Thursday, January 28, 2010

Getting to know you, getting to know all about you

I was reminded recently, "marriage is not a sprint, it is a marathon" VOOM. Weight lifted from my shoulders. I think this is something Jeremy and I need to have embroidered on our kitchen towels so we see it every day!

We are both perfectionists and I think this can mean we both feel a burden to "fix" everything that isn't perfect in our relationship right now. The truth that we have a lifetime to work on knowing and loving each other better is so freeing! We love each other very much but we are still adjusting to being married. We continue to be a very real reflection of the other, and that's not always comfortable or easy. Seeing a glimpse of your true self is not always pretty and when you live in the same house, sleep in the same bed and generally spend a lot of time with another person it is hard to get away from.

Before we were married, we both had places to call home. Space of our own to regroup. The take a breath and find ourselves again. I am recognising more and more that this is a way God is refining and transforming me. It doesn't feel good to see places where I am selfish, or where I am prideful, stubborn, or fearful. It is easy for me to get frustrated with Jeremy and blame him for making me feel these things, but when I am in a frame of mind to be able to step back I see I am really mad at myself, and wanting to change.

I am also reminded that Jeremy is the reflection of the good things too. His love is healing in the places where I have been vulnerable His smile when I am funny, his prayers when I am sick and his kiss on the cheek and hushed voice telling me to go back to sleep when he knows I am tired, and a million other things are reflections of God's love for me.

I love that life is taking us on this wild ride that causes us to have conversations and experiences which help us know one another better. We have 30 years of life to catch up on - but we have a lifetime to do it. We had a pretty whirlwind relationship, we celebrated our year dating anniversary in November after we had already been married over two months. It meat that it has only been recently that we can reminisce about a holiday or event and have it be something we shared together. These shared experiences are a place we learn more about each other and that feels really exciting as we have so much more life to spend together.

Life is good. And laughter is the best communication!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010


This is not really even worth a blog post, but I am home sick and very bored. I hate being unwell. I woke up with a raging cold and have spent the day feeling very sorry for myself. I think my head might actually explode and my nose looks like Rudolph. That's all. Welcome to my pity party. Don't come over, I am probably contagious.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

We're all in this together

This blog is a journal of our marriage. I feel so encouraged to be in a church community which values marriage so highly. It has classes and programs set up to support couples at each stage of their relationship in order to encourage and support healthy marriages. Jeremy and I took part in the pre-marriage counseling class for 8 weeks and the individual pre-marriage counseling which were really positive experiences.

Since our wedding we have been excited at the prospect of joining a small group with other newly-weds, another Bethany initiative. This Sunday evening, we went to our first group. My friends Gordon and Deborah are the mentor couple that will lead the group. The other newby's were all married in August too so we are all in the same boat. Experiencing the ups and downs of the first year of marriage.

I have always been a pretty open book. I like to share honestly about my life and the things I struggle with as well as the things that are good. It has felt much harder to know how to share the struggles we have had in our marriage. I am not sure if it is just a pride thing and not wanting to seem like we aren't perfect, or just a feeling that it is no longer just my failings I struggle with it is Jeremy's too. Something about sharing his stuff feels weird. Like I am talking bad about him when I admit our struggles.

At our group there was such a comfort level. Everyone wanted to be there, and came with humility and a desire to grow together. As all the couples began sharing, the romantic stories of proposals and dates we balanced with comments such as, "when we were fighting earlier" or " I hate it when he/she..." or "It's really hard when..." No judgement, just honesty. We all recognised that we love our spouses, but we still have so much to learn about being married, and so many bumps to smooth. We desire to do this in community.

Beautiful freedom.

I am SO thankful for this opportunity and the strands that God is already weaving together.

Jeremy and I are preparing for our wedding blessing ceremony in England this February. It will be almost exactly six months since our wedding and it feels like a mile stone to celebrate. I have heard people say the first 2 years of marriage are the hardest. This doesn't surprise me as it is when the two lives are really being melted together. Some things must fall away for new things to grow and it can be a painful process. In marriage you let go of the life you have been building on your own and submit to a life that combines the hopes and dreams of another person too.
Perhaps we should all take time each year to remember the voes we made, reflect on how well we are keeping or commitment and re-make those promises?

