A Perfectly Boring Marriage

June 30th, 2006 Joey and I were married in San Antonio, Texas.

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It was hot, but a coastal storm rolled in that evening and knocked the flower arrangements off my reception tables, cooling off our happy guests.

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Yes, I let Joey and his groomsmen wear those ridiculous sweat bands at the reception.

Joey’s dad performed the ceremony and it was personal yet powerful.

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Our sacred vows were witnessed by 350 of the most influential people in our lives. I didn’t sleep much the night before from excitement and my eyes felt puffy. There was no real drama, catastrophe or anxiety that day. I was marrying my best friend, someone who felt like “home” to me.

Now, a decade later, our love is standing taller, battered by a few storms and it’s maturing like a good wine. We’re friends; we like each other most of the time, and more importantly, we choose each other. Every. Single. Day.

We’ve been asked many times how we’ve maintained a healthy marriage. “What’s the secret to staying happily married for 10 years and beyond?” The answer is nothing fashionable, shocking or dramatic. In fact, you may find it boring.

Daily, (seemingly) insignificant good choices. Today. Tomorrow. The next day…

“…They [successful people] achieve these dramatic results in their lives through making choices that are the very antithesis of drama–mundane, simple, seemingly insignificant choices.” -Jeff Olson, The Slight Edge

I apply this principle to my personal training career, my own physical fitness, parenting, my Arbonne business, my spiritual life and marriage.

*Before I go any further, I must say, our marriage is far from perfect. In fact, this past year has probably been the hardest of our ten. But we are working on it, praying through it, and fighting for it.*

In the moment, these good choices seem inconsequential, but compounded over time, they yield massive results. (I’m obsessed with books, The Compound Effect, The Slight Edge, The Power of Habit these days.) The trouble is that these small, simple choices are just as easy not to do as they are to do. Kissing each other goodbye in the mornings won’t save or ruin your marriage that day—but done (or not done) for hundreds of days over time just might. Daily bad choices (or perhaps the absence of good choices) have the same effect over time: destruction, divorce, obesity, bankruptcy.

Some simple choices Joey and I have made, by the grace of God:

We go to bed at the same time every night. This causes us to be on the same schedule. One person is not more tired than the other, we pray/talk a little together in bed, and it allows for physical intimacy. No kids in bed either, unless it’s May in Oklahoma and they are afraid of the storms.

We are a team. This is tough when you feel like you’re playing a different game altogether, not seeing eye-to-eye. But like any sport, we practice and we get better. IMG_5778.JPG

We go out on dates regularly. With no kids around, we can give each other our undivided attention, we can listen and get to know each other, we can flirt, try new restaurants, hold hands. IMG_6259

We put the kids to bed early. No brainer: more time for us. Structure and sleep for them. High five.

We put toothpaste on each others’ toothbrushes at night. Silly, but sweet.

We don’t make close friendships with people of the opposite sex. This is just smart; he is the only man I should be “emotional” with.

We work out together on Fridays. He rarely lets me train him, but I love including him in something that is so important to me–physical fitness. We think it’s important to stay fit (aka: HOT) for each other. 🙂

We appreciate delicious, healthy food and black coffee. Oftentimes, we cook together. Chemex pour-over coffee every morning. IMG_6615

We play together and we play with our kids. Dance party every night; Justin Timberlake on repeat. Our kids remind us not to take ourselves too seriously. IMG_2874

We travel together (minus kids) at least once a year. It’s a true break in routine, scenery and responsibility. We invest in each other this way and create memories to think back to when “normal life” gets tough. IMG_1350If anyone has an excuse NOT to travel, it’s us. Two full-ish time jobs, I actually lose money when I go on vacation, two kids–one of which is disabled and has a potentially life-threatening condition. But it’s THAT important to us. Albeit, we have incredible parents that we trust to watch our kids.

We speak highly of each other. We chose early on not to make fun of marriage or put each other down, even in jest. We respect marriage and each other too much.IMG_4085

We apologize and try to fight fair. Even when we don’t feel like it. Ugh; this one’s hard.

