He likes Big Butts and He Should have Lied…

Corey and Ashley Sept 2005This is us, with in a day or two of the story below.

We’d been together about 2 months, when Corey looked at me with love in his eyes, sighed and said “This song reminds me of you…”  his face full of dopey, dreamy new love.

 I couldn’t see my face at that moment, but I could feel it and based on the fire beginning to burn inside of me I’m going to hazard a guess in saying it wasn’t exactly pretty.

Before you start thinking I’m a calloused, cold hearted woman who didn’t appreciate the fact that her fiance was being so romantic, let’s just discuss the song that reminded Corey of me…

Sir Mix-A-Lot’s “Baby Got Back” (the link takes you to the video.  I really don’t want it embedded here)

Now, let’s just talk about the lyrics to that song:

“They only talk to her, because, she looks like a total prostitute, ‘kay?
I mean, her butt, is just so big.
I can’t believe it’s just so round, it’s like, out there, I mean‚ÄĒ gross. Look!
She’s just so… black!

[Sir Mix-a-Lot]
I like big butts and I can not lie
You other brothers can’t deny
That when a girl walks in with an itty bitty waist
And a round thing in your face
You get sprung, wanna pull out your tough
‘Cause you notice that butt was stuffed
Deep in the jeans she’s wearing
I’m hooked and I can’t stop staring
Oh baby, I wanna get with you
And take your picture
My homeboys tried to warn me
But that butt you got makes me so…”

Let’s just stop right there.  This IS a family site after all.

I stood there in disbelief, my brain spinning a mile a minute, as the song played and the lyrics painted a picture in my head of what I looked like to my future husband – 

a prostitute who has to stuff her “round thing” into her jeans, that all his friends warned him about.  Oh and did I forget to mention her BUTT IS BIG?! 

Horrified doesn’t even begin to describe how I was feeling.  Mortified might be a better word, devastated that the bum I knew wasn’t small (hello I had to find jeans to house it dontcha know) was actually considered BIG!  All my insecurities poured themselves right into that moment and I stood there feeling defeated, wondering why he wanted to marry me?  I mean, why on earth would he want someone with a butt capable of knocking over an entire china display or taking out a small village with one grand sway of the hips?!

Corey on the other hand stood there bewildered and confused.  Had he said something wrong?  Was I not completely impressed by his romantic abilities?  Why wasn’t I falling all over him with desire?

I’ll tell you why – I was afraid of causing him physical harm that’s why.  I mean, one wrong move and I might give him a black eye with that BIG BUTT of mine.

And then I spoke.  It’s one of the shortest sentences I’ve ever uttered and its simplicity told of the dangerous waters he was in:

“Really? This song?”

Still slightly confused but feeling the pressure & temperature of the room begin to rise he began to speak, in rapid fire.

“Yes this song.  It makes me think of you.  I love you.  This song is one of my favourites and when I used to think about who I wanted to marry it was this girl and now I found her.  And, well, so, umm….you’re pretty?”

That’s not a typo friends – that last part was said as a question.  As though, the questionable complement would maybe, sort of fix the look of hurt and fury on my face.

“So, you think my butt is big?”

“Well, ya.  I mean, you know it’s not BIG, big, but it’s not small.  And that’s a good thing because….”

Honestly I can’t tell you what words came after that because I was focusing on “it’s not small” and wondering how much pain I could inflict with the running shoe sitting on the shelf beside me.

Needless to say, that evening didn’t turn out to be one of our better evenings.  Though we did talk it out, I did a lot of crying, he did a lot of ice cream eating, tea drinking and head nodding (when I’m upset I talk.  A lot.  When Corey is, well, when Corey is breathing he eats ice cream).  

We discussed my insecurities for the first and certainly not the last time.  We discussed his ability to use tact and to think ahead of my reaction, again not for the last time.  We discussed and we discussed and we discussed (because “beating a dead horse” is my strong suit).

Ultimately we came to 2 conclusions: I shouldn’t take everything Corey says literally and when a song reminds Corey of me, he should probably keep that information to himself.  

(ps. Corey knows I shared this story tonight.  It’s something we both laugh about – now)

Lessons from 10 Years: Your Marriage Isn’t as Strong as You Think

Marriage Prayer

Today we celebrate our 10th wedding anniversary, and it’s hard to believe.  How did we get here, two kids & grown up life our daily reality?  It seems like only yesterday we were getting our hair done & praying we wouldn’t puke our way down the aisle.

Depending on where you sit in your own relationship journey, 10 years may sound like a long time or merely a drop in the bucket.  It isn’t forever, but I believe that God designed us to be together and that forever IS His plan for us.