The reflection of our true selves can be a hard reality too. In a marriage there is no place to hide anymore, and owning our faults and less than perfect character traits can be really uncomfortable. In marriage we not only have to face these faults but we do it in close quarters and in front of the person we love the most. Uncomfortable.

This is one of the ways God uses marriage to make us more like him, holy. He chooses to refine us, and transform us. In a marriage he takes two lives, and makes them one. He uses our strengths and our weaknesses in this process. We must fight to be a safe place for our spouse to move into this transformation, they are called to be that for us. As we continue in our marriages, we must continue to be that safe place, after all our transformations do not have an end date.

Please continue to pray for Jeremy and I as we navigate this first year of marriage. My desire is to be that safe place for Jeremy's transformation, and to love him fully at every step.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Together again

We survived! A whole 5 nights apart. It is amazing to me how I lived for decades of my life sleeping alone in my bed, but after less than 5 months of marriage I have grown to expect someone else lying beside me. When I say someone else I don't just mean anyone I am talking specifically about Jeremy. I do not expect to find random other people lying beside me - just to clarify.

I had such a great week with my friend Amy and her girls, Emma and Abby. I was really able to enjoy and appreciate some good ol' fashioned girl time including but not inclusive our week saw a trip to the hair salon, glitter, tea parties, Hannah Montana: the movie and Grey's Anatomy. Of course thoughts of Jeremy passed though my head throughout the day but it was at night, alone in my bed that I really missed him. He was three hours ahead in Atlanta so when I was falling into bed at 1am (which turned into quite the habit, didn't it Amy?!) he was well and truly in the land of nod so I couldn't even call to hear his voice before I fell asleep.

I am so thankful for friends like Amy and her family. People God has brought into my world to be my extended family. I am blessed to watch and participate in the lives of their children. I have a place to be transparent and accepted, a place to laugh, and a place to ask for prayer. I am so grateful that I have so many such friends around the world and here in Seattle. Some recent life events have made me more and more aware of the nurturing we must do in order to protect and deepen these relationships.

I am recognising that for a long time I tried to have the same kind of depth and intimacy in all of my relationships. I valued fairness and not playing favourites. I let that value over ride the truth that it is impossible to maintain all my relationships to the same depth. It was also not a safe thing for me to try and share my heart and struggles in such detail with everyone. I was pouring myself out and yet not being poured into. It was an unhealthy balance as i strived to maintain 'fairness'. I wanted to give of myself evenly to those in my world.

After Jeremy and I got married, we wanted to be together all the time and for a few weeks that's how life happened. In this short time I had some what of a relational epiphany. I realised that in many of my relationships it was always my initiation which led to meeting for coffee or hanging out and when I stopped pursuing in the same way, some relationships fall away. I am not saying that I stopped wanting to be friends with people but I realised that I didn't need to keep everyone on the same page about everything for our relationships to exist. Some people we will see at parties, catch up with, laugh with, and that can be our relationship. It doesn't mean we don't like each other or care about each other but maybe just that our lives have moved us into different places and we have less in common now.

This epiphany also provided an opportunity to recognise those relationships which were more important. Friends who are steadfast and true. People who call as much as they are called and who are in a similar stages of life. People we interact more regularly with and really open up to about the nitty-gritty of life.

What a delight to have a community of people to belong to, and invite others to be a part of. People from different generations, of different nationalities, wanting to live life together. What freedom to be able to invest in the lives of others as we too have people investing in us. How amazing that God recognises the importance of us building a community, and by doing it well that other people might know we are followers of Christ through the love we show each other.

May we strive to care well for each other. To listen, learn , love, forgive and be forgiven. May we foster an atmosphere of transparency, generosity, faith, joy and confession. May we learn to love well. Offer a meal to a sick friend, an afternoon of childcare to a busy mom, a car and a morning to help someone move, our prayers always.

I hope that as we moved further into this new year, Jeremy and I will be allowing God to speak to our hearts about how we can better love those around us, each other, our friends, our family, our neighbours. Please help us understand the beauty that as we love you more deeply we will be moved to love others more freely too.