We kiss each other every morning. 

We value friendship outside of one another. Life is more fun with friends. I think this is partly why our marriage has been hard this year–we’re lacking consistent friendships with other couples. DSC_2511

We take turns doing household chores and getting up with the kids. As a working mom, this is such a blessing to me. Joey is so helpful (acts of service is my love language).

We make time and energy for sex. I’m blushing just typing that…we are really private about our sex life. It’s the part of us that’s just for us.

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6 months pregnant with Finn

We share our calendars. This means less surprises for me.

We support each others’ careers by asking questions and allowing time for personal growth and study. Joey pushes me to achieve my goals and I’m so grateful. IMG_1922

Joint bank account. 

We read. Less screen time is my struggle, but I’m working on it. Currently reading The Slight Edge by Olson and up next are Niequist’s new Present Over Perfect, Maxwell’s 12 Indispensable Qualities of a Leader, and the new Harry Potter and the Cursed Child.

And finally…We individually seek to know Jesus more and work on improving ourselves. This is, without question, the most important element. The secret sauce. Because without Him, our love for each other is incomplete, shallow and self-serving.

I believe God made marriage a sacred covenant, binding unto death, because He knew that at some point, we’d want to get out.

“So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore, what God has joined together, let no one separate.” Matthew 19:6

It seems easier at times just to give up, do our own thing, or try someone new. But I said “I do,” to Joey on June 30th. Then again on July 1st. And July 2nd…And I’m saying “I do” today.

A healthy marriage isn’t fancy and it doesn’t make you famous. There’s no one event that changes everything. It’s the boring, mundane, good choices over time that lead to renewed vows when you’re 75 and wrinkled.

To the singles: are you the person that the person you’re looking for would want to marry?

To the married and healthy: thank you for your example! We’re watching and inspired.

To the married and struggling: dig in your heels and fight for your family. It takes two to make it work, yes. But pray for your marriage like it’s your full-time job. Go to counseling. And work on you. Let God work on them.

To the married and abused or neglected: Get help. In some cases, get out.

To the divorced: there is redemption. I’ve seen it and it’s beautiful.

To Joey: thank you for choosing me then and choosing me now. Happy TEN YEARS, my Love.

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Duct Tape

Joey and I are sitting in a time-share condo in Branson, MO. Onyx coffee brewing. Pistachio shells in styrofoam cups.

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A kind couple from church offered this place to us as a retreat. Our Little Crazies are spending a fun weekend with my parents while we sleep in past 7:00am, read for pleasure, and rest our weary parenting muscles.

We ate at Grandma Ruth’s Cinnamon Rolls restaurant this morning, and a Roy Rogers doppelganger serenaded us with his cowboy tunes while we indulged in sticky toffee cinnamon rolls–our first breakfast post-Daniel fast. A true “break-fast.” Grandpa Milt would have loved every minute of it.

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My grandparents come from the era of “fixing it.” If something breaks or wears down, you don’t drive to Target for a new one. You fix it. Patch the jeans. Duct tape the broom. Get under the car yourself.

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Gram and Gramps playing Play Doh with Finn at Big Cedar over Christmas.

They are resourceful and enterprising; making whatever they have last. Their era was one of scarcity. WWII raged while they were just kids on the farm, the Great Depression had rattled the American Dream, and the men worked hard to put food on the table for their housewives and children. I respect and admire their industrious, conserving qualities. “Waste not, want not.”

I cannot, however, apply these principles to my spiritual life. The Kingdom of God is not one of scarcity; it boasts abundance. When I uncover ugly parts of me–embarrassing weaknesses, habitual sin–my tendency is to patch them up. Slap some duct tape on them and hope they don’t burst open.

Pastor Craig said something recently that stuck with me like super glue on my grandparents’ broken vase:

“Jesus did not come to make us better. He came to make us new.”

Whoa. There’s no patch large enough to cover my insecurity and sin. When it comes to our lives, betterment without the grace of Jesus is silly; futile.

