more golden things

Oh, 2020. Although it feels like 17 months ago now that the calendar changed, I remember how much hope you held. And now? Well, now I think you’re kind of a jerk. And it’s only June.

In hindsight, how many times have we heard ‘don’t get your hopes up.’ And how many times do we do exactly the opposite because, things! They hold such promise! And I turned 40 at the Grand Canyon! And Connor had a golden birthday! And my dad turned 70! And Connor finished middle school! And Alyssa graduated from college! And we were going on trips!

And that’s where that word that rhymes with zovonatirus broke everything. Because we had a grand family trip planned (after the other trip CJ and I had to cancel) to one of my very favorite places in all of the entire universe (which my familiarity of travel-wise is fairly small, but still) … Colorado. We were planning on leaving this coming Monday.

And while it is really, really difficult to put my hopes back down about a hot air balloon ride in the middle of Rocky Mountain country (wut?!), there is still cause for celebration. And this is where I’ll peel my temper tantrum-throwing body off the floor to share something really sweet.

These two? They’ve been married for 50 years. 5.0. Fifty. Weren’t they adorable? That was February 14, 1970. The day my dad proposed. And for the record, my mom was still in high school.

Now, I can’t sit here and pretend I know the secret to a staying power like theirs because … I’ll just say that I will likely NEVER be married for 50 years (yo! potential husbands! we are running out of timmmmme!). But, just like Forrest Gump, I know what love is.

And it’s what they’ve got.

My devotional actually led me to the love chapter this morning. You know … the one they read at all the weddings. I’ve been especially taken with The Passion Translation as of late and the seventh verse hit me in a special kind of way.

Love is a safe place of shelter, for it never stops believing the best for others. Love never takes failure as defeat, for it never gives up. 1 Cor. 13:7 (TPT)

I should have asked them what the trick is to tolerating the same human being for that.freaking.long but after watching them for the past forty years, I have a few ideas. I’ll be as brief as I can (grab a pencil and some paper, too. it’s a golden list. duh.)

  • You become best friends
  • You know every good and bad and even terrible thing about the other and love them anyway
  • You compromise (often). This is also known as sacrifice. Which is also known as do the hard thing sometimes because you choose them first
  • You find things you both enjoy so you can keep that date thing a real thing
  • You opt for shared interests in TV when going out isn’t an option for whatever reason zovonatirus. This might include such gems like Law & Order: SVU, NCIS, Chicago Fire and America’s Got Talent. And, when the time is right (is it ever?), Hallmark Christmas movies
  • You wear matching jackets occasionally. These can include both spring jackets as well as mauve-colored leather. I’m still so proud of my dad for being that bold
  • You share in major decision-making … home, kids, work, finances, etc.
  • You celebrate each other’s successes. And you still celebrate even if you are struggling
  • You make each other coffee. That’s a total given, right? But you also know how the other takes their coffee; which is more important
  • You take care of the other when they’re sick or if they’ve had not one, but two, major surgeries and they might be a little ‘difficult’.
  • You show each other affection. Even if your kids think it’s so, so gross. Which they will. You talk openly about how hot and bothered the other makes you. Again, so gross. But looking back, it’s something I am so grateful for (except for a few interesting moments. ha!)
  • You find out the other’s love language and love them that way; even if it feels weird and foreign to you
  • You take care of each other’s feet. And if you have the money, you go get pedicures. Together. This is an actual thing
  • You pick a side of the bed and it’s yours forever and ever, amen. And, if you’re super nice and it’s cold, you warm up the other’s side before they get into bed. 50 extra credit points for that
  • You find a comfortable couch just in case you lost your spot in the bed (that can be due to coughing fits as well, to be clear)
  • You side with each other when your kids are trying to play one of you against the other. Or you at least apologize when your daughter(s) are far too convincing
  • You know that there is literally no one else on the planet that you would want by your side for the rest of this life. And you act that way

Quite frankly (dad! lol), I could go on and on with what I’ve witnessed in a marriage that spans 50 years, but here’s the very simple truth …

You just don’t give up. That’s it.

