An Overdue Update for TeamRZ!

Dear friends,

IMAG4280So much has happened since we last spoke, I don’t even know where to begin. First, let me say this – Ed and I are doing great! Ok, now for the nitty gritty.

question-mark-mapSince about the spring of 2015, Ed knew that he was ready to leave the military, and pursue a civilian career.  We talked and prayed a lot as a couple about this, and both felt God pulling us to something new…yet what that new thing would be, we had no idea!  We were excited for the future, and tried to be open to any and all possibilities – would God call us back north to Chicago?  Near our old family and friends?  Maybe Texas – Ed had several job options out that way, and it would be wonderful to spend time with my dear relatives in Austin.  Maybe Equidor, or Chili…I mean, everything was on the table at one point or another.  My secret hope was that we would stay in the warm weather as I am now thoroughly spoiled by the Florida.  Or someplace with water.  I love the water.  From our home by Orlando, it was about 50 minutes to any beach on the East Coast, and I went as often as I could!

Well, after all this consideration, prayer, and sudo-planning…Ed landed a job…in Florida!  He actually had several possibilities, but the best full-time offer came from a Christian news outlet just a little further south…in a beach town!  It’s that amazing?  Even from Chicago, I prayed for a warmer home, I built my business around a sailing theme, I dreamed of life on the water…and here we are.  From out new home, it is 15 minutes to Ed’s office, 15 minutes to the one and only Panera, (it’s a small town, only 2 Starbucks big), and 10 minutes drive down the road and over the bridge to the Atlantic!  Ha, can you believe it?

IMAG4354Now, it’s not all sunshine and roses.  I mean, it’s Florida, so many days it is, but there is plenty of rain – literally and figuratively.  When Ed got the offer, we had to finalize paper work with the army for his separation, (he served 2 full tours, 8 years total, so it wasn’t retirement, just finishing with honor), we had to find a house to rent that would take our dogs, we had to get out of our current lease, (only a month left, but still), and all of this as soon as possible because they were ready for him to start immediately.  Well, I looked for houses, but as this is a snow-bird town, and the grannies had all flown south for the winter already, options were slim – only about 3 homes that fit our criteria from week to week, so there was some stress trying to make trips to see something, fill out paper work, and still wait on his military paperwork.  God is good, and I believe His timing and plan is perfect, so I will say that I had a lot of inner peace in my heart about this whole move – I still do.  However, there was a LOT of external stress when Ed told me the day before Thanksgiving that all the papers came through from the army, our housing application was approved, and were were moving that weekend.  WHAT!?!  Why are husbands so crazy??

IMG_6377So, I cried.  What else is a girl supposed to do?  Then I called moving companies, friends, and favors in before the holiday to see who could come help us over the weekend.  Thursday, we spent a beautiful relaxing day with friends, and gave thanks.  Then, Friday, we woke up, and began Oporation Move-Out with zeal!  I had some help to pack all day Friday and Saturday, the movers came Sunday, and I drove back to close up and clean the old house on Monday.  Then, that was that.  Our new life, post military had begun.IMAG3927

By the way, my health held up through all of the moving process, but by Christmas, I was toast.  The last few weeks have been up and down, I think my body and brain are still trying to adjust to everything that has changed.  New place, new schedules, different food, (I miss our local organic stores!  The selection is not as good here.), and still organizing boxes.  Also, the new place might be beach-friendly, but is almost half the size of our last place.  Soooo, still trying to figure out where to put stuff, if there is anything to get rid of, and where to store everything else.

IMAG4287When I feel ready to complain through, I just step outside, and feel the wind whipping across the grass from the ocean only a mile away…and yup, life is good.

 

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I Will Never Judge a Mom Again…

(At least not for a while!)

This is it, right?

This is it, right?

Last night, I baby sat a kid…and I liked it!  Kind of.  But I will tell you, that baby-sitting someone else’s child when you are at the “I could have babies” phase of your life is really different than when you’re 13.  Here’s what happened, some of the thoughts it stirred, and why I have so much compassion for mothers everywhere.

