Tomorrow is our 21st anniversary.
We grow closer together everyday.
I never imagined marriage could be like this. It has taken work. It has taken study. It has taken effort. But the rewards of the labor are a vibrant, beautiful, passionate relationship.
With our 21st anniversary in mind...
1. I love that we love to make each other laugh.
2. I love that we haven't learned only to accept our differences... we have learned to EMBRACE our differences!
Beautiful, happy differences! Yes, the differences sometimes drive us nuts, but when we remember that God designed us both for glorifying Him (and not serving self) they become glorious, wonderful differences! He is slow, I am fast. I am a planner, he is a "go with the flow"-er. He loves outdoors, I love indoors. And the list is long of our differences. But we have watched God use those differences in amazing ways. We are thankful for these differences!
3. I love that we can talk about ANYTHING!
There is a trust level there that makes us feel comfortable about telling our fears, goals, failures, temptations, past, hopes, disappointments...
There was one night many years ago when we just took a chance and completely opened up... about embarrassing things, happy things, sad things, frustrating things. We have treasured each other's confidence and protect it. And our relationship has flourished ever since!
4. I love that our marriage takes priority over hobbies, friends, work, other family, and even our children.
Did I just shock you with that last line? A good, strong marriage is one of the greatest gifts we can give our children. It's their identity... Their security... Their comfort. They should never have to question if daddy loves mommy or if mommy loves daddy. They should know mommy and daddy are truly "one." Trust me, they don't feel neglected. They are thankful!
5. I love that he leads! And I love that I am learning to follow.
Passive husbands do so much damage to their homes and they don't even realize it. Their intent is "not to rock the boat," but they actually drill holes in the ship. And a wife who will not submit to her husband's lead shows her lack of faith in God, and her lack of trust in her husband.
But a husband who will lead, and a wife who will submit even when she disagrees... they are building bridges of love, trust, and support.
6. I love that we have a Christ-centered relationship.
That means we have the same goal, same heart, same passion... To glorify God.
7. I love that when we have a problem with the other person, we go to them and talk it out. And we listen to each other.
Good communication makes or breaks a marriage.
8. I love that we know there is plenty of room for improvement.
We certainly haven't arrived at perfection, so improving our relationship is very important to us. When a couple stops seeking growth in their marriage, their relationship will begin to decay.
9. I love that we both love chocolate.
No, really! We are different, but we have similarities, too! Chocolate, walks on the beach, hiking, playing games, sunsets, Carrabas, pizza, cabins in the woods...
10. I love that no matter what bed we sleep in all across the globe, he sleeps on the right side, and I sleep on the left side.
11. I love the four beautiful children that our marriage has produced by God's grace. (One in Heaven) Children are not guaranteed. They are a blessing from the Lord.
12. I love that our marriage isn't 50/50.
I love that our marriage isn't even 100/100. It's 100/doesn't matter. We try to put 100% into our marriage regardless of what the other one puts in. You see, our vow wasn't just to each other. It was to God. Jason doesn't belong to me. He belongs to God. That makes me very conscious of how I treat him.
13. I love that holding hands still means something special even after all these years.
14. I love that we both have a sense of humor and can make the best out of even the worst of situations.
Instead of arguing if the glass of water is half empty or half full, we put the water in squirt guns and go have fun.
15. I love that we still use cute pet names for each other.
16. I love our GITSD meetings... Going In The Same Direction.
All we have to do is say, "Can we GITSD?" Then we sit down and make sure we are on the same page with schedules, plans, goals, needs, expectations, and hopes.
17. I love that we pray for each other.
18. I love that we don't complete each other.
Instead, we point each other to the One who makes us whole. Jason cannot satisfy that hole in my soul... Nor can I satisfy his. And to expect anyone to fulfill that God-shaped hole is selfish and unfair. But when God is the One filling that hole, we don't have unfair expectations of our spouse. God completes us and that helps us to love each other unconditionally.
19. I love that we love adventures... Good and bad... We tackle each adventure with trust in the sovereignty of God... And we do it as one.
20. I love that we still date.
21. I love that we have been through the toughest moments of our lives together, and instead of allowing those things to pull us apart they pulled us tighter together.
Is it ok for a wife and mom to have a job outside the home?
Wow. That's a hot button topic.
But let me suggest that tackling that question from a Biblical standpoint actually starts at a different point. Let me explain.
Adventure chases us around like a dog chasing its tail. The happenings of this morning would seem strange to most people, but to us... another story to tell.
I got up early this morning for a special call. Long time, faithful family friend and former missionary to Belize, June Griffin, volunteered to give me online lessons on cake decorating. This lady with a love for missionaries is gifted in crafts and things of that nature. When I told her that the people of our country love cakes (and that I had zero cake decorating skills) she didn't hesitate to offer to teach me. So, I got up at 5:15 AM to make icing and get ready for our first session.
I went down to the kitchen and closed the doors so that I would not disturb the children who were still sleeping. As I was getting the kitchen and my computer ready for our session, I heard noises in the cabinet. I opened the cabinet to find a gigantic rat in our rat cage. He was about the size of my shoe... and I have pretty big feet! It's not even monsoon and already the Hulk-like creatures are invading. I don't take kindly to rats. I definitely don't take kindly to big rats. And the worst kind of rat is a big rat in my kitchen running loose. Thankfully, this massive bundle of disgustingness was caged. Unfortunately, that only lasted for four seconds longer.
The cages here are not very sturdy, and these furry villains are iron-pumping, protein-shake drinking, gym-going muscle heads. He flexed his biceps and opened the cage like opening a bag of popcorn.
The scene quickly changed. Both doors of the kitchen were closed, and I was trapped inside with a killer. The noises in the room sounded like a horror film. My neighbors surely thought a murder was taking place. The rat chose to run under the fridge. Then he darted to under the stove. Then he literally tried using his head as a battering ram on the door! Thud!!!
Not even dazed by the skull-jolting maneuver, he ran back under the fridge and stayed. My heart was pounding out of my chest, but this gave me time to think. DOGS! Time to bring the dogs in and tag team this hideous creature! So I ran to the side door and let our two Marvel Avengers wannabes in the kitchen. They were a little confused of why I was letting them come in the house, but Captain Ameri-Dog and his sidekick, Natasha Barkinoff, quickly moved into action when Hydra Red Rat Skull showed his ugly head. I would shake an appliance, the villain would dart to the other appliance with the heroes in pursuit. Back and forth. Back and forth. Things were banging and clanging.
Then Rat Skull made a fatal move. He darted toward the door to make another battering ram attempt. To his great dismay, and my delight, Natasha Barkinoff was ready. She grabbed Rat Skull in her mouth, shook, and then slung. Then Captain Ameri-Dog followed the attack. He shook and slung Rat Skull. The appliances were rocking. Cabinets were banging. My knees were still knocking. This battle-ready duo was a thing to behold. Then Natasha Barkinoff went in for one final assault. She grabbed Rat Skull around the ribs and began shaking... and shaking... and shaking until the lifeless body hung limp in her mouth. She dropped the wicked victim on the floor and looked up at me for instructions. Captain Ameri-Dog, however, knew what course of action to take. He scooped up the body and waited by the door so that he could dispose of the evidence.
With thunderous praise, I congratulated this heroic team as I let them outside. They trotted off with a look of satisfaction that they had, once again, saved the world from imminent destruction.
After the Christmas Critter Clyde Pack and Pack 2, we were having way too much fun! We just had to keep going. Our third Critter was shipped nearly 10,000 miles by family to us in Asia! We named him Maxwell.