A Weekend to Remember

Have you ever heard of Family Life Today? They are a non-profit, Christian organization dedicated to strengthening marriages. They have weekend events called “A Weekend to Remember.” These are all over the country, and they happen throughout the year. David has become friends with a man in our community who was a pastor and is now the chaplain of our local police and fire departments. He also works for Family Life Today. He mentioned to David that FLT gives scholarships to pastors to attend the weekend for free (except cost of hotel, but the event has a discount set up with the hotel). And so, we went over the weekend! The hotel it was being held was literally 15 minutes from our house, but because they want you to stay at the hotel to be away from life’s distractions (and kids!) we stayed at the hotel and my MIL stayed here with our kids.

It was a great weekend. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to stay for the Sunday morning sessions, but we did got to the rest. It was also a very hard weekend. The intent, I believe, is to get you and your spouse talking. There are people there on the brink of divorce. There are newly weds and one couple there had been married for 53 years! They also had pre-married folks and everyone in the middle. I don’t care who you are, how long you’ve been married, there is always something you can work on in your marriage.

You are forced (and it might be a true “forcing” for some couples) to be with your spouse and pretty much only your spouse. They don’t provide any meals, you have to go out and feed yourself. At first I thought this strange, but then figured it’s so you have all the time you can to talk with your spouse. They do not encourage buddying up with other couples. They really encourage you to stay a couple and do everything together. It’s only for 2 days, after all!

The speakers were really good and added a lot of humor, seriousness, honesty about their own marriages and Scripture to what they were saying. I appreciated that. They also had a very good set up of books and resources for your family–from stuff for kids of all ages to you as a couple. Would I recommend this to people? Absolutely!!!! Will we go back? Probably at some point! Who knows? It was the right time and place for us to go this past weekend. We went in to it asking the Lord to open our hearts to the things he would have us hear from him. I truly believe that happened and for that I’m thankful!

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Happy Anniversary Dear!

Today David and I celebrate 8 years of marriage! Wow! I honestly don’t know where those 8 years have gone, and as I say every year I can’t imagine life without this man! We celebrated yesterday doing all sorts of fun things!  My mom came up to watch the kids and then my dad joined her after he was done work. They told us to go have fun, relax and just take our time! It was great!!!

Us then, January 28, 2006--our wedding day was in the 50s and so nice outside!! Today? Well, we'll be happy to break ONE degree today and we're buried under snow!

Us then, January 28, 2006–our wedding day was in the 50s and so nice outside!! Today? Well, we’ll be happy to break ONE degree today and we’re buried under snow!

Us now! I think we're still cute!

Us now! I think we’re still cute!

40 Years Ago…

On Sunday my parents celebrated their 40th wedding anniversary! They were young, in college and deeply in love! They are still young (seriously, I don’t think my parents look their age, or old enough to have been married for 40 years!), not in college and still deeply in love. My sister and I threw them a party on Saturday (with the help of our husbands and my sister’s MIL). We invited many of their friends and family and simply celebrated them! We had a great time of eating, visiting, laughing, sharing stories and sharing what Dad and Mom have meant to us, and how they’ve touched the lives of those who attended. It was such a special night. The thing both my sister and I shared is when growing up, we always knew our parents didn’t have a perfect marriage, but we never doubted their love for each other. We also knew, and still do know, they are together not simply because of a piece of paper but because they WANT to be together. I love the example they have given to us as to what a marriage based on God looks like. I love you Dad and Mom! Happy Anniversary, again!

My sister took care of all the decorations. She's very gifted in this...she made copies of my parent's wedding photos and clipped them to the balloons and also around the mason jar center pieces. So cute!

My sister took care of all the decorations. She’s very gifted in this…she made copies of my parent’s wedding photos and clipped them to the balloons and also around the mason jar center pieces. So cute!

Mom's wedding colors were lavender and light pink! The bridesmaids carried pink carnations...

Mom’s wedding colors were lavender and light pink! The bridesmaids carried pink carnations…

We had a card on each table with 2 truths and 1 lie written on it. It was so much fun to hear what people thought was the truth! And, even funnier when Mom and Dad couldn't remember the correct answers! :)

We had a card on each table with 2 truths and 1 lie written on it. It was so much fun to hear what people thought was the truth! And, even funnier when Mom and Dad couldn’t remember the correct answers! 

Mom's bouquet was white roses, white carnations and baby's breath

Mom’s bouquet was white roses, white carnations and baby’s breath

We had everyone sign the photo mat and then put it all in a frame for Dad and Mom!

We had everyone sign the photo mat and then put it all in a frame for Dad and Mom!

My sister redid their wedding album, which was literally falling apart! She did a beautiful job!!

My sister redid their wedding album, which was literally falling apart! She did a beautiful job!!

Dad and Mom with us, their kids! Just no grandkids this time around!

Dad and Mom with us, their kids! Just no grandkids this time around!

The happy couple!

The happy couple!