How many times do you think my parents failed each other? I’m guessing at least a few. But both of them; both of those young and adorable ‘children’ decided on June 12, 1970 that they were choosing each other. They were choosing to be each other’s safe place of shelter. And they were choosing that regardless of anything this completely questionable and seemingly unraveling world could throw at them, they were going to make that choice to fight for the other day in and day out forever and ever amen.

Love never gives up.

I love you and your love, D & C. I pray that some day I can have something like you do, if only so that I can show you that I DO know what love is. It’s what you’ve got, even if I have to break up your arguments over how to operate the FF button.

Cheers to your golden day. And to many, many more. ❤

a fierce-hearted woman

I read a book a couple years ago that quickly came to mind this morning as I considered how I could humbly and even remotely honor the mamas.

See, I consider myself so incredibly fortunate to have a number of women in my life that fulfill the role of a mama. To be clear, I have one mama. More on that later. But I also fully believe that you do not have to have given birth to another human to be a mama. I’ve witnessed the incredible pain of women who have battled infertility only to never have the opportunity to conceive a child. Those women (and men who stand alongside them) have the heart of a parent.

I’ve seen women who have had to carry on through miscarriages and loss near, at or after giving birth; some experiencing loss after their child reaches their teens or even their twenties. Nothing takes away their role of being a mama.

And then there are mamas who choose not to birth biological children (for one reason or another) and yet opt to pour their heart and soul into children who were birthed by another and, out of some circumstance, made available to love. (These women are true heroes, by the way.) Mamas still.

The women in my life have been shaped by many of the paths to becoming a mama noted above but they chose to love me like a mama without giving birth to me. (And I bet to all high heaven they are surely glad they didn’t get the privilege of being my actual parent. Only God could have prepared the two I got for that monumental task.) I started going through all the names in my mind and it was actually a bit overwhelming.

I’m so grateful and blessed beyond measure. I have women who have held me during intense shake crying; women who have silently prayed for me (some even with paper reminders in their own prayer room); women who have spoken such life to me that I can’t put words to it and then of course, just women who have befriended me with such sweet tenderness that they still call me friend despite my constant sucking at being a friend back.

To all of these mamas, I just humbly whisper ‘thank you.’ (Like with tears and red cheeks but you already knew about all that because you chose to know me.) And because I’m getting up there in years, I’m going to forego the actual list. I don’t want to forget anyone. But I feel like you know who you are. And that I love the crap out of you.

Finally, there is my own mom. The one who gave me life. I will NEVER be able to be the daughter I feel like you deserve. Thank God for Nikki, right? I mean, I know I have given you more to worry about, to stress over, to be fearful of, to shake your head about, to find a padded room to step into over and to likely just want to run outside and shake your fist at heaven and say, ‘whyyyyyy me, God?! whyyyyy?’ And yet, you have loved me in the way that only a fierce-hearted mama can. You have chosen to love me despite my myriad of flaws, to show me kindness when I didn’t deserve it, to fight for me when I couldn’t fight for myself, to demonstrate what a successful professional woman looks like, to stand next to your man in the dirt pile (figuratively and literally), to speak up for injustice and give generously to those who need it (even when it doesn’t make any sense at all) and to rise up from a pile of freaking ashes, dust myself off and realize that I can take another step. And of course, how to give all of that to a child of my own. I will never feel adequate or equipped. But, I’m doing my best.

Mostly, though? You’ve shown me what a Godly woman looks like; how that Proverbs 31 woman comes to life. You are her. And I will always be the lucky one for having such an inspiring example in my immediate (non-socially distant) circle. I love you, mama.

Finally, for all the fierce-hearted women out there, I want to share with you the intro to that book I mentioned … the words I take line by line and write about in my own journal. To remind myself of who this woman is and who I aspire to be. Happy Mother’s Day, mamas.

come at me, bruh

You want to know what happens in the rural parts of town on a Saturday night? I mean, I can’t speak for what the younger kids are doing but I can assure you that Talladega Nights may or may not be on and that animal activity outside can have four people gathered at a window quicker than you can say two-track.

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teachable moments

Did any of you even know that travel football was a thing? I didn’t either. Well, until about 3 weeks ago when Connor’s dad mentioned it was apparently a thing and that there was an opportunity to try out for a team not too far (far enough to be annoying) from home. That isn’t the travel part.

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