I’d like to thank….

This week I decided it would be fun to sign up for Run 4 Luv a local 5k that some of the other ladies from the Krav gym were doing.  Fun. An outside race. In February. In Boise Idaho. Where February is usually our most “winter-y” month. Oh…and did I mention? I’ve never actually run a full 5k. I’ve walked a few. And I’ve run/walked that distance a couple of times. But I’ve never run over 2 miles without walking. Maybe not even 1.5.

And it WAS fun. Even in the slushy snow & rain.

run4luvweather

You can’t really tell it here, or maybe you can, but there is ice on that there trail. It was a little slick but not as bad as I expected honestly.

It was fun. And?  I RAN THE WHOLE FREAKIN THING. I didn’t run it fast. But I maintained good run form through the whole thing. I truly didn’t plan to. I was stoked. But I don’t think I would have without the people there. I ran with a woman named Ann who set our pace and kept me from starting out too fast and blowing up in the first mile. Her daughters are speedy quick but came back out to run in with us and cheer. Bianca was hilarious and encouraging (she’s why I signed up). She is faster but so laid back. Her hubby was out there for support.  Tracie, our coach, was there to high five us and encourage us as always. (And she ran the 10k…and none of us wanted her to “lap” us). Ashley came out to cheer. But the best part? My husband was there. He didn’t run. He drove me there so I didn’t have to stress about figuring out where I was going and where I would park. He carried a backpack so I (and everyone else in our group) had a place to leave extra gloves/hats/hoodies/whatever. I didn’t have to think about anything except putting one foot in front of the other. I really appreciate that he came out to stand in the rain and the cold just to support me/us.

Maybe I would have run the full thing if he hadn’t been there. But I don’t think I would have enjoyed it nearly as much. That sounds cheesy but knowing he would be at the end to cheer…and drive me home…made me relax. A lot. Having him there gave me an incredible sense of security. And that made the run even sweeter.

Happy Birthday Husband!!

Well. Apparently I haven’t written a birthday blog post for my husband since 2011.  That seems kinda odd for a bloggy wife but the archives don’t lie.

I was contemplating what to say about the man born on this date that I get to do life with. I didn’t want to write something cliche’ and cheesy. I wanted to write something that would honor and celebrate him. Then I got to thinking about a Facebook conversation that happened a few weeks ago on a friend’s status (or picture?) where she tagged her new boyfriend. Jon and I had met him and liked him. Other friends of her’s had not and there was quite a protective outcry of “is he worthy, we must meet/approve of him, etc” All were well-meaning. Most were teasing to some extent. I knew all of them and understood them. But this poor guy didn’t. And his sister that could see all of this? She knew no one involved and only saw her brother/his relationship being questioned. She very politely stepped into the thread to defend him and tell everyone that her brother was a wonderful and upstanding man. And any man that has THAT kind of good relationship with his sister(s) and/or mother is worth giving a chance.

My husband is one of those men. Although we lost his mother this year, he continues to love and honor her with his words and actions as he did during her life. (And she’s not really lost. We know where she is.)  He makes the relationships with his sisters priority, taking time to communicate and visit with them. He pours out attention onto his nieces and nephews. He talks with, teases and serves his grandmother every week.  He puts his family as a priority – the family he received through genetics & courts and the family with which he has chosen to surround himself.

I could list many of traits of my husband. But primarily – he doesn’t give up people and he knows how to love them, even through difficulties. I saw the first hints of this when I first saw the relationship he had with the women in his family and I just continue to find new depths of it. He constantly teaches me about loving people unconditionally. Today I hope he gets some of that back from those of us that love him.

Happy birthday Husband!

Hunting and Gathering

I grew up in South Arkansas where hunting wasn’t just recreational, it was a way of life. I remember getting up in the cold dark of early morning and watching my Dad pull on his camo and bright orange over long johns, his gun laying across the couch. (Although Mom put a kibosh on him hunting on holidays when one Thanksgiving dinner sat cold and uneaten for SEVERAL hours while a deer was cleaned.) When he got his first kill every deer season, he would come pull my sisters and I out of class to see it, laying in the back of his truck (inevitably with it’s tongue sticking out).  It was not uncommon for a deer to be hanging from the rafters of his workshop in the backyard. And yes, I have had deer blood on me. Not often – I helped skin squirrels more often than I helped clean deer (and skinning squirrels? Is GROSS. I’d much rather clean a deer). But it was just a part of life. Dad hunted in the fall/winter, we ate venison year round.

Hunting is a pretty big deal around here too. My husband grew up here. And he’s comfortable with guns; in fact, he’s an excellent shot. But he was not a  hunter. Until this year. He jumped through all the hoops and joined some friends for a 5 day camping/hunting trip. I was excited that he had the opportunity to go…not so much because he was hunting but because he has some good solid friends in his life and I like that he has the opportunity to spend time with them. It doesn’t seem that close friendships are necessarily common with men. And I know that those relationships look nothing like the close friendships of women. Seriously. Men are strange creatures. But I’m happy to encourage those positive relationships in his life when I can. So I mentioned a few times that I didn’t care if he came home with a deer or not. I just wanted him to have fun. And I meant it 110%.

And then this happened:

firstkill

He called me Friday to let me know he’d gotten his deer and I was SO RIDICULOUSLY EXCITED for him. He sounded so tired but happy and the phone call just made my entire weekend. A couple of the guys came home early so Sunday before mine got home, I was talking to one of them that helped spot Jon’s kill and carry it out. He excitedly told me the story from his point of view, exclaiming that my husband made the perfect shot. And I was suddenly swelling with pride. I KNOW my husband is a good shot. But there’s something about using that skill to drop an animal and put meat on the table that is very appealing.

This is now one of my favorite pictures. For one – I love that grin. I would not have been at all disappointed if he didn’t get anything. I would have been perfectly happy if he just had a good week with friends. But I don’t know. There’s something very sexy about my hunter man.

(I understand not everyone will understand the appeal of this and some might find it downright disgusting and/or offensive. But it is so completely normal to me. The hunts are controlled and seriously, we will be eating this meat for most of a year.)

TTT The Sappy Edition

Hey look! The first 3 Things Thursday of 2013 is happening on the 3rd day. And on a cool date, 1313, although technically  there should be some zeros or dashes thrown in there that would mess up that lovely little pattern. Whatevs. I’m sure my husband would refer to me as a dork. What was it he said last night that had me snickering and him rolling his eyes?….Oh! He was talking about work out clothes and said “I need to get some long bottoms…” And suddenly I’m giggling like a mad woman (You would think that would have disturbed the cat sleeping on me but it didn’t) until I finally gasped out “Longbottoms? As in Neville? Longbottom?” before dissolving back into uncontrollable snickers. He just rolled his eyes and said (fondly) “You’re a dork.”

Speaking of the husband – here are three things related to him that have made me say “awww” lately:

  1. New Year’s Eve he really wanted chinese food. I really did not but I don’t hate it so was willing to eat it. He went to my preference instead. And when we got home, we spent the evening watching my favorite show ever (“Firefly“) Now granted, he doesn’t HATE it, but I know it’s not his preference to watch all 14 episodes over the period of a few days. Which we did. (Incidentally – I want the theme song played at my funeral.) Also that evening, we were both cold so he retrieved our electric throw blankets from the bedroom, then plugged mine in, turned it on and tucked it around me. I never had to dislodge myself from the incredibly comfy couch. These are just recent examples of sacrifices he makes on a regular basis for me and the things he does to spoil me
  2. His Grandma fell before Christmas and has been in the hospital & at rehab since. She’s okay and will be fine. But he has been every place she needed him, including spending most of his Saturday installing what she needed at her house so she can go home, doing laundry for her (more than once) and in general taking care of her. As before – this isn’t unusual behavior. He goes out to visit with her almost every Saturday and does any chores with which she needs help. It’s just cool to watch him love on her.
  3. I am incredibly grateful to have him co-parenting with me. It’s comforting to have him step up and take some of the load. It’s not always fun but he’s always there to step into the gaps I leave (and there are a lot) or to have the difficult conversations. But he’s also the one that can have the boys in tears from laughter and keeping the house light hearted.

