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Showing posts from 2014

Lessons in Pink

Last night, I painted Lydia's little toes, put the cap back on the bottle, and forgot about it. A few minutes later, Joseph and I looked over to see her holding the empty bottle in her hand...up-side down. Bright pink oozed down her legs and onto the couch. 

I had a choice that moment, to clean her off and when she was older, teach her how to use it properly. Or to get angry, spank her, and tell her she was a bad girl. I was frustrated at having to clean up another mess, but the Holy Spirit reminded me that Lydia was still learning. She had no idea opening the bottle would cause a problem. She was acting out of childlike curiosity, not out of sinful rebellion.

This morning the Lord brought to mind this passage in Psalm 103:
Just as a father has compassion on his children, Adonai has compassion on those who fear him. For he understands how we are made, he remembers that we are dust.
We make messes all the time. Some of them are created by sin, but I believe most of our mistakes are just t…

How I Met Your Father

I was standing awkwardly in the the foyer before service, taking my time putting sugar in my coffee to make it seem less obvious that I didn't know anyone. I was a few years out of school, working my first real office job, having plenty of money to buy a nice, new wardrobe, but feeling completely empty inside. I was desperately lonely. Bible college and all its activities had been a life-changing and beautiful time. But the real world was sucking me dry and I was beginning to feel it. And to make life worse, the relationship I was currently in was beginning to turn out to be something far different than I expected.

My thoughts were interrupted by a man who walked up to me and introduced himself as the youth pastor. As we chatted, he learned that I had studied Youth Ministry in college and immediately invited me to be a part of his team of youth leaders. Before I could tell him I'd think about it, he had pulled a young man out of the crowd and introduced him to me. "This is…

Looking For Mr. Right

I sat in the auditorium along with the other 300 freshmen waiting for our first 8AM class. The air was buzzing with the chatter of expectant voices. I breathed in the excitement of the crowd and turned to my new friend Rebecca in the seat next to me, "Just think. Somewhere in this crowd are our future husbands!" We both giggled and sighed longingly.

Our freshman year passed by, and so did many upperclassmen bachelors. I made every attempt to sit next to guys in the cafeteria, but none were interested in me.

Sophomore year seemed to bring renewed promise of a future mate, as one of the guys professed his interest in me. Although I was not at all attracted to him and barely knew him, I thought maybe God knew better and so agreed to start a relationship. What resulted was a very miserable me and a very messy break-up.

Junior year I had a couple of sweet guy friends whom I was secretly madly in love with...or so I thought. I asked to go everywhere with them and do things for them a…

Nothing Gold Can Stay

From the platform at the top of the park, I could see the faint outlines and some of the remaining bricks of where the foundations of buildings once stood. The plaques scattered throughout the park show pictures of how life was just a hundred years ago--a mill, a storage building, a pedestrian bridge, all bustling with activity and industry. My eyes go back and forth from busy pictures to the scene before me, quiet and overrun with foliage. It's hard to believe so much has changed in so little time.


I love places like this. Places that echo with the voices of lives once lived. They keep me grounded. They remind me that my life is just a tiny blip in the vastness of eternity. My mind starts looking forward, to what this place will look like in another hundred years. I wonder who will stand here and wonder about my life and how I lived it. I wonder if they will look at my pictures and dream about a day in the life of Sarah in 2014. 
Let us keep proper perspective of our lives. Let us …

Sabbath

I love me a clean house! The feel of a squeaky floor under my bare feet or the smell of fresh linens on my bed. Ahhh! It only lasts about 5 minutes before the dog, or the baby, or the husband track in something...but it's 5 minutes I thoroughly enjoy!

I've recently gotten back into the habit of taking a cue from ancient Jewish culture--getting my house in order before the Sabbath so I can focus on more important things. A few extra minutes washing dishes on Friday night, means more time for making pancakes instead of fishing for a clean dish Saturday morning. A quick vacuuming of crumbs and dog hair Friday night, means a clean canvas for wrestling, tickle fights, and reading all weekend. It means we can pack up and go out of town for the weekend or pack up a picnic lunch to take to the park. It means giving myself permission to not be a clean freak for a few days each week, and to do some of the other things I don't get to do--like painting, or reading, or sitting on the po…

Straight, No Chaser

I had followed the instructions and set-up the weight machine and my body on it step-by-step. Or so I thought. I could have just asked a trainer about it, but I figured I am reasonably intelligent and should be able to figure this out on my own. A few reps in, an older man stepped up behind me, told me to stop, and fixed the settings. "You might wanna use it the right way," he said. I mumbled something about how I thought I may have been using it wrong, and he just gave me a look of pity that said something like "Honey, you should probably not be here if you don't know the ropes." I finished my sets feeling like a complete idiot, but oh-so-thankful someone stepped in and saved me from my stupidity (and from possibly injuring myself).

