Jun 27, 2009

17 Years and Counting

It's 17 years today! Wow, it seems so crazy that 17 years ago Skip and I stood before God, family and friends and committed ourselves to love, honor and cherish each other forever. I remember with such clarity staring at Skip at the alter and thinking, "This man is perfect. I can't imagine life every being anything but absolutely magical with him." Boy, was I naive. He probably thought the same thoughts about me too. Only he probably thought something like, "This woman is so hot. She is going to be the wife of my dreams and always look amazing and want me 24/7." Cmon, he is a guy and these are important things in their manly world.

What we actually experienced in our 17 years was such a roller coaster ride of abrupt stops, huge curves out of nowhere, and a ride we often wanted to stop and get off. People often look to us as the couple "so in love" or the couple who seems to know what it takes to succeed. Oh I wish we had it all figured out so I could share this a make a million. I truly don't believe there are any ideal steps to follow or rules that make a marriage work. For us it simply comes down to this, we fail...we fail a lot. We say things we shouldn't, we let one another down at times, and we often choose not to love and respect each other the way we should. However, we have a foundation that started about 6 months into our marriage that made all the difference in the world.

For those who know me, you know what that treasure is-it is Christ! Sure we might have made it without that foundation, in fact people have marriages all the time survive without putting God first. I'm definitely not saying it can't happen. But there is freedom in Christ that I know takes our marriage to the next level. Christ is the source that fills me, that never lets me down and gives me the desires of my heart. I can't expect a man to do what only God can do. There have been so many times that I wanted to make Skip my all, but he failed. Same with me, I can't love perfectly and meet all of Skip's needs. Christ lets both of us off the hook. Don't get me wrong here, Skip is the man of my dreams in so many ways as a great father, an amazing lover (insert ewww if my kids were reading) a fantastic provider and an honorable godly man, but he is simply, just a man. Oops, almost forgot a fantastic cook! Even with all these great points, I know that God loves me even more.

Today I want to thank God for my marriage and let Skip know how blessed I am to have him in my life. However, I also want to tell you that if you aren't feeling such wonderful adoration for your man, in fact you aren't even sure why you married the guy in the first place, then I want to give you a little wisdom that helps me on those days (yes, we all have those days.) Pray for him. Respect him. Hug him. Encourage him. Serve him. Love him. Even if you don't feel like it or he doesn't deserve it, do it today. Above all else, ask God to make your marriage one of honor. I'm still doing that today after 17 years and I can honestly say "God answered!"

Jun 25, 2009

Happy 15th Birthday Ashley

Today my firstborn is turning 15, and I truly feel like the most blessed mom in the whole wide world. Even though many may say she is my twin, it is only on the outside. She is so much like her daddy in personality it is scary. For instance, we have been on a mini vacation for the last few days and I asked her if she wanted a friend over for a sleepover tonight for her bday. She said, "Mom, I've been around people all week, and you think I want someone else over?" If you know my husband, you will be laughing. He loves people...in small doses...on his terms. Too funny!

I thought in celebration of her 15 years of blessing us, I would give 15 great memories, abilities, personality traits or stories about my lovable daughter.

1. Ashley is named after a girl I went to high school with named Ashley Logan. I'm sure the girl wouldn't remember me, but I was invited over to her house for an Anchor Club breakfast when I was a sophomore and I fell in love with that cute name. The girl was fun, outgoing and popular, and I decided right there (at 15 probably) that I would name my first daughter Ashley. If she was a boy is was going to be Ashton. I loved both names, but I'm glad I got my Ashley.

2. Ashley did everything early. Why we pushed her so hard to crawl, walk and talk so fast, I will never know. She walked at 8 and half months, and could fully say her ABC's and full sentences at 2. She was so much fun and always making the funniest faces with her big blue eyes. Her eyes didn't turn green until after her 1st bday.

3. Ashley is not my sports girl. She took dance for many years and made us proud, but one year when she was 6 she did try soccer. At her first game she ended up chasing a baggie that was flying around in the Corpus Christi wind the ENTIRE TIME. Her basketball career didn't fair too much better in junior high, but the girl gave it a try anyways. My Ashley has the best attitude when she isn't good at something. She does what she is good at instead.

4. Ashley wore bows the first 6 years of her life (poor thing I know). She has continued to like being girly and wearing dresses. It was all she knew having me for a mama so thankfully it caught on and continues today. One time at about two she was crying and it she kept touching her head. I realized that she was upset because we were about to leave the house without a bow. LOL, that was my Ashley.

5. Ashley is a fantastic writer. She writes song lyrics, poems and short stories. Every time I read something of hers it makes me so proud. Okay, she is a little like me in that she loves to write and read. However, she blows me away with her abilities.

6. Ashley has almost a photographic memory. I am amazed at how well she can recite things she's heard. She has always been that way with things she likes. I can't even tell you how much of the conversations in the Twilight series she has memorized. Which brings me to the next point...

7. Ashley loves Twilight. Let me rephrase that...Ashley loves all things Twilight! We are having a Twilight themed bday party, her room has Twilight posters, she reads Twilight blogs, she dreams about the characters in Twilight. As much as I've tried to discourage her a bit, it is really a beautiful love story (except that the main characters are vampires and all). Heehee.

8. Ashley is funny! Her laugh is contagious and the things she comes up with never leave us doubting that she is her father's child. I cannot ride in the car with out her record pantomiming the words to every song on the radio. She makes me laugh everyday and I love that about her. In fact, a sense of humor is one thing that has helped Skip and I get through so much in our marriage. I'm glad it passed on to our children.