“You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.” (Eph. 4:22-24)

We get to trade in our old, scuffed-up self for a new self. A fresh start. Stop patching yourself up. Let Jesus make you new.

Good Company

Joey and I get excited about checking on our kids before we go to bed. They’re splayed out silly in their beds, covers thrown off and long, dark eyelashes resting on their chubby cheeks from a hard day at play. Last night I prayed this over Paisley: that someday she’d have the kind of friends I found in college at OBU.

OBU 10 yr college reunion

OBU 10 yr college reunion

Yesterday we celebrated our 10 year Oklahoma Baptist University reunion back on Bison Hill. We are old.

The Name Tag Maker (whoever you are, you are funny) played a prank on Joey and made his name tag pic a picture of him sucking a baby bottle at Barnyard Olympics. :)

The Name Tag Maker (whoever you are, you are funny) played a prank on Joey and made his name tag pic a picture of him sucking a baby bottle at Barnyard Olympics. 🙂

Jane and Lindsey couldn’t make it, but it was fun to relive some of our favorite memories with some familiar–albeit 10 years older–faces. We missed seeing so many of our dear friends and wish you all could have been there.

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Micah, Joey and Matt

Micah, Joey and Matt: buds.

Joey, Micah and Brad reliving their epic team triathlon victory.

Joey, Micah and Brad reliving their epic team triathlon victory.

These four girls (below) are the kind of friends my mom prayed for over my sleeping form many years ago.

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They are the love-you-for-better-or-worse kind of friends. The friends who recognize you’re not the immature self-centered 19 year old you once were because Jesus has done some work on you since. They expect more out of you. They love your kids. They sacrifice (because it truly is a sacrifice) two weekends a year for the past TEN YEARS to spend time with you. Usually it involves shopping and pedicures and yummy food.

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Jane taught us how to make a delicious, traditional Indian dish.

But always it involves tears, and the kind of laughter that makes you pee a little. One of us is always pregnant…this time Lindsey and Jane. Well, every time it’s Lindsey… 😉 These girls are a blessing. A good and perfect gift from a good and perfect God.

A couple weekends ago it was Jane’s turn to be showered.

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Intimate brunch at Brennan’s

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Taylor used her rad calligraphy skills to make the invite and place cards.

The Roomies and Kay, Jane's sis, and mom, Mary Ann

The Roomies and Kay, Jane’s sis, and mom, Mary Ann

Her first child, a baby girl, is due on Christmas Day. We had so much fun partying in her honor in Houston.

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Alicja composed the sweetest poem for Jane.

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Kay gave Jane the prettiest earrings and an even prettier story to go along with them. Jane comes from a long line of beautiful (in and out) women.

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Writing

Writing “wishes for baby…”

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“I hope you ignore those voices inside that tell you you aren’t worthy, good enough or less than. You are enough because He is enough…”

And it was so much fun to finally meet Ralph, her husband. He is the beautiful Indian man who pursued her and showed her what love looks like in human form.

Jane is a special one.

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Her closet is full of designer shoes and her heart is full of Christ’s love and redemption. She has been Jesus to me so many times over the years. She sent me flowers “From: Jesus” when my heart was broken, sent money when the medical bills were stacked high, and sent texts when I needed them most.

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Our book, God Loves It When...

Our book, God Loves It When…

Jane, I love you. And that baby girl in your tall, tiny belly will be a beacon to the world: the hope of Christ. She will represent beauty and kindness. She is destined for great things, simply because of who her parents are and Whom they serve.

“Do not be misled. Bad company corrupts good character.” (1 Cor. 15:33)

Thank you God, for my good company.

Doing It

You know, doing life together. 😉

This is a phrase Christians throw around, referring to a community of people who interact outside of the church’s walls. We call them small groups. Or at LifeChurch.tv, we call them LifeGroups.

They might meet weekly or monthly to discuss the sermon topic, study Scripture or a book together, go bowling, run a 5K, share meals in each others’ homes, or provide comfort and camaraderie during difficult seasons.

