Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Will the Fake Redhead Please Come Forward?

There is just something about the summer months that I absolutely adore; it brings something out in me that is completely carefree. I let go of any form of routine or schedule, I sleep in, stay up too late, and sport my flip-flops with pride. I relax on the mommy routine and welcome the chaos that comes with that.

Two years ago my husband and I went on a cruise with our best friends, Chresten and Bridgette. Bridgette and I have been the best of friends since college, she was in my wedding and I was in hers. I choked back the tears of having to share my best friend as I held her bouquet and looked out into huge sanctuary that held my future husband who would propose six days later. Bridgette has been with me through much heartache, countless joys in life, and many different shades of red hair as she remains the perfect, natural blonde with a few enhancements and highlights along the way. She brings out in me a side of crazy that is uninhibited because she knows me now and she knew me way back then. We laugh our heads off and delight in making our husbands nervous, and that is exactly how we prefer it.

Having a best friend with you is the perfect way to vacation in my opinion. That way, you can shop with someone who doesn’t roll their eyes at every stop and do girly things with while your husband has someone to talk shop with (in our case our boys talk about their latest sermon) as they pal around do manly things. Bridgette and I had always wanted to go parasailing and the boys were not interested at all, crazy huh? We made our plans and headed to find the boat that would be taking us on our little adventure without our husbands. We were the only ones to show up that day so we had the boat to ourselves, it was amazing.

There were two men leading the excursion, both curious about the two petite women. The first question is always, “Are you married?”

I think they said we didn’t look like married women or something strange. I mean really…what do married women look like? We were wearing our wedding rings, we both felt very married after ten years.



Thankfully they didn’t make any comments about that one like, yeah, I can see that with those birthing hips and such.

The next question that usually follows is, "What do you do for a living?" Bridgette and I always look at each other before we answer…we are Pastor’s wives, we stay at home, and yes, I’m pretty sure we are allowed to have fun.

After our brief interrogation and get to know you session, we strapped on our harnesses, life jackets, and most importantly, our big, fashionable sunglasses. All you have to say is sandy beaches and my bestie and I instantly relax. We were giddy and ready to do something we had never done before and scratch another thing off of our mental “Bucket List.”

With the wind in our hair and smiles on our faces, we sailed out into the most perfectly blue water ever. It was go time and the man leading the excursion said,

“Will the fake red-head please come forward?”

I laughed my head off, slightly impressed that a man could spot an impostor like me. Not the slightest hint of offended, I made my way to the back of the boat proud to be happiest fake redhead you could ever meet.

My husband says that you shouldn’t mess with perfection, but in the case of my hair color, I couldn’t disagree more…especially since he is a little shade blind. There are certain things we cannot change, but finding my happy shade of red and good friends to enjoy life with is priceless.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Woman to Woman, Wife to Wife, & Words from a Widowed Mother of Five

I want you to know that I had so much fun receiving your comments both on fb and my blog. Keep them coming, you are the reason why I’m doing this!

Some of you touched on a subject that is so dear to my heart, our marriages. Why did you open up to me? Because I went there, I put something down on paper that struck a chord with you and you identified with it. I’m asking a friend of mine to jump in on this one, her name is Cori Jett and I respect her in so many ways.

This is a beautiful woman of God, mother of five, yes five, and a widow. I’m not asking her to chime in because she had the perfect marriage, I’m asking her to speak up and lay it all out there because she had a GREAT marriage and had to say goodbye to the love of her life way before it was time. This is not what she wanted, like us she wanted a love to grow old with. And her man adored her.

I watched Scott and Cori hook up, fall in love, and then we were off to start our adventures as ministry teams and newlyweds. I’m telling you, they were the couple to watch. So cute, so in love, and so funny! They seriously could have had a show on TLC or something.

If they were anything like us, they were probably just as clueless as twenty-something’s running on love and trying to figure out how to do marriage, ministry, and later on the whole mom thing while trying to stay “in love”.

Most of the time we have everything out of whack, we want our man to adore us and love us. But, we have forgotten the girl he fell in love with, we lost on her the road somewhere between spoken vows, making babies, and then trying desperately to keep up with our ever-changing roles. We become tired as we pour ourselves into our children, and then the romance between the relationship that God himself used to show us his truest illustration of how He loves His church, our marriage, fizzles.

I asked Cori to share her heart with us, knowing that she has something to say. I want to encourage all of us to look our marriages, whatever stage you are in, and see through the eyes of a woman that would love to have one more day to love her man.

