Thursday, May 26, 2011

for jules

For my sophomore year of college, I transferred from a smaller satellite campus of my university to the main campus.  I was assigned to an all girls dorm that was set up in suites, having four bedrooms attached to a living area.

Julie lived in the bedroom next door to me and was a junior that year.  Her kind heart and loads of sarcastic humor made us fast friends.  She probably doesn't know it, but she was one of the major reasons that I enjoyed living there.  Okay, maybe she does.

The following year, Jules and I started working on the school newspaper together.  That required lots of procrastinating and pulling our stories out of thin air at the eleventh hour all nighters to get that very serious piece of journalism published each week.

We laughed a lot.  We ate a lot of pizza.  We cranked the music and danced in the newspaper office a lot.  Did I mention that we laughed?

Right now it would be hilarious to go in my basement and dig up some embarrassing photos of our college years - like the time Julie put on a paper pleated Christmas tree skirt as a real skirt - complete with black high heels.

But it's late and I'm too tired.  If I can muster the mojo chunk of time tomorrow to dive down that rabbit hole, I will.

Jules and I have always had a bond and after I got married we lost touch for a bit (definitely my fault).  After catching up at a friends wedding several years ago in Denver (where I got to meet her delightful, hilarious, and perfectly matched husband Jeff), we started sending Christmas cards and occasional emails.

thompsons Through that time, I found out that as grown adults, Julie and I share a heart and hurt for orphans.  She and Jeff have three beautiful biological children and have taken the leap of faith to apply to adopt a baby boy from Ethiopia.

They have completed all of their paperwork and are in "queue" for a referral to their son.  They have been chosen for a fundraiser this month by "Go. Seek. Love."

Visit Julie's blog or go straight to the Go. Seek. Love. website.  For each purchase, or simply spreading the word via any social media, you will be entered to win a $20 Amazon gift card.

Did you hear that?  NO PURCHASE NECESSARY!!!  But once you look at the cute t-shirts, you'll want one.

Let's bring this boy home to his amazing forever family.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

dear 22 year-old self

Dear 22 year-old Self,

SCAN0030 Remember that guy that your roommate suggested you should date and you responded that he was a little nerdy for your taste?  Well, that guy man will be your husband soon.

After knowing him for 15 years and being married to him for 14 of those years, I'd like to give you some advice and wisdom I've gathered.

First of all, NERDY IS GOOD!!!  Remember the "cool" guys that flattered you with a glance or a short conversation during your high school and college years?  Yeah, those guys, you know which ones.  They flattered you because clearly they thought more of themselves than of others - namely you. 

Those guys are not the ones who will ask permission for a first kiss or bring you a rose as a public declaration of his pursuit of you.

SCAN0033You thought getting along with your parents was tough?  You, my sweet young lady, are about to enter into the toughest relationship of your life.  But being difficult does not mean it is without rewards.

It is also the most rewarding and fulfilling relationship you'll have with another human being.

First of all, when he proposes, just say YES!  Don't stumble over your words and tell him to shut up.  Sure, it makes a good story later, but give the guy a break.

cakeYou'll do great with the wedding plans, but get a better photographer.  The dress will (quickly) go out of fashion, the flowers wither, but the photos will be looked at by your children's children.

Yup, there will be children.  I'll get to that part, be patient.

Read this and this before the wedding.  Then read the first one again because it is just that important.

The first couple of years of marriage are going to be a roller coaster.  The poor guy did not have any sisters and thank God he never lived with any women but his mother.  (No, falling asleep on your couch in college does not count.  Even if he did wake up the next day.)

Take all the ups and downs less personally.  Don't get upset during the first year when he wants his own space in your bed so that he can actually sleep.  He was used to sleeping by himself, it's not personal.

Define some limits about what neither of you will ever say during arguments or within your marriage at all.  It will cause less pain to decide that at the front end of the relationship rather than learning it the hard way.  Learning the hard way sucked.

SCAN0015 Prepare yourself to move around the country a bit.  The man you're about to marry is wired for success.  He gets bored when he masters one thing, so get ready to change and adapt.  He might even decide to move your family across the country without discussing it with you first.  He'll only do that once though, so go with it. 

Those qualities make him a wonderful provider though and when it is your time to quit your paying job and raise those little ones, you can trust that he will take care of you all financially.

Never lose sight of taking care of him first and foremost.

I will let you in on a little secret.  Your husband's love languages are "quality time" and "words of affirmation."  Prioritize those and love him well.