We got married pretty quickly, you know.  7 months and 7 days after our first date I walked down a church aisle and said “I do.”  2 weeks after that first date, we decided we were going to get married and a little more than a month after, he got down on one knee and asked me to be his – for always.

Not everyone was sure we were making the best choice.  Oh heck, let’s be honest – there were people who thought it wouldn’t last.  It didn’t matter to us, we knew that God had planned for us to be together and we walked in to it with faith.  Blind, naive faith.

Since that time, we’ve learned some things, a lot of things.  Some of them I think you might like, maybe they’ll save you some of the struggles we faced to learn them or maybe you can relate because you’ve learned them too.

Either way, I wanted to share them.  After all, what good are lessons learned if all we do is keep it to ourselves.  I’ve broken them up into a few blog posts because, well, I have a lot of words.  Instead of writing a novel of a blog post or stifling my inner voice to keep it short, let’s just spread them out instead.  

1. Your Marriage Isn’t as Strong as you Think

Before Corey and I got married, we attended some pre-marital counselling at our church.  As part of that program we each filled out the LONGEST survey ever.  We answered questions about our views on marriage, on children, on our relationship together and a myriad of other different topics.  It was a way to give our pastor a clearer insight into where we might find struggles in our future.

A week later we sat in his office, and discussed our results.  I wasn’t worried, we were perfect together, we knew God had ordained us to be and we’d never had an argument (not much time for those in, at that time 5 months), what could some silly survey have shown other than the fact that we were PERFECT?!

Overall, that’s exactly what it showed.  Our views on raising children, faith, family life etc where very much in line.  There were no glaring places for obvious conflict and in general, we had answered our questions the same.

Hearing that, I leaned back in my chair and smiled, feeling quite smug.  Hadn’t we just told him that we were getting married because God had told us to?  Geeeeez.  

Then he said, “I’m concerned.  The fact that your results are SO good might actually be the thing that drives your marriage apart”

My stomach hit the floor and my brain started to race.  What was he talking about?  Did he hear himself?  He just told us we’re nearly 100% compatible, why would we worry?  Are we wasting our time with a complete quack?!

“Don’t get me wrong.  It’s not that these things are saying that your marriage is doomed to fail.  It’s just that you’re looking at life through rose colored glasses right now and I want to warn you.  To encourage you to think about life & the reality of those best laid plans.”  He continued on.

“Your plans for your future sound good right now.  They’re reasonable and they’re pretty clear but what will you do when the unexpected happens?”

“OH! We’ve talked about that.  We know that marriages have arguments and conflict, I’ve seen my parents go through them and come out still together on the other side.  Divorce isn’t an option” I interjected.  Certain that he was talking about the over used “D” word.

He smiled and continued, “I see that.  Both of your are prepared for the conflicts that inevitably come when two people live together, but that’s not what I’m talking about”

“I’m talking about what happens if one of your loses your job?  If a family member dies? “If you face a child who becomes seriously ill?   You think those things will bring you closer together but in truth, they are often the thing that drive you apart.  Believe me I know.”

He carried on to share with us his story.  How a severe accident that permanently injured one of their children almost destroyed his marriage.  Not because they didn’t love each other but because the stress and strain of caring for that child, the inevitable blame that comes along with wanting answers for awful things happening and the financial stress was almost too hard, too heavy for them to bare.  

“I can’t prepare you for those things, you guys.  You can’t prepared yourselves for those things, but you can talk about them.  You can decide now that you’re going to work through it, that you’re going to get help when you need it.  You can commit right now to each other that no matter what you face, you’re going to take it to God.  Not just individually but together, as a couple, as the team He’s built you to be”

We did talk about it some that night, and a few days later.  Then the topic dropped and it didn’t come up again.

Until nearly 6 years ago, when Corey and I sat in yet another emergency room with our sweet little girl and heard the doctor say, “Her hemoglobin is dangerously low, she must be bleeding internally, you’re not going home.”

As I paced her hospital room, fixing magazines over and over, begging God for her life I heard the words of our pastor whispering back at me.  “What happens if you face an ill child?….Commit right now to each other that no matter what you face, you’re going to take it to God”  

He hadn’t know what our future would hold in that moment, but God had.  He knew what was coming for us, the road we’d walk and He knew that we’d need that gentle reminder when things got really hard.

I turned my face into Corey’s shoulder that night, tears soaking through his shirt and listened to the husky timber of his voice as he prayed, pleading with God to heal our baby girl.  My words echoed his as we asked the Lord for wisdom for our medical team, for answers and for strength.  Not just as a mother, but as a wife and for our marriage.

It didn’t fix everything in that moment.  She wasn’t healed instantly (though they didn’t ever have to do the blood transfusion they’d planned on.  On the last test before her transfusion was to begin her bone marrow kicked back in, just enough to prove her body would fight this), this road hasn’t been easy and this journey is far from over.   

It didn’t make things easier, but it did make us stronger.  The decision to do this together, to search for answers rather than point fingers, to take our children, both of them to the feet of Jesus, to take each other to that same place started something incredible in our marriage.

Marriages start out as weddings, a declaration of love in front of your family & friends.  They’re an excuse to buy a pretty dress, have an awesome party & are sealed with a simple piece of white paper.  Weddings are the things that fairy tales are made from, but they play no part in building a strong, life long bond.

Those weddings create marriages, and what they become is entirely up to you.

We’ve learned that a strong marriage is an investment, a job, at times a sacrifice and a choice.  The strength comes from the moments when you could walk away but you choose to stay instead.   From the times when the weight of life’s hards threatens to divide you and you choose to turn into each other instead of away.  And it is solidified by the time you spend together, in laughter, in frustration, in fear and in prayer.

You see, our marriage wasn’t as strong as we thought it would be, but it’s getting there.  Every struggle, every tear, every day, we’re finding the strength in God, in life, and in each other.

I’d love to hear YOUR marriage story.  How you came together?  The hard times you’ve worked through, the lessons you’ve learned.  Please feel free to share them in the comments or send me an email.

When You (the husband) Say Nothing At All

First Dance

The other night, while Corey & I were watching TV together the topic of “our song” came up.  

On the show, the wife heard a song on the radio, got all lovey eyed and looked at her husband.  It was obvious that it was “their song” and she was feeling rather romantic, he on the other hand was completely oblivious.  Song?  What song?  We had a song?  

Turning to the love of my life, I smile and ask, “Do you remember our song?”  

I love this man I get to call my husband with all my heart and because of that I know what I can, and can not expect.  Remembering what song we danced to at our wedding is not something I expect him to remember. Now, attending our wedding & the fact that I fainted during said dance, that I do expect a memory of.  (Between you and me if he can’t remember what was playing in the background I’m really not that worried.)  

I didn’t tell him that though.  At least not at first.  Instead, with a small smirk on my face I patiently waited as he squirmed, trying with all his might to remember the song.

Giving him a little grace (and to speed up the process) I gave him a little hint, and by hint I mean I smuggly told him what it was…

“It was “When You Say Nothing At All” by Alison Krauss” I said, and then I burst out laughing.  A good, solid belly laugh.  Boy had I sealed my fate when I chose that as our song.

You see, in our marriage there are very few things that Corey and I actually argue about.  We have our moments, our tiffs, our attitudes (ok, so maybe that’s more like my attitudes) and things we don’t agree on but on the whole, full blown arguments aren’t a common occurrence.  

There’s no secret sauce to that, it’s just how our relationship works and for that I’m very thankful.  Arguing is exhausting and stressful and emotional and let’s be honest, nobody really likes it.

That being said, there have been those moments.  There are those topics or situations that do, from time to time bring us beyond the point of “heated discussion” right into the epicenter of a full blow argument.  

Now, let me set this up for you:  

Something will happen (we’re going to keep the real “something” private), one of our hot button issues will arise and we’ll begin discussing it.

 I will talk, pause, wait a moment, hear nothing and keep going.  

I’ll talk a little more, this time adding in some open ended questions, trying to drive home my point or searching for some help, pause and wait some more.  

There may be a grunt, or a few worded sentence from Corey and then silence.  

Me, being well, me can’t handle the silence and I hardly feel like my point as been made and I’ll start talking once again.  Depending on the topic, and the level of my frustration this talking may begin picking up speed, and my tone will begin to change.

His turn will arrive and by now, I’m generally rather agitated and again, it will be few words or sentences and silence.

Now, the conversation hits Mach 3 and takes a turn.  We are no longer now discussing whatever “something” was and we’re talking about about talking.  Or rather, I’m talking about how HE’S NOT TALKING!

For 10 years, this has been our thing.  You see, I’m a talker (which you’d never guess from my 900 word blog posts) and my handsome husband, is not.

It’s why we work.  Corey is a selective hearing, man type listener.  He’s content to take in people’s information, enjoys the sound of other people’s voices and doesn’t mind silence, when listening is finished.

99% of the time this works out well for us.  I can say what I need to say, rant and ramble (remind me to tell you later what I’m learning about that!!!) for a while, he listens, pops in his two bits every now and again and everyone is happy.

The other 1% of the time it’s the above mentioned arguments and his listening skills drive me absolutely batty.  Kick you in the shins, shake you till something comes out, crazy!  JUST SAY SOMETHING!

It wasn’t all that long ago that we’d faced one of these one sided arguments and it’s reality was fresh on our minds.  So when we realized what song we had danced to nearly 10 years ago when we began this marriage it was impossible not to laugh at it’s irony.

There I was a young bride, choosing a 1st dance song that so beautifully described the man I was hopelessly in love completely blind to what that very sentiment would mean over the years.  

Believe it or not, that realization did wonders not just for the laugh we needed that night but for our marriage & its future.  

In that silence Corey manages to make me feel beautiful with a look, feel safe in his arms and melt my heart with a smile.  In that silence, I can speak and feel heard, validated & refreshed as all that weighs on my heart can pour out uninterrupted.  In that silence, he chooses his words carefully and because of that my heart has been protected.

I know this, because in my lack of carefully chosen words, sometimes his has been wounded.

Our marriage isn’t perfect, neither are we.  And while our arguments may be few and far between, they are a valuable part of our marriage and to be honest, I wouldn’t trade them for anything.  It’s in the moments we completely let our guard down with each other that we face the issues, work through them and grow stronger as a team.

However, in saying that I’d like to pass on a word of advice to all the future brides & grooms out there.  Choose your wedding song wisely, you never know when it’s truth will come back to haunt you in your future ūüėČ

The Sum of My Fears

Fear +

On a daily basis I battle with fear.  Fear that something will happen to my family.  Fear that I will hurt someone’s feelings.  Fear that I will say wrong, do wrong, be wrong.  Fear that I will take my last breath and the people who matter the most won’t know that they mattered the most.

It’s a battle I’ve fought for as long as I can remember.  As a child I was afraid that something would happen to my parents.  Or that I’d be less than the “perfect” I thought everyone expected me to be (in reality that expectation was & often is mine, not anyone else’s) and in turn become a failure.  

No matter what the present fear may be, it all boils back to one root fear – that what is my normal, my routine, my safe will be shaken and I will be forced to face change.

As an adult, with perspective I can look at those past fears and even my present ones and recognize where they come from.  Every last one of them, even my root fear hinge on the fact that I like to have control and any or all of those things happening would mean I lose control.  And if you know me, even a little then you know that I hate to lose control.

The last few days have seen my fear levels rising.  Things are happening in our lives right now (which aren’t things I can share here, at least not right now) that are causing my tummy to turn, my brain to spin and my nights to be filled with fitful, interrupted sleep.

My thoughts are going 100 miles a minute running through the “what ifs” of how I’ll handle what may be to come, trying to get a grip on what could potentially capsize my boat of “normal & routine”.  It’s my way of trying to cope with my fear but let’s be honest…

it doesn’t work.

“What if” never works.  I know that. I can even rationally tell my children that but when it comes time to applying it to my own life, I get sucked in to its vortex just like the next gal.

In truth, 90% of what we worry about never even happens & even when it does we rarely, if ever draw on our “what if” scenarios.  Instead we dig our heels into the moment and focus on adjusting, adapting and coping with what is in front of us.

So, then why do allow the “what ifs” & fear in?

I don’t really know but I think it has something to do with where I let my eyes focus.

When I choose to focus on the hard things, the scary things, the flat out bad things that may lay ahead I miss all the good things, the beautiful things, the incredible blessings that God has placed right here, in my present.

It’s much the same as embarking on a long hike for the first time, alone.  Looking up at the top of the mountain alone from the parking lot, the end result feels daunting & even unattainable.  The reasons why it’s “too hard” flood out the reasons that brought us there in the first place and we may be tempted to get back in the car and leave. 

If we take a friend (or 6) with us though, the experience is completely different.  Instead of focusing our eyes on the top of the mountain, we’re laughing in the moment.  Stories of kids crazy antics, trips to the dentist (we’re cool that way), husband blunders and life fill the air, and motivate your steps.  Pretty soon you’re halfway up the trail and right about that time you feel like you can’t take another step, someone turns back and grabs your hand.  

Sometimes it’s figuratively, in the form of words of encouragement, other times physically helping you over that last hump.  Either way you’re not alone and before you know it, you’re at the top – feeling satisfied, accomplished and victorious.

That’s something like how life works too.  When I choose to try to work through all these fears and stresses alone, I feel like I’m drowning.  My chest actually hurts and I struggle to breath – fear takes over and then, it wins.

Then I realize I’m not on this journey alone.  The God of the universe, the one who put the stars in the sky & the planets into motion is right here, walking beside me.  When I choose to talk to Him, to focus on His continued faithfulness and to listen for His quiet whispers, my fear doesn’t seem so big.

I wish I could say I’ve mastered trusting God in all things.  I have not.  I still struggle every single moment daily with my need for control but I’m trying.

Going into this holiday season I’m going to change my focus.  I’m going to do my best to relish in what Christmas is REALLY all about – the birth of a baby who’d one day die to save my faulted & dirtied soul.  I’m going to try hard to not only sing about the peace that His birth brought but rest in it as well.

Because I know, no matter what our future holds, God truly is greater than the sum of all my fears.

 

Finding Grace in Small Things – The Husband Edition

This past weekend Corey and I were privileged enough to have some time alone.  The girls spent the 2 nights/days with my parents while we attended Christmas parties, shopped and spent time together.

When I crawled into bed last night, our whole little family back together I couldn’t help but look back on the weekend and the years and see all the blessings God has given me in a husband.

Us  2015

5. He (still) opens car doors.

When Corey and I first began dating I can remember thinking how sweet it was that he’d always open my car door for me, pull out a chair or walk on the road edge.  I loved it and appreciated it but somewhere in my mind I thought the day would come when the “comfortable” part of being together would set in and he would stop.

Nearly 10 years later, that day has yet to come.  No matter how busy we are, how rainy it is, how tired Corey feels he STILL opens my car door and I must say, it means more to me now than it did then.  The days of trying to impress me are long over, and now I can see it wasn’t formality, it was chivalry & it is love.

Kiss

4. The Laugh

I love the sound of Corey’s laugh.  The one that bubbles up when he’s trying so hard to be serious.  It’s the one that I often kill the serious moments with a little of my own breed of stupid just so I can hear it.  The laughter, our laughter is what has helped make this marriage what it is, and I hope we always find the place where it exists.

aug, sept. 2005 004

This photo was the first time I ever saw Corey.  (We were set up by a mutual friend, thanks Mac!)

3. Grey hair & wrinkles

Just over 10 years ago, on our first date, my arms wrapped around Corey’s waist, zipping across Okanagan lake I saw the first streaks of grey in his hair and I though “so handsome, attractive even”.  Later that night, curled up watching a movie, I looked into his eyes and God gave me my own secret window into the future.  For a split second I felt like I could see his eyes, years from that day weathered from the years, full of love and all I could think was “I need to see those eyes.”

IMG_0067

The grey has multiplied and some of those weathered lines of wrinkles have begun to show and I can’t help thinking, every time I see them how thankful I am that God has allowed me to travel this road with this man.  (ps. They’re also that thing that makes him sexier with each passing year.)

Lean on Me

2. The Arms

In Corey’s arms I have found safety, comfort, strength and intimacy (you may not want to know that but it is an important part of a healthy marriage).  When Corey gives a hug he holds on.  For as long as I need it and he lets go of his hold first.  He’s content to let me take what I need and I love that.

I’m not much for being touched on any level (read: most times being touched by people causes me to feel like I’m suffocating & causes panicked, if not dangerous defense responses) but when it’s Corey it’s so very different.  His arms are my “home” and tucked against his shoulder is my best place.  

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1. His servant’s heart

There is nothing, absolutely nothing I love more about the man I married than the heart God has given him.  It is the heart of a servant.  He is giving and kind, compassionate and patient, soft spoken and sweet, understanding and forgiving – even when the forgiveness is completely undeserved.

At our wedding Pastor Gary talked about serving each other in marriage.  About how being willing to “wash each other’s feet” like Jesus did with the disciples was a beautiful metaphor for marriage.  The willingness to serve your spouse, to put them before yourself and give to them was a key component in a strong marriage. 

Engagement!

I know that might sound a little scary, like one person might be completely depleted and uncared for, but in fact it’s exactly the opposite.  Think about it for a minute – if you’re each humbling yourself and serving the other one, then both parties are being completely loved & taken care of.

Corey heard that message and he has embodied that every day of our lives together.  Sure we’ve had our moments, what married couple doesn’t (heck what long standing relationship doesn’t?!)?  But those moments pale in my memory compared to the good ones.

This man has cared for me, deeply, truly and completely for 10 years and I know, from the depths of my soul how truly blessed I am to call him mine. 

Grace in Small Things is a social network created by Schmutzie to wage a war against imbitterment!  Check out my first post here.

Who knows what tomorrow may bring

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7 years ago a group of our friends started getting pregnant.¬† Some of them had kids already, others were on pregnancy #1 and as our wedding day rolled past my ovaries began to ache.¬† I wanted a baby.¬† It wasn’t in our plans to have a baby right away but none the less, one day I wanted a baby.

Then there was the having the stomach flu two days before our wedding, me barfing up a few birth control pills and them being totally ineffective if they’re being flushed down the toilet in a slurry of last nights dinner.¬† Before we knew it certain things were missing, I was peeing on 8 sticks and we were having a baby!

It was a crazy, it was unplanned (which when you’re a Type A list making planner can cause hyperventilation in great magnitudes) and we were over the moon.¬† 10ish months, a whole lot of hospital stays, pain and junk food later and we had a beautiful, healthy baby girl.