In order to protect the innocent, I shall simply say that a small child of about 3 ended up in my house unexpectedly last night.  I was expecting a house full of men, had planned to finish my cleaning, and retreat to my girl friend’s for a round of dress-up before the ball next week, (another story for another time – but don’t I sound just like Cinderella?)  As I was walking out the door with a pile of gowns in my arms, one of the boys greeted me with, “Morgen, thank you so much for letting us come over, and all this…. ”  Sure, of course” I replied good-naturedly.  I did honestly enjoy having a full house.  He continued, “and the kid too, I’m sorry, I totally didn’t know about that til last minute”,  “Oh, ok…” I was trying to nod and smile and look around…then I was made aware of a short, sweet presence as a smiling creature with cocoa skin and short, tight, black hair waddled down the hall with the person watching him who had came to visit my husband…and of course, several more guys arrived and the house filled with barking dogs, cooking in the kitchen, and rioters laughter as they laughed at their own jokes.

I sprang into “mommy-mode” and separated the “scary dogs” – the big one went outside, the little one went to the bedroom, and once the “nice kitty” realized what was afoot, she insisted on bedroom sanctuary as well.

This COULD have happened I feel...

This COULD have happened I feel…

Ed and I locked eyes over the heads of our guests as I took the little one by the hand, (his care-giver was the chef for the evening and already engaged in the giving of orders to the others with a pot in each hand).  Ed voiced my thoughts aloud, “we….don’t have any toys do we?”  The little one had apparently come with a juice box, swim trunks, and that was it.  Some assembly required?  I found 2 picture books in our book-case, Ed stole a little-used stuffed toy from the dog box, and I sat the baby down in the living room with these meger offerings.  He was thrilled with the books, but of course, wanted me to stay and read them.  I explained I would be back soon, and with a last lingering glance at our wedding goblets perched toddler-eye-level, and blowing out a candle as I past, I gathered up my garments again, and called into the kitchen, “I’m leaving for an hour – I expect the house standing, dinner made, and the kid alive when I return!”  My decree was met with gafaws and more jokes.  I rolled my eyes and retreated hastily to keep my appointment.

Dresses are fun, and girl-friends are funner, and I had a great time talking hair and nails with my gal pal…just like the old sorority days!  Our husbands are in the same company, and there was a small military ball thing the following weekend. So we discussed how best to allocate resources – she was most concerned with nails and hitting the gym, I was thinking my hair needed a touch up but I would do my own nails, and yes a few good work-outs for those shoulders was in the cards.  We traded some dresses and and shoe options, agreed we would not spend money on either, for something like this, not worth something new.  I left feeling like I had a plan, and was happy to hurry along so she could get back to a relaxing night with her hubby, and I could embrace the chaos at home.

Well, sure enough, the men were all loudly saving the world around the dining table with quite a feast prepared and pouring out of every pot and pan I had!  They seemed to be taking care of themselves just fine, nothing seemed to be out of order.  Perfect, my symptoms had been flaring all weekend, and I was looking forward to laying down and cooling off…but then there was the little one…with no one paying him much attention, just quietly looking on.  Oh come on!  He was just so precious!  So of course, I sucked it up, and tried to entertian him as best I could.  I tried to feed him, (he was not impressed with the offerings and demanded cookies that we didn’t have), I took him outside to read, but then he told me “I have to pee”, and before I could take his little hand he had stood up on the chair and let it fly.  Whelp, that was something I hadn’t seen before.

I doubt caution tape would actually do anything...

