Category Archives: family

Marriage is so much more than “surviving” it

IMG_Family_Portrait_Atlanta_GA-1787Yesterday Travis and I celebrated our 12 year Anniversary. Although today is “technically” it :)

We don’t ever really do much for our anniversary… having kids right off the bat and moving so often, has made our ability to travel or do “really big” things a bit hard. In fact with our 10 year anniversary I had hopes of traveling some place but Reed was a newborn and he was freshly out of the Police Academy, so that just did not happen. It is what it is and either way, I am thankful for each year. Each one brings its joys and challenges but each one brings us closer.

Travis surprised me this year by taking off yesterday. I had no idea. He was suppose to be at work. I got up kind of early yesterday. Took a shower… got dressed… had some quiet time… then when I went downstairs Taite wanted help on the computer starting a game… so I sat down with him in the school room to do this. While I was in there helping him I heard dishes being put away… but I didn’t think much of it. I figured Caleb was being extra sweet and decided to start on chores early.

Well, after I got Taite’s game going, I went into the kitchen only to see Travis in there with Caleb :) and a stack of gifts and big vase of roses. He got me :) – which for him is hard to do haha.

He then had me open a letter he wrote and I thought it be fun to post it here, so I can remember it and look back on it, if by some chance I lose the copy he gave me. Im typically not one to tear up easily over things like this but this one got me. He admits its a bit silly but it was still so so sweet.

He was hesitant for me to post this :) – but told me I could if I wanted… for my own memory sake.
He doesn’t claim to be a poet at all. To me while this may seem kinda simple… it means more than any gift ever could.

Twelve Wonderful Years

A farm boy sent to the big city whoever would have known,

That while there God would bring the woman

Who would be his very own.



She was a student while a youth intern I came to be

Thrown together by God’s perfect plan

But unbeknowst to us for at least 9 months plus 3



She really stood out, so different from all the rest,

Artsy and quiet, with her sweet sixteen smile

I never would have known, that for me, she would be God’s very best.



I left that summer really quite ignorant of this person I would grow to love

But in the months that followed,

I began to see more deeply this beautiful person sent from heaven above.



Through the use of computers, messaging, and email

and technology known only to the modern age

We talked and shared extensively, learning that on many things, we were on the same page.



A whole year went by before I would see her… and then

Coming in with the choir, so elegant and stunning,

I was blown away by her beauty when I saw her for the very first time… again



Now eighteen and finally legal (hahaha…), no more must I wait

To Charlotte once more I came

To ask this sweet young lady on our very first date.



It started in the mountains on a road trip for the whole day

Amidst the beauty of God’s wonderful creation

We talked and giggled like nervous school children until night had come our way.



I would drive to Charlotte, to Raleigh she would come

So many miles we would put on our cars

Our parents thought we were nuts, but we didn’t care, we were having fun.



Until the day came in the summer of 2002

When for certain I knew

she was the one I had hoped and prayed would someday say “I do.”



A more gorgeous bride there never has been than my beauty all dressed in white

I will never forget that special day

When I received God’s precious gift with oh so much great delight.

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Four boys, eight moves, and many chuches later how greatly blessed I am today

Twelve wonderful years and counting

To still be with my darling dear, forever and always to stay.


It hasn’t always been easy, quiet challenging for both of us at times

But blessed, changed, and more tightly bound are we

Christ making the sweetest lemonade from all our lemons and limes.


And so to close this little poem with one verse more I write

A pale comparison I know it is

To return to you, which I daily receive, oh so much love, joy, warmth, and delight!


For my devoted and loving wife on our 12th Anniversary

Travis

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Before I end this post… while ending it on his poem would be perfect I think… I just wanted to end with a few words of encouragement to couples out there who may be in the midst of struggle.

Travis and I have never done things perfectly.

We went into marriage honestly a bit blind. We were young and “obsessed” :) with each other… I think often with young love, you get caught up in it and don’t think to far. You just know how you feel “at that moment” and you believe with all your heart that you will break the mold. You will be that couple who never has real issues. That couple who has perfect kids who you vow to never “talk negatively about” to your friends haha… you vow all these things that you truly cannot understand or predict, until you live it.

Travis and I got little to know marriage counseling.
I was 19, he was 25. We loved each other and that is all that matter at the moment.

Marriage is God ordained and amazing… but it cannot be amazing if you do not communicate… and to often in our marriage we didn’t communicate… and we built up walls towards each other.

I look back on it and these walls were built without us even really knowing it… and just years of years of not knowing how to communicate “well” with each other, really hindered our marriage.

So to all the newlyweds out there… or the soon to be married couples… or maybe even the person reading this who may be married and has been married for years but feels as if their marriage is at the breaking point.