The next year was kind of a blur of sleepless nights, moving, snuggles, gross amounts of oozing poop and triple that many giggles and joy.¬† Not long after Bethany turned one the ol’ ovaries kicked in again.

As I watched her run around the playground and start learning how to speak I couldn’t help but wonder what it would be like to have to of them.¬† To long for the smell of a (freshly washed) new baby, the snuggles, the coos and all the wonder.

We talked about it, planned slightly better for it, I said “baby”, Corey said ok, 7 sticks and TADA – we were pregnant!

It was another crazy pregnancy.¬† This time I had pain that surpassed what I’d suffered through the first time, but this time I had a little girl to take care of, there was no laying around.¬† We had worries of placenta previa, there was concerns my uterus would rupture during birth, it was scary and hard.¬† Then there was all the regular pregnancy stuff, and the fact that this pregnancy left me with little to no appetite.¬† It was hard and as they set an early induction date, (because everyone was concerned what would happen if I went right to end), Corey made it clear he figured we were done.

Heck, at that point I was done.¬† I’d written Audrey her eviction notice, it was time to vacate the premises and for me to never be pregos again.¬† Thankfully I went into labour the night before our scheduled induction, while grocery shopping mind you…anyways, and once my water was broken it was a quick 15 minutes and Little Ms. Attitude had arrived.

She was here, we were happy and we were done.

The past 4 years have been pretty much insane.¬† We have the normal insanity household of raising two small children but added to that mix has been the intensity of Audrey’s still unknown illness. ¬† Much of her second and third year were spent in and out of hospital and while from time to time I brought up the idea of another baby we really didn’t seriously consider it.

How could we?¬† Then and even now we don’t know if what’s happening to our little girl is genetic.¬† We don’t know if it’s something another baby could be born with and the fear that it’s a possibility has held me back from begging for yet another.¬† I can’t watch another baby be poked, prodded and tested.¬† I can’t hear another doctor tell me that my sweet little girl is losing blood and could die.¬† I can’t do it.¬† I won’t.

Corey’s pretty much in the same boat, except he can’t see me go through another pregnancy again either.¬† It’s hard to live through but some days I think it was harder for him to watch.¬† He was discouraged, wanting to do what he always does and right my world but being left completely powerless to do so.¬† He did NOT want to watch me go through it again.

This past year we’ve talked about it a lot.¬† We’ve put all our concerns and worries on the table.¬† We’ve prayed about what God’s plan was for our family and ultimately we decided that we are done adding our own biological children to this family.

Corey couldn’t face seeing me suffer again, neither of us couldn’t face the idea that whatever is happening to Audrey could be “our fault” based on our genetic combination and selfishly I didn’t want to give up my body again to the changes…the pain.¬† A few weeks ago Corey made that decision permanent.

Then all the pregnant people around us started having their babies.

I’ve spent the last 3 weeks telling my ovaries to shut up.¬† We’re done.¬† It can’t (won’t) be reversed and that’s ok.¬† I have moments of sadness, but not the tears I expected.¬† I have moments of envy, but they’re followed by the relief that comes from 8 solid hours of sleep.¬† I have my moments, but I also have peace.

I believe this was the decision God planned for our family and that my days of birthing babies are done.¬† We also both believe that we may not be done adding children to our family.¬† It all falls under, “who knows what tomorrow will bring”.

Sometimes…it’s about US too.


For the past year or so, when it comes to everything this family has been through I’ve made a real effort to¬†not make it about me, for it not to be about Corey and I. ¬†Not everything in life is about us, in fact for the most part very little is about us and I really have tried on the outside and on the inside to make sure that my focus, my concern and my energies be put into the two little girls who are having to face a lot of hard stuff.

I mean, Corey and I are the adults after all. ¬†We are the ones who chose to have these girls, we’re the ones with years of experience dealing with the¬†hard and the ones who are making the choices here. ¬†I mean, we should be able to handle what’s happening, and all the heavy stuff on our own right? ¬†We’re fine, aren’t we?

If you’d have asked me that question Friday night I would have answered “Absolutely! This ISN’T about Us at all! ¬†It’s about Bethany & Audrey.” ¬†If you’d have talked to me Friday night I would have been right, partially right any ways.

Then Sunday happened, a dozen or so things came crashing in around my heart (and the heart of my husband, my rock) and I realized something – it IS about us, at least half of it is.

Standing in my laundry room, tears streaming down my cheeks (in a cry that’s been¬†months overdue) I said to Corey, “This year has sucked. ¬†It’s been hard. ¬†It’s been heavy” and then we cried together.

We are approaching 3 years of uncertainty on what’s happening with our Audrey. ¬†We’ve spent far too many days driving the long trek to Children’s hospital. ¬†We know the inside of our local emergency rooms too well, and the nurses in the children’s ward recognize us – heck so did the cleaning lady. ¬†In the midst of all of that we’ve held up Bethany through her own struggles, her own health issues and the anxiety that all of this¬†stuff comes with. ¬†We’ve dried their tears, we’ve slept on cots, we’ve prayed, and cancelled trips, there have been long nights and days that have felt even longer. ¬† Outside the walls of our own little family there have been family issues, there have been other health concerns, friends with injured kids and the heartbreak that comes with knowing someone you love is suffering. ¬†It’s been a long year, a hard year, a heavy year and on Sunday our knees buckled underneath the weight of it.

The thing is we’ve done ok, we’re doing ok. ¬†We’re not broken, we’re not wallowing in sadness and we haven’t forgotten ALL that we have to be thankful for, at all. ¬†But I learned this weekend¬†that sometimes, admitting that it’s hard, it’s hurting doesn’t mean it’s all going to shatter. ¬†I learned that saying “this has been about us too” doesn’t mean I’m taking away from our girls the love and support that they need. ¬†This weekend, we felt the love, the comfort and the support of parents who dropped all their Sunday plans to come and lift us up. ¬†In the midst of it all, the small hands of my girls rubbing my back and giving out endless hugs I felt the warmth of my heavenly Father’s touch and the reassurance that we are truly NEVER alone.

This year has been hard for me. ¬†It’s been hard for Corey. ¬†The weight of all the things we’ve faced, all the things we have yet to face and the fear that lurks on the edges of every moment, every choice, every day can sometimes be almost more than I can stand. ¬†Then I realize I’m still standing, I’m still laughing, we’re still smiling, we’re still happy.

The weight of all that this year has and may hold is nothing compared to the joy that comes from our children, the love that we feel from our family and the strength that comes from Him. ¬†It’s not something we’ll ever forget but sometimes…

it’s ok to say,¬†this is hard.

Shiny Love

Last month when we went to Victoria I noticed some beautiful¬†jewellery¬†made by one of the vendors at the BC Ferries Terminal. ¬†I am a girl through and through, and when it comes to things that sparkle I am captivated (related: after my engagement ring was re-sized after Corey asked me to marry him, I went to the jewellers at the mall to pick it up. ¬†I was so taken with the “Ooooo Shiny” that I walked directly into the exit doors. ¬†Face first.). ¬†One set in particular caught my eye, I looked at it for a few minutes, talked with our girls (who take after me in the shiny department) about how much I loved it and we carried on.

A few weeks later, when my parents borrowed the girls for a few nights Corey came downstairs to start our date weekend with a little bag, a card and a big grin.

He bought the necklace and earrings.  Apparently while I thought he was buying another pair of cheap sunglasses from a different vendor he went back to see the jewellery lady. Not because I asked him to, not because it was a birthday or anniversary but because he wanted to, because he loves me.

Then to ice the cake, he did one of the things Corey does best – he bought the perfect card, wrote the exact words I needed to hear in it and once again he made me cry.

Are all our days perfect? ¬†No. ¬†Is our marriage simple and easy? ¬†No. ¬†Does it take presents and cards to make me see he’s the “One” for me? ¬†Not at all.

It’s in the moments when I look up into those eyes and see the love that shines so much brighter than my earrings. ¬†When he draws me close and promises “It’ll be ok”, he swings our girls up in a welcome home hug or when I hear the “I love you’s” that I know, he’s my One, and my only and I couldn’t imagine facing this life without him.

Bless this Broken Road

I heard a song this past weekend that I can’t believe I’ve never heard. ¬†I thought it was just a “fluke” when I stumbled across it on iTunes, but as I listened to the lyrics and tears filled my eyes I don’t think it was a fluke at all. ¬†Nothing ever is really, is it?

As the words of “Bless the Broken Road” filled the living room, I was overwhelmed with the journey it took to bring Corey and I together. ¬†Memories of the road I travelled before our roads crossed flashed through my mind, it was such a long time ago and such a long road.

Every long lost dream lead me to where you are
Others who broke my heart, they were like northern stars
Pointing me on my way, into your loving arms
This much I know is true
That God blessed the broken road
That lead me straight to you “

The teenage years spent alone on Friday nights, believing with a certainty that was unshakable then that I would spend my life alone came to mind. ¬†The tears I cried, the countless times I asked my Mom “Will anyone ever love me?” and the hours she spent on her knees praying for the man she knew¬†God was preparing. ¬†I had no idea then, as I lay in my bed begging God for love that His answer wasn’t going to be “No” it was simply, “Wait”.

I drifted forward in time to the men I did date. ¬†The ones I so desperately wanted to love me and the ones that convinced me that if I was someone else they would. ¬† I remember with the sadness of mistakes past, the choices I made in those years I wish I could take back, the things I wish I’d kept to myself just a little longer.

