an excuse to do whatever we want and whatever makes us "feel"good at the expense of our health or at the expense of others. However, we need to enjoy life. 

Do things that invigorate us. Do things that make us smile and make us laugh. Do those things that seem too hard or out of reach.

Travel. Experience new places and cultures. See the world from a different viewpoint so that maybe we can understand or sympathize. So that our minds aren't so closed and our hearts aren't so hard. 

Breathe. Relax. Smile. Laugh. Cry. Love. Sympathize. Understand. See the Beauty in Life and Living. Write Your Story. 

"Laughter through tears is my favorite emotion." Truvy (Dolly Parton) Steel Magnolias