9. Ashley is smart! I'm so proud of the grades she has made this year and how hard she works. She corrects my grammar and my misspellings daily. Someone needs to do it. Her ability to learn new things amazes me.

10. Ashley is creative. Even as a young child she did things differently than everyone else. In her first preschool class (she was just a couple of months older than 2) she did an art project. I think it was a picture of an animal and all the kids had to do was glue on the eyes, the nose and the mouth. We saw tons of cute pictures, but when we came to Ashley's it is looked like a Picasso. Everything was out of place, but it looked interesting. I'm so glad she is unique in how she looks at things in this world.

11. Ashley loves to sing. She sings all the time. She may not be a musical genius, but she appreciates and loves to have music playing all the time. She introduces me to new artists and new styles of music I probably would never have been exposed to, but they are always great to enjoy.

12. She loves animals. She has been the main caregiver of our dog Triscuit, and is always willing to do the not so fun things associated with having a dog.

13. Ashley is strong in her beliefs. Oh I wish I could have been more life her as a young lady. She truly has a heart for God and will not let anyone shake that. When I hear her pray and write to God, I am amazed. I can't wait to see where God takes her in her journey with Him.

14. Ashley is a wonderful big sis. Don't get me wrong here, she can be bossy and demanding of her siblings, but she is a great helper and encourager when they need it. I love the way she will still play house and babies with her much younger sister. She also has such a great relationship with her brother and thinks he rocks!

15. Ashley sparkles! I know she will like this, and it is true. She is different from other girls that just go with the flow. She knows who she is and is proud to be that way.

I love you Ashley and I can't believe you are 15 today. I love you with all my heart!

Jun 12, 2009

New Movie for Matt and Someone's Turning One

My nephew Matt has had a very big week! To begin with he was cast in an upcoming family film called Furry Vengeance and he will be starring alongside of Brendan Fraser. It sounds like a fun and silly movie for the whole family. Matt is a natural comedian, and I can't wait to see him on the big screen again.

Matt also had the opportunity yesterday to throw out the first pitch at the Houston Astros/Cubs game. We weren't able to make it, but my sister said he did great and got it over the plate. I'm waiting to watch it as soon as she gets a copy. What a cool experience for Matt who has been a big Astros fan since he was a young boy. He and his family have always made an effort to go support the Texas team.

One last special thing happening is my sweet great nephew Deacon is turning one. His mommy and daddy are the best parents and are raising a precious little guy. I'm looking forward to celebrating with all the family at his first birthday party.

***Prayer request-Skip is having a horrible headache today, and my father-in-law isn't feeling well and having several tests done.

Jun 8, 2009

We're Home Again!

We just finished moving the big items last night over to our new, make that our new/old house. Taking time to pray and reflect on God's plan was the best part for this very tired and sore mom. We know it is just a house and believe me we have learned over the last year that it is very possible to live with MUCH less space, but I think there is a time to celebrate God's blessings, even the material ones he gives to us.

This is an old picture of the front of our home, since my camera cord has decided to leave the country and no forwarding address(actually I just lost it), but I wanted to show you a visual of how God can move you and turn situations around in ways that aren't comfortable for a while, but if you WAIT and TRUST, you will see His plan and His goodness.

I thought it would be fun to do a top 5 reasons why I am so happy to be back home in my old house.

1. The neighbors are awesome! We have been welcomed back with smiles, hugs and good wishes left and right. That is something I've really missed. One older lady told Skip how happy that there will be more of a male presence on the street again. He was always out working on the yard, playing basketball with Seth or washing the cars. There are also two new babies that were born over the last year within a couple of houses of ours, so my soon to be 15 yr old should be plenty busy with babysitting jobs in the near future.

2. We have more room. Exactly double the space of the last home we were renting. Ashley and Annie have a six year age difference and you can imagine how sharing a room was not their ideal situation. Ashley is 5'9 now and sharing a full size bed with her 9 year old (sideways sleeper) sister was the root of many arguments between the two. I gave away/sold a lot of our furniture during our first move, so it is going to be nice to slowly fill in some space again. I just recently became a fan of Craigslist, so I'm hoping to find some awesome deals there.

2. The way this move is affecting my husband. We both have been very impressed with the precious rent houses we have lived in over the last two years, but there is just something about living in a home you own. It was a little hard living only a mile or so away from something you own and not being able to live there. Skip worked so hard moving all the furniture(with his two titanium hips) and never complained. We did basically the entire move (except for the fridge) ourselves. Well, I still have a bazillion smaller things to move, but the majority is here.

3. The entertaining that this house allows. This is where the majority of my kids' teen years will take place, and it is able to hold many more bodies than our last two. I can't wait to get another bible study going, as well as dinners and family gatherings.

4. The opportunity for projects. We have an empty backyard that is just screaming for some landscaping. We can also paint any room we want, take down a wall if needed, or create whatever crazy idea pops into our (my husband's) head. I want to really make this house a home over the next year or so.

5. The last reason I am happy to be back home is because from the first moment we found this home, I knew it was a gift from God. Even though we tried to sell it for over a year, ended up with two mortgages for a while, and finally leasing it out for well under our monthly payment, this house has given us lessons we would have never learned otherwise. I thank God that I didn't know His plan, but that He always knew the path he wanted for us.

Thank you all for hanging in there with me through this crazy journey. Love you all bunches and bunches!