There are days I need someone to show me the ropes of marriage. I think I have it all down, until a friend, or mentor, or parent shows me a better way of doing it, and I wonder why I didn't ask for help in the first place. My I-…

Thank You

A couple weeks ago, we had a traveling mechanic come to work on our car
and he brought his wife with him. They had no idea our windows were open and working in the kitchen, I could clearly hear everything they were saying. All kinds of awful words thrown at each other every few minutes at very high volume. Honestly, at first, I was shocked and thought maybe our mechanic was arguing with the parts guy on the phone. Nope. It was his wife. And she was just as awful as he.

Maybe I've been sheltered most of my life. Maybe I have high expectations for what marriage should be. Maybe I'm just a romantic. But whatever it is, this scene shook me to the core. I felt a deep sadness for this couple and wondered if they knew the effects their words had on each other. And I wondered, if they were this bad in public, how awful things must be behind closed doors. I started to think about how lucky I was this scene would never play out with my husband. And then I started to think about all the …

The Strong, Silent Type

A lot of times as a woman, especially being firstborn, I have a tendency to treat my husband like my child or my little brother. I question his decisions and belittle his feelings without understanding who he really is. I mistake his silence for apathy, irresponsibility, or lack of affection. But Dr. Leman reminds me, in his book Have a New Husband by Friday: "we men are simple, but we are not simpleminded." 

Joseph is a pretty simple human being. His diet consists of Chipotle. His Starbucks drink is a Chai latte. He can wear the same shirt for a few days and not mind. When I head to the store, I know exactly what kind of cereal, or soap, or socks to get him. He's as low-maintenance as they come. 

But when I sit down next to him on the porch and force myself to not say a word, a very complex Joseph begins to emerge. It may take a few minutes for him to open up, but when he does, I always kick myself for not listening to him more often. My husband has a depth of love for pe…

Lessons From a Wedding

He was the best man. I was the maid of honor. He was 23. I was 21. We met at the rehearsal dinner and hit it off instantly. We joked and danced and discussed nerdy topics during the entire reception. Then he asked me to dinner (very cliche, I know) and I said yes. 

Our evening was lovely: sushi and a glass of wine, walking through the twinkling streets of downtown with my arm in his, stopping for an espresso at an artsy cafe. Laughter and starlight and music and warm summer air. He was the perfect gentleman. I felt like a queen. At the end of the night, he kissed my forehead, saying he was glad to know there were girls out there who who were beautiful and smart and not afraid to be themselves. We hugged goodbye and parted as kindred spirits. We remained friends for a long time after that. 
This is such a contrast to the rules of dating I've been taught: A girl alone with a guy all night? Dressing up? Wine? Going out on the town? And if he was so perfect, why didn't I end up marr…

Forever Young

My new swim partners were two older students, both looking to be in their late 60s. They were both long and lean and strong with no hint of slowing down yet. I was fooling around blowing bubbles before our class when the lady waded over to me and looked straight at me with sparkling dark eyes, "What's your name?" she asked. "Sarah" I answered in my strongest voice. "What? Hold on I can't hear ya..." She pulled back the ears on her swim cap and pulled out one ear plug. "What's your name?" I could tell by the tone of her voice that she was kind and possibly humorous. I told her my name again and she said hers and pointed to the man stretching next to her. "That's my husband." So I asked her, "How long have you been married?" By this time she had already put her ear protection back on so she looked at her husband and said, "What'd she say?" I chuckled. I could tell she could hear me just fine and wa…

Motherhood is Not for Wimps

I have several friends who are more than ready to have children, and some who are more than ready to have more. I want to shout at them "No! You just got married!" or "No! Enjoy the children you have!" or simply "No! Just wait a couple more years!" because life is never the same once you pee on that stick and those two lines stare back at you. I'm not saying never have children, or resent the ones you have. Because life is full of little giggles and tiny toes and big brown eyes full of wonder. But I am saying do not expect a child to fill the deepest longings of your heart. 2 or 3 or 8 children will never do that. 

I guess I'm writing this article because I see so many moms using their kids as some sort of emotional crutch: "my husband doesn't love me so I'll just have more kids" or "my girlfriends have 5 kids each and I only have 2; better start cranking out more". I see the media using pregnancy and motherhood as some …

Never Too Old

I pull an ear bud out and huff a cheery "Good morning" to the young woman getting on the elliptical next to mine. She smiles at me shyly as she adjusts a textbook in front of her screen. "That's a good idea" I say between breaths. "What are you studying?" "For my MCAT". "You go, girl!" She smiles at me again, and starts pedaling. I can tell by her uneasiness on the machine, that this is her first time on it.

Then over at the weight-machines, as I'm resting between sets, I notice the older gentleman doing reps on the machine across from mine. I can't help but notice the wrap on his arm, the slow, steadiness of his movements, and his many breaks. After a few minutes of talking to him, I learn he's a veteran and is recovering from a fall. I marvel at his age, and his strength, and his determination.

