Wednesday, July 25, 2012

A beautiful night on a bridge

After dinner with some friends, celebrating one of their birthday's, I wasn't quite ready to head home. 

I just needed more time. A few moments that were given to spontaneity.

So I decided to take a walk. I was downtown by the new Guthrie and the river. I walked by some beautiful lofts, old historic company buildings, and then I found the St. Anthony bridge. I started to walk along the bridge. When I looked down, I saw the water that appeared black, and you could hear it stirring and crashing against the shore. The most distinct sound was the waterfall. The thunder of it was music to my ears. I love the sound of water. When I looked up I could see hundreds of city lights; street lights marking the way of an old train path, blue lights lightening up the Guthrie, skyscrapers with dozens of lights still on, apartments and lofts with lights on resembling life inside. It was almost like being in the middle of a starry night.

Walking along the bridge and taking in all the wonder almost took my breath away. The wind picked up and it was strong. My hair was down so it was uncontainable. I stood on that bridge and admired the city.

All that man had created.

What's great about what man can create, is how God gave him imagination to do so. I love that he gives us a taste of what it means to have imagination, to create, to love designing something, to participate in art. When God created the earth, he wasn't done. He still creates to this day, but the beauty is that he lets us do it with him. Even among the city, there was this river, these beautiful trees and shore line. The thing that man can not create is in the middle and at the center of what we can. It was a picture of God and man together creating something beautiful. I stood there and breathed. I took a breath and remembered in Genesis where God breathed into man to make him alive. I breathed again. Then I took another slow breath. I remembered how holy and divine it is breath. That every breath I take acknowledges God and gives him credit for who I am. I stood there for moments and took breath after breath and saw the wonder of the night.

It was a very spiritual night for me. I didnt' say much to God nor did he speak to me in words. But we had a moment and I'll treasure it.

Thank you.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Mentoriship in the kitchen

I have realized that I am a terrible teacher or mentor in the kitchen.  Coming home to MI, I told my sister that I would help her learn her way around the kitchen.  She has moved onto a very restrictive diet but doesn't know how to cook.  Well, that just doesn't work for me.  You can't have success or still enjoy food or even begin to think that you will stick to your new outline for eating if you can't enjoy food.  And how can you afford to enjoy food if you can't cook, and how can you cook if no one teaches you?

No one really taught me, I just had to figure it out and I watched a ton of Food Network.  No, I mean pre kids I would wake up on Saturday morning, snuggle on the couch with a bowl of cereal and watch for hours until Paul woke up.  I loved it.  Then I just started to figure it out.

I am not even close to a high quality cook.  I rarely create my own recipes, and most of the time I am just adapting or tweaking recipes I have found.  But I can cook.  I do know my way around a kitchen pretty well.

What I realized in the last three days is that I totally function in the kitchen without a plan.  This does not work well when trying to teach someone how to cook.  I also realize I cook a lot with whatever is in my house.  I kept throwing out suggestions to my sister about other ways she could make the meal and I am pretty sure I overwhelmed her.

We start heating a pan and she asks, "how much oil do I put in?"  I pour some in and say, "about that much".  Or she wants to know how much salt, pepper, cinnamon, seasoning to put in, and I look at her and say, "start with a little then add more if its too plain."  I double recipes or I adapt because I don't have a certain ingredient.  I also realized that makes writing out recipes for her really difficult.  I sat down and wrote out our recipe for Mexican Lasagna and couldn't believe how much I adapt that recipe.  It was very difficult to write out, but glad I did once it was over.

As much as it was about helping my sister learn how to cook, I have learned a ton about myself in the kitchen, how I function and where I can grow so I am able to teach my kids better.

All in all, in the past three days I have taught her how to cook:

Sweet Potato Burgers
Fruit Popsicles
Veggie/bean Quino salad
Butternut squash risotto
Eggplant/squash Lasagna
Mulligatawny Soup

It has a been a very big few days here.  Between cooking and visiting with friends, I am exhausted.  I mean I cook a lot, but I don't cook this much.  But my what is really exciting is my sister not only knows how to make these meals, she has them all divided and put in the freezer for the whole month!  She has her freezer full of personal sized portioned frozen dinners.  It's great!