Know that marriage is worth fighting for… but it takes two. If you are having problems in your marriage, never feel ashamed to seek counseling. When Travis and I moved to Georgia we went through a year 1/2 of professional counseling. Not only as individuals but as a couple! It was awkward… and hard… I remember at times thinking it was so pointless and so stupid… but it wasn’t. The Lord was able to use our counselor to really teach us about each other in a way we hadn’t really seen… because we were to busy proving our own points or making our own assumptions.

If you want my honest opinion. Every couple should seek counseling around year 7 of marriage, regardless if they feel they need it or not HAHA… cause it really did make that huge of a difference for us.

Would we have survived without it… probably.

… but marriage is so much more than “surviving” it.

So to my amazing husband of 12 years. I love you. I know without a doubt, I am a blessed woman.
Many women would love to have a man as thoughtful and caring as you are to me.
Just know that and stay humble :) hehe

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Not ideal way to ring in the new year

**short disclaimer: This is not a post to build pitty…. It is my processing of a day…. and a struggle. Being genuine as selfish as it can seem some times when written… knowing that I have so little to complain about. Revealing brokenness and struggle are a part of how I process and I have found blessing in knowing I’m not alone in it. I hope those reading get me and get this.

When you think of New Years Eve, you think of celebration. Fun with friends. A fun movie. A campfire. Maybe just some good ol’ cooking :) – and time together as a family.

My New Years Eve… well. It was spent hiding.

Yup.

In my room.

The day started like most days… Travis was off this particular day, so it was kind of like “our weekend” but obviously didn’t feel like a weekend since it was a wednesday. It still, is what we have right now and you make the best of it most weeks.

For weeks now I have been battling some real discontentment. I think we all battle this daily… even the best of us. For me it has been something I have had to speak truth to myself constantly, to get through it. Otherwise I end up in a major pit of depression and just can’t function.

One thing I learned while we were in the City of Refuge program – going through pretty intense counseling for over a year… as we processed the job loss at the church… the unemployment, the new job Travis got as a cop and then a not so expectant pregnancy that brought on bed rest and stress being high risk, is that we each have “CUPS” – emotional, mental, physical, spiritual… and sometimes those cups fill up so much that they tip….

and… well, my cup tipped yesterday.

I think it was a number of things.

Holiday Stresses over the last few weeks.

Prepping a home for two family visits, from both sides… while I ADORED seeing all of them and was so thankful for our time together, I wont lie, prepping a home with 4 little boys in it, is not always the easiest of task. Its worth it in the end but I think combined with everything else, it was just a little extra hard on me this time.

Things with Travis’ job are a bit stressful right now… for me at least (he doesn’t seem affected by it). All the stuff involving Cops right now really consume me. Its one reason I hate social media right now… each time I log on I see post after post about cops being shot at work… such and such cop dying, or random articles about how horrible cops are… I have found myself biting my tongue constantly about this subject… the flesh in me wants to lash out at many but I know it do nothing but consume me and stir up anger… so I press on… but I will say, I wish Travis could quit tomorrow. I do not like having a cop as a husband…. I love my husband but I hate his job.

I took on a lot of photo work from Oct-Dec…. I love my job and enjoy doing it… but it is SO HARD to balance business with motherhood. There are days I sit on the computer working – while my kids are downstairs playing and spending time with their daddy…. Or I come home from a session and my mind is completely consumed with all I have to do with the processing of that job… that it makes it hard to think about “family” when my mind is some where else. You almost don’t want to be at home because you have so much you need to get done and can’t, because there are constant interruptions.

struggles in motherhoodI miss the days of just being “mom.

I miss not having to work…. and being able to focus mainly on my home… being a wife and a mother.

I know many of you who read this work outside the home (or inside the home).

Some love working outside the home… I think Id like it more, if I didn’t have to bring the work home with me…. once I do a job outside the home, the job follows me home and has to be completed at home, inbetween motherhood… and its just very difficult for me.

I miss being able to go to worship with my family on Sunday mornings…. While we have found a great night time church…. there still is something about going Sunday morning that I greatly miss. I miss having a husband home on weekends…. I miss being involved in ministry… feeling as if we never get to serve because my husbands job schedule changes every 3 weeks… making it almost impossible to committee to anything.

I feel like the last 2 years of my life have been a total blob of change and I am just very weary.

I long so much for something else right now…

… and I am trying SO HARD to be patient….

Trying to be content….

I have so much to be thankful for.

Healthy children.

No real debt.

No health problems.

A beautiful home.

Two cars.

and yet, here I am. Sad about things.