At the pool, I meet a lovely older lady who can move through the water like she was born in it. Long, graceful strokes and pe…

The Other Woman

Mothers-in-law get a lot of bad rap in our society. So I want to tip the scales the other way some and brag on my mom-in-law for a bit. (And in case you're wondering, I've already written a couple of posts on my own mom, so I'm not leaving her out. She is an amazing woman who also had a great relationship with her mother-in-law.)

This past summer was an incredibly lonely one for me. I packed up 18 years of life into the back of a U-haul and said good-bye to my family and friends. I didn't realize at the time how little Lydia still was, how much healing my body still had to do, and how crazy my hormones still were. The night we moved into our new home I was completely overwhelmed by exhaustion and the full realization that I was not going to be going home tonight. I looked at my 6 week-old baby, at the empty house, and at all the boxes laying on the floor and I broke down in tears. Why had I agreed to this? Why did I ever leave home? 
But I was not completely alone in tha…

Long Silences

I am sitting at the kitchen table this morning with my husband. We are sipping on hot coffee, listening to worship music, and doing some of the things we both love to do. He is sketching out his vision for our house on paper and I am writing for my blog. He'll ask me occasionally for my input and I'll do the same. It is a beautiful, and sadly, rare moment in our household. But I'm learning that these are the moments that matter the most in our marriage. 


I've noticed so many marriages that end after one or both spouses has retired and the children have left the house. We have filled our lives with so much activity and "doing-ness" that when we suddenly find ourselves alone with our spouses, we realize that they are complete strangers to us. And all the quirks that we once overlooked because we were distracted with other things, are now the very things we can't stand. I saw it happen in my parents and I've seen it happen in my friends' parents. How …

The Back Hallway

We were both dressed up at a fancy event when our eyes met across the room. Even through the heads of waiters, expensive hairdos, and tinkling champagne glasses, I could clearly see his face. There was a bored but mischievous look in his eyes that said "I have a better idea. Let's get out of here." I smiled back with an equally mischievous look and nodded over to the back hallway. We both slipped out of the noisy room unnoticed. Shoes and a tie dropped to the floor in anticipation of a romantic rendezvous. Just as our lips met and our arms embraced, we stumbled into an unlocked room. There, instead of the privacy we were expecting, there were a couple dozen young eyes looking back at us. "Why is he carrying her like that?" called out a small voice. And then, he woke up.

Yep. It had all been a dream. My husband's dream. He had been having several dreams just like it for a few weeks now. Hmm...obviously I was missing something as a wife. 

Very tenderly the Lord…

Me, Myself, and I

I'm in Pittsburgh this week, sitting in a lovely hotel room, sipping hot coffee by the light of an open window, while my dog and baby play on the blanket at my feet. Last night Joseph ordered room service and ate his amazing dessert while watching hockey on the king-sized bed. 

It's not that we paid hundreds of dollars for our room or planned months in advance for this trip. A few days ago, Joseph told me that he was going to be working in Pittsburgh again this week, and instead of moping about him being gone, I said, "Maybe we can join you!" My husband gave me a surprised look but said "Sure!" I had packed all three of us girls up that same evening and we were headed out the next morning. And in a way that is not characteristic of me at all, I chose to take unknown backroads in order to avoid paying the tolls, instead of taking the tried and true freeway. 


As I was driving past lovely farmland and hills and over rivers, with my two girls sleeping in the back…

The Same, But Different

Joseph and I recently celebrated four years of happily ever after! We didn't do anything super-romantic for our anniversary but we did spend time marveling at how much has happened in these few short years and chuckling at how much we've changed! 

For instance, both my family and my in-laws have visited us this past month, and I haven't felt the need to clean and organize until my fingers fall off! I had to force myself to be okay with my messy room and with no guestroom set up, but I did, and I thoroughly enjoyed the time I had with them instead.
I've been enjoying painting and sanding and working-out in front of other people. That's huge! Pre-Joseph Sarah spent time reading in her room or out for a walk by herself. 
You know that ad right after the previews but before the actual movie when they give the whole bit about not using your cellphones? I turned to Joseph and said "That just makes me want to pull out my cellphone and text someone right now!" To wh…

Unforgettable

Sometimes you gotta stop writing about your life long enough to actually live it...that's what March was like for us this year. Our munchkin turned one year old, my family was in town, we had our anniversary, and we took a weekend trip. On top of the drama of our car getting totaled and the sewer backing up...twice.  The weather even got nice enough on some days to do some fun furniture refinishing on the porch. And of course we have a lot more events to go to now that Spring has officially arrived.