I doubt caution tape would actually do anything…

After clean-up and changing into the afore mentioned swim trunks, I returned to where I’d left my dinner, only to find two of the guys explaining that the “big dog” had gotten in and eaten the food, and what used to be the bowl was in the garbage. Ah well, I didn’t like those bowls anyway.  I grabbed an apple and my new little friend, and took him for a walk around the neighborhood, while he pointed out bugs and was scared by a duck. He had peed in his shoes, so I alternated between having him walk and carrying him where the ground seemed rough. When we – or at least I – was sufficiently tired, we headed home and retreated to the office.  Now, here is the turning point.  I said I wasn’t going to be one of “those moms”, and Ed is constantly annoyed when he hears about people plugging their kids into a show…but my friends…sometimes…you just need a break. So I logged into Amazon, and after questioning the young lad, we choose Madagascar, and I plunked him in front of the computer, (we don’t even have a tv).  I also gave him a pile of fake gold pirate coins we had left over from a party thinking that would keep his hands busy, and an old derby hat from a past costume which he immediately loved!  This all seemed to be working, so I escaped to the yard to clean up the chair…but when I came back inside it was “potty time” again.  “Oh good!” I praised, he’s telling me this time.  Only to discover that again, it had already happened, and the shorts were wet and so was the carpet.

Me in 20 years

Me in 20 years

I cleaned everything up as best I could, threw his shorts in the dryer, and sat him bare-bottomed again in front of the movie, and helped myself to a glass of the wine the boys had left in the kitchen.  Yes, I did, and I’m not ashamed!!  But as I sat there sipping, and contemplating, I wondered – what is this kid’s life like on a normal day?  He certainly doesn’t seem to bothered by everything going on around him.  He took to me quick enough, he would beat me and call me daddy with a smile when he needed something…so maybe he’s used to different people around?  Not too shy, but not too chatty…what if we adopt a kid this age?  How much of an impact does that former life have on them?  Would they really grow to love you as a parent in that special way?  Would I grow to truly see them as my own?  Ed thinks we will adopt one day, and I’ve always wanted too…but I know it’s a difficult process.  We’ll just have to wait and see what God does in our lives.  I have to get my health sorted out a little better first – that’s for sure.

Back to my little friend – his dad was his normal care-giver, but was at a funeral for a relative who had been killed in a drive-by last week.  I wondered if his mom was around too. I know there are many ways to make a family, and I know it often takes  a village – and there should be a community involved in taking care of a child.  But at the end of the day, I just don’t think anything can quite replace the balance of a loving mom and dad working as partners to give guidance, fun, wisdom, admonishment, insight, and un-selfish love to their little person. I get it – life happens, and we have to make the best of it.  And I truly believe that God can redeem any situation if we let Him.  But I also think that kids need – and actually deserve – a lot more intentionality from their parents then they often receive.  It’s too bad that we’ve often made life so complex that it takes parents away from their children so often, and we try to make it cool, or fine, or more socially acceptable for kids to be raised by the system, or TV, or themselves, or friends…but those things should just be there once in a while when we need them.  Our society should be doing more to support parents having healthy babies, healthy relationships with each other, and actually planning and enjoying being a family the best way they can.

Moms – to you a raise my glass.  Dads who stuck around – for the kid, and the crazy momma – I give you a pat on the back.  You are both heros in my book, and deserve all the support we can give you.  This next generation depends on it.

~ Morgen

1 Year Anniversary

At an Army event, a rare glimpse of Ed all dressed up.

At an Army event, a rare glimpse of Ed all dressed up.

It seems only fitting that since this blog was started in preparation for our wedding, that I would post something celebrating that particular day in history.  It was hard for me to write this post, I feel there were many directions I could go as I reflected on my first full year as a married woman.  So, I’m giving myself permission, (hopefully I have yours too!) to re-visit first-year-of-marriage themes in the future, and will talk more specifically about our anniversary in this post.  So here we go….

Working on your marriage starts by working on you. If there is one thing I have learned in this first year of marriage, it is that being partnered with someone brings out your very best or your very worst qualities on any given day. I have also learned that the more I focus on what I need from my spouse, the less happy I am. Instead I am learning to find my contentment and my happiness in my relationship with God and myself. Then anything I get from my spouse is a bonus!

Especially on our anniversary I had to really wrestle with the

I love you!

I love you!

expectation of getting something from my spouse. We as a society have made a gift giving occasion out of just about anything. Now if you like to give gifts, or you like to get gifts there is absolutely nothing wrong with it. Gift giving is a tried-and-true way of showing affection. However it is not the only way to show affection and the lack of gift giving or dinner reservations should not reflect on the health and wellness of a relationship. This was very hard for me to accept at first because I spend too much time on Facebook, seeing all the status updates from my friends who would receive roses, a card and dinner at the nearest steakhouse for any and all special occasions. Through much conversation I have learned how my spouse feels he is able to show love to me, and in his mind it looks very different than the typical Kay Jewelry commercial.