If you’ve ever truly allowed a group of people into your lives, it can–and will–get messy. Because life is messy and we are messy people. Bob Goff, author of Love Does, says he stopped going to Bible Studies a long time ago. He realized that for years he was learning the original Hebrew or Greek phrases and memorizing a lot of facts about Jesus like who his mom was, how many ships there were in the Sea of Galilee, or the disciples’ occupations, but he didn’t really know Jesus. He still meets with the very same men, but now they have Bible Doings. They discuss what the Bible says and what they’re going to do about it in everyday life. Practical.

Joey and I are fortunate enough to have experienced many of these meaningful groups of people (Life Groups) in our short 9 years of marriage.

The first was our crew at Compass Wilderness, an outdoor adventure camp based in Durango, CO.

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Joey and I, along with about 10 other young people, led groups on rock climbing, white water rafting, hiking and rappelling trips.

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sleep-deprived

We shared our struggles, our ultimate Frisbee strategies, told our life stories and prayed for each other daily.

Oh, Settlers...

Oh, Settlers…

It’s amazing how braving a thunder storm in a tent above tree-line or hanging off a rock face at the mercy of someone else will bond you for life.

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The second was our LifeGroup in Waco. This was a like-minded group of seminary students and their husbands and wives.

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We challenged each other spiritually in a way I haven’t experienced since. We took turns leading discussion weekly and shared our life stories over decaf coffee and chocolate chip cookies. One evening we found spiritual significance in 80’s classic rock lyrics. Thank you, Scott. We held annual murder mystery parties.

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We camped together.

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Argued over Spades tournaments. We each adopted a different candidate for the 2010 presidential election and held a mock debate. It was epic.

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Strongly BentArm 🙂 does Cold Play

Several of these fantastic people are now career missionaries overseas, one’s an English professor, a few are serving in our local churches, and two of the girls are preachers.

We recently got together with two of the couples at my parents’ house on the lake.

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Hudson Lind and Finn

It was so fun to catch up and laugh comfortably despite the six years that passed between us. Joey and I were reminded that these friends ask the best questions.

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The third we experienced in Slovenia. A girl named Katy and a guy named Josh and Joey and I ate just about every meal together, hiked through the Alps,

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went canyoning (basically jumping waterfalls), rafted the Soca river, held a local VBS, and shared the love of Jesus with locals in coffee shops.

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We watched episodes of Seinfeld on a Dell when we were homesick.

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We didn’t know each other prior to that summer of 2008, but we felt like family when we left in August.

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We learned from the best local climbers

We learned from the best local climbers

The Slovene couple who owned the campground where we stayed befriended us and even came to visit us in the U.S. the following Christmas.

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Tijana and Vasja Kovac at their campground, Kamp Kovac

Tijana and Vasja at the Truett Christmas banquet!

Tijana and Vasja at the Truett Christmas banquet!

Nothing like a foreign language, foreign culture and foreign pizza to unite four young Americans.

The fourth was our small group at First Baptist in Norman. This group of people welcomed us with open arms and helped us build the community that we didn’t realize we’d need so desperately once Finn came into our world in 2012.

Scary movie night at the Wright ranch

Scary movie night at the Wright ranch

Minus a lot of people but this is the best I've got.

They brought us meals to the NICU, left gas cards and encouraging notes on our doorstep, and were “the Church” for us when we needed them most.

The fifth grew out of that small group I just mentioned. It became a close knit group of four families. You’ve heard about each of them throughout these blog posts. We celebrated every birthday together, walked to Starbucks together with our families on Saturday mornings, had girls’-night-outs and boys’-night-outs.

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We made meals for each other when life got out of hand. Swapped hand-me-downs for the kids. Watered each others’ flowers while on vacation. We even vacationed together (minus the Hagers) in Mexico this summer.

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Although we never officially sat down for a Bible study together, this group of people “did life” with us and showed us Jesus more than any other group of people we’ve known.

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They saw us at our worst and at our best. They prayed with us. Confronted us. Laughed with us. Advocated for us. Brought us onion burgers to the ER. We experienced true friendship with these people and we miss them dearly.

God is already creating community for us here in Tulsa and I pray these friendships flourish in time.

Joey is so passionate about fostering this type of community that he is the LifeGroups and LifeMissions pastor at LifeChurch.tv Broken Arrow. He loves helping the big church feel smaller by connecting people and encouraging them to experience life together. If you need community, plug into one of these groups at your church. Or come to my church, LifeChurch.tv ! There are about 20 of our locations across the country.

God is Three. Jesus chose twelve. Man should not be alone, so God created Woman. Because life was intended to be communal.

Getting Away

When life is hard, I go somewhere else in my mind–some fantastic place I’ve been before. This is the magic of vacation: the carefree memories last beyond the holiday. They get us through the arduous days and nights that follow.

I think about Colorado: Cascade Falls north of Durango and waking up in our tent beside Lime Creek.

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I go poolside in Mexico with my hottie husband doing a crossword puzzle at my left. I am climbing a rock face in Slovenia, slurping linguine in Florence, exploring ancient cathedrals in Rome. I’m bike riding up to a castle in Salzburg, on the dock with my family at the lake, canoeing in the Boundary Waters or whale watching in Alaska.

Getting away forces me to rest, breathe a little deeper and separate myself from the people and things that produce the most stress. But it also helps me appreciate those very things. With some distance between us, I am grateful for a home to clean, children to feed with butts to wipe, and a job with oftentimes too many clients to manage.

Most recently, we spent 4th of July weekend at my parents’ home in Bella Vista, AR.

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These two are something else!

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We watched fireworks over the dam, water skied, swam off the boat, and played games when the kids went to bed.

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Chad surprised us and drove up from Dallas to join the fun!

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This is going to be one of my new favorite traditions.

Last week, Joey and I left Tulsa on the earliest flight in the history of aviation, met our Norman friends in the Dallas airport (and two more met us in Mexico!) and continued on to Cancun.

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We were celebrating Dustin’s 40th birthday and our 9th anniversary.

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We stayed at Secrets Playa Mujeres.

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It was a new, all-inclusive resort with beautiful buildings/decor and really yummy food. I felt like Lady Edith, dressing up each evening, choosing anything I wanted off the menu and letting someone else do the dishes.

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We spent a couple blissful days at the spa.

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Anytime I get a massage, I pray…just so grateful for a moment to be pampered; a complete luxury. The masseuse would think I was a weirdo if she heard my inner monologue: “Oh, thank you Jesus. You are just so good. Always good…” 🙂

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LOVED this book! Thanks, Leah!

We had never traveled with friends before, and to be honest, I was a little nervous I wouldn’t get enough time with Joey, but it was perfect. We loved sharing meals with our friends each evening, laughing over the mariachi band’s lilting vibrato and tasting each others’ gourmet dishes. I miss the everyday-ness of our friendship with them. They are good people. Life-long friends.

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After day 4, we were missing our kids like crazy and ready to get home to our food, our workouts, our bed. We came home with a new appreciation for the regularity of our little life; ready to tackle parenthood head on.

Thank you, Mom, Dad and Chad for taking such fantastic care of our babies while we were gone. We can only travel like this because of your sacrifice.

Tuesday, Finn was diagnosed with an ear infection and sent home from school, then Paisley spiked a fever too. Yesterday, after hours of simultaneous crying and whining from my little loves, I took myself back to the relaxation room in Mexico. White robe. Cucumber slices on my eyes and eucalyptus in my nostrils. Breathe deeply. It’s going to be okay and it can always be worse. Dear friends are struggling with much worse diagnoses these days.

I’m grateful for the opportunity to get away but even more grateful for the opportunity to come home.

Piñata

Over the last month or two, I’ve felt like a human piñata, swung at by a blindfolded toddler with a baseball bat. Brightly wrapped candy spills on the ground beneath my family.

Humor me:

We are in our fourth contract on our home in Norman. Three have fallen through for various ridiculous reasons.

We gave away our dog, our first child, Jersey. It makes me sad.

After a full day of daycare tours, we couldn’t find one that would accept Finn (we have found one since), and when we returned to Norman that evening, the left headlight and bumper of our van were smashed in. I guess in a parking lot?

Our van broke down on the way to Big Cedar Lodge.

We found out our Norman roof is double-shingled and we may have to replace it covering the full cost with no help from insurance in order for it to sell.

On Monday night, I ran into a mini fridge in the middle lane of the highway going 65 mph. I’m so thankful there’s no more than bumper damage on the right side of our SUV. Could have been bad.

We went to a walk through of our new house in Tulsa on Tuesday to assess the repairs, but alas: repairs had not begun. We were set to close the next day.

A handyman was grouting the tile in our shower and replacing shingles while we signed closing papers on Wednesday. Hard to believe, but we are home owners (of two houses at once)! Planning my paint palette now…can’t wait to make this home ours.

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The previous owners turned utilities off and didn’t settle payments with the water company, so we had to call them and convince them to pay their bill so we could turn on our faucet.

They left pancake batter on the counter tops, dog snot all over the windows and the floors were filthy. I cried on the way back to work from our walk through. Our Tulsa realtor/family friend so generously scheduled housecleaning for our new home after closing.

Apparently Paisley cries all day long at our new daycare. This is sad and confusing…she’s gotten so much better for us at home.

The U-Haul we had rented for moving our stuff from Norman to Tulsa was not available when Joey called Wednesday night. Yesterday he convinced them to wrangle one up for our big day today where our friends, FBC college students and several of my Next Level clients/boss came to help us load our Norman home into a 26 foot truck. They doubted us, but it all fit and the door closed. It’s a miracle.

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Leading the U-Haul to Tulsa with my babies and a full car.

Leading the U-Haul to Tulsa with my babies and a full car.

Then Joey’s LifeChurch.tv boss and co-workers (and of course his dad) met us at our new house to help unload. Thank you, friends!

We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed… Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal” (2 Cor. 4: 8, 9, 16-18).

These blows to our piñata, though overwhelming, are momentary and superficial. We will not lose heart. We are healthy and together; blessings worth so much more than money in the bank or an easy, comfortable life.

So thankful for Joey's parents and all their help over the past few weeks.

So thankful for Joey’s parents and all their help over the past few weeks.

My mom encouraged me this morning via email. She said,

“I remember some of our moves were a nightmare too. I only hope you kids never felt my anxiousness.  I remember always wanting things to feel homey right away, and after a while it even got worse as the trend seemed to be a move every two years.  I learned to be a master at cheap decorating and painting in the wee hours after you kids went to bed…All I want you to hear is give yourself a break and enjoy the simple things today like what really matters: your family. “

Thanks, Mom; you’re absolutely right. Gratitude wins again.

My loves. (Staying with Nana and Papa Rosell while we enjoyed a weekend with buds in Dallas).

My loves. (Staying with Nana and Papa Rosell while we enjoyed a weekend with buds in Dallas).

Our God is bigger than our troubles. He loves us and is with us; that is more than enough.

Surprise Me

Well, friends, it’s been a wild ride–this moving thing.

Last selfie in front of Winston. Our first home--the one we brought our babies home to.

Last selfie in front of Winston. Our first home–the one we brought our babies home to.

We packed our Norman home into boxes on Wednesday and left Thursday morning for Big Cedar Lodge. We surprised Joey’s mom for her 60th birthday. Our van began violently shaking when we would accelerate, so we stopped at a tire shop in Siloam Springs. They couldn’t figure it out. We took it to the Honda dealer on Monday. New axles.

Big Cedar is gorgeous. IMG_9437 IMG_9436The leaves were turning to fire and the air was clean and cool. It was so good to be in a new environment and fun to be with Joey’s immediate family. IMG_9476

Finn and Ev had a blast together–playing with trains, screaming silliness and chasing each other around the lobby. IMG_9463 IMG_9455Happy 60th, Bec! You are such a beautiful, kind woman. I’m blessed to have you as a mother-in-law and friend.

IMG_9449Sunday night, our third buyer on our house backed out. Third. She was a recent widow and got skittish after the inspection. Nothing out of the ordinary, but she was nervous about the repairs nonetheless. So we’re back to square 1 and showing our home while it’s boxed up in our absence. We are praying for a lucid buyer to love it and close soon. We cannot afford two mortgages.

The closing date on our Tulsa home is tomorrow but we still haven’t heard if the TRR repairs have been fixed and the appraisal report hasn’t come through. So I guess we aren’t closing tomorrow. This buying/selling process is frustrating. Please pray with us for provision.

Joey’s experienced a little culture shock switching from a denominational, traditional church to Life Church, but he’s loving the freedom in ministry and the camaraderie he’s found with the staff. We will thrive here. I can’t wait to attend church on Sunday!

It’s been quite humbling to go from maintaining a solid client base at Next Level–oftentimes with a waiting list–to zero clients. I started at Sky Fitness and Wellbeing on Monday. I’m loving this place. And I’m really going to love it once I have something to do. I’ve just been walking around talking to people; interrupting their workouts to introduce myself. It’s pretty awkward, but whatever.

Extra awkward moment today: News Channel 8 came to SkyKids (the fitness facility’s child care center) to interview moms regarding a new Cake Decorating Play Doh kit. playdoh-sweet-shoppe-cake-mountain-playset-63457-0-1406825406000

So on camera, the reporter handed me a toy piece from the kit. It looked just like a penis. Sorry, but it did. She said some parents are outraged and asked what I thought. I giggled like a twelve year old and said, “Well, that’s definitely phallic.” She asked if I’d let my child play with this toy. It’s made for 3 year olds, and Finn certainly wouldn’t think twice about it, but I’m guessing a couple of seven year old boys would find it hilarious. I said something stupid about how there are lots of penis-shaped things in life…like Popsicles and bananas… Watch this embarrassing ordeal here.

Joey’s Aunt Melinda helped us get the kids into a brand new child care center called Children’s Learning Adventure. Finn would have full accessibility. It’s fantastic. And because it’s fantastic, it’s expensive. Not happening just yet.

So we are taking our kids to a small church child care center near the Midtown Life Church location where Joey is working. There are three steps to even get into the building, so it’s inconvenient trying to get Finn in the door or on the playground, but the staff are kind, inclusive people. We were so disappointed in several places who turned us away simply because Finn is in a wheelchair. They were highly recommended Christian facilities. “We’ve spoken to the board and we’re just not set up for that kind of thing.” Who’s the board and what kind of “thing” is my son? He just needs to get in the building and fit through the doors. That’s it. But several places weren’t even willing to let us get that far. I’ve encountered many Christians in my life who are so afraid of anything different that they end up excluding people and new experiences from their lives. They miss out on the beauty of diversity in the process. It’s their loss, really. Finn’s a rock star.

Anyhow, Finn and Paisley have had a great first week of school so far. The infant teachers have mentioned how “strong-willed” Paisley is. (You’re telling me). IMG_9488And Finn’s teacher said he was a great influence on the other kids. He was polite and kind and “such a joy to teach.” IMG_9491I think the students in his class are still trying to get used to his wheels, but it’ll happen.

So, we’re living out of suitcases at Joey’s parents house. Navigating our way through two new jobs. Anxious to sell our house in Norman. Waiting to buy a house here in Tulsa. Praying for safe, affordable child care for our kids.

God surprises me. He doesn’t do things the way I’d do them. He does more. And rarely does He do things in the amount of time I’d like them done. He is outside of time. He works through the impossible.

Ephesians 3:20 “Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be the glory…”

He thrives on developing our faith, and Joey and I have needed bucket loads of faith over the past two months. Despite the opposition we’ve felt during this move to T-Town, we know it’s right and we are anxious to watch the Lord work it all out…because it sure isn’t happening without Him. He is able to do more than we ask or imagine. Amen.