For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. Matthew 6:21
I got a lunch invite from my favorite person last night (Surely I don't have to tell you who that is). Regardless of what we've lead you to believe, we don't eat lunch together that often. It's quite likely you've seen dozens of pictures of our cuisine adventures on Facebook and Intagram, but that's just because we're those people you complain about, that post lame pictures of what's on their plate every time they eat out.
We'd planned on having lunch again tomorrow, but we know how things come up. We decided that because we were both free for lunch today (I mean...that doesn't happen very often) that we should go for it.
A taco truck (Gonzalez Taqueria) that we found in a refinery parking lot a couple of years ago has a permanent spot now (which seems like a funny thing for a truck). Anyway...... We headed to the taco truck's "new home". Tacos are cheap. They're fast. And they're tasty.
We ordered a few tacos and a "large, everything on it" burrito. We sat at picnic tables and I swigged my Coke in a glass bottle, he his Fanta. It was the perfect way to spend a couple of bucks and an hour.
Our tab left us with a few extra dollars so we found ourselves at Sonic with ice cream Blasts. Sonic IS on the way to take Jason back to church. And did I mention that the tacos didn't cost much?
We'd had the perfect date. We currently have no major kid problems (that we're aware of) to discuss. Our phones were kindly uninterrupting. Just tacos and good conversation followed by a a cold treat. It was quiet nice. I hated for it to be over.
With the last bites of ice cream and oreo Jason turned the key in the ignition only to hear that dreaded choking sound indicating your car is temporarily calling it quits.
Luckily he was able to walk to the church and get his car so that he could jump mine.
We ended up with a new $130 battery AND a warning that we'd be at a Nissan dealership soon to get a new connecting thingy to replace the current one that is apparently in its golden years.
I was reminded dropping Jason back off at work of something I told one of the kids this past weekend.
Nothing worth doing is easy.
Maybe saying nothing is an exaggeration. Hand holding and giving hugs are easy things to do AND they're worth doing. Hugging takes little effort, barring situations where you're not mad at the person you're hugging and you don't have a cat personality or space issues.
Smiling is easy most of the time.....totally worth it.
Other easy, worthy things? Pandora music, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and cheap tacos
-Petting your dog
-Watching those YouTube videos with the kids who act inappropriately like the bullyish six-year-old dancer who practically pushes the girl beside her off the stage at the end of their R-E-S-P-E-C-T routine. You can laugh free of cost because you don't have to deal with the behavior. You can just watch the clip, laugh, and keep scrolling.
Other things cost; sometimes more than you bargained for.
Our tacos today ended up costing around $150, much more than we expected.
The best things in life don't come easy. They cost your dollars. Relationships and endeavors require hard-spent effort. Sometimes the cost is disappointment, a lack of appreciation, or heartache. The best things in life almost always cost our time. But don't quit.
This was taken on our honeymoon in 1995, (twenty years ago if you're not quick with Math). Looking at those fresh faces I thought,....... if "experienced us" could hang out with "newlywed us", what would we say?
We'd tell ourselves
Enjoy the Bologna and sunflower years. Your bank account will be meager, when it's existent, and a typical meal will be a bologna sandwich or Spaghettios. That's ok. You can eat that stuff now and your waistline will be totally uninfluenced (That won't always be the case). You'll get tired of eating the same old cheap and convenient cuisine but you'll be satisfied nonetheless. "Love is all you need".
Life is simple.
In the beginning, the things of life will fit -each in its proper place; like those black and white checked sunflower placemats with matching cloth napkins Meme made
......and that giant sunflower arrangement that decorates the middle of the sturdy old table you inherited from Granny. (We still use that table). You have everything "sunflower", don't you Kristi? You even wear "Sunflower" perfume.
Life is sunny.
You'll both take full loads in school while working. You'll hang out with your families who live nearby (a lot) and still find time to adore each other like you do now on Sunday nights cuddled on the couch watching the X-Files wondering why Mulder and Scully can't just quit arguing and profess their love for each so they can work another alien sighting/weird happening without that tension.