Overwhelmed

Overwhelmed. That’s it. That’s the word to describe this household, this family, this marriage, this woman. Overwhelmed. Sometimes life feels like too much. Sometimes it seems if one more thing is added to the day/week/month we just might spill over and not make it. I would say that’s how David and I have been feeling lately. We intentionally don’t plan a lot of extra stuff to do during the week because we know with work and family there’s plenty to stay busy. However, I would say for the past several months this just hasn’t been possible. I feel like for the past several months the calendar is full when I turn over the new month. I’m not even all that sure what we’ve been so crazy busy doing. Life has just taken on a very busy speed lately. We are ready for things to slow down. It’s affecting us, in all aspects of life. We find we’re short with the children, with each other and probably other people as well. I find I’m dissatisfied with this, that and the other, when normally those things would be just fine. I could list all the things that are making us so crazy, but what’s the point? The point is we need to find helpful and healthy ways to get through the chaos.

We’ll be on vacation next week. Mostly we’ll be staying at home (we’ll all sleep better that way!), but we are planning some day trip stuff and will be away for a few nights. I know we’re very much looking forward to being on vacation. I know we can’t wait to sleep in (well, David and I will take turns doing so because the kids won’t sleep in! 🙂 ) and just take it easy. I know David will have to continue to do some writing of his thesis, but he won’t have work on top of it too. I’m praying for the Lord’s peace to reign, and that His rest will come on us as individuals, a couple and a family. It’s time for this family to unwind and get some rest.

With this Ring

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This is my grandmother’s wedding band. Simple, round, white gold with a slight amount of etching along the edge. I never saw it on my grandmother’s finger. By the time I had memory of her, her hands were already gnarled with the affects of rheumatoid arthritis. She had long since taken off her rings and had placed them in her jewelry box. When she passed away I was given her wedding band. Unfortunately, I was too overweight to wear the ring and so put it on a chain and wore it around my neck a lot. After I had Rebekah, and am a lot thinner, I thought I would try the ring on again. It fits! I’ve been wearing it on my right hand ring finger for weeks now. Every time I see the ring I think of her.

This October it will be 8 years that my grandma passed away. I was close to her. I helped care for her in her last months on earth. I lived with her and my grandpa as she fought for life. It was such a hard time, but I would NEVER change that time for anything. I’ve been thinking about her a lot lately. With the addition of Rebekah I remember my grandma has never met any of my children. It’s soon to be October, and I remember what I was doing 8 years ago at this time. And, I see her ring. As I look at her ring on a daily basis I think about what this ring signifies.

It signifies simplicity. My grandparents were not flashy people. My grandma was more the quiet observer, but when she spoke, she spoke quietly, gently and with power. You stopped and listened to my grandma. She was not going to be the person to volunteer to be the leader, or take the position in the spotlight. But, she wasn’t afraid to help in quiet ways.

It signifies love. A fierce love. A love that survived over 1/2 a century. A love that was kind, gentle, full of passion. A love that endured through illness, a disease that disfigured, and a love that was ever-lasting. I’m not disillusioned to think my grandparents had a perfect marriage. Who does? However, I know without a doubt, my grandparents loved each other more than anyone else. For as long as I can remember every. single. time my grandpa left the house he would kiss my grandma on the lips. Not a little, obligatory peck on the cheek. A kiss of love.

It signifies unity. My grandparents were united in Christ, they were a unit themselves, and they did their best to keep unity within our family. My grandparents loved the Lord first, each other next and the rest of us third. We were family. We were told to stick up for each other, love each other and not ever forget that we are family.

Both of my grandparents have passed from this earth and are celebrating their eternal life with their Savior. I know they are no longer in pain, they don’t have to deal with the sorrows of this world. They are fully whole in body and spirit. I miss them, absolutely, but I am so glad I have this ring to remember the things they taught me and to remember what this ring signifies.

What I Know

1. I’m tired.

2. The transition from 2 to 3 kids has been WAY harder than going from 1 to 2 kids.

3. I forgot how much holding is involved with a newborn.

4. I forgot how little sleep one gets when there’s a newborn.

5. I forgot how cute newborns are!

6. I love seeing my newborn give out “for real” smiles!

7. I love watching Cora give her baby sister sweet kisses.

8. I love receiving sweet kisses from Benjamin.

9. I love and appreciate my husband very much.

10. I love chocolate milkshakes.

11. I miss eating lasagna and pizza–you know, REAL lasagna and pizza, full of grain and gluten.

12. Eating those things in #11 would not be worth the pain and sickness I’d feel for weeks later.

13. I’m thankful I’ve found a great chocolate cake recipe I can eat!

14. I love my mom.

15. I’m tired–did I mention this????

16. I’m excited for Cora to start preschool in September and love seeing her excitement!

17. I know more about football, baseball and sports in general than I ever thought possible–thanks to my dear, sports-loving husband!

18. The same goes for music…

19. I love strawberries with cinnamon sugar sprinkled on them.

20. I’m hoping nothing serious is wrong with Molly since she keeps losing weight even though we’re increasing her food quantity.

21. God is good.

22. All the time, God is good!

23. I’m thankful for a loving and gracious God who is forever forgiving.

24. I miss my grandma and grandpa and wish they could know my kids.

25. Oh, and in case I didn’t mention it…I’m tired!