We are celebrating 30 years since the day two young teens admitted they were falling in love and agreed it was a lifetime kinda love.
Josh and I were only 15 and 16. It was July 3, 1993.
Today we got out the old letters and read them to each other. Next we loaded ten kids into the van and went to the fire pit where it happened.
We showed the kids a handful of letters from our teen years, and read them some exerts. Josh told the kids the entire love story from his point of view.
After visiting the beautiful wooded campus, at Horizon Christian Fellowship where we began our journey as a couple, we took the kids to Skyline Chili. This was the first restaurant we went to together (though that happened in Cincinnati). Every kid got a hat.
We finished the adventure at Trader Joe’s where we let each kid choose a treat to share during the Fourth of July fireworks.
What a beautiful celebration of the goodness and faithfulness of God.
Here’s a poem I wrote in my Journal back in 2001, when I was 24, a busy young mom with three little children. It’s all about the dreams in my heart, and my hopes for the future. So many of those hopes and dreams have far exceeded what I could have ever imagined.
Tomorrow I want to paint my walls with hills and trees, butterflies and clouds, and sing the songs from “The Sound of Music”. Tomorrow I want to ignore the laundry and play outside with my toddlers. I want to be close to creation. I want to feel the wind and the rain and watch the sky.
Tomorrow I want to wake up in my husband’s arms, and listen as he prays for our family. And I really want to live my life like I was designed to live it. I want music, purity, sunlight and the laughter of children. I want to know the one who made me, yes, I want to make God smile.
Tomorrow I want to bring fresh milk from the barn, bring fresh flowers to the table, and let my little son feel the joy of gathering a basket of fresh eggs. I want to look out the window and watch the neighbor’s horses run. I want to share my two-year-old’s amazement as we examine the beans spouting in a jar on the windowsill. I want to build Lego towers, block towers, and couch pillow towers… again and again and again. I want to watch with wonder as my baby girl falls asleep to Mozart.
I want to fill my house with used books and take time to read them. I want to learn all about the way my great grandmothers lived, and teach those skills to others. I want to make things I couldn’t buy, and make other things anyway. I want to make my home an expression of creativity, discovery and faith and I want my heart to be an expression of Jesus.
Tomorrow I want to listen to the hearts of my children and be the one who nurtures them from sunrise and sunset and all through the night. I want to giggle with my daughters and read about tractors with my son. I want to smile when people tell me that I must have my hands full, smile, knowing that my hands are full of blessings.
Tomorrow I want my husband to come home to joy, to peace and to unconditional love. I want to kiss him and rub his back if he’s achy. I want him to enjoy a meal seasoned with herbs from our garden. I want to sit on the porch swing with him and watch the sun set and seasons change. I want to listen as he talks about his computer business and all the new people he meets, then talk about making plans to go to Austria again, or drive down the west coast.
Tomorrow I want to say yes to the things that matter most, and say no to the things that stand in the way of peace. I want simplicity. I want to live by faith. I want my neighbors to see a candle burning in the window, but never the blue glow of a television set. I want to be thankful and content with what I have and when I have more than what I need, I want to give. I want to give even when I must sacrifice.
Tomorrow evening I want to put on my shoes and jacket and go out to the barn. I want to pass the chicken coop and peek in at the hens as they huddle close, dozing on their roost. I want to sing quietly as I milk my goat by lantern light, then take a little time just to look up at the stars, and say a few words to the one who made them.
Tomorrow night I want to fall asleep in a room with wood floors and soft yellow walls as my husband reads the bible to me. I want to dream big dreams, and then make them come true… in my own back yard.
I guess what I really want is for tomorrow to be… a lot like today.
I’m so thankful for my husband. He is such an incredible father and loving husband. I’m just so blessed to share each day of our lives through everything. When we were 15 and 16 we choose our life verse, and in all the years that followed we lived out the truth of it…
I love being his wife. I love being a woman. I love being a mother. I am so thankful for my amazing body that carried ten children to term and nurtured them so beautifully.
I’m so thankful for how my husband and I have a completed each other and how we have experienced the true miracle of creating a family. I love his selflessness, and how he gives and gives and gives like it is no sacrifice because his heart and mind are set on eternity.
He is such a giver but as he longs to be more and more like Jesus. He always feels like there is so much more work God has to do in him. I love watching him love our family. I love how he can make wise and logical choices when I’m all emotional and reactive! I love how he trusts my intuition and my vision for our calling. I love how we are a team.
A lot of people feel incomplete, confused, like something is missing. I think it’s that feeling God noticed when he put Adam in the garden of Eden. In all of perfect creation Adam was incomplete. He needed a bride, because in himself he was lacking all the glory of the woman God was about to create. Adam was not complete in himself. Not even with God walking with him in the garden.
God didn’t say, “Oops! I made him incomplete–I’d better add female qualities to his nature so he will be finished.” No, God made a woman to be his perfect fit. He said it is not good for a man to be alone. How kind of God!! And what a beautiful creation God made in his work of art called woman.
As I wake up in my husband’s arms there is a feeling of being perfectly matched. A perfect fit. A completion. We are a work of art. We are not perfect, but we are perfectly designed by our wonderful creator to be one. And from our unity we build a family that has a strong foundation of love, and all the blessings that we both bring together. We are so different–we have different strengths and weaknesses–and I find that where I am weak he has strength and when he is lacking, I am gifted.
Sometimes I wonder how it’s even possible to have such a beautiful unity in this crazy world, yet we do. I think it has a lot to do with my husband’s dedication to praying with me and reading the Bible to me every night before we fall asleep. When we were teens he would always pray for me and read the Bible to me before saying goodbye. It was the sweetest day when we wore our wedding rings and didn’t have to say goodbye, and he began our marriage from the very first night by praying over me and speaking God’s words from the open Bible in his hands.
It will be 25 years in May 2023, and what a beautiful 25 years we have had! I’m so thankful that from our childhood we both pursued the heart of God and were willing to choose to live by faith, not giving in to the lies, confusion or voices of culture. We build this house on the ROCK. Unlike the culture this Rock never changes.
I pray my children know the same joy we know. Most of all I pray all my children surrender to the plans of God declared in His word. May they not be swayed by the voice of the culture, but alert to the voice of the Savior.
Jesus promises that He will bless those who trust and obey and build their lives in His Words.
I pray that they will live life in anticipation of eternity.
I pray that they will intimately know Him, who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think!
Oh the mighty power that is at work in us! Without His power we would never know this beautiful gift of unity, harmony and the grace of life together.
Jesus said everyone who hears His words and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. Then He went on to say everyone who hears His words and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand (Matthew 7:24-26).
If you can’t figure out why your life is a mess, perhaps you are building your life of the sands of cultural confusion instead of the Rock of Jesus. Hear His Words. Put them to practice. It’s never too late to teach the next generation to build on the rock.
I have been pondering the idea of living one’s dreams and realize that I have been so content everywhere, through everything because my dream is him. And every minute of every day, shared anywhere, through anything is fine with me, because he is with me, loving me, and being mine, and sharing it all, making life, thriving, surviving, struggling, hurting, traveling, serving, staying home or going to Rome–it really doesn’t matter. My dream is fulfilled every morning, waking up together anywhere, because we have this day, by God’s grace, together.
There is no better dream that the one I’m living. After almost 25 years of marriage, I’ve known him for 32 sweet years of my 46, and I can say our love is everything that God created love on this earth to be. The sweetest parable of the love of Jesus Christ with His Bride. Like Ephesians 5 says that marriage should be.
Morning mist and autumn skies
Summer passing in your eyes
I light a fire, and start the coffee brewing
I am up, and you sleep in,
I’ve kissed you twice
And will again
When the coffee’s hot and mine is sweet
With honey, sugar, caramel, chocolate or maple
It doesn’t matter to me, any kind of sweet will do, and I’d even take my coffee black
If I could quickly crawl
back in bed with you.
The children sleep, just eight are here,
The other seven are world travelers now,
Somehow that happened
as our life together graced this globe,
and we are here just staying warm and true
‘Cause every dream I ever had was found
In another morning coffee cup with you.
It means we have another day,
and it tells me of last night,
When you were snuggled by my heart
And I turned out the lights
And you were first to fall asleep
Asking me to bring another blanket
Where did it go,
when we kicked it off last spring?
I kept you warm, I always do,
it’s mutual, it’s loving you,
and living every day like it’s a dream
It isn’t what I thought or what it seems
But every morning coffee that we share
Reminds me that we made it through
the darkest nights, the blood, the hope, the tears,
the baby cries, the sleepless years,
the morning flights, the silly fights,
the love, the loss, the pain.
The seasons change.
We have seen the winter pass from island sand
and I’ve run barefoot through the snow holding your hand,
Ladies, just a word of encouragement – Thank each of your husbands today, or this evening, for all he does to support you as a homeschooling mom. Husbands often feel like they are not part of what is happening with homeschooling, and if you are a super busy homeschool mom – well, that can be hard on the marriage.
When I created all the Fun-Schooling books I wanted to provide my family with a method of homeschooling that wouldn’t wear me out. My relationship with my husband is the most important in the family, my whole life is built on my bond with my husband. So don’t be too busy or too focused on being a teacher that you don’t have time and energy for your husband. Homeschooling can make us forget that we are a wife and mom, so be sure to enjoy your role as a wife.
If you are enjoying using Thinking Tree Books – Be sure to show him your appreciation for making it possible to buy the books. Be sure to let him know that the books have not only been a great tool for the kids, but also bring you joy.
If homeschooling is dominating your whole life and you are finding distance in your marriage because of the stress of homeschooling, you may need to change something. You may need to get out of the box. Delight Directed Learning, Fun-Schooling and Un-Schooling can really bring relief and joy into your family.
As you launch into this year’s homeschooling adventure be sure to consider your marriage. Don’t choose a curriculum that is going to sap you dry. Choose a method that allows you to keep your marriage #1. My husband often says “Happy Wife – Happy Life”.
Don’t feel like you are failing your kids if you choose methods that make you, and your kids, and your husband happy. Many people feel like they are not doing “enough” if school isn’t rigorous and stressful. What you may need to do is write down your LONG TERM goals for your marriage, your family and for each child. You can feel good about letting go of anything that is irrelevant to your long term goals. Don’t do anything in your homeschool out of guilt, pride or fear – learning should be joyful.
Let learning be part of life, and enjoy a life of learning together with your family. Amen? Here is a great resource for Dad to get involved:
Josh and I have been married more than 14 years, and every day is sweeter than the one before, love grows deeper and joy keeps stirring. Some people think that marriage always gets old and stale as the years go by, that doesn’t have to happen. My mom and dad have been a great example of keeping love alive. Josh and I have seen many of our friends end up with broken marriages, and it is so sad…
Josh has a silly quote “Change your life – not your wife!” He’s famous for this! To keep the excitement and fun in marriage… have an adventure, do something new together, take risks while you still have the energy and time to bounce back if things don’t work out. Learn a new skill together – like sailing, move to the country and back to town, get in over you heads on some crazy dream and hold tight to God and each other. Support each other’s goals, give each other time for refreshment, travel to new places, read books together, get a babysitter, say sorry a lot, start a new business, go on a mission together, ask God for new direction, redecorate the house, go to garage sales together, have a new kid! 🙂
There are lots of things to do together to keep the fun in marriage. The idea is to be on the same team. Some people get dizzy watching our life – they can’t understand why we are always doing new things. But, we are young, in love, energetic, and have lots of ideas and lots of dreams. Our ideas, and ventures may not always be a big success. Sometimes our plans flop, but really – if our marriage comes out stronger, our friendship sweeter, our family closer, and we wake up a little wiser and humbler – it was worth the risk.
Homeschool Mommy – Don’t forget that you are also a wife! (I know we have a few single moms here too.) We were just having a conversation about the guilt that some of us have experienced in the homeschooling community because we don’t always grind our own wheat, bake our own bread, do desk work for 6 hours, and look like pioneers. I think that it can be a beautiful life to do all that, I used to play pioneers with my children and do the whole classical education thing.
Here is the problem that I had… at the end of the day I was too tired from baking my own bread and arguing with my girls about wearing dresses… to give my husband all the love and cuddles he needed! So, first things first, you know! If what we are doing makes us too tired to be a good lover, we are doing too much.
Your marriage is first. The best thing you can give your children is the example of being an awesome wife who truly respects and adores her husband. Keep your husband happy, and let go of the things that make you tired at the end of the day. Save a bit of yourself for your lover. Give him your best. If you have little ones this may seem impossible… but it’s not. Find out what your husband and children really need and let go of everyone else’s expectations, and people who push academics as the key to success.
Follow the advice of the people you actually want to be like. If you have homeschooling friends who seem to have everything perfect, beware–their marriages are often suffering, and they have forgotten that they have husbands. Don’t trade your marriage in for the appearance of being a perfect homeschooling teacher. You are free to be a lovable wife, that girl that he married. That’s you!