It's just you two for now. Squeeze all the time you can out of life while you're alone. Sit beside him in the truck. You'll trade that Dodge you're so proud of to save on gas and make room for a car seat. The Burden two will grow to five in the next thirteen years.
Your love for the three Burden additions will be foreign to anything you've yet to experience. To borrow from Max from "Where the Wild Things Are", you'll want to "eat [them] up you'll love [them] so".
Once you've held each of them in your arms for the first time you'll never be without them; even when you get a sitter or they go to visit the grandparents. They'll ALWAYS be on your mind. On dates you'll be talking about how close they are to taking their first step or sharing your amazement on how they pretty much went from eighteen month clothes to 2T skipping twenty four months.
On later dates you'll talk about their grades, how disgusting they keep the bathroom and how you caught them all three hanging out together and didn't hear a single insult.
The good news is you'll never stop dating. Committing to dating will be one of the best ways to battle the 'busy' that silently invades marriages. I know. I know. Commit makes it sound so routine; forced. You get to fly by the seat of your pants right now. Quicker than you expect, you'll outgrow your flying pants.
Plan your dates.
Stay up late on Fridays, or any other day you feel like it. Down the road you'll be wanting to go to bed at nine, or whenever it gets dark.
The three bonus Burdens you'll meet are a big part of the reason why you tucker out before ten and strangely, they're also the reason you're up sometimes at two and can't sleep. They'll make you gray from worry, but your heart will grow a thousand sizes.
Sleep in on Saturdays.
Because when you've been married for twenty years like us you'll be up at the crack of dawn even on the weekend because of the full day ahead and because your body will be trained in getting up early by that point.
Enjoy your cheap pillows and your easy sleep. In twenty years it will take six pillows from Bed, Bath and Beyond to aid your rest which will still be interrupted by coughing kids, middle of the night stomach viruses and restlessness.
Helpful hint: At some point in your marriage you'll both be snorers. Whoever gets to sleep first has the advantage. Because whoever sleeps first, snores first, making it a little harder for whoever's still awake to find rest in the noise. Slightly nudging the snorer will usually you give a five-ten second reprieve, but that's about it........ Of course you'd never think of poking asleep each other now.
Laugh. Laugh with each other. Learn to laugh at each other. Life gets too serious quick. Worry, a different kind from the kind you know now, makes itself a part of the family DNA before the babies even come along, and especially after they're here. Laughter is the best arsenal.
Well, except for prayer. You guys don't pray that much together yet. With each year that passes you'll better understand your need not only for prayer, but how very desperate you become for more of God in your life and in your marriage.
You'll learn how gracious God is. You're starting out thinking you've got this thing called life figured out. Most days you'll know better. Marriage will find its harmony when you understand that even though y'all were smart enough to pick each other out, you'll need help living in holy matrimony.
He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. Colossians 1:17
The equation where God is first, works out much better than the equation you have now where he's a variable that sometimes you include and other times leave out.
It's a good thing you'll be leading the youth there in Iredell soon. You'll have no idea what you're doing. We have a thing called Facebook now that you should be mighty glad hasn't been invented yet. Facebook would have loved to have a picture of the night you (Jason) will put your foot down, literally.....on the back of Josh's head while he crawls around on the floor interrupting your lesson.
Due to the archaic times you're living in, you'll be spared being outed online when you drive the wrong way on a one-way busy street with a van full of teens in Mexico. (#we'regoingtodie, #tellmymomiloveher). It wasn't really that bad.
Anyway, I'm glad you'll choose to obey, serving in a capacity where you feel inadequate. God is going to use that obedience to shake your world soon. Your family will grow not only by three. You'll add to your family by the hundreds as you serve in church In the years to come.
I know you're probably looking at us with our aged faces and much thicker waistlines wondering what we can offer besides some spilling of the beans on your future. (By the way, what do you think of Jason's beard?).