Since I am writing out the recipes for my sister, I will be sure to post them later this week if you are interested, including the original link where I found it.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

These are a few of my favorite things....

(I hope when you read the title, you sang the song in the back of your mind.)

I'm here! 

We did it.

My three kids, with my speaking partner Henry Graf, and myself drove 13 1/2 hours in our NON-air-conditioned car from Mpls, MN to just outside Detroit, MI. (Technically we dropped Henry off somewhere off  I80 and I69 in IN, but he was with us most of the way.)  Yes, no air-conditioning sounds as gross as it was.  Sweat dripping down my back, beading on Little's face and the fact that it was cooler outside the car than inside was just wrong.

We left Mpls when our housemate came home from the new Batman movie.  He was coming in for bed, we were buckling up to leave and head East all at 330am.

We drank more coffee than two people should.  Seriously, I'm kind of worried for my liver after a week with Henry and his addictive coffee habit.

The kids took a couple good naps.

We sang more than 73 silly kid car songs.

We listened to four books on CD.

We ate a total of 7 apples.

We stopped to pee four times.  It would have been five but we were stuck in rush hour traffic in Detroit, we were exhausted and I just wanted to get to my folks house when Little said she had to go to the bathroom.  I will own it. I let her pee the car seat, and its in the wash right now.  I stand behind my choice and the fact that we got to my parents 20 minutes earlier than if I had to find a spot to "rest" in downtown Detroit with three sweaty tired kids.

Henry and I had 8.4 inappropriate conversations.

I cried once I laughed so hard.

We listened to 3 songs that made me go...hmmmm...

We accomplished 0 movement on the book.

We had one serious moment where I felt so honored that my name will appear next to his on our book and I told him that.  He hates mushy stuff, so its fun to do to him.

The kids and I found 2 houses on fire, one house being transported on the road, one personal boat submarine and one miniature car cart pulling a trailer all in 20 minutes.  It was intense to say the least.

And a partridge in a pear tree.

Then we got to my folks and it was eat dinner right away so we can go on the boat.

I LOVE being on the boat.

Maybe you didn't understand that the first time.

I L.O.V.E. being on the boat.

I don't own a boat, nor is boating a part of our culture in Mpls, MN.  However, I grew up right by the water and we lived at our cottage in Canada in the summer.  It can often be strange to me that something that was so defining to me growing up has no place in my current reality.

So every summer I bring my kids for a two week vacation and they get to experience all the fun and knowledge and responsibility of living and playing on the water.  I love sharing the water with them.  When I looked at my kids tonight on my parents boat, I almost found myself physically ill I was so full of love.   Love for them, the water, the boat, my parents and watching them fall in love with the water. 

I have found that my first boat ride of each season has me quiet and relaxed.  I am not ready for the fun the boat offers yet, or all the company and memories we make on the boat.  My first boat ride of each season has me closing my eyes, breathing deep and allowing the rhythm of the waves and the wind on face erasing all the stress and noise of my life.  With each breath I can feel the healing water and fresh air brings.  At one point, each child and came and snuggled on my lap in the front of the boat while the sun was dropping in the sky.  I could wrap my arms around one of my children, close my eyes and breath deep.  Breathing in the fresh air and sweetness of the water, and breath out noise.  Mental noise of all the things going on in my head, physical noise of someone always talking to me, emotional noise of all the things I feel all the time.  Life noise.

Last night I got to share one of my favorite things with some of my favorite people, my sweet husband wasn't there, sad face.

Last night I felt refreshed more than I have in a really long time.

I am ready for vacation.

Enjoy a couple of the pictures.  Auntie Kelly loves her god daughter just a little so there seem to be quite a few photo's of her.

Monday, July 16, 2012

What to say?

