Wednesday, May 23, 2012

my own advice

So I decided to take a little of my own advice last night. It had been a long day and I was needing to feel attractive - my workout shorts and old tank top just weren't doing the trick. I decided to move dinner out to the deck and had Ella set the table with a pretty tablecloth and a candle. I changed into a casual summer dress, put on make-up & earrings and even a little perfume. Wow - I felt like a new woman! Finishing dinner prep no longer felt like a chore but rather a gift I was giving my husband who was yet to arrive. He came home to a candle lit dinner outside, soft jazz coming from my ipad and a wife excited to see him (this is SOOOOOO not our norm). After dinner we cleaned up and after putting the kids to bed I decided the special evening didn't have to end there. We open a bottle of wine, got an old quilt and headed back outside to simply be. Totally unplugged from life - just me, him and a bottle of wine (he later added a cigar - the tale-tell sign that he's relaxed). We sat and talked about random things. We laughed. We were silent. We listened to the crickets and soaked in the cool summer night. It was a little bit of heaven on this side. A gift of our time to each other....and so worth the effort it took to create.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

young marrieds

When I think about what makes me feel alive, my most favorite things in life, the following come to mind: fresh flowers cut from outside, laughing with my man, a glass of wine over a long relaxing dinner at a little cafe, snugggling my little ones, walks early in the morning, rocking a baby, breathing fresh air, making something beautiful...and the list goes on.

The thing I love is that most of these things are things I can MAKE HAPPEN in my life. I can find time to snuggle with Mason and read him a story - with his little arms wrapped around my neck and his face as close as possible to mine :). I can wake up early to soak up the silence and breathe the fresh air as I walk. I can hire a babysitter and take my man on a date. I can be intentional about how I spend my days.

One of my favorite quotes is, "sometimes you gotta create what you wanna be apart of..." and for years my man & I have lived by this quote and found it to be SO true. Shortly after getting married we found ourselves without any friends in the same place in life as us. We complained about it for 2 long years and then we decided to do something about it. We decided to start a "life group" that we called "young marrieds" and we simply put a sign up sheet out at church with a note attached that read: "looking for young couples who are willing to commit to doing the hard work required to make their marriages flourish and who are looking for a community of friends to walk beside them".

I remember the fear in laying that sheet down and walking way - totally out of control over who would sign up. Instantly I was flooded with panic. What if someone I didn't click with at all signed up and I had to hang out with them? What if people thought we were stupid for even trying to start something like this? What if nobody signed up? This panic drove me to my knees, mainly for selfish reasons, but never the less I found myself praying, "Lord, bring the perfect couples to this group. Couples with whom we can be honest and real with. Couples who will challenge us. Couples we can laugh with. Couples who will challenge us in our faith. Couples who love you." Looking around the room at that first young marrieds meeting I had no idea that these young eager faces would be the ones I would "do life" with over the next 10+ years.

These young couples eager to talk about communication, intimacy, and in-laws (all things we had in common) quickly went from aquaintences to life-long friends. In the the years to come we were blessed to walk beside these couples through the death of parents, the births of many children (including a friend from this group being in on one of our births), miscarriages, the building of homes (literally helping put on roofs, frame basements, etc.) serious illnesses, affairs and recommittments to marriages. God took two young kids eager to "have friends" and blessed them with friendships that have spanned over 10 years now. Our young marrieds group will always serve as a reminder to me that "sometimes you gotta create what you wanna be apart of..." That looks different for all of us.

So often we wait for life to happen to us; waiting for others to make us happy - I just don't see that working...or at least in my experience it hasn't. Trust me I need to practice what I preach on most days. But I love that I have the power to control my attitude and the way I react to circumstances. I love that God gives us choices and a free will. I love that He loves to bless His children when we we ask. Are you waiting for life to happen or are you willing to be intentional with your life? It takes energy and some planning, but I really believe that beautiful moments are just waiting to be had when we put energy into creating them.