Thursday, November 7, 2013

What I Would Say To That Girl...Part 2

(Marty and me on July 31, 1992...the night before our wedding)

Over twenty-one years ago,  the girl in the picture took a walk down the aisle and said "I DO" to her very own Prince Charming.  At the time, this naive young woman was just 22 years old. A lot of life has happened since that happy day. Today, she has a few gray hairs on her head and her face has a few wrinkles. Time has passed and love has taught her a few things about life. This is what I would say to the girl in the photo...

You found him!  Never forget the way he makes your heart smile.

There will be many years where the two of you will struggle financially as you build your careers. For a little while, you will be "macaroni and cheese poor". Don't sweat it. Despite your bank account, and evidence to the contrary, you are rich.

You appreciate the way he makes you laugh. His sense of humor will carry both of you through some very difficult and painful circumstances. Lighten up and keep laughing.

He challenges you. That's a good thing. It makes you a better woman. Embrace it. Remember that it's OK that you don't agree on everything.

Your words have the power to build him up or tear him down. Proceed with caution when you speak.

 Two words...honor him. It matters. Enough said.

Years later, your heart will still race when he walks through the door. Tell him that you miss him when he is away.

You don't have to wonder why he picked you. He knows all the reasons and would do it again.

You will always love snuggling together on the couch and watching movies.

He is going to be a great Daddy!

After two decades of marriage, he will still call you Sweetness and you will still love it when he does.

He sees the best in you, even when you cannot. But, he isn't afraid to tell you when you are wrong.

He is a great cook!

One day, you will be temporarily consumed with motherhood.  Never forget to put your marriage first.

You will always love taking walks together and it will always amaze you that your hand fits perfectly in his.

He loves adventure as much as you do.  Together, you will dream of all the places you will go.

Humility and forgiveness are powerful and beautiful things. Be generous with both.

 Before long, the two of you will move hundreds of miles away from family, and you will build a life together in a faraway land called Texas. Remember that "home" is wherever he is. Period.

You will not change him. He will not change you. But you will grow together and bring out the best in each other.

He isn't perfect...just perfect for you. Cut him some slack.

This man will pray with you and pray for you. Cherish him. Always. And never forget he is a gift from God made especially for you.  He is your "happily ever after".

Friday, November 1, 2013

What I Would Say To That Girl...Part 1

(Me and my cousin, Lynn, when I was 10 years old)

I just returned from a solo trip back to Iowa. It's where my life began. It's where my roots are planted. And it's where I reconnect with my extended family. In a's home. While I was there, I looked through old pictures with my cousin, Minniette. We spent an afternoon studying the photographs and laughing at bad hair and ridiculous poses. It was a refreshing and heartwarming afternoon of giggles and beautiful memories. Some of the pictures made their way to Facebook so we could entertain friends and mortify relatives. (Sorry, Lynn).

Since I returned home, I have pondered what I would say to the girl I see in pictures from the past. Maybe it's because I am feeling older. Maybe I understand that I have sometimes taken life too seriously. Maybe I am just feeling nostalgic. Whatever the reason, I have some thoughts for the girl looking back at me in those old photos.

This is what I would say the the girl in the picture above. ..

You are 10 years old. Enjoy being 10. Don't be so restless. Life will unfold in time.

I know you wonder if you are beautiful. Believe it. You are. God doesn't make junk.

You admire your mother and you think she is amazing. You are right. Listen to her. She knows you better than you know yourself. There is absolutely nothing she will not do to protect you...even from yourself. She will believe in you even when you forget who you are and stop believing in yourself.

You won't always feel lost because your Father cannot love you the way you deserve. It will always hurt a little, but you will heal. You will persevere and grow strong. His rejection of you will make you an amazing Mother to your own children.

Your cousins are your first and best friends. They are teaching you important lessons about friendship and cooperation. They will show you that things don't always go your way and that is okay. So, play nice.

Your little brother isn't annoying. He is a little boy. And you will miss him terribly when you grow up and move away.  Don't take him for granted. Tell him that he makes you proud. Most of all, roll your eyes less and say "I love you" more.

You didn't get a sister. So what?! You don't need a sister. Instead, you have a baby cousin who will feel like one when you are older. Yes, right now she is just a little munchkin who follows you around and gets under your feet. But, one day, she will be your closest confidante, next to your husband.

Yes, you want to be Cinderella.  Let me assure you that your prince will come. I promise. And he is worth the wait!

You long for adventure and you dream of seeing exotic places. That will never change. Pace yourself.

You will love...and I mean LOVE...being a Mommy.

One day, that small town that insulates you will be a distance place that you will only visit a few times a year. Take in the wide open spaces and remember to enjoy the simple pleasures of living in such a secure and safe place.

Your roots are strong and rooted in family. They will help you bloom where you are planted. And you will blossom into a strong woman of faith.

You dream. A lot. Dream big. And know...God has big plans for you. You are His. And He loves you with an everlasting love.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

God-Sized Dreams

It's been a while since I have sat down and shared my thoughts. The truth is, I have had sort of a silent period with God the past few months. I am a talker...with lots of words. But, lately, I have been trying to listen more. To quiet down. To learn more about what God has to say in my life.

My life is small.

If someone were to document the events of my ordinary day, nothing too extraordinary happens.

Carpool. Soccer practice. Dance Class. Voice lessons.
Laundry. So. Much. Laundry.
Homework, dinner, kitchen duty, and bath patrol.
Snuggle time, bedtime, and a little time with the Hubs before we collapse into dreamland.
That's a pretty honest description of daily life at the Arbuckle house.
Like I said. It's small, remember?

I am not solving world peace here. Not a single global dilemma is being conquered in the minutes of my days.  I am not a world changer...

Or am I?

It all depends on how you see the change the world needs.

You see, I have a God-sized dream.

 I long to see my children rooted in His grace, mercy, and truth.  I long to see my home a sanctuary from a mad world that grows crazier by the day. I long to love and support my husband in a way that makes God's heart smile. And I long to point others to the One who makes all things possible.

Some in the world sneer at my dreams and call them small. Others see my efforts as insignificant.  If I believed that, I might feel very differently about my life as well. Rather than being thankful for the ordinary opportunities in my small life, I might be tempted to feel forgotten or insignificant. I see things differently...

 I live an ordinary life AND I am a world changer. When I get quiet and ask for God's perspective on my efforts,  I see extraordinary things.  In the midst of my ordinary days, my children are stepping in faith and learning to make their walk with God their own.  Despite the challenges of daily life, in this busy ant hill we call the suburbs, my family is thriving. Regardless of how little time we have to spend together, my marriage is happy, healthy, and intact. And here's a secret...the world notices.

 God-sized dreams aren't so small after all. Perhaps, they are just big enough. Big enough, to change the world.