My life has been radically changed by food.  An entire truth that I based my life on turned out to be a lie.  We ate whole wheat because it is good for you.  We drank milk because it's good for your bones.  That was a truth my whole life.  Then everything got turned upside down.  The more I read, the more I understood about wheat and gluten and genetic engineering.  The more I read, the more I found out that what we were drinking is a far cry from milk anymore once you factor in all the processing and chemicals.  I now also understand that we as Americans consume more dairy than anyone other race or country.  We also loose the enzymes that process milk after the age of four.  We really shouldn't be drinking it like we do, and if we were worried about calcium, than all we have to do is eat our vegetables.  We get plenty from veggies.

But that isn't what this is about.  Sorry, it's hard not to get distracted on this topic.  The point is that I understand that it's hard to wrap your mind around a new concept of looking at food.  Especially when it will challenge all that you know to be true.  Take my word for it, there is nothing scarier than realizing that you have not only lived, but chosen intentionally, spoken about and tried to empower your children to live a certain way and then you find out its all a lie.  It is almost like the ground beneath you literally gets taken away.  All the boundaries you lived in are torn down and you are standing in the middle of nowhere and you don't know which way is up or down or right or left.  You don't know where you are or where you are going, and you don't know how to get to the place you know you're supposed to be but still don't understand what that place is.  Confused yet?  You should be.  I was for months.  I still feel a little lost sometimes.

We have all heard the saying, "You are what you eat".  I think we all live in this general idea that doughnuts are bad for you, you should stop at one piece of cake and make sure you eat vegetables at dinner.  But what happens when it goes deeper.  When you realize that even in the things that you think are good for you, they layer in toxic ingredients.

I would say that I believed that I could tell a general difference in my kids when they had sugar.  They had more energy and the giggles came out 10 fold.  What I didn't realize was how intricately woven what they ate truly did effect how they behaved.  There is no way around it.   What you put in your body directly effects how you feel, how you  respond to people, how you behave, and your emotional response to life and circumstances.  My husband would kill me and then make fun of me for life if I put vegetable oil in our car to make it run.  It doesn't run on vegetable oil, even though I wish it did.  We need good old fashion gasoline. If we put vegetable oil in our car, it wouldn't run.  It wouldn't work.  We wouldn't be able to drive anywhere because our car doesn't have the right fuel.  Just like our car, our body needs certain food to run, to walk, to live, to love, to be free, to be whole, to be healthy, to be healed.  It's hard to communicate sometimes what we have learned about food and how it effects us.

It's hard not to be angry at how poisoned our food has become.  It's hard to feel confident in what we now know is true, but others look at you like you are crazy.  It's tricky navigating your way through food issues and what newspapers say, doctors, nutritionists, and then there is the internet.    All these things that I feel make it hard sometimes to talk with others about the diet.  I don't ever want to offend anyone by the way we eat.  I don't want others to look at us and assume we are snobs about our food.  I don't wan to talk about why we eat what we eat and have my listener think I judge them for how they eat.  But in the same breath, knowing what I know, it is hard to not want to share about how much better the quality of our life has become because we changed our diet.  Why wouldn't I want others to experience the joy we have found?  But how do I do that?

I don't know.

I don't know much...but I know I love you.

Heh, sorry, its late and I'm tired and that music lyric is funny to me.

So I guess in the end, thank you for letting me process our food issues here.  Thank you for walking along with us while we figure it out.  And I'll say it again, if anything that I say here resonates in your heart, pray over that.  Pay attention to it.  Your conscious is trying to tell you something.  Be patient.  We are each on a journey that looks different from one another.  Mine conscious was trying to speak to me for a couple years before I listened.  I lost those years with Big fighting, crying, frustrated, fighting, working on guilt.  We still fight and cry here, but real conversations happen afterwards where we get to pray together because my son can concentrate on me now.  He can focus and hear me.  We have our life back and I will never stop appreciating that.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Rose Quartz and mountain lions

I love that our family gets to go out the Black Hills every summer due to my husband being wonderful and playing music at family camp. We spend a whole week making art projects, singing songs, playing games and swinging on swings. I love hiking but haven't found that this activity gels well with my family yet.