So I had to decide if I was going to be okay with that, or make myself miserable by comparing our relationship and my spouse’s love-overtures to every other 20-something married couple in our non-denominational Christian-ease hipster society. So in honor of my spouse, who does love me devotedly, here are some ways he shows me his love all the time not just on special occasions, (he does these of his own volition btw!):

  •  Paying the bills
  •  Doing the dishes
  •  Putting my health first
  •  Working me out at the gym
  •  Serenading me
  •  Dancing with me
  •  Laughing when I spend too much money
  •  Complementing me profusely when I roll out of bed in the mornings
  •  Keeping himself informed, in-shape, and spiritually growing

How did we actually spend our anniversary?  Well, my maid of honor was in town, so my bride-groom took us to the gun-range to teach us how to shoot.  (He loved teaching us, and apparently I’m a pretty good shot.)  Then, the MOH took us to lunch before heading to the airport.  Good food, lots of laughs, and reflections on life made for a lovely time.  Finally alone, my hubby and I spent some time kanoodling, cleaning, and wrapped up the day with a trip to the movies.  Dracula Untold is not really romantic, but prompted interesting discussion about love, sacrifice, good, and evil.  All in all, a pretty good day for Team RZ – I felt connected to my husband, gained fresh insight and understanding, and learned something new with him.  Isn’t that what marriage is all about?

Happy hubby, happy life!

Happy wedding day!

Getting back to my previous point about working on the self, some days it is a struggle to find my peace and happiness and contentment apart from the person that I have to do life with, however I also know that I can be demanding, selfish, prideful, needy, achievement-oriented, and by turns over emotional, or not in touch with my emotions at all.  That’s why I feel that prayer and meditation, (journaling for me), is even MORE essential when it comes to marriage vs all the other things we spend time stressing about.  After all, your marriage is the commitment that affects you each and every day, and will be with you until the day you die.  It can be, and should be, the most life-altering decision you make.  What is more worthy of your time and consideration?  After all, by calling on the Big Guy’s help, and working through your baggage SO THAT your marriage becomes healthier…you are really doing yourself a favor.

We are big fans of affirmations. We really appreciate when the other takes notice of something that we’ve done or something great about us in general. We try and make it a practice to affirm each other each night before we say prayers and go to bed. Some nights it is easier to come up with something than others but the practice of doing so forces us to look for the best in each other even if it’s been a hard day.

The #1 thing that I’ve learned about marriage is that every day is a choice. You may fall in love but deciding to stay there is made up of little choices each and every day. I can either choose to withdraw when I’m upset and pout, or I can lean into our relationship. I can try to understand the other point of view, I can opt to compromise. Obviously I don’t do it right 90 percent of the time, but with a lot of grace, forgiveness, and God’s help we’ve made it this far, and are looking forward to the rest of Forever.

7 Months In

WDay Ed Kissing Mo Cheeck

Wedding day bliss-kiss

Hello dear friends!

Yesterday marked 7 months of marriage for Edward and I…wow, is that all?  I still look at him sometimes and have to let it really sink in, “yeah, I’m married to that handsome guy!”   (Especially when he sleeps, he’s so calm when he sleeps!) But by now, it feels pretty normal.  The blessing and the challenge of these first months together has been that God has totally removed our ability to be independent from each other.  I think there are couples that have very in-grained careers, habits, personalities, and belongings, and post-wedding-day it is easy for them to slide back into those grooves, and it may feel not much has changed.

Well, no ruts allowed here!   By virtue of being in a new location together, and

Wonder where that goes?