So I spent my morning alone in my room. I spent my afternoon alone in my room…. and I spent the evening alone in my room. I told my husband I need to be alone and needed the kids to just leave me be… and even though I know there was nothing wrong with a mother needing a break, I still hated I needed that… and felt guilty for having to shut out people I love because I was battling these things.

I even yelled my frustrations out to my husband and my kids heard me (even tho I was not in the room with them…. little ears listen well…) and for that I am so sad… my oldest told my husband after the fact as he made his bed “I just want to make mommy happy” – I later found this out after the day had passed and it made my heart break. I hated that my brokenness was affecting my boys. Children can be so forgiving, despite how nasty we can be… such a reminder of what we really don’t deserve. I will apologize to them and if there is something I have learned is how important it is to be open with our children, even when that openness means showing them how imperfect a person mommy can be.

I know that my BLOW UP was because of TWO things…

One because my husband and I haven’t been communicating the best this month. Both our doing I believe…. but one thing I know is that if you do not communicate with your husband, chaos is soon to follow. Marriage without communication will almost always equal ruin. I know for me, I have just been so preoccupied with jobs…. house keepings and things weighing on me inside, that by the time Travis is home, I don’t want to talk. Id rather just be alone. Can you relate?

I’m thankful despite my blow up, Travis was compassionate.

… and I know without a doubt the real culprit is my walk.

This post really has no real point beside the obvious. Being transparent and sharing with the world my moments of struggle and failure. While I wish I was that person “right now” who would be able to speak lots of great wise words… I am not that person today. Sometimes it is just healing to be and share the struggle.

During my “alone time” yesterday though I did read a few things that really struck me.

One was a post by Ruth – a busy mom of 6 boys. Her blog is called Gracelaced... I follow her on instagram as well and enjoy her photos. Shes very inspiring and her post yesterday could not have come at a more perfect time. It was convicting and encouraging at the same time… yet I found myself also wanting to push it to the side and distract myself with a netflix show or nap.

This is a quote she had on her post that struck home.

“There are times when solitude is better than society, and silence is wiser than speech. We should be better Christians if we were more alone, waiting upon God, and gathering through meditation on His Word spiritual strength for labour in his service. We ought to muse upon the things of God, because we thus get the real nutriment out of them. . . . Why is it that some Christians, although they hear many sermons, make but slow advances in the divine life? Because they neglect their closets, and do not thoughtfully meditate on God’s Word. They love the wheat, but they do not grind it; they would have the corn, but they will not go forth into the fields to gather it; the fruit hangs upon the tree, but they will not pluck it; the water flows at their feet, but they will not stoop to drink it. From such folly deliver us, O Lord. . . .

-Charles H. Spurgeon

I know I have been neglecting my closet (aka quiet time)…. There are times I don’t want to pray… I think this battle of discontentment I’m facing makes me feel as if my prayers are unheard some days… wondering why God continues to make me wait… and so forth. I then feel guilt for ever being so selfish. I’m thankful that even in our pit’s, God can love us.

I then downloaded some devotional APP on my tablet and read a short devotional that was titled “Yet I will Rejoice” (feel free to read it here).

The verse at the top of the devotional was from Habakkuk. (I always found that book of the bible to have such a funny name)

“Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Savior” (Habakkuk 3:17–18, NIV)

The devotional ended with this….

“Commit yourself in this new year 2015 to walk “above” your circumstances with joy in your heart enabled by the strength of your sovereign Lord and the promise of His ultimate victory. Put on joy and strength from the Lord and rise above whatever difficult circumstances have invaded your life. Then watch what God will do.”

and I just sat there praying I could.

My problems are little compared to so many.

I’m not that mom who just lost her kids in a car accident.

Or the husband who’s wife was killed and children by a plane crashing into their home.

I’m not that teenager who felt so hopeless he’d jump in front of a truck…

I don’t have a child sick in a hospital dying from cancer….

Or that family who has no idea how they will buy groceries next week.

I have all the reason to find joy.

… and yet I have been dwelling in my discontent spirit for weeks… and I know that my dwelling was wrong.

Thing’s aren’t how I’d want them right now….

… but I am truly praying for joy… and for strength in the difficult circumstance. While not difficult in so many ways, in many, very difficult for me personally… as I process in this time of waiting and uncertainty.

I know God is above it…. and even though I may not see the reason for it, I have to trust He has me…. and my family.

… and that in His perfect time it will work out.

I know this.

… and I write it to speak truth into myself.

So to the New Years Eve, where I should have been celebrating… enjoy fellowship…. and being a fun mom…. and sweet wife. May the New Year bring joy through the trial… and that 2015 would bring something new… that I would be able to walk above my circumstance… and find strength in the sovereignty of Christ.