But low and behold, Middle wanted to use his walking stick that he got from school and go gold mining. Paul and I made a pack that we would do whatever we could to make our kids dreams come true at camp. We went fishing, Tye dying, we made paper, and played countless hours on the basketball court and open field. But this was Middle's last big wish, and I was determined to make it happen. Justin a counselor was ready to take us. Paul and I just finished up a session talking about the Haiti Mission Project. It was 2:30, already way past nap time and Little had no choice but to come with us. Paul was getting things checked out on the car and Big was playing with his friends, so it was just me and Middle and Little. We were late already, Middle kept pulling on my skirt to get me going, and Justin had to be back in time to help prep dinner. So we grabbed our hiking sticks and Little had her bear and I was a screaming stereotype of a city girl who doesn't know how to hike. (Which I do, I just presently was not dressed accordingly.) I was wearing a sundress and three year old Old Navy Flip Flops, which basically means my feet were touching the ground and I was feeling every rock under each step. Those things are thin to begin with and I wore the balls of feet down to almost holes. We had a water bottle and my cell phone. No one was wearing sunscreen and I discover this hike is a mile to the Rose Quartz Mine where we will be lowering my children into a large rock pit to dig for treasure. I shake my head at the ridiculousness that we are becoming.

Four minutes into the hike I hear, "I'm tired, are we almost there?" And right after that, Little says, "Carry me mama? Carry me?" Oh my, what I have done.

Soon after this, we discover all the Mica on the ground which makes the Black Hills famous for all the sparkling rocks in the dirt. It is a beautiful shiny thin shell that coats rocks and you can easily peel it off. Little loves that fact that she has become an explorer and stops every five seconds and shouts, "Mica mama! I find mica!" Considering the ground is littered and covered in this stuff, it's gonna take us an hour just to walk 20 feet. This is annoying, I mean endearing to say the least. Here is Little with her huge hiking stick and favorite animal hunting for mica.

Right after this, Justin and I discover a large animals fresh remains and huge rib cage. I look at him and he informs me there have been mountain lion sightings this summer.


We hike on. I carry Little. We spot wild flowers. We drink water. I carry Little.  Little's puppy has to stop and pee. Yea, we stopped for that. She did the whole bit, wipe and wash paws and everything.

Good Grief.

Collect more mica, find a feather, carry Little some more. Then we arrive after a triumph mile hike to the Rose Quarz Mine in the Black Hills. This is where I find out that we have to lower my children inch by inch down the rocky terrain to get to the bottom. Me in a skirt, with my paper flip flops, a water bottle, two hiking sticks that have gotten discarded, two feathers and a fistful of mica that have become treasures. I shoved my cell phone down my dress and we made it happen. Look at how happy they look and they almost look completely unscathed.


Look how high that wall of rock is behind them.  That's what we slid down while lowering them into the pit.  The kids loved looking for special rocks.  They would collect them, and then separate them, and find their favorites.  Dreams come true baby.  Dreams coming true.

So we pocket our rocks and then start our walk back.  We climb out of the pit, me slipping on rocks and trying to stay decent in a skirt while not loosing our treasures. I have big sunglasses on, phone shoved down my bra, skirt covered in dirt, and my feet slipping on the rocks.  Who are we kidding, if I saw me, I would judge me, I was judging me when we left on this little adventure.

We weave through trees, Little races birds down the lane and that is when we notice more animal bones freshly savaged.   This is when I realize that there is no way on God's good earth that I could protect my kids from a mountain lion!  Justin and I exchange a look, and silently we communicate to each other that the best course of action is to quickly move forward.

This is a bit of challenge as Little pees herself and decides that she can't walk with wet shorts.  Middle has also decided that this adventure has far surpassed his walking capabilities and so Justin and I exchange water bottles, walking sticks and treasures, we haul the two kids on our backs, hands full of gear and we move forward.  My face is wet with sweat, my feet hurt and my back is now wet from pee.  We push on.

We make it.

We never saw the mountain lion.

And three hours later I got to shower.