Heaven is a much sweeter place, I know. I love you Cori. THANKS for your words:

"One of the things that I have had to deal with is; God never said this life was going to be easy. He did promise us that he would never leave us or forsake us. The pace of our lives is so out of control. We are juggling so many aspects to our marriages and families.

Music Lessons
Doctors/dentist offices
Grocery shopping
One on one time with our kids

When we look at all of these things that we do on a daily basis (and so many more); we tend to forget and over look our time with our spouse. We so often give our kids priority over our lives that we neglect our spouse. We wonder why conversation is low. We don't understand why we don't have a sexual desire anymore.

Let me let you in on a little secret.... You/we have neglected to spend quality one on one with our spouse. We have lost sight of the relationship that needs the most care. We have viewed our kids as the "needy" ones when we need to change our focus. It needs to be on our MARRIAGES!!! It is the relationship that takes the most work, yet is the most rewarding. We take care of our children way before we take care of our man. Yet, our kids are not going to see a healthy marriage being first. They are going to see a healthy marriage when they know that mommy and daddy are willing to put each other above them. It is going to take effort on your part. I believe that we should be a servant to our spouse. I didn't say a slave. A servant is someone who chooses to serve. I believe that love is a choice not a feeling. In the same manor servant-hood is a choice. When we become a servant we take care of the one we are serving. This aspect goes for both men and women.

Going on about all of the things we need to do in a day, I purposely left out the most important thing. Our walk with the Lord HAS GOT TO BE NUMBER ONE!!!!!! We have got to make sure that we are spending time with Him. God has to be priority above all else. When He is first, all else will fall into place. He will give us the strength and patience that we need to get through every day.

Just thinking about all of the pressure we have just in a day, is overwhelming. Yet we do it day in and day out. It becomes routine and we don't think about it. I am saying that we need to think about what we are doing every day. Making sure that our relationship with the Lord is taken care of, and that our spouse's needs are met. Let me assure you that our children will not be neglected by putting God or our spouse ahead of them. They will benefit and profit from those relationships!!!

One story.... Before my husband died this is what he did every day. Any time he would leave the kids and me, he would kiss everyone and I was ALWAYS last. That meant if he was out to the car and a kid ran to get another kiss, he got out and came back inside to kiss me last. That may sound silly. But my kids knew that mommy was first in daddy's life. They remember him doing that to this day. It made an impression on them!!! They saw the security in our relationship.

Here is another one.... Anytime Scott would go into a gas station he would always bring me out my favorite chocolate candy. The kids were not allowed to have any of it. It was just for me from him. To this day if my kids go into a gas station, they bring me my favorite chocolate candy that no one can have but me. The watched their dad put me first! It taught them how to be a gentleman in the process.
Those things are now PRICELESS!!! You have to take care of what the Lord has given you!!! It is up to you to have the best marriage and family you can. You are in control of that. The Lord will bless you for those choices.

O what I wouldn't do to have this all again. I hope you cherish what you have!!!!"

Cori Jett


Tuesday, May 11, 2010


Oh girls, have you ever written something that you just knew was God-ordained? Well, I just started the book I have always wanted to write and I’m a little terrified at just how personal I am getting. After all, so much of what we put on paper is more about what we don’t say or are too afraid to say.

Look, let’s be painfully real with one another. I don’t care what you posted as your facebook or tweet quip. You can write “I’ve had the best day with my perfect children and my perfect life,” while you cry into your half-eaten pop tart because your four-year-old told you that you’re the worst mom ever.

We only write things that make us look good, don’t we? Welp, I’m so not writing things that will just make you marvel at how I’m wise beyond my years because if you know me at all, then you know that I delight in being an abysmally, if not mildly entertaining, person. How I tackle most things in my life is with tears every now and then, a lot of prayer, and a gentle mix of humor and coca cola classic to take the edge off of bang-your-head-against-the-wall moments.

I guess that is why I am so excited about this new project because I deeply despise fake and made up perfection. If you see me on Sunday and you just think, “Wow, she must have ironed her pants (which is scandalous on Sunday mornings) and really made an effort.” Then I’m going to be a little disappointed because I want you to see the messiness of me and that it’s a complete miracle that I actually have a little curl in my hair and bags under my eyes that I worked really hard to cover up to no avail. I want you to see me as a real woman with a heart after God.

