Friday, February 17, 2012

Give It A Try, Better Late Than Never...

What I read this morning, and something that I want to begin in my marriage:

"Why we have a box on our dresser collecting dollars… 
And a long-ago letter to Ann Landers that spawned the collecting-box phenomenon…

“Dear Ann Landers: Last weekend, we celebrated my parents’ 50th wedding anniversary. This morning, they left on a long-awaited trip to Hawaii. They were as excited as if it were their honeymoon.
When my parents married, they had only enough money for a three-day trip 50 miles from home. They made a pact that each time they were intimate, they would put a dollar in a special metal box and save it for a honeymoon in Hawaii for their 50th anniversary.
Dad was a policeman, and Mom was a schoolteacher. They lived in a modest house and did all their own repairs. Raising five children was a challenge, and sometimes, money was short, but no matter what emergency came up, Dad would not let Mom take any money out of the “Hawaii account.” As the account grew, they put it in a savings account and then bought CDs.
My parents were always very much in love. I can remember Dad coming home and telling Mom, “I have a dollar in my pocket,” and she would smile at him and reply, “I know how to spend it.”
When each of us children married, Mom and Dad gave us a small metal box and told us their secret, which we found enchanting. All five of us are now saving for our dream honeymoons. Mom and Dad never told us how much money they had managed to save, but it must have been considerable because when they cashed in those CDs, they had enough for airfare to Hawaii plus hotel accommodations for 10 days and plenty of spending money.
As they told us good-bye before leaving, Dad winked and said, “Tonight, we are starting an account for Cancun. That should only take 25 years.”
Loving Daughter in Abilene, Texas
Perhaps today might just be perfect as any to slip out and find you and your Beloved your own little love-collecting box?"
- from Ann Voscamp, Ann Voskamp: A Holy Experience "One Way To Help your Marriage"

Lupe and I, a couple of weeks ago, realized our marriage was becoming very "routine". We were doing well, but we were going day to day forgetting about all of those "little nothings" that mean so much.
We kissed as we walked out the door, said "I love you" at the appropriate times, we cuddled together as we drifted off to sleep every night. But, we had forgotten about how much the unexpected can do for us as individuals and what it can do for us as a couple. I could no longer find the passion which at times was apparent and undeniable.
It felt so wonderful to sit across from Lupe one night and have this conversation, and then act on it. We are reuniting with  the unexpected, the little nothings.
When I read this on Ann's blog, I instantly knew that this is something I think we can implement in our marriage.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Valentines Memories Past

Valentines Day! What a great day to show love! Not that we shouldn't show it every day, but it's a day we set aside to focus on the love we have for others and celebrate the love others have for us.
This morning, I was awakened by my girls excitement and the smell of my favorite omelet and croissants baking. Lupe woke up, even earlier than normal, and had spoiled all of his girls with sweet little somethings as well as a big yummy breakfast. What I love, is that he did it all because he wanted to and not out of obligation. While eating that incredible breakfast, I began to remember Valentines of the past- there is one that stands out back to when Lupe and I were engaged.
I began to plan early on. I called one of Lupe's staff in the kitchen and recruited him as my accomplice. I bought/made probably 30+ cards and wrote something different in each one, and some of them I put candy or a little something with. I shoved them all into an envelope and sent them off to Jeremy (my accomplice). I kind of new Lupe's routine and such throughout the day, so each card I sent to Jeremy had a location sticky noted to it. Lupe's drawers, closet, mirror, sink, the toilet, in the shower, on his pillow, the thermostat, refrigerator, cabinets, T.V., remote, pantry, in the coffee pot, microwave, back door, car steering wheel, car glove box, and the list goes on..! What I loved, is that he continued to find those cards for weeks!
Now, here is the funny part. Lupe had been making plans of his own....needless to say...he did not receive his Valentines until the day after Valentines Day! That's right! He had his own mom and dad!
Lupe had been planning to fly to Florida (he was in Texas- long distance dating) for Valentines Day to surprise me for quite some time! He was flying into Tampa that morning and my parents were picking him up at the airport. My mom had called me a week or 2 before and LIED to me, saying she had won a couple of free meals for lunch at some fancy restaurant in Tampa- my dad couldn't go and so she wanted me to drive over (from Lakeland, 25 minutes) after work to go with her. She did convince me and I agreed. I actually got off work early and told my mom I would be there a little earlier if she wanted to go over some wedding plans (we were getting married in Tampa) with me. Well, she thought that was a marvelous idea! I walked in looking for mom in her office, when my fiance', Lupe, popped out of the closet carrying flowers, balloons, and a basket full of my favorite goodies! I was surprised, sort of....I guess I should add a little side note here!
A couple of weeks prior to this wonderful surprise, I had called Lupe on the phone while he was driving on the camp grounds. While talking with him, he tells me to hold on a minute because Kim (a close friend also on staff at the camp) had pulled up next to him and needed to talk to him. All of a sudden here a very excited Kim ask in her very excited voice, "SO, are you going to see Jenn- did it work out to go? Are you going?". Right after I hear that, the phone gets very muffled (as if a hand may be covering the speaker, lol) before Lupe gets back to the phone. Now, my mind was wandering- could she really be talking about him coming to Florida? I found the idea impossible until Lupe came back to the phone- when I asked him if everything was okay, he lies saying, "oh, Kim was just asking about an upcoming retreat"- THAT is when I knew something was up! I still wasn't totally convinced, because Lupe said nothing even remotely leading me to believe that he would be coming!
But, regardless of me getting a bit of a hint- it was one of the sweetest things he has done. Especially when I remember how he was stranded at the Atlanta Airport overnight because of weather. Lupe's cell phone died, because of course he didn't bring his charger because he would only be gone for the day. So, it was a bit of a mess- but so worth every minute! I didn't have a gift to give him, because it was all waiting for him at home in Columbus, Texas.
Such an incredible memory, such an incredible wonderful man that God has given me! A man, who brings me coffee in bed every morning, gets the girls up, fed, lunches packed, goes to work to take care of his family, cooks, does laundry, makes the bed, empties the dishwasher, cleans the kitchen, reads and lives God's Word, takes his family to church, loves, cares, and disciplines his children, and he does what's right- not to be right, but because it's right...the list could go on forever. Lupe loves me and all of my faults, and he their may be things he wishes I'd change- but he never tries to change me.
I am blessed beyond measure and so in love with my husband!

Friday, February 10, 2012

The Necessary Baggage..

I haven't posted recently because..I couldn't think of what I wanted to write about. I never want to post just to say I did it, if it isn't on my heart, important, or poignant- why put it out there.
I was attempting to fix Gianna's Stringy Blanket last night (which was a joke, considering I do not sew much less crochet/knit! It is fixed though- not correctly- but it's fixed!), and I found myself pondering a message I heard 2 Sundays ago- which I've found myself doing quite a bit.
The Sunday after I was released from my wonderful (*sarcasm*) hospital stay, my face was still looking a bit rough so I decided to stay home from church. When I miss church, I typically watch my former Pastor(s), Bishop Tony Miller (who now pastors The Cathedral in Oklahoma City, OK) online. It so happened, that on this Sunday Bishop was away, so his wife Pastor Kathy was ministering.
Now, Pastor Kathy is a joy to listen to and be around- she is admired by so many as a pastor, mentor, friend, prayer warrior, counselor, worship leader, speaker. I remember way back in the day, when she used to say preaching/teaching was not her thing, the first time I heard her teach was at a women's event at our church. That was the first and last time I heard her teach, so I was pleasently surprised when I saw her take the platform at The Cathedral.
As PK began speaking The Word, it immediately starting taking root in my heart, and somewhat mirrored the "Me, Myself, and Lies" study I have been doing. She began talking about baggage. The baggage that we carry full of our past, our failures, strife, anger, emotions, insecurities, etc. Now, many of us have heard others speak, teach, preach on carrying around unnecessary baggage that we should let go of. We limit ourselves because we are allowing our baggage to dictate to us. Hearing this message reiterated what I already new, and was trying to embrace and activate in my life. But, then she made another point that was a big "Aha Moment" for me.
As she walked around the stage ministering, Pastor Kathy did so lugging suitcases and bags to give a visual of how exhausting it can be. Then she pulled out this other bag that represented dreams, visions, and desires- which is obviously necessary baggage. PK went on to explain, that if your arms are full and overwhelmed with baggage containing past regrets, mistakes, negativity, emotions, anger, and insecurities- you leave no room to carry your dreams, desires, and things you are passionate about.
Our minds are so consumed with junk- that we no longer have room to dream, pursue, and nurture the things God has given us to do. I began to think of things that are often crowded out of mind because I tend to think of all of my past failures and allow that to stop me from trying new things. Sometimes, people can't even see "me" because of all the baggage that stands in front of me- it limits me. Have you, or someone else, ever began to "unload" your baggage onto others because it was getting to heavy and overwhelming. God is the only one who is more than willing to not only take our baggage, but dispose of it.
I've been working on letting go of unnecessary baggage. I now realize, that part of letting go of all that "junk" is giving my dreams room to grow and take root. I am anticipating feeling completely free of excess baggage, as I carry along and chase the real "stuff" God has placed before me.
Thanks, PK!