Someone please remind me of this story when next year I want to take my kids on a hike.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Celebrating LIfe!

Yesterday was my birthday.  I love my birthday.  This year I am 33, the Jesus year.  I don't really know what that means, but people keep saying it to me.  Does that mean it will be my year of greatest trimuph or greatest heartbreak?  Only God knows.  I just pray I will handle my year, my circumstances and my troubles and joys with grace and eyes set on Christ.

Yesterday was my Birthday.  My mom always made sure that we felt very special on our Birthday.  It was our day and our day alone.  What I realize more and more is how I want to celebrate other people on my birthday.  To be surrounded by the people who love you, put up with you, listen to you, walk through life with you.  Hold you up when you fall miserably, pray with you when you are broken, cheer you on when you are inspired, encourage you when you are doing well.  My community gets celebrated today because they love me, invest in me, and make me who I am.  Yesterday we celebrated God's intimate design of our lives together.  Thank you for being here with me.  Last night we celebrated with cake and a bonfire and cocktails.  All food recipes come from

Celebrate Life today!

This cake is THE BEST Vanilla cake I have found.  It was moist and fluffly  and amazing.  Totally made my day.

Who doesn't want a side of fresh berries and cream?  The blue and white dish came from Paul's grandma and the yellow dish I snagged at a pop up sale here in the cities.  So happy it lives in my home.
Terrible photo, amazing pie.  Mint coconut freezer pie with chocolate crust.  Recipe can be found at Spunky Coconut blog.

The candles were free from a friend.  The holder was found recently in our garage attic by another friend and the lace table cloth was purchased at an antique store for $3!  You heard me right.  I layered it on another yellow table cloth and the effect was perfect!

Peach and Cherry cocktails served in mason jars in an antique milk carries that I snagged at a shop with mom years ago.  I love bringing out small pieces that we don't usually use for special occasions like this.

Sangria served out of a large glass container usually reserved for oatmeal.  There wasn't much of this left over by the end of the night.  Perfection.

This beautiful addition was fond for $10 at a thrift store over a year ago and it was its first appearance tonight.  I did notice it has a small leak, but I hope to fix that.  I added fresh mint from the garden to freshen the water.  It was delish.

Mmmmm.... A slice of both cakes plus fresh berries.  I decided that since the yellow cake is made out of beans with no sugar and the mint pie is raw, I was in good shape to have two pieces.  So good.

I found old Terra Cotta pots in my garage, filled them with dirt, added more free candles and topped off with glass hurricanes that my mom and purchased for a $1 a piece at a garage sale.  Such a steal!  I placed them around our plants in our garden for more mood lightening.

Since we were eating and drinking, I brought out our TV trays and drapped them in fun scarves or fabric I had around the house.  I made small bouquets of mint in juice glasses for a table topper and lit a few candles.  The draped tables added to the effect of my garden party.  So did these ladies dresses.  They fit right in and made it perfect.

I made sure to have a wine table stocked with glasses.  Cocktails were popular, but we all ended our evening with a wonderful bottle of red.

For some reason, I love having wooden chairs around a campfire.  These were salvaged from a heap out back of a house that was severely damaged after the tornado.  To far gone to be kitchen chairs, but perfect for outside.  I love free chairs.

We had twinkle lights, a bonfire, amazing food, even better drinks, and wonderful laughs and memories shared.  This birthday truly was a blessing.  Even though we live in the hood, and the neighborhood noises reminded us of that, it did feel like a set a part garden party.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Fried eggs over fresh greens

Trying to cut down on the amount of carbs I am eating and at the same time teach Big how to cook, I thought I would include our favorite recipe that we indulge in almost every day here. We eat eggs or oatmeal every morning during the week and only bake on the weekends. I usually make scrambled eggs or frittata or egg scramble with veggies. However, Big's favorite eggs to eat are fried eggs. I thought this was the perfect thing to start teaching him. It teaches him lessons on the stove, cleaning cast iron, and how to season and handle eggs. So we have been working on this a few times, and Big knows that he can not under any circumstances work the stove without an adult, but with me, he is doing great and doing it all on his own. So how do you eat fried eggs? He likes them with just salt and pepper, but recently he is enjoying my salad. Fried eggs over a bed of spinach or greens, topped with avocado, salsa and blueberries for fun. When we have extra, we throw black beans on there or corn or fresh pepper from the garden, whatever we have on hand. For a quick lunch though, fry the eggs and put them on the greens and voila, wonderful lunch!