We don't have so much to offer. The older I get the more I know that I don't know. Much of life is still a mystery. But we leave you with the promise that your future is beautiful.
Not every day of marriage will be easy like it is these "sunflower" days you're living. Right now you're crazy about each other. There will be days you're crazy.....Period.
There will be trials and victories, blunders and bliss mixed in with the mundane. "These" are the 'days of our lives' (By the way, You can go ahead and stop watching that garbage. Your own story will be better than Bo and Hope's).
Believe it or not, you're going to love each other more deeply than you do now. The hugs will still come when Jason walks through the front door every afternoon. Everyday will be filled with "I love yous". You'll still be best friends. You'll never lose your love for the 90's greats like "Dreams" by the Cranberries, but you'll also add a hundred new love songs.
Twenty years from now love will STILL be in the air.
Gosh it's good to see you again.
You're still the one my soul loves. Happy 20th anniversary.
I found my wedding dress in the first Brides magazine I purchased; my fickle heart's desire met. I remember tearing the page out for safe keeping. I shopped with my mom and (soon-to-be) mother in law and tried on a half a dozen dresses, but I knew the one I wanted. And luckily we got our hands on it quickly; the very same dress pictured in the black and white magazine photo tucked in my purse.
Finding my dream dress was easy.
The girls and I are having our summer visit at the house I grew up in. Today I had the girls humor a romantic notion to model my dress. I had Rylie brave yellow jackets in the shed. Hallie participated without complaint as I captured shot after shot of a dress whose time has passed.
I wanted somehow to preserve such a precious piece of the past. I think we succeeded.
My real hope though is that my girls see past the silk and layers of petticoat. My dream wedding dress was easy to find. What I really want them to know is that
It's love beyond the frills that's worth working for.
Love never gives up.
Love cares more for others than for self.
Love doesn’t want what it doesn’t have.
Love doesn’t strut,
Doesn’t have a swelled head,
Doesn’t force itself on others,
Isn’t always “me first,”
Doesn’t fly off the handle,
Doesn’t keep score of the sins of others,
Doesn’t revel when others grovel,
Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth,
Puts up with anything,
Trusts God always,
Always looks for the best,
Never looks back,
But keeps going to the end.
1 Cor 13:4-7 (The Message)
I still love my dress. But this LOVE stuff is worth working for.
Jason is a great husband. And after seventeen years of marriage we see eye to eye on most things. This does not apply to decorative pillows. Our living room and bedroom are adorned with pillows. I see great purpose in them. Jason despises them saying they’re not comfortable. I think they bring color and beauty to the room. Jason argues that they’re in the way; that they have no purpose. When he wants to sit on the couch or go to bed, he throws them with disdain.
I despise Kristi’s decorative pillows. They serve no purpose but to impede my comfort while reclining on my own couch. When I am tired enough to try to use one as a pillow, I’m reminded how uncomfortable they are. The fabric is either rough, or crackly, or the pillow is an odd shape. They frustrate me.
Some decorative pillows are just dangerous. I’ve seen pillows covered with pheasant feathers. Feathers are supposed to be inside the pillow, not on it. You can lay your head down to rest and come up with a quill stuck in your ear!
They come with sequins, too. Can you imagine the comfort that comes from laying your cheek down on a bed of sequins!
Most have this little zipper whose pull tab always seems to be poking out. You can’t have a pillow fight with zipper tabs sticking out everywhere.
You can’t have a pillow fight at all with these decorative pillows!
I don’t want to fight about pillows. I don’t even want to fight with pillows. But if we were fighting, I would want to be able to have a pillow fight!
But I argue that beauty is not always comfortable.
Comfortable is not always good. Jason picked out the couches. People have commented on how difficult it is to get up once having sunk into the thick cushions. And though I want our guests and Jason to be comfortable I suspect that if the pillows weren't there, Jason might not ever get up.
Comfort invites you to stay. Beauty invites you to go. After sitting within the comfort of the couches, there is a silent urging from the pillows to move along in renewed strength; that is unless you've chunked them onto the floor.