I have kicked myself for not taking more pictures of all these activities, and not being as disciplined with my recording of these events and memories as I'd like to. But I'm doing my best. I've taken more pictures now then I ever have in my life (probably because Lydia's life is so full of firsts). And I started earlier this year to write daily in my journal again...something I stopped doing regularly because of all this moving business. I even started a journal to Lyd…

Life as I Know It

It seems everyone got to go somewhere for Spring Break. Florida, California, Mexico, South Africa. Everyone around me is off doing something somewhere warm and sunny. This is the time of year Joseph and I normally have also taken for the hills, literally. Our anniversary is only 2 days away and we usually rent a cabin in the mountains and enjoy a relaxing weekend. Not this year...bummer! We have extra expenses, some unforeseen and last minute.

So here I am, longing to be off somewhere exotic and fun. Longing to travel and see new things. I was quite disappointed and feeling left out of the excitement. I was sharing all this with God and I heard him say to my heart Sarah, love, look around you. You are living the life a lot of people wish they could. 

Huh? Daddy, my life is far from exotic and fun. I'm a stay-at-home mom. The most exciting part of my day is driving to the grocery store. 

But there as I was folding towels in the laundry room, the Lord turned on a little light in my hea…

Fuzzy Bathrobe Wisdom

If you noticed a lack of posts last week, it's because I was congested and even the thought of staring at a bright computer screen made my head hurt. Every morning I would peel myself out of bed, wrap myself in my fuzzy bathrobe and shuffle out to the kitchen to make a pot of hot tea before starting my day. Then I would ignore the dog, the baby (ok, not really, I just made sure she didn't see me from her crib), and my to-do list to sit down for a few minutes of cozy warmth on the couch. After the 3rd morning or so of doing this, I thought to myself "Why don't I do this more often?"

One of those evenings I was so tired and cold and groggy, I asked Joseph to run me a bath and I nearly fell asleep in the almost-too-hot water. It was heaven! I held my achy head and sinuses under the steamy stuff and blocked out all the noise of the day. Only 20 minutes later, I was re-energized and my sinuses were clearer and I realized this had been my first bath since right before L…

The Spirit of Boyfriends Past

It's funny the things that come up for conversation when you find yourself in a car with your spouse for a couple hours every week. Joseph and I have laughed and cried with each other and discovered things about each other we never knew we didn't know. 

Last night's conversation was sparked by a couple of dating and relationship videos we had watched in class a few hours before. We began talking about what we thought about each man's point of view, and ended up sharing the horror stories of some of our past experiences with dating. It made for a fun ride home. But it also made for some moments of realization...
1) We learned something from each of our relationships. While we both dated individuals we would rather try to forget, each of us was marked by people who changed us in good ways. Personally, a few of the guys I dated were also dear friends. They stayed up late with me studying, fixed my car, encouraged me at work, and made me a part of their families. Through the…

Exposed

Some of the times I cherish the most in my marriage are the late-night talks, when my husband shares his dreams and his fears with me. Or the candid moments I catch him from the other room, rocking and singing the baby to sleep. Or simply when I'm putting things away, and I find a note or a letter he has written to the Lord, or someone has written to thank him for his help. It's those moments that remind me of the treasure I am married to. It solidifies even further my respect for him. And it's also in those moments that I am most attracted to him.

There is nothing that endears a woman more to a man than seeing into the depths of his heart. Husbands, I wish I could show you what your wife sees when you share the deepest part of yourself with her. She does not see weakness or failure. She doesn't see that you have fallen short of perfection yet again. She sees more strength in your tears, in your apology, in your confession of helplessness, than you will ever know. When …

Lean On Me

She was screaming. She wouldn't nurse. She didn't want to be held. She didn't want to lie on anything. It was 1 A.M. I was still in that groggy, irritable mode one is in for a few minutes after having had one's sleep suddenly disturbed. "What is it?" I said out loud to her, "What's wrong?" Exasperated, I not-so-gently lay her on the changing table to check her diaper, her toes, her fingers, behind her ears--anywhere she may have a bite, a cut, or a bruise that wouldn't be easily seen. I picked her up to rock her and instead of leaning on my shoulder like she usually does, she went rigid and I nearly dropped her. My anger had turned to fear. Hot tears welled up as I tried to hold on to her while I hummed a song. I didn't know what else to do. I was trying to pray, but I was tired, and worse, I felt completely alone. I should wake Joseph up, I thought, but he's worked so hard all week, and has to get up early. But by this time I was in…

Happy Birthday!

This month is Marriage is Not for Wimp's 2nd birthday!! I said it last year and it's still true this year...I did not think this blog would make it this far. And yet I continue to get emails about how much the stories and lessons mean to you, my readers. It keeps me encouraged and keeps me inspired to share more. This past year I did not get to post as often as I wanted, since I was off having babies and moving from place to place. It looks like we have settled into one place, at least for a while, and so I look forward to another year of stories and lessons with you! Thanks for reading!