You are NOT his Holy Spirit.  Talk less.  Pray more.  Seek God.  Wait on God.  God will work on your husband.

SCAN0032When those promised children come along, you can study all the books and parenting programs that you want, but it is still a learn-as-you-go-with-each-individual-child process.  Be flexible because kids are not a "one size fits all" rule.  Even though they are all boys.

Yup, boys.  All of them.  When you least expect it, there might be a little estrogen in the mix.  Just wait.

Regardless of the curve balls parenting will throw at you, you must keep your marriage as the top priority.   When other women stand in disbelief at the number of days he spends hunting, you just kiss him good bye, tell him to bring home a lot of meat for the freezer, and remind him that there will be good reasons to come home.  IMG_2229Wink wink.

Speaking of staying home, SERVE.  Serve your family with a thankful heart.  I'm sure I will be writing a letter to the 36 year-old Self in another 14 years that talks about cherishing the time you have before they all grow up and move out.  So when you're 29 and in the thick of little ones needing you all.the.time. and a husband who (thank God) wants quality time with you, die to that selfish desire to get in your car and drive to TJMaxx away for that coveted "me time."

During particularly stressful times, your man will convert his stress to conflict.  Again, this isn't anything personal.  He carries the weight of a large family and drive for success on his shoulders.  Job change or financial stress can cause him to act like a jerk.  I am writing to remind you that you are no gem when you're PMS-ing, sleep deprived, or in labor (to mention just a few of many examples), so give grace as you would like to receive grace.

When he acts like a jerk, don't EVER complain to or confide in anyone who doesn't already love him and think the best of him.  It will be so important to have women in your life who will tell you that, "Yes, he is acting like a jerk.  He is a wonderful man (and here is why), now go home and treat him well."

dublinstation You will be shocked as marriages around you dissolve into divorce.  You will be wise to have a very real conversation with that man of yours about protecting your relationship, because clearly, no one is safe from that danger.



And after 14 years of marriage, he will still:

  • kiss you first (then the kids) when he walks in the door from work.
  • kiss you randomly and with passion when he walks through a room you're in (to the point that your older kids will tell you to get a room).
  • want to spend time with you and will weigh his attendance of social activities with missing out on hanging out with you.
  • laugh at your jokes and sarcasm.
  • be interested in your writing pursuits and read each one several times.
  • compliment your outfits, even when you're feeling pretty ordinary.
  • care about and invest in what you want out of life.
  • periodically ask for feedback as to how he can be a better husband to you.

datingCherish that my dear.  Work like mad to be the best wife you can be and then take each day and enjoy it!

Because 14 years goes quickly.  Your parents are right on that one and so am I.

Love, Your 36 year-old Self

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

my tenth mother's day

A decade of Mother's Days?  Really?

P1030310

My man has come a long way.  Ten years ago on my very first Mother's Day as a mom, I held my sweet little six week old baby in my arms, all bleary eyed and lacking sleep.  I was excited to receive whatever sentimental treasure my Beloved had carefully chosen for me out of immeasurable gratitude for birthing, nourishing, and caring for his son.

The blank stare accompanied by a, "What? You're not MY mother!" was not quite what I had in mind.

If anything, he is a quick study, because that was the one and only time that has happened in a decade.  I'm sure my hormonal tears told him all he needed to know.

He's going to love me for telling that story.  Anyhoo. 

This year, we escaped the land of eternal winter to soak up some heat in Moab (again).

We enjoyed an adventurous weekend of camping and hiking and eating and getting red sand in every possible crack and crevice.

Did I mention that it was 90 degrees?  I loved it - even when my deoderant stopped working.  Heck, I even loved it when Kenyon's deoderant stopped working.

The best Mother's Day card came from my sweet eight year-old Sauce.  At the risk of giving him a good reason to put me in a crappy nursing home someday, I am going to share his card here.

The front:
mothersday1

The inside:
mothersday2  That boy has a way with words, don't you think?

About Me

My photo
Messy and wonderful perfectly describes my life as a wife and mom of five. I'm passionate about advocating for orphans by telling their stories and encouraging adoption and orphan care. My schedule is messy and wonderful as I am charged with four sons and one daughter. We love living in our little mountain ski town. We do a little camping, a little skiing, a little hunting, and a lot of laughing and loving. Life is dirty and loud around here but we wouldn't want it any other way. Okay, maybe a little less dirty!

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