Wonder where that goes?

my illness dominating our lives, we have been forced very quickly to battle through the worst of our demons together, and find new ways to live out who we are.  At first, this was quite scary.  Instead of sweet dates every week, there was lots of doctor appointments, online research, and creating of concoctions to try and tame my Crohn’s.  However, I think we are past the worst, and coming into more of a rythum. We found a doctor we like, the new house is perfect, and we’ve found almost everything we need in the area.  The best part is that we’ve had to figure it out between the 2 of us. What we like, what we need, what we do, as a married couple.  Not much has carried over from previous existence, and that is getting easier as time goes by.

We don’t shock each other as much anymore, and that is a good thing.  In fact, I’ve started ending some sentences with, “so that’s the deal, and baby don’t you even…” and then predict exactly what he was about to do.  He acts bothered, but is secretly pleased, “Babe, how did you know?  Get out of my head!”  Smugly I reply, “I can’t Baby, I married you.”   It’s one thing to know a person’s heart, their morals and character…it’s another to learn their habits, reactions, and hang-ups.  Some folks date for 5 years so that by the time they get married there are no surprises, (if there are, that was some good acting all that time!), but I wouldn’t trade the way we jumped in for anything.

Button-pushing can be a sport in our house, but we’ve learned to work with it.  For example:  I’ll say something annoying, Ed will clench his fist, look side-to-side, then pretend he just woke up like a crazy man.  “What, what just happened?  I, I must have blacked out!”.  Then I say, “Oh honey, is your PTSD acting up again?”   Which he really hates, and then there is either head-shaking or tickling depending on the day.

We look at each day’s challenges as building for the future.  Even now, we are learning how we shall grow old together. I may have a head start age-wise, but Ed wins on the grey hairs.  He tries to claim they’re from me…awww!

My 2 Cents on Meditation

Feel your inner lotus...or something.

Feel your inner lotus…or something.

Well if you know me, you know I don’t meditate.  I hate Silence.   Sitting in Silence is even worse!  My best prayer times are with music, or writing out my prayers in a journal.  However, Ed enjoys meditation and yoga.  He appreciates silence on his runs and walks.

We’ve been discussing meditation lately, I have always had reservations about it’s usage in Eastern and New Age religions.  I’ve seen meditation lead to communing with not-so-good spirits, and god-complexes in individuals.  However, I’m open minded to the idea applied to Christian practices.  There is a verse in the Bible I don’t pay enough attention to, it says,

8 Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things. 9 The things you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you. ~ Phillippians 4:8-9

Things that are lovely and good...

Things that are lovely and good…

Doesn’t that sound nice?  To spend time thinking about things like that, and allowing God to bring us peace?  Well, I have never made much time or spent much energy exploring this idea, and whenever Ed brought up meditation or yoga (which I have tried and failed at many times), I always pushed it off with a, “yeah, we can talk about that”.  Meaning, let’s talk about it later, and not do anything about it.

All of that changed today.  I was leaving the house to meet up with a friend whom I value very much.  I had not slept well due to Crohn’s issues, and felt tense all morning as I poured over emails and caught up on Facebook.  As I got into the car I thought, this tea-date is really important to me.  I really want God to use it.  So I started thinking about that as I drove.  How could God use this time to His purpose and goodness?  How has He used other conversations with friends to His Glory?  I reflected on the impact good friends have had in my life over the years, and then one particular thought stood out.  God has blessed me with the companionship of extraordinary people my entire life.

Ed is getting ready to leave for 7 weeks of training…that may turn into 5 months.

Oh Chi-Town...

Oh Chi-Town…

 Several people said to me, “well, why don’t you come back to Chicago for awhile?  See your family and friends here?”  I see their point, however, Chicago no longer feels like home.  Isn’t that crazy?  It always will be to some extent – it’s my home-town and made me who I am. But right now, Orlando has my heart. That surprised me as I thought about it!  It’s only been 4 months since I left, but there are dedicated, kind, loving people who have embraced Ed and I as their own.  As people found out he was leaving, they’ve reached out with all kinds of offers and invitations to keep me healthy, safe, and cared about while my husband is away.