When I pray over friends that I deeply love in the altars that are trying with desperation to hold onto their marriage, I identify with their pain because I have yet to have the perfect marriage. Newsflash, none of us do but somewhere between falling in love and a deep commitment to ‘til death do us part’ or whatever I said almost twelve years ago, we remind ourselves that life is sweeter when we give love away even if we never get all that we have ever dreamed of in return…like the big, awesome Mother’s day gift we’ve always dreamed of, but your man will never think to buy you in advance even if you circle it on the magazine and practically draw him a map to the store.

The man I chose and God chose is stuck with me…sorry babe. I’ve started walking and jogging on the rare occasion that if he tries to leave me by foot, I will catch him, pounce on him, and wrestle him to the ground with my brute force. And that last statement alone is why I started writing fiction, but just can't break away from what I really want to share with you. BTW,Why can’t I be five-four and powerful?

(If you read this, use abysmal in your facebook post and then post something horribly lame that you did today and make a comment on my blog to give me a good laugh. Seriously, I need a GOOD LAUGH .)

I love you guys!

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Surviving Mother's Day

On Mother’s Day 2002 a dear friend of mine pulled me close and said, “It’s your first, Happy Mother’s Day”. I quickly wiped away the tear that was flowing down my face and smiled as we kept our little secret between us. It wasn’t my first Mother’s Day, but I was hoping that it would be that last one that was sorrowful. I did have reason to hope that the baby growing inside would be safe and I might actually have what my heart longed for. This time had to be different; my heart simply couldn’t take another loss.

The previous year was unbearable for me as I watched the mothers surrounded by lovely flowers and adoring children. Huge pregnant bellies encircled me and mine was empty. I had just miscarried for the second time, leaving me grieving the loss of two lives that I so desperately wanted. I knew that motherhood would be the highest calling I would ever receive. I wanted to honor God and give my husband a baby, and yet my body wouldn’t allow it.

Mother’s Day had arrived and I desperately wanted to stay in bed, but that was not a luxury a young minister’s wife has. Sunday is a day of work for me. I was grieving for the whole congregation to see, I felt their pity on that day especially. My husband and I were quick to share our news when we found out we were pregnant. The loss of our babies quickly spread through the congregation as a much needed prayer request. In that place of deep pain, I found the comfort of being real and refused to wear the mask that most Christians feel like they have to wear: the mask of perfection. I felt in my early years of being a minister’s wife that I was trying to fit a certain mold that I was never meant to fit. I was trying to be all things to all people, eagerly striving for a perfection that did not exist and that was not required of me. What I felt was self-inflicted, unrealistic, and unspoken expectations and my heart needed a break.

While trying to survive Mother’s Day I went to the open arms of my mother, knowing that with her I could have the breakdown that I deserved. Going home to my parents’ farm has always been a refuge for my husband and me; it’s the most beautiful piece of countryside that I have ever seen. The hills and trees in every shade of green was just what my heart needed. A place to feel so small and know that there is a Creator. I needed to go away and hurt in a place where it was safe; I needed to be with my mom. I didn’t think God would mind me needing her so much since she is one of the greatest blessings in my life. I would always be her little girl in need of a mother’s touch and embrace.

As I walked through the door of the guest bedroom at my parents house I was overwhelmed by the love I felt in that little room. On the bed were presents for me and my husband placed there by my sister. On the nightstand was the most beautiful arrangement of lilies in an elegant vase with a purple ribbon placed beautifully around it. Tears began to flow and I had no choice but to let them, my mother quickly wrapped her arms around me wanting to take the pain for her own so I wouldn’t have to hurt. “I don’t want to live anymore, it hurts to breathe,” I said with hot tears streaming down my face. “Please don’t say that,” my mother replied as we wept together. I can’t imagine how that statement must have frightened her, but then again she knew me and my faith in God.

God was ever so near to my broken and contrite spirit just as He promised in His word. The lessons I learned during that time of waiting for what my heart longed for would free me in ways I could have never imagined. I was able to let go of the pain and the idea of perfection to embrace something truly greater; freedom in Christ. God was healing my body through a series of treatments and time allowing my body to be healthy enough to sustain life.

God asked us to step out in faith and move to a new town to minister, I was positive that God would bless us for being obedient. Six days after we moved to Bella Vista, I found out that I was pregnant for the third time. This pregnancy would actually give us our first little miracle. I gave birth to my first baby girl in February and twenty-two months later, another baby girl. They are the little mirrors showing me who I want to be and where I sometimes fall short. Every day I get the pure joy of kissing little miracles, trusting God that He alone will take care of them and lead me in such a way that they will come to the saving knowledge of the God that granted their Mother her deepest desire…to be their Mommy.