present over perfect...

there's a writer, shauna niequist, whose books i really love. she's the kind of person i want to sit with over bread, cheese and wine and talk about the ins and outs of life with as there's a tone to her words that echos within my own life and marriage along with an ever-present reminder to slow down.

she recently wrote a blog post in which she speaks of her husband and their life together and it really resonated with me as there’s definite truth in the trust and safety that two healthy people can bring to a marriage. alas, this is less often the case with most. last night, a group of women in my church got together to plan the beginning stages of our upcoming christmas dinner and part of that meeting was hearing an excerpt from the chapter of her book, bread & wine, entitled “present over perfect”. i’m sure i don’t need to tell you how much the title alone echoed within the hearts of everyone there (hello mary and martha…).

i was married to my first husband for 10 years before he passed away and while we loved each other and were, i believe for the most part, present, neither one of us was emotionally available – especially for the hard and imperfect parts of not only our marriage but also of ourselves. looking back i put this down to the actual fear of those imperfections not being received by the other.

now, after 9 years of marriage to michael, we're in a completely different place. as most of you know, this wasn’t always the case; to say that we’ve been through a lot is a massive understatement; we almost didn’t make it. is it health that we experience now? to a degree, certainly. maturity, wisdom, grace? perhaps various forms of all three separately and together. i think a lot of it stems from our commitment to be present which has definitely become more important than being perfect. we looked for perfect back then. God…tried so hard to find it. but you know…we didn’t get healthy until we stopped looking for it and what a miracle that has been in and of itself.

there’s so much freedom to be found in letting go of what “A” HAS to be or look like in order for “B” to work. today, i'm grateful for the reminder.


you make excellent coffee...

Dear Karen,

If you're reading this, it means I actually worked up the courage to mail it, so good for me. You don't know me very well but if you get me started, I have a tendency to go on and on about how hard the writing is for me. This, this is the hardest thing I've ever had to write. There's no easy way to say this so I'll just say it. I met someone. It was an accident, I wasn't looking for it, I wasn't on the make. It was a perfect storm. She said one thing, I said another. Next thing I knew I wanted to spend the rest of my life in the middle of that conversation. Now there's this feeling in my gut: she might be The One. She's completely nuts in a way that makes me smile, highly neurotic, a great deal of maintenance required. She is you, Karen. That's the good news. The bad is that I don't know how to be with you right now. And it scares the shit out of me. Because if I'm not with you right now, I have this feeling we'll get lost out there. It's a big, bad world full of twists and turns and people have a way of blinking and missing the moment, the moment that could have changed everything. I don't know what's going on with us, and I
can't tell you why you should waste a leap of faith on the likes of me. But damn you smell good. Like home. And you make excellent coffee -- that's got to count for something, right? Call me.

Unfaithfully yours, Hank Moody


she speaks...

 not that you haven't noticed, but it's been almost four months since i've posted anything here. and it isn't like i haven't had anything to write about...i've started about a million posts in my mind only to have them trail off into dinner dishes and laundry and homework and dentist appointments and tears and disillusion and fatigue, etc. ad infinitum. and before you wonder about my last few reasons...michael and i are great ~ better than ever, in fact; there's just been a lot going on.

some readers who are familiar with us through joel and kathy davisson's ministry will know that we ended our association with them and stopped facilitating weekly calls and marriage intensives back in january. this had nothing to do with the ministry in and of itself and everything to do with the fact that michael and i felt that our time in ministry had run it's course. we'd actually started talking about it last summer and had decided we'd stop at the end of the year which ended with us giving an extra month before we said goodbye. we're eternally grateful for everything we learned and were blessed with during our five year involvement and take our hats off to everyone who serves in some kind of ministry; while it's amazing, it can, at times, be heartbreakingly difficult.

honestly, i've thought about this post so much and now that i'm writing it, i'm struggling with what i want to say because it's been a while and i want the words to matter and i feel that i owe an explanation for my silence, the latter being largely influenced by my own internal struggle with broken marriages and why they break.  over the last several months, i've watched someone i really care about walk through the wreckage that is divorce. there have been tears and anger and disbelief and late night calls and sadness and soup and wine. there've been good days and bad. small triumphs and momentous tragedies. through this, there's been a remembrance for me of when i was in the same place with michael five years ago, and i can easily recall the throat clogging feeling of him choosing a different life over the one he shared with me, the deep frustration of trying to reason with someone who stood fast in his own resolve. and i wasn't even in it as long as my friend has been nor was it carried out to the same degree. kind of reminds me of words from a song by james taylor...

well, people got used to seeing them both together
but now he's gone and life goes on
nothing lasts forever, oh no
she gets the house and the garden
he gets the boys in the band
some of them his friends
some of them her friends
some of them understand
lord knows that this is just a small town city
yes, and everyone can see you fall
it's got nothing to do with pity
i just wanted to give you a call

i think i must have listened to it about a bajillion times when michael and i were going through our stuff. well, that and i will survive. gotta love gloria gaynor...

on top of this, my aunt passed away almost two weeks ago. cancer. god, how i hate that word. and during her last week, my uncle (her husband) was diagnosed with leukemia. i'm not even sure if she knew. so that ride isn't over yet. and just a couple of days ago, i realized that one of my closest and dearest friendships may be entering a difficult season. of it all, i believe this will be the most treacherous valley i'll walk through right now and not because i think the friendship will be lost.  it's more because i feel dangerously close to stuffing my feelings about what's happened in the hope of not hurting or displeasing my friend in anyway which was my default long before i knew her but which the pull of is still dangerously tempting. ironically, it's because of my friend that i've been able to grow and heal and take part in my life in ways i never would have before which is part of why i'm so troubled by where we now find ourselves. i hope that what i've learned from her will help me in healing the relationship with her.


look it up.