And then I landed in the 2 years before we met, to a time when there was a man in my life. ¬†One I thought I may have married in spite of the fact that I spent more hours crying over the pain that relationship caused than I ever did laughing. ¬†To the nights where I’d lay awake begging God for something more, listing off the “if onlys” and dreaming of who I really wanted to love me. ¬†I wasn’t really walking by His side back then, it’s too hard to ignore your sins when your holding the hand of your Father, so I chose to step away. ¬†Little did I know, He just kept walking softly at my side, wiping my tears.

As I played the song over and over, Corey who’d been outside with the girls came to the door. ¬†One look in his eyes and my tears fell – I had forgotten how grateful I am for who he is. ¬†How unbelievably thankful I am that my Mom prayed all those many nights, that God walked by my side and that as He walked by mine, He walked by Corey’s too.

It’s so easy to get consumed with our every day stuff, to let the stresses seep in between you and to let Satan point out each others faults, in an attempt to hide the goodness, to break the Godliness. ¬†Last week Satan was winning, and I wasn’t even trying.

Then I heard the words of that song, I looked into the eyes of the man who is more than I ever dreamed of, and it all came to a stop.  I no longer heard the voice of my enemy, but that of my Father and it was loud and clear.  This is the Man I prayed for all those years ago, this is the man who loves me more than I ever dreamed I could be loved, this is the man I love back with the same fierceness and for all that I am so thankful.

Corey just smiled at my tears, hugged me tight – waiting till I let go first and then carried on. ¬†As I watched him swing Audrey up in his arms and chase Bethany around the yard I realized, God didn’t just bless the broken roads of our past, He guided them straight on to our future.

When I said “I Do”….

6 years ago when I said “I Do”¬†what I meant was “I will”…

  • On the days when we’re¬†laughing and the ones when we’re disagreeing, in the times when things aren’t easy and life feels hard, I will love you.
  • When the day’s been long, work was hard and you feel like breaking I will¬†stand strong, and lift you up.
  • In the times when my heart is broken, when the tears can’t help but fall and crumble is all I’ve left to do, I will¬†lean on you because you are my strength.
  • I will¬†lift you to God in prayer, thank Him for the greatness that is US and beg Him each and every day for your safety.
  • Our children are our joy and I will¬†do everything I can to raise them the way God asks us to, and to be women I know you’ll be proud of.
  • I will¬†give it my all. ¬†Whatever life places is our path, no matter what the task I will¬†do it for you and I’ll try never to fail.
  • But when I make the mistakes I’m destined to make, I will¬†say I’m sorry, it may not be everything but it’s all that I have.
  • Then, when it’s your turn to fall, I will¬†forgive you. ¬†None of us is perfect, and no one without fault – if God can forgive me, than certainly I can for give you.

6 years ago when I said “I love you”¬†I meant it, but today I love you even truer. ¬†Today when I say “I love you” what I mean is…

  • I love¬†the sound of your voice as you hum to our girls at night. ¬†You are an amazing father.
  • I love¬†the way you put cologne on right before we go to sleep because you know how much I like it.
  • I love¬†that you never complain about taking out the garbage or washing the van, even though if it were my job I’d complain (loudly)
  • I love¬†that you listen, that when I talk and talk, and talk some more you listen. ¬†You’re content to let me tell the same story or rant about the same thing and I appreciate it.
  • I love¬†that while you’re a “Man of few words” the ones you do say mean something. ¬†There is compassion, wisdom and passion in your words, however few they may be.
  • When my jokes are bad (or my gas for that matter), I love that you laugh. ¬†Though I’ve yet to decide if the laughter is sincere or pity, I love¬†that I can count on you for it anyway.
  • I love¬†that in your arms I feel safe, in your presence I feel loved and in your gaze I feel beautiful.
  • With each grey hair you get more handsome, as the wrinkles come and the youth slowly fades from your face I love¬†who you are and how you look, you are handsome.
  • I love¬†that as my own hair greys (slightly) you love me back.
  • When you and I became “we” I discovered that the man I knew ran so much deeper than I thought, and I love¬†that I’ve never found the bottom of you. ¬†God’s made you great and I love¬†that.

6 years ago when this road began, “The Story of 2 Stones…” lay unwritten and unknown. ¬†6 years in to a story never ending I’ve discovered something we already knew… God planned for us to be together. ¬†You were created to fit me, to be my match, my partner, my mate and I was made to be yours. ¬†This life we’re living and the story we’re writing is infinate and Christ lead, I’m so glad to be writing it with you.

6 years ago today when you said “I love you” and “I do” what you really meant was…

“Ya that, what she said.”

Happy Anniversary Corey-Bear, I love you for a week past eternity!