So as I pulled up to Starbucks and waved to my friend through the window, I thanked God for how carefully He has orchestrated the relationships in my life.  I was reminded that He DOES have a purpose for things that we can’t even imagine…until we have that one conversation and it all makes sense.   That 10 minutes of meditation in the car put me in a completely different mindset to meet with this dear woman, and share life, and let God do what only He can do.  And sure enough – He did.  It was the most revealing, tender, and encouraging conversation we’ve had yet in our new friendship, and I now see the purpose of letting our minds dwell.

Top Ten Reasons Why I Love my Husband

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Hey friends and followers!  Team RZ is “celebrating” it’s 2nd Valentine’s as a couple, and 1st as newlyweds.  We all know relationships – especially marriages – are tough.  But today, regardless of what our spouses do or don’t do, I choose to celebrate by remembering the best things.  I choose to convey my love the best way I know how…via blog!  So maybe some of you can relate, but set the complaints aside for a moment, and remember your beau is made in a Heavenly image…and join in the count-down with me.

10.  Reason why I love my husband – He saved a man from a burning car last summer.  To be honest, I totally forgot about this, (wait, don’t gasp, I have a horrible memory!), and he never brings it up.  But he had his review the other day, and it came up because he was in uniform when it happened.  He was driving home, saw the car in trouble, broke the the window, climbed in, and pulled the guy to safety.  Then he administered first aid and waited until the pediatrics came.  I don’t love the fact that my hubby did this crazy scary thing… I love that it’s in his nature to just help people.  He is never too busy, or cool, or sure someone else will, he just stops and does what needs to be done.  I’ve learned a lot from watching him.

9.  Reason why I love my husband – He is a life-long learner.  One of the first ways we bonded was sharing articles while he was in Germany, then reading and sharing our thoughts with each other.  He always wants to learn something new – he listens to podcasts as he bikes to work, reads books while waiting on people, prints articles he finds online, and sometimes calls me just to tell me about something interesting he learned in class that day.  I get exhausted from just a smidgen of that information – but he just hungrily eats it up, and passes it along to anyone who will listen.

8.  Reason 8 why I love my husband – he goes after what he wants.  That’s why we are together – he made up his mind that he wanted me, and we made it work from different continents, time zones, beliefs, and careers.  I find very few men that are willing to make sacrifices for relationships anymore…and he was so dedicated from the start!  As he often tells me, “you never stood a chance!”  It’s not just me by any means – when he wants to accomplish something, once it’s decided, he just does it.  Marathons, promotions, special forces, school, our home…now the trick is, he has to decide.  It doesn’t work if I just ask him to do something.  Oh wait, only good things!

7.  Reason why I love my husband – He keeps me focused on God.  It’s true, sometimes I’m a bit self-centered, or get distracted from what we were put on earth to do.  He keeps me on track, sometimes without even realizing it.  Sometimes, he’ll directly say to me, “baby, we need to pray!”, sometimes, I see something in him that reminds me he was fearfully and wonderfully made, sometimes, I get upset and don’t understand, and end up on my knees seeking wisdom from the Father.  One way or another, this man has stretched my faith more than I ever thought possible.

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6.  Reason why I love my husband – He’s hott.  Sorry ya’ll, that’s just the simple truth.  He’s a good looking man, and when he comes home at the end of the day, I think, “Wow, he’s yummy!  And he chose me!!”  And that’s all I’ll say here…  

5.  Reason why I love my husband – He supports me.  Sometimes, to a fault.  Whether it’s a business idea, a friendship, and goal, a dream, he always supports me.  He put it in the vows he wrote to me, and reminds me often that we are a team.  If it’s important to me, he’s going to help me get there.

4.  Reason why I love my husband – He’s a warrior.  He fights evil, seen or unseen every day.  We talk a lot about spiritual warfare in our house, we believe that just as God is so good and full of love, that there is an Enemy full of evil and pain.  So whatever form that evil takes, my love is ready to do battle.  On a more personal note, I worry sometimes that he will never truly feel peace.  He has been a solider for 6 years, most of his adult life.  He’s seen enough action to know that the bad guys are real, and too close for comfort sometimes. I pray often that our home would be a place where he can rest – even just for a moment before heading back into the fray.