With Emma at Balboa park.

Sunday, January 10, 2010


This morning had a very early start, Jeremy and I were up and at Seatac airport by 7.30am. We were both flying out at around 9am, but going in different directions. Jeremy headed to Atlanta for a week-long work training and I headed to San Diego to hang out with my friend Amy and her kids.

It was nice that we were able to arrange our flights to leave at similar times because I ended up needing Jeremy to hold my hand while I fought some unanticipated travel anxiety. He took me right to my gate and waited until the last minute to leave me and find his our departure gate.

I am not sure I was having anxiety just about the travelling but more about the separation from him. I know I managed for many years to deal with what life though at me by myself, but in the past year I have come to depend on Jeremy as my support, my comfort, my caregiver just to name a few. As an independent person, it wasn't a simple transition to let guards and walls and whatever else down to let someone in and care for me, but over time he proved himself to be trustworthy. I have to need that "other half" in my life and the idea of having a week without it seems daunting.

Suddenly something seems missing. I am used to falling asleep and waking up together. The routine of life, the ease of being together. Knowing he will always and forever take care of me the best way he can. I miss him already and its been 12 hours...

It was a fun afternoon here in San Diego and I am loving being with Amy, Emma and Abby. I know it will be a special week of some pretty serious girl time and I am looking forward to it but still its not easy being apart.

At least where I am missing Jeremy is 70 degrees and sunny, he has to miss me during long days of training and freezing ice storms.

Does absence really make the heart grow fonder? I think we'll find over the next 5 days.

Monday, January 4, 2010

New year, new you?

I love January. It is always so full of possibility. I don't know why that specific date, January 1st seems to be the catalyst for change in so many of us. I love the new year celebration and the opportunity to take a good hard look at the life we are living. I always see places where my priorities have slipped. Things I would say are important in my life but I am not giving them the time they deserve, and seeing where other things are consuming my time when I would put them at a much lower priority.
I have seen how easy it is for me to spend an hour getting lost on Facebook, and yet am unable to find anytime to have a quiet time, how does that happen? For me it happens when I am not making a plan. Something about writing down my intentions for a day, having a schedule makes life work better for me. After I have been doing something for a while I don't need to write everything down, but I still need to think out my day.

There are always some areas in my life that need a little tune up at this time of year. I always feel more like myself in January than December.

This year has started really well so far, we're 4 days in and so far all is well. I have made time to sit and journal and read my Bible in a way that I haven't done in a while, it feel good, and other stuff seems to fit into place much more easily when that's happening. I am finding time to make the list I need for the day. I have meals scheduled and shopped for, for the week ahead to make it easier not to snack on junk while I try and figure out what to make for dinner after I am already hungry! I have turned the computer off after I check email and Facebook first thing in the morning. Leaving me hours and hours in the day to spend doing other things which actually fill my soul and make my spirit sing!

My lovely husband bought me a camera for Christmas which I am excited to learn more about, I also got given a book which explains everything about my particular camera and now I have time to learn. I know I will love using my camera to capture our life and special events in the future

Especially since having my own kitchen I am loving to cook and I am excited for more time to experiment. I am wanting to explore growing a garden this summer and cooking with my own produce! I am not a gardener by nature, so this endeavor will require some research and trips to the nursery!

I am also looking forward to having more routine in our lives as home-owning married people! Jeremy and I are joining a bi-weekly small group for newly married couple which I am sure will build us some more community and we feel blessed to have an opportunity to journey with other couple in the same place of life as others as well as having input from the couple leading who have been married for longer and can offer some words of wisdom and experience!
As we continue to get our house into shape, we are looking ahead to more things we can make our own, and I am getting into more of a routine as far as housework and keeping things clean and tidy (the way I like it!)

There is so much to look forward to in 2010 and that's only the stuff we are planning for, I am sure that God has other things in store for our journey that will surprise us I say, "Bring it on. I'm January girl, I'm a force to be reckoned with!!"

This is us welcoming in the New Year from our friends rooftop! Happy New Year to you and yours!


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