Saturday, August 6, 2016

The Love Your Spouse Challenge

Several of my friends recently participated in the "Love Your Spouse" challenge on Facebook. I was nominated by a friend, but I didn't have a lot of photos of us handy, so I declined to participate. That was one reason. Another was that I wasn't sure about participating with spotlight photos of us that would present a "picture" of us for everyone to see...and compare to.

Do you ever look at photos of married couples who look so perfect and so happy and wonder, "Do they ever have challenges that cause them heartache? Are they always loving like that? Do they ever doubt?"  An article posted today by a blogger who refused to participate in the challenge said something like we know and see one hundred percent of our lives, but Facebook only shows five percent. And we compare that real-life one hundred percent with everyone else's five percent of perfection. She then went on to post pictures of her and her husband fighting, driving in the car while lost and late, sleeping on the couch while trying to watch a movie because they're so exhausted.  It was funny, but it was also more accurate.  This girl was a young mom in the throws of nursing and sleepless nights with babies.  She was tired and feeling real.

After reading that article I thought about my friends who posted.  It occurred to me that I didn't have many young friends who posted. Most of the posts on my feed came from older couples. Not old in age, but more seasoned in marriage. They posted pictures of their marriages years earlier and of more recent trips and current activities, and all with appreciative comments. Why were most of my friends who posted more seasoned couples? I have a theory.

The good stuff, the really good stuff comes later in the journey.

The true appreciation we gain for our spouses comes later.  It comes after the honeymoon years, after the kids are nearly grown, after illness, the loss of parents, the gut-wrenching, drive-you-to-your- knees trials...after refining experiences that help us see through different eyes.  I see many young people declare that they married their best friend.  I didn't. But he became my best friend on our journey.  He's had my back through some difficult periods, and I've had his. When I look at that cute (very young) couple in the picture posted above, I no longer think, "young love birds," or "what a beautiful couple," or any of the idealistic things we think about the couples in wedding photos. At this stage in life I think, "They had no idea what the journey would be like."  And I see how far they have come.  I don't even feel like that girl in the photo anymore.

To sum up my thoughts I would give the following advice--As you look at those "Love Your Spouse" challenge photos, remember that they are not perfect couples.  That they've been through some tough trials.  They argue like you do, they cry like you do, and they've been on their knees many, many times just like you have.  The joy is in the journey, and the reward comes later on.

After twenty nine years of marriage I can boast that we've hung on.  We've stayed together through doubt, discouragement and despair. Our faith is the reason that we keep walking. We both have loyal personalities, but we both have strong testimonies of the gospel of Jesus Christ. We keep trying because we want to make it.  We also love each other deeply and appreciatively. I can't imagine going through life with anyone else.  I married the person that was going to challenge me to grow, although I didn't know that at the time.  He's funny and sweet, hardworking and diligent, resilient and compassionate, and the best partner in parenting. I learn from his example, and I am lighter because of his sense of humor and positive personality.

Next time you come across one of those challenges and look longingly at the perfection, remember that there's ninety-five percent of that story not showing. Don't compare. Do your best and keep walking forward improving yourself and your relationship wherever you can.  Appreciate your journey and embrace it.

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Renaissance Faire 2016

Heather put together a great Steampunk outfit this year. I wore my same old dress, but it works at the faire. I love this tradition that we have.  Clover (the Drabbit) was a hit, and lots of people stopped to look and see what this furry thing on Heather's shoulder was.

Friday, April 29, 2016

Spikes, Blue vs. Gold, Sunset League Pre-lims - Heather

4•21  Eleven days before the Sunset League Prelims, Heather stepped on someone's spikes while running through the grass cheering on her team. Yeesh. It all healed fine, and she was able to complete.

4•22  The annual Blue vs. Gold assembly/games happened, and I was working on campus and got to watch some. I spied Heather and took a picture.

4•29  Heather ended up qualifying in both hurdle events and will be in the finals next week. Not bad for being out half the year with a fractured tailbone and running sore. Way to go Heather!

Friday, April 22, 2016

OCMCO Concert - Amazing Grace

It was amazing to come back and sing with OCMCO again this season. The music was beautiful and so uplifting. The whole family attended, and it was fun to run into my TwilightMoms friend, Sarah (her kids are in the choir now). The hard work pays off, every, single, time.

Friday, April 15, 2016

Daddy-Daughter Dance and More

 Jenna and Dad attended a Daddy-Daughter dance where the little girls dressed as princesses. 

 One of my favorite times of day is when Heather sits down to play through all the songs she knows. She may be avoiding homework and distressing, but it's 30 minutes of beautiful music guaranteed!

 Sariah started this sitting thing. She doesn't want to get all the way on, just her hind section. 
Silly Dog.

Our latest Dutch Oven dessert was chocolate/cherry cobbler. Kelly continues to gather and try new recipes. Love it!

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

MCO Reflections

There are times when I'm at choir rehearsal where I stop and look at the rehearsal from an outside perspective. When I do that, I find the whole thing so impressive. The dedication, the talent, and the amazing opportunity. Life is so busy that I hardly have time to be here, but I'm so glad when I'm here and singing the gorgeous music. It's pretty surreal to be a part of an organization that has as much talent as this one does.

Monday, April 11, 2016

Junior Nation Qualifiers for Jenna

April 9 - 11, 2016 - Junior National Qualifiers @ Los Angeles Convention Center
Jenna's team is a low-level 1's team so, we didn't expect a lot of wins. But this was a great experience for Jenna. She hasn't done anything with volleyball on this big a scale. She did a great job!