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Happy New Year Everyone.

Christmas Memories 2014

A few Christmas Memories below… :)

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Typically we try to only do “3 gifts” a kid. My parents though were with us this Christmas. Usually they come before or after… but they were in the midst of closing on a home, so this year it just so happened they were here with my brother on Christmas Day and Christmas Eve. So our tree looks a bit FULL this year :) – which was fine. Some of what was there was for the adults, some for kids from us and A LOT from my parents haha.

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Merry Christmas!

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Yesterday

boba carrierPopping in to say hello and to also say, bye haha, for a week or so. I have family coming into town Monday… so inbetween attempting to make my home some what presentable… (its not always put together, promise). I also took on another job for Boba. Yesterday I braved the cold, as well as all the awesome models and my friend Charlene, to photograph from 11am-5pm. The 1st few sessions by far were the coldest. I think the temp. on my phone said 34F? Brrr. So chilly. My hands were so numb I had trouble buckling the carriers on the models.

To add to the task of a busy week, Reed came down with a bug. We have thankfully avoided most colds floating around right now. Many of my friends kids have had the flu and nasty stomach bugs. We have had zero colds… until Yesterday haha. Of course, on a day I had to be gone ALL day and a day my husband worked, we had a sick kid. Reed had a fairly high fever…. no other symptoms but very cranky. So Travis had to use a sick day… which was fine (He hasn’t used any in like 2 years). Reed seems better today, fever has broke, but he woke up covered in poo. TMI. So gross. He has been extremely fussy and very easily annoyed :) – he also is cutting two year molars right now. Which may explain the bug? who knows.

So between the craziness of work, the boys, some home school (we’ve been slack), cleaning… sickness and my lower back giving me a fit… the realm of blogging is going to take a hit.

All in all though, can I just say how thankful I am for work? It is hard to balance motherhood with work…. and yes it was cold yesterday, but I am thankful for the ability to do what I do. It really is fun and I do enjoy it. Minus the cold :-D

Thankful for my husband SGT being flexible as well and allowing Travis to stay home with his kids. Was a help for sure.

Happy Thanksgiving 2014

Happy Thanksgiving everyone. Hard to believe its 2014. You know when I began writing this blog it was EARLY 2005 :) – so almost 10 years have passed! crazy. Time goes way to fast. Then again some days it seems to creep by. The “in the trenches” of motherhood days haha. Wont lie, I have been worn out lately. Come Reed’s nap I want nothing more than to veg and sit under my electric throw, warm and cozy in a dark room. It could be the seasonal gloom… or very well my brain in dire need of rejuvenation and peace.

My parents came up for Thanksgiving this year. Both of them are retired for the first time this season, so its fun to not have to worry about my parents work schedules… and be a bit more fluid with ours. Travis had to work thanksgiving (today)… so knowing this ahead of time, we moved Thanksgiving to Tuesday this week instead of thursday. Its what you do when married to a cop or someone with a weird not so typical holiday friendly schedule :)

Below are just some photos from the few days they spent with us. So a bit picture heavy :) – but for my memory sake well worth the blogging.

Hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving. I am so thankful for 4 healthy little boys this Thanksgiving. No sickness at all (knock on wood) and a warm house to cozy up in. We have so much to be thankful for. I could spend pages and pages writing things I am thankful for. Im sure you all could as well :)


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With my mom, comes healthy foods :) – shes a vegetarian and always needs her fruits and veggies.

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Reed enjoys the prepping of pomegranates the most.

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On Thanksgiving morning we had Homemade Belgian waffles. Oh man, I love them. I will share the recipe soon.

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Toby was eyeing the bacon :)

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While the turkey cooked, we went out to get our Christmas Tree.
Typically we save this for “the day after” thanksgiving. Knowing Travis had to work, we planned ahead this year.

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I convinced Travis to get a “small” tree this year. He looks excited about that :)
He always wants the bigger tree… well, IMO less money, less tree = less mess, more money for later. ;-)

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My attempt for a group photo did not yield good results. Just funny ones

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Decorating went on while my mom and I cooked.

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Isnt the tree cute!

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With Thanksgiving of course comes messes….

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On the menu… Turkey (about 12lbs. My mom doesn’t eat meat, so we didn’t need a huge one). Honey Ham, Hash brown Casserole, Corn Casserole, Sweet Potatoe Casserole, homemade gravy, sparkling grape juice of course (kid friendly), mac and cheese and desserts. We lacked greens this year ill be honest :) and ate a whole lotta carbs!

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and of course evening coffee to help settle the food :)

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Cheers

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Reed loves time with his Nana.

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