3.  Reason why I love my husband He’s so silly!!!  Sometimes we just get the giggles and can’t stop.  I’ve never laughed so easily WITH someone.  You know how a lot of times, the laughter between people is at one person’s expense?  Or one person thinks it’s funnier than all the rest?  Not with him, when I start laughing, he’s right there with me.  And when he’s causing my laughter, I can’t stop!  We sing in the car, tickle each other, and make goofy noises and voices.  I think, (well, this is the German in me), that being silly with someone is more vulnerable than just about anything else.  It’s a form of intimacy just like the deep emotions, and physical touch.  I love his smile, and love when we laugh together.

2.  Reason why I love my husband – He is going to make a great dad.  I have not always been on the “I need a kid” band wagon – many of you know this.  However, when I see my hubby in action every day, I think, this man DESERVES to have kids.  He should have a little mini version of him that he can teach and love and train up in the world.  I see how tender he is with other peoples kids, or our dogs, I hear how deeply convicted he is about right and wrong, about caring for others, and I think, dear God, may we have children JUST SO THAT he can be their father.  Lord knows, if I’m their mother, they’ll need all the help they can get.

1.  And, the #1 Reason why I love my husband is.…because I choose to.  I figured out long before I ever met this guy that Love is a choice.  How so?  Because it’s an action.  The feelings ebb and flow with our sleep patterns and the other person’s behavior, but our actions don’t need to.  So when I first told him I loved him, I meant it.  I had fallen, and decided to stay.  Regardless of what the future held, I decided I was going to love him like Jesus as best I could – even if that meant us not being together.  But it was in God’s plan for us to be together…so on Nov. 2, I stood up in front of family and friends, and promised God that I would love this man for the rest of my life.  And so, I do.

Taking the Leap

It's scary to jump off that step and not have firm ground underneath..will he catch me?

It’s scary to jump off that step and not have firm ground underneath..will he catch me?

There is something specific about resting in the arms of the person who has vowed to spend the rest of their life with you.  It is so comforting, it leaves the mind free of fears, and open to dream.  What is it about marriage that makes us so united, how is it different than really super committed dating?  I think it’s the leap.

When you get married, you don’t get to watch the movie of your life together play out in front of you and then decide, “yes, I’d like to have that. ”  We can never know what life holds in store for us alone, and even less so once joined with a partner who brings their own qualities, ideas and dreams into the equation.  Yet for those who are willing, the actual act of saying those vows is taking a leap of faith together, into a new life that is unknown…. The unknown is always scary, but like skydiving, going to war, or getting through college, there are adventurers in life that bond 2 people just because they got though it together.

I think the leap of marriage is in itself a bonding experience that helps you to face the scary unknowns.  When life gets tough, or throws you a curve, the hope is that you will be strong enough to look back to your wedding day and say, “we took that leap together, we are floating through thin air with each other, together we can find firm ground again.”

What about kids?  To have, adopt, what if we can't...

What about kids? To have, adopt, what if we can’t…

There will be other leaps throughout life that continue to bond you if you let them…but they can also tear you apart.  It is our choices in these situations, our ability to put the others needs first while still expressing our own, to be slow to anger and quick to forgive, that determines whether you will be glued tighter on the other side. Leaping into having kids together – another act of faith.  Taking a jump to move to a new place that your spouse feels better about than you do.  Re-arranging your career to make room for your partner, your family.  What about that leap into a crazy vacation that seems totally impractical but is probably exactly what you both need?

Yes, experiences are what unite people, and marriage is the first of many leaps of faith that can build a life un-imagined.  Here’s to love, and here’s to leaping.

Their Love Story Started Ours…

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I have so much love and respect for AJ and Megan, their love story is so special.

I’ve always known that when my little brother chose someone, that would be it.  He has always been able to focus on a goal and just etch away until he reaches it.  When I met Megan for the first time, she completely made sense to me – intelligent, confident, poised, and adventurous.  Who wouldn’t want to marry her?  Of course, there are all the practicalities of life and it was several years of dating, finishing degrees, and long-distance phone calls before they were able to begin a new life together.  Who would have guessed that taking the next step in their love story would be the event that started ours?

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Even the photographer knew…and posed us in our first pic together.