Illusion broken

She sits across from me not quite meeting my gaze. We make small talk until she finally looks up with emotion filled eyes and sighs deeply. Quietly but quickly, as if she’s afraid she’ll lose her nerve, she utters the words. “I don’t like my husband.”  The dam broken, the words flow freely – doubt about compatibility, anger built from comments and criticisms, frustration from the realization that she barely loves him.

I want to take her hand, look through her tears and tell her this will pass, that it will be okay. I want to reassure her that it’s just a bit of a low point. But I can’t. I love her too much to lie to her. What I can do is tell her she’s not alone. I can’t say with certainty that ANY male/female couple is truly “compatible”. Men and women, we’re different at our core; the very essence that makes us what we are, it clashes and scrapes and irritates. It’s hard work, this marriage thing. The movies and fairy tales and books, they lie. The reality is a lifetime of swallowing your pride, of promoting the relationship instead of your own interests. It means setting aside what you want – even what you think you need sometimes – in order to fulfill the other’s needs, or to not overload them with yours.

But if both people have accepted the challenge, if each is striving to build the other up and willing to submit to God’s direction and growth, if you’re united in your commitment…well…then there are also giggles late at night and gasping laughter in the middle of a restaurant. You get to have entire conversations consisting of nothing more than half sentences and expressions. There are quiet moments to be cherished and loud events to be treasured. There is a life, together.

It’s hard. It’s a monthly, weekly or daily re-commitment. But it’s worth it. It won’t “just pass” but you can get through it. You’ll be uncomfortable but “okay” is possible.  You’re not just at a low point, you’re in a valley; but you CAN climb out of it together.

My friend’s words belied the heaviness of her heart but her voice rang with determination and commitment. She’s frustrated but she recognizes God’s hand in this season. She understands that He will use this to continue molding her – and her husband – into His image. And she clings to His promises and hope.

In the midst of the conversation she said “You and Jon just seem so…perfect.” I shook my head emphatically, resolutely* as I thought “So do you guys.”  You never know. You just never know you guys. That illusion will shatter someday. Can you be the friend to embrace the truth?

* I LIKE my husband. But we’re not perfect by any means.

All’s fair in love and war

Our house was invaded last night. A massive spider set up camp above our bedroom door. I declared war and sent in the troops (aka my husband) who promptly picked up his (unloaded) BB gun.

I told you that thing was big.

Personally I would’ve preferred a shoe and said as much. However my dear husband explained he was going to blast the enemy with strong burst of air and was thoroughly confident that this method would not only be effective but also be fun. I calmly reiterated my belief that squishing was a better manner of execution (while backing not so slowly away) but he was blinded by the excitement of shooting a spider.  I opted to huddle on the bed approximately 8 feet away.

He carefully aimed the barrel close to the monstrosity, pulled the trigger….and somehow LAUNCHED THE SPIDER ACROSS THE ROOM DIRECTLY TOWARDS ME. I screamed as the spider flew through the air and flailed wildly as it bounced off my face. I then ran screaming into the dining room where I proceeded to cry and laugh hysterically while my dear husband was still in the room, bent over double purely from laughter. After he could breathe again he casually mentioned “Maybe next time I should just squish it.” Ya think?

We never did find the corpse. I’m working on the assumption that there IS a corpse. Otherwise I’d have to have the entire house fumigated and that would be terribly inconvenient.

Later than evening I was getting ready to bed and opened the bathroom door to find our large, furry Halloween decoration spider dangling from the door handle…and my husband giggling around the corner.

It’s really a good thing I missed him so much while he was gone.

 

 

Surprise!

My husband surprised me with his first tattoo Friday.  My reaction traversed from upset (because he didn’t TELL me so I could go with him) to happiness (when he had me  LOOK at it and I read the verse) to giddiness (when I actually SAW, I mean really saw,  the whole thing). When we first got married I would catch a glimpse of his ring & giggle. (I still do on occasion.) The tat? Does the same thing.

Ephesians 5:25  “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her”

The roman numerals underneath = our wedding date.

Excellent Wife

It’s no secret that my husband spoils me incredibly. I often sit in awe that I have the privilage of being married to a man who is not only thoughtful, selfless, loving & generous, but also GETS me. Every gift he’s ever given me has been perfect (hello DSLR for my birthday!!) but it goes deeper than that.  He knows my moods and moodiness. He knows when I need a break. He is the husband I need.