As a Christian I often get comfortable in my walk, and I like it. I will remove any obstacle that stands between me and my comfort. I think of times that I have not wanted to approach people in pain. Those who have faced tragedy. It can be uncomfortable not knowing what to say.
I remember anxiously approaching one lady who had lost her four year old son. Without words I held her hand and we cried together in a crowd of people. That beauty has stayed with me.
There are other times I know I should invite someone to church or share what God has done in my life, but it can be awkward—similar to laying your head on a pillow with pheasant feathers. It's easiest to cast those things which bring discomfort aside. Choosing not to deal with those things that make us uncomfortable often cause us to miss out on beauty intended.
I remember a few times where I was faithful to have that awkward conversation with someone upon the prompting of the spirit. There are times I have walked into a hospital room or a funeral home anxious and uncomfortable but willing. It is in those times that God displays his beauty. It is in abandoning comfort that beauty soothes my soul. And as comfort from a couch quickly evaporates when my feet hit the floor, beauty often remains in my sight traveling down to the depths of my heart. Beauty is worth it.
In spite of hating her decorative pillows, this is one area that I have come to have a deep appreciation for Kristi. Can you imagine what the house would look like if the decorating were up to me?
Let me draw you a mental picture: One big cushy couch in the middle of the room. One 80” TV on the wall. One large wire spool picked up from the side of the road to set my feet on and to hold my bag of potato chips. No art. No decorations. No pillows. No Beauty.
I’m getting sad just thinking about it. I think I can put up with a few snazzy pillows
This is just one area where we have found compromise. There is an artfulness to compromise in relationships. Neither one of us has to give up our preferences. I still have my cushy couch. She has her pretty pillows. The house has beauty and functionality.
“And the two shall become one flesh.”
Life is full of that delicate balance between comfort and aesthetics. Between conviction and convenience. Between action and hesitation.
One of the keys to an artful life is finding that compromise, that balance, between what we know and what we feel. Finding that place of agreement with what we want and what we need. Arriving at the spot where form and function meet.
Do you find compromise easy or difficulty?
How do you arrive at that Just Right spot in your decisions?
"When did you tell me that? I didn't hear you say that."
"I told you three times the other night."
"Well, I didn't think you were serious."
"So you did hear me."
"I might remember something about it, but I'm remembering it differently than you do."
What an awkward conversation.
Conversations similar to this have repeated themselves across our 17 years together. I never set out to ignore or to contradict or to undermine, but it sure has come across that way at times.
It's a terrible feeling when we have hurt the one who is closest to our heart.
Yes. This is how a conversation went after Rylie's graduation that Jason and I attended with one car.
Jason: I'm going to go ahead and take the two big kids.
Me: Ok. The car is parked on the street by the two-story house on the corner.
Me: (Looking for the keys-He waits for me to find them then starts walking
without the keys) Where are you going?
Me :But I have the keys.
Me: How are you going in the car without the keys?
Jason: I'm not.
Me: Then what are you doing?
Jason: We're walking.
Me:Why didn't you just tell me that when I was telling you where the car was parked and while I was looking for the keys?........
Our conversations, or lack thereof, can be frustrating and disconnecting. We sometimes remind me of oil and vinegar; a vinaigrette. I love a good vinaigrette on my salad. I occasionally make it at home for our salad. Though oil and vinegar go wonderfully together, the two ingredients have to be briskly whisked by a strong hand. And to keep the vinaigrette from tasting too tart, you have to keep whisking.
Communication can be a big source of frustrations in a marriage. There are times that we are just not on the same page. It doesn't happen often, but it happens often enough to make me want to try to avoid it in the future.
One problem lies in the fact that men and women think differently. We approach our world from different perspectives. It is difficult to put yourself in the place of another. You cannot listen well without trying to understand the other person from their vantage point.
Sometimes the frustration is compounded by assumptions we make. In the conversation above I was assuming Kristi knew certain things, Kristi assumed I was going to do certain things, and you can assume that we broke from that conversation thinking the other was goofy.