 In an odd way…it completely makes sense.  AJ is my brother and even though we are very different, in some ways we compliment each other well.  I am the louder, creative, silly, and enthusiastic version of his stalwart determination. Megan can be very like my dear brother, more reserved, thinking deep thoughts she isn’t quick to share, and focused on her goals.  So of course Megan would have an extroverted, gregarious friend like Ed to balance that out.  So Megan and AJ were building this relationship with Ed over the years…and over the years AJ was stuck with me…and finally when AJ and Megan got married and asked these two extroverts to be in their wedding…sparks flew!

That is wedding party chock-full of personality!

That is a wedding party chock-full of personality!

One would think that with these two loving relationships in full bloom… I couldn’t ask for more.  But I will.  I have always wanted to be a part of a big, loud, boisterous family.  Well, NONE of us come from one of those!  So it is my hearts desire that with: AJ and Megan, Ed and I, our cousin Chelsey and her hubby who just got married over the summer, and even Ed’s sister who is in a serious relationship about to graduate… that in the next few years our families will be blessed by the pitter-patter of little feet.  In 5 years maybe we will have gatherings where the kids table is bigger than the adult table….  In 10 years maybe Christmas will be that big crazy party filled with games, music, smiles, hugs and laughter that lasts for days.  Ah…that we might be so blessed.  It is a lot to hope for, but our God is a big God.  Anything is possible.

FAQ’s

Salutations worthy followers!

This post is a bit administrative.  Several dear friends have asked great questions about the wedding and preparation; I thought I’d address them together!

Q.  Where are we registered?  A.  Bed Bath and Beyond.  We wanted to keep it simple, so everything is online, CLICK HERE

Q.  Are people actually dressing for the 20’s and 30’s?  A.  Yes!  Erin, our Vintage Style Consultant has been busily working to approve and dress our wedding party, parents, and guests.   Please feel free to email her for help and ideas!  ofdustandwonder@gmail.com

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Q.  What does the Big Day look like?  A.  Ceremony begins at 4:15, please arrive NO LATER than 3:45 to take advantage of valet parking. The tent will be heated, games will be played, dinner will be served about 6pm.

Q.  When am I moving?  A.  Ideally we will begin driving down on Sunday after the out-of-towners’ brunch.  No, I’m not packed yet!

Q.  What are we most excited about?  A.  We are most excited about being able to support each other in person.  We’ve learned so much about communication via Skype, email, text, phone…but to be able to stand side-by-side as partners through-out our days is our greatest hope.

Thank you all so much for helping us to celebrate, for all your kind words and helpful hints.  Keep praying for us please, so much transition…but so much joy!

My First Sister

ImageI am Megan Reynolds, not to be confused with Morgen or Marcia.  M’s seems to be popular for the Reynolds women. I am the bride’s sister in law.  I married Morgen’s younger brother, Austin, in 2012.

Becoming a part of the Reynolds clan has been a wonderful experience.  I remember when I first met Morgen, about 5 years ago.  She is tall, perfect hair, just gorgeous.  I was very intimidated.  Would she like me?  Would A.J. care if she didn’t?  I had no reason to worry.  Morgen hugged me and said “I expected you to be bigger, like a super buff swimmer or something”.  She made me feel like part of the family right away.  I can only imagine how in awe Ed must have felt when he met her for the first time at our wedding.

A.J. and I met Ed through a mutual acquaintance years ago and have kept in touch ever since.  We may not see each other often, but when we do, we always have long and meaningful conversations to get caught up.  It is like no time has passed since we last spoke.

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Ed was an usher at our wedding and Morgen was one of the bridesmaids.  While we cannot reasonably take credit for the relationship they have built, we can say we saw it start.  It has been a joy, for both A.J. and I, to watch 2 people we care about finally find happiness.  It is a bonus that we love them both!  Knowing Ed and Morgen separately and together God could not have found two people more well suited for each other.  With love in our hearts  A.J. and I are looking forward to welcoming another branch into the Reynolds clan.  I look forward to watching Morgen and Ed continue to grow into each other as a couple and build a family of their own.