But am I the wife he needs?

It’s easy to get caught up in this ideal of a perfect wife…the Proverbs 31 or Titus 10 woman. She’s productive and wise, serene and respectful. Her meals are always fabulous, her house is always spotless. She doesn’t know that  bad hair (or face) days exist. Her children are always angels. She’s multi talented and never snaps at her family. She supports her husband perfectly while weaving an elaborate wardrobe, dropping birthday cards in the mail on time and smiling peacefully. She’s flippin Mary Poppins.

And she doesn’t exist.

As women we tend to focus on what we SHOULD be doing…and what we’re not doing. But maybe what we should be focusing on is what our husbands consider important. What makes them feel loved? What makes them feel most relaxed in their home? The other day I asked Jon what he thought about me giving up make-up altogether. His response was to shrug and say “You’ll get ready faster, right?” He just didn’t care. If I never painted my nails again it wouldn’t faze him. But to some men that’s important. Maybe your husband would prefer a leisurely, hot dinner as a family but doesn’t care if the clean laundry is piled on the couch. Maybe clutter drives him nuts but he’ll happily eat a sandwich after work. I don’t know what it looks like in your house but maybe instead of striving to be the Proverbs 31 woman, we should instead strive to be the wife and partner our husband needs.

I’ll be the first to admit I’m not good at this. Where my husband is selfless and intuitive, I’m self involved and self centered. While it often seems like he can read my mind, I’m often at a loss on what’s going through his. I’ve been assuming he’d tell me if he wants me to do something differently. But maybe it’s time I take the initiative.

I’m almost JUST LIKE a songbird

TheKid has loved music since he was an infant. Often the only way to get him to stop crying was to sing to him. Constantly. Ask my baby sister about the trip to our visit our grandfather that she spent singing Amazing Grace. For approximately ten hours.

During one of those sessions I gave up on all our usuals and started making up songs. One stuck and became “his song”. I sang it to him every night until he was probably 9 or 10. Of course now he’s 13 and normally much too cool for mom to tuck him in. But recently as the boys were climbing into bed, he requested that I tell them “sweet dreams” because he had bad dreams the night before. Jokingly I suggested he needed his old bedtime routine.

He agreed.

So I went in and kissed his forehead. With the other two giggling I sang the first verse of his song to him. But THEN, I stood on the bottom bunk and altered the second verse to use LilBit’s name and sang it to him while they all giggled. But about halfway through I realized I had a problem…there was a third boy and no third verse.  So I made one up. And then I went out and sang one for my husband that I made up on the fly. He tried to get out of the room but I know it’s just because he was SO overcome by emotion. They were all impressed and loved every second. I know it. They’re just too cool to show it…

Two (Three) Years and counting

Monday was Jon’s and my two year wedding anniversary – three years to the day from the first time he (accidentally) told me he loved me.

Yes. Accidentally.

See we met in World of Warcraft. He was here; I was living in Indianapolis. What started as a casual acquaintance quickly morphed into texts, IMs, and hours spent on the phone.  A few days after this post was written we were in the midst of another one of those marathon conversations. He had discussed me with a coworker that day and was relaying that conversation when he said “I asked her ‘have you ever accidentally fallen in love with someone…’ ” And then time stopped.

Eventually he managed to say “Oh crap. I just said the ‘L’ word didn’t I.”  I nodded. Then realized we were on the phone and he couldn’t see me. Then I said something intelligent along the lines of “Uh-huh.” We eventually established that it was okay and mutual and ohholycrapscary (hence this eventual post)  That was May 2, 2008. We had not yet seen each other nor met in person though we rectified both issues as quickly as possible. We immediately added web cam to our repertoire of communication methods. Two months later (the end of June 2008) he flew out to visit. A month after that he flew back, we packed my car, picked up my kid and proceeded to drive across country, moving into his home and life.  December 24, 2008 he proposed. And on May 2, 2009 we were married.

It was the craziest, scariest thing I’ve ever done. And that includes skydiving. It’s also been an amazing two three years. I look forward to many more.