I am sorry for those of you who are vegan, maybe you could just use Tofu, but since we are soy free here, we love our eggs.

Fried Eggs over fresh greens 

2-3 eggs
coconut oil for cooking
Bed of greens
Avocado or Guacamole
Salsa Sea Salt and pepper to taste
Optional: peppers, onions, tomato, broccoli, hot sauce, black beans, corn

Heat pan on med-low heat. Add Tablespoon of Coconut oil and heat through. Crack 2-3 eggs over pan and sprinkle with sea salt and pepper to taste. Cook eggs to over easy, med, or hard depending on your liking. I like a runny yoke to act as my dressing.

Cube up your avocado and dice the rest of your vegetables.

Wash greens and lay on plate.

Dish eggs on top of greens and then top with your variety of veggies and guac, and salsa.

Dig in.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Love and Marriage

It's funny, whether you read a book or watch a movie, you can find a couple where one is ultimately devoted to the other. One person in the couple will do anything to be with the love of their life. They will move heaven and earth, fight evil, and live in harsh conditions. They will forgive any past wrongs, and devote themselves to the welfare and happiness to the one they love.

Now lets be honest, my gut reaction is, "I want someone like that! I want someone to always think of me first, be what I need, devote themselves to every wish and desire I have." The hard truth, is I never think to myself, "I want to be that for someone else. I want to always love someone else above my own wishes and desires, devoting my life to their happiness and health." At the very core, my sin of selfishness reigns strongest.

This here in lies the only times when Paul and I struggle in our marriage. You can use words like selfishness, submission, miscommunication, independence, expectations, it doesn't matter. When one or both of us stops looking out for the other, then we have a hard time communicating, living, and helping each other. our marriage hurts in these times.

I noticed this trend about two years ago. Paul and I were miscommunicating a lot. He was hurt by things I said, I was hurt by things he did, and when he was arguing with me about how I wasn't appreciating him, my gut reaction was to "nicely" point out how much I did around the house and all the things that go unnoticed. He was feeling unloved and I was feeling unloved. We were both needing and missing attention from the other person. He was coming to me saying, "I need..." and I was thinking and feeling, "I need...". We were both in so much need we couldn't give to the other. And for some reason, in that moment, a light bulb went off. This conversation wasn't about me, he was trying to share his needs, his frustration, his hurt. My job was to listen. He needed me to listen. And so instead of speaking my piece about my hurt, I waited. My hurt and my opinions were screaming to be heard. I remember squeezing my hands together as I listened to my husband communicate how he felt unseen and unappreciated and I wasn't supporting him. (Clearly he wasn't noticing the children were still alive, the house was semi cleaned, the laundry done and dinner always made. I felt I was supporting him plenty by taking care of all the house duties and he wasn't appreciating me!) But that wasn't what was happening. Paul needed to be heard. He needed me to put his needs first for a change. He needed me to listen and support him. And so I did.

What I noticed was by the end of the conversation, he got around to verbally affirming all that I do. He recognized my hard work and thanked me for it. What he said he needed in that moment was just my listening ear and support. In that discussion I was able to see our pattern.

And here is our pattern: Paul and I get busy. Life happens, he goes out on gigs with the band, I travel to go speak, he gets a few acting gigs that take up the next couple weekends, our kids have swim lessons and field trips, people visit or we go visit people. In that kind of life, date nights, quality time with spouse and kids falls away to chores and life responsibility. We both ending up giving so much to our jobs and chores and our children that we have nothing left over for each other. Then our response turns selfish toward one another. I think, "Can't you see all I am doing? Please affirm me, and help me and pull your weight around here." