Wednesday, September 7, 2011

The Good Stuff

Twenty-Six years ago today I was one month out of my teens and a brand new bride.

Twenty -Five and a half years ago I was ready to call it quits on my marriage because quite frankly, marriage was not all that I thought it was going to be. You see like many brides, I had put thought into the "getting married" part but hardly any thought into the "marriage" that would follow the getting married part. Suddenly all those little things that I thought I could live with or change about him drove me crazy ( I'm sure he didn't feel that way about me at all * insert sarcasm here*) . One day I'm enjoying my egocentric life, thinking I just had to let him adore me and make me the center of his universe, and the next thing I know, I'm expected to be supportive, loving and caring to someone other than me! What???

Did I mention I was young?

Immature doesn't even begin to describe it.

So I did what any princess would do, I went to my dad, because I knew he was going to fix this and get me out of my predicament. Over lunch I told him how difficult this whole marriage thing was and that it just wasn't for me. Then I waited for my dad to tell me the date and time I could expect the moving van to come and bring my royal self and all of my worldly possessions home. Instead he told me that "being disenchanted with marriage was not grounds for divorce and that I was to go home and make my marriage work".

Thanks dad, but that was not exactly what I was looking for.

It may not have been what I was looking for, but it was what I needed. I did go back, and well.. something was working in our marriage because a month later I was pregnant with our first daughter and here we are twenty-six years later still defying the odds.

Life hasn't been easy, in fact there were times we both wanted to give up. But thankfully God has blessed us with enough of the "good stuff" to keep us going. Sure there has been the obvious "good stuff" such as births, vacations, family gatherings, and many more priceless times we have shared together. But then there are the numerous trials that could have easily broken our marriage but instead of jumping ship at the first sign of trouble, we chose to hold fast to our faith and work through them. Now that we are on the other end of those trials, we can see the bigger picture and see that they are part of the "good stuff". Without a doubt there will be more of the obviously good stuff and the good stuff disguised as tribulations, but with a lot of faith and a little bit of stubborness, we will get through them together just like we always have.

Recently, I met an elderly man at the hospital. His wife of 56 years had suffered a stroke and the doctors didn't think she would make it. As we talked he told me about how they met and when they were wed. He talked about the births and deaths that they had gone through together, the financial hard times they had weathered as well as the times of abundance that had afforded them trips to exotic places. He had a number of pictures that he had brought to put in her room and he remembered where and when each one was taken. Talking with him was both beautiful and heartbreaking at the same time. Heartbreaking because a life that he had shared with his best friend was coming to an end, yet beautiful because as he reflected back on it he didn't recall the mistakes, or arguments, or disagreements I'm sure they had. When he looked back, it was all "good stuff" because they had gone through it together.

I know we will be able to do the same some day.

Happy Anniversary Honey! Here's to more "good stuff" to come!

I'm going to end this post with a video called The Good Stuff. While it is written from a man's point of view I think the point crosses both genders. The irony of this is that Paul is not a fan of country music at all but for 26 years he has endured it for my sake. Now that's some good stuff!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Make Like Your Going To Walmart..... But Don't!

The title to this post is actually one of my favorite quotes from my Father-in-law. He used it once to give someone directions. If you knew my father-in-law and were schooled in the Cajun language, the directions to "Make like you are going to Walmart ... but don't" would make perfect sense to you and you would know to drive in the general direction of Walmart, but turn before you get there. I'm not sure if the recipient of those directions ever made it to their destination, but I know that that line is one of many "papaisms" that always makes us smile.

Papa was a Cajun through and through. He grew up in a large family, knew what it was to have much, and knew what it was to have nothing. His early years were sometimes difficult and he had to learn to take care of himself at an early age. What he lacked in formal education he made up for in drive, ambition and tenacity. He was truly a self made man as it was only by his own determination and initiative that he became successful in life.

I remember the first time I met my then future father-in-law. It was at his favorite place in the world - his lake house. He immediately made me feel welcomed and made sure that I was well fed which I learned through the years was his way of showing affection. He loved to feed people and everyone was welcomed to come and eat at any time. If by chance you couldn't make it over to his place he would bring the food to you. Many a neighbor and acquaintance found themselves on the receiving end of Paul's great cooking.

He wasn't one to share his emotions and he didn't subscribe to using terms of endearment to show his love, but looking back there were many times when in his own stoic way he showed that he cared. On many occassions early in our marriage when finances were more than tight he and my mother-in-law would show up with groceries and much needed baby things. There was no condemnation associated with these gifts, only the silent understanding that this is just what family does for one another. Or when I suffered a miscarriage and had to go into the hospital for an out patient procedure, Paul showed up at the hospital and sat with his son while I was in surgery. There weren't many words exchanged between the two as they sat there together, but just the simple act of him showing up on that sad day spoke volumes to both Paul and me.

So as we gather together to say goodbye to Paul Sr. there is sure to be some tears, undoubly there will be laughter as we recount the past, and there will probably be some sort of food because to quote my sister-in-law, " He never liked to see anybody go hungry"

Good-bye Papa, you will be missed.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Date Night!!!

Ciara came home for spring break so we had a mother/daughter date night at the movies. We shared a lot of laughs, some girl talk, popcorn, and a yummy dessert. I know from experience it is just a matter of time before some guy comes along, sees the treasure that she is, sweeps her off of her feet, and then date nights with mom will be few and far between. In the meantime, I'm going to savor every moment of mother/daughter time I have!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Love Is In The Air

I'm not one to go for chick flicks, or sappy love songs, and I don't fall for charm or flowery phrases. I prefer people to be honest and up front with me even if it is going to cause a little upset or anger. I like the direct approach and I would rather get it all out there and move on than to be left wondering about someone or something. I think after all these years Paul has come to appreciate this more "low maintenance" side of me. Oh trust me there are areas of my being that are not low maintenance, ( stop nodding your head in agreement here Paul) but my non-romantic tendencies make ostentatious holidays such as Valentines Day a proverbial "piece of cake " for him. That being said, he doesn't totally get off the hook because it just so happens that my love language is gifts so that means I like to be given gifts. Often.

Now I have heard the argument from some people that a gift should well thought out and personal, and that things of a practical nature should not be given as gifts. I understand that point of view but I don't necessarily subscribe to it. I'll be the first one to admit I love when someone remembers when I say I would like something in particular or knows me well enough to get that gift that they know I will love. Even a heartfelt card or note goes a long way with me. But if my vacuum breaks right before Christmas and you buy me a new one as a Christmas gift I will be just as thrilled with it as I would be anything else. To quote an old cliche , "It's not the gift but the thought that counts" and I feel like any gift that is given to me means the giver thought of me.

So last night I was laying in bed reading my Nook ( which happens to be a gift my husband gave me) when Paul turned to me and said "Hey I know our morning is going to be crazy, so I'm going to give you your present now". Let me just say, that was not the first time I have heard something of that nature come out of his mouth while I was reading in bed so I didn't exactly expect a fancily wrapped package, but to his credit he produced a tangible gift in the form or a gift certificate for a private hand gun class out at the shooting range.

Right now my romantic leaning girlfriends are saying "What??? You let him get away with buying your Valentines gift at the shooting range when he just happened to be out there in the first place???"

Oh yes I did and I love it! He knew it was something I would like and the way I see it, while he was hanging with his buddies out at the range, he thought of me long enough to want to get me a present. That works for me.

Call me crazy, but I get the feeling that there is a new pistol in my future..... perhaps sometime around Mothers Day????

Friday, February 11, 2011

A Burning Bush Isn't Always Necessary, Sometimes You Just Need To Listen

Paul and I have prayed for our children since before they were born. As they have grown some of our prayers have changed, (we no longer pray to survive the toddler years – thank you again God for your Providence during that time) but some of our prayers have stayed the same and I’m sure they will until we take our last breath. For instance, we have always prayed for our children’s health, wisdom, integrity, relationships, and even that their current/ future spouses would be loving and strong in their faith, and that together they would fulfill God’s plan.

Let me just stop and say if by chance this is the first time you have ever read my blog and you are starting to think that I have it all together and am some sort of “Super-Christian Mom” you need to start reading at the beginning of my blog so you will realize just how ridiculous that notion is. And to those of you that have known me longer than a week, you can now stop laughing hysterically at the thought of me having it all together and continue reading.

Lately I have really had it on my heart to pray a bit more fervently for one of my children. That doesn’t mean I stopped praying for the other two (I can just hear my children now “I knew he/she was her favorite she even prays more for them”) it just means that at this particular time one of my children is weighing heavier on my heart than the others and it seems that this week has been particularly straining on our relationship. My daily walks are a great time to commune with God and as I set off on my walk this morning I immediately started on my litany, “ God please let them have the wisdom to see your plan for their life” , “Give them maturity so they will stop focusing on the things of this world and more on eternal things” “ Let them feel your presence and know your in control and have a plan for their lives”, “ Give them the faith and discernment to do the right thing when the rest of the world is telling them otherwise” and the list went on and on. Then it happened. It wasn’t a burning bush or rolls of thunder, it was just a still small voice telling me that all these things I want for my own child are things that God wants for me as well. So instead of handing him my suggestions on how to change other people I’m going to ask that he change me first. Oh I will still pray for all those things and more for my children because I know that God hears and answers my prayers, but I will first do a self-check and make sure I'm where I need to be first.

One last thing, if you happen to live in my neighborhood and you passed a woman out walking this morning who was bawling her eyes out don’t worry. That was just me pouring my heart out to God. I’m sorry if I grossed you out by continuously wiping my eyes and nose on the sleeves of my sweatshirt as I didn’t anticipate needing a box of Kleenex on my daily walk today. The sweatshirt went directly into the wash when I got home.

Hey I’m nothing if not honest. Right?

Thursday, February 3, 2011

There Could Never Be A More Beautiful You

For the past nineteen years you have brought joy to our lives. Your fun-loving spirit and dramatic flair have brightened many a dull moment through the years. The fact that you are comfortable at the shooting range, riding a four-wheeler, and burping like a frat boy but at the same time love nurturing children, volunteering your time, and doing girly-girl things makes you a wonderfully unique paradoxical princess who is beautiful from the inside out.
Happy Birthday CeCe! We love you bigger than a hangaburger!!!