We heard one another's words, but we were not listening from the perspective of the other. I think putting yourself in the place of the other is the key to great communication. If we are going to have great communication we need to be mindful to share more with each other than just the facts. When we communicate feelings and ambitions and goals we are giving our partner a better foundation to be able to listen to us from.
Assumptions are easily and often wrongfully made when we we're not deeply invested in the conversation. At Rylie's graduation, we were busy. Many times I'm rattling off, telling Jason things he could care less about. I approach him some times when he is exhausted. There are probably days he is wary to approach me at all. As different as we are, God is helping us gain a knowledge of what it means to listen and respect one another. Now if we could just be faithful in exercising that knowledge. Oil and vinegar. Thankful for a mighty hand that binds two hearts together that otherwise would have less savor on their own.
Do you have similar stories of miscommunication/ or lack of communication?
Our conversation was compared to oil and vinegar. What would you compare
No work. The kids are at school. Jason has his laptop. I have mine.
I'm pretty sure Jason thinks I talk too much. I agree. But I'm on to something, I've discovered that when I type my thoughts.... I have to let some go—
1) Because I can't keep up with all of my thoughts and
2) Because some thoughts aren't worth sharing.
To even out our communicating, Jason and I have come up with a plan. We are going to interblog.
INTER--BLOG = A collaborative blog writing experience where each author builds upon and expands the thoughts of the other.
I talk a lot on Sundays and Wednesdays. I don’t talk a lot otherwise.
We can drive from here to Amarillo and I’ll never feel the need to say more than, “What do you want to eat?” Sounds pretty lame right?
But when you’ve known each other for as long as Kristi and I have been knowing one another, there is something deeper being communicated than words can express.
There is a joy of being in each other’s presence. There is a security in a love that is well established. There is a fondness that can be expressed through a look, or a touch. There is a fellowship enjoyed by two who are on a journey together.
I know a silent car ride doesn’t sound like the most romantic thing in the world. It certainly is weak on the WOW factor. But being beside my bride, for all of these years, for all of these quiet trips, has led to a WOW marriage.
I shared with a group of kiddos not so long ago what my idea of prayer is. It matches what Jason just mentioned.
A prayer can be "Dear Lord, You amaze me.......Amen". That's often been the way I speak to God; like we're having a long distance phone conversation.
If I am in the house with Jason, I don't tell him bye before I walk out of the room like I'm finished with him. I don't even say good morning. We are just pleasantly aware of each other's presence.
If we are to pray without ceasing, there are few "dear Lord’s" and "Amens" because the communication is continual—even in silence. Greetings are unnecessary. I'm thankful that God has given me a life-partner that I can enjoy being with 99.9% of the time (the other .1% accounts for an occasional mood moment).
Our close and steady relationship, I believe, is a beautiful picture of the kind of relationship and communication God wants with us. I say that in complete humility knowing that I am a mere speck of dust in comparison to God. That's what makes it all the more amazing—that he delights at my delighting in him.
It’s the important things that we take for granted. When we neglect to reflect on what is most important to us, we are in danger of holding those things in low esteem.
It’s sad when we only realize how special something is when it is taken from us. Here’s what I plan to do for both Kristi and for God today…
• Be Intentional. I’m learning to say, “I Love You” to Kristi and to God throughout the day.
• Be Creative. I’m going to be loving God and Kristi for a long time. I need to find many ways to express that love.
• Be Real. God created me to love him from my heart, not from someone else’s idea of how I should love him. He wants my words, my affections, my honest reactions, and my true sentiments. This also applies to how we love our spouses. We need to give them the love that is absolutely true to our hearts. There are no techniques or gimmicks. There is only the real you, encountering the real them, in the context of real love.
Read Song of Solomon. It doesn’t get more real.
How do you pass your time together?
What conversations do you no longer have to have?
How has your faith formed the relationship you have with your spouse?