Wanna Make You Love Me...

Is it me or is there just suhem' 'bout a country song? A country love song to be more exact. Last night at our marriage group one of the couples told us about this song, Wanna Make You Love Me, by Andy Gibson and I wanted to share it you all. Awesome lyrics guys...hop to it!

Old people make me cry
Goodbyes make me drink
Tom Petty makes me drive too fast
The Bible makes me think
Children make me laugh
My momma makes me wanna treat a lady right
Like daddy always has

You make me wanna buy a rose
You make me wanna shine my shoes
Baby you make me wanna dance
Better than I do
You make me wanna be a man
Who makes you laugh and makes you proud
I wanna be everything you need
You make me wanna make you love me

Girl I'm not poetry
I'm not the finest wine
But I'll toast to you and me
And I'll try to make you rhyme
I'll learn your favorite song
Stand in the yard with my guitar
And sing outside your window all night long

You make me wanna buy a rose
You make me wanna shine my shoes
Baby you make me wanna dance
Better than I do
You make me wanna be a man
Who makes you laugh and makes you proud
I wanna be everything you need
You make me wanna make you love me
Oh yeah

You make me wanna buy a ring
You make me wanna put you first
You make me wanna talk to God
Even when I'm not in church
You make me wanna be a man
Who makes you laugh and makes you proud
I wanna be everything you need
You make me wanna make you love me
Oh yeah
You make me wanna make you love me



On November 11 of this year, 5 male students from Baylor University, committed to making a change in American Society in its view toward beauty, posted this status update:

“I’d rather have a Proverbs 31 woman than a Victoria’s Secret model.”

Throughout that night, this status was reposted numerous times and as it spread, they saw there was need for more action. They started with a Facebook page saying the same thing as their status updates and they also decided to post a video. In 3 days, they received over 120,000 views on youtube, and their Facebook page grew to over 7,000 likes (now close to 12k).

Naturally, they've received a lot of mixed reactions to their statement. Up front, it seems a bit refreshing given our societies (churched and non) obsession with physical appearance and it puts me in remembrance of a Bath & Body Works ad campaign that was out over 10 years ago in which all of the models were size 12 and above and I remember thinking, "at last! a real depiction of what many look like!" Not a svelte size 2 with boobs 'til Tuesday but rounded thighs and bellies and arms and cheeks, slightly stetch-marked and not as smooth and perky as once before but warm and lusty (oooops...did I just say that?) and welcoming. I am Venus At A Mirror, thank you very much, and live with the reality of that every day and let me tell you, it's a love/hate relationship at best because every woman ~ Victoria Secret model or not, has image issues. Oh yes, she does. Just watch, How To Look Good Naked, sometime and you'll see.

But, more than that, what immediately hit me when I read this little yet powerful statement was this: have all 5 of these university gentleman ever self gratified? Ever looked at porn? Ever shopped at Vicky's Secret store (double entendre intended). Cause I'm thinkin' that would make their statement pretty meaningless if they had and this is why: in the almost 5 years that we've been involved in Christian marriage ministry, we've yet to talk with one man who hasn't participated in any of the aforementioned activities; married or not.

Not one.

Not one.

Not one.

This isn't a judgement; it's a sad reality. And I totally get how childhood wounding and family of origin abuse and abandonment and emotional arrestedness can play a part in why we do what we do; but when one regularly comes in contact with men who are married to Godly women who genuinely strive to be so ~ whether she be a Prov 31 woman or a Victoria's Secret model (both are children of God) ~ and sees that these same men are turning towards indiscriminate sex to be fulfilled instead of towards the woman they're married to, then the statement made by these 5 men is nothing more than a cock and bull story to me.

Let thy fountain be blessed: and rejoice with the wife of thy youth.
Let her be as the loving hind and pleasant roe;
let her breasts satisfy thee at all times;

and be thou ravished always with her love. ~ Proverbs 5:18-19

And....hello....it doesn't even matter what she looks like! We've met men married to drop-dead-gorgeous inside and out women and they still look at porn, self gratify or leave their wife for a pole dancer!

Guess I'm a little jaded.

A few days ago, Michael and I were watching a Christmas movie and towards the end, the main couple got married in a simple ceremony. The mayor ~ who officiated ~ asked who was giving the bride away (Santa, naturally), then for the rings, then pronounced the couple husband and wife. I laughed a bit and jokingly said to Michael, "What kind of wedding was that? No vows." to which he drolly replied, "What's the point of vows? Most people don't keep them anyway."


And hey, I know that there's a lot of good men out there; men who honor their wives and their vows, who genuinely forsake all others ~ including themselves ~ for love of God and their wife, who want to leave a legacy for their children that will protect their hearts and minds and future spouse. I also know that the porn industry brings in more money annually than major league sports and that men aren't the only participants in supplying that revenue. It's a tangled web we weave, people. Has been from the beginning and it doesn't matter if a man is with a Proverbs 31 woman or a Victoria's Secret model; if he has a proclivity to act out....he will because as long as a person continues in the belief that God is holding out on them somehow; that He doesn't want to give them what they really need and as long as people continue to let that be the story of their lives then that's how they'll show up.

So, what do you feel when you read the statement from the guys at Baylor? Does any part of it resonate with you or do you have a different take? We'd love to read your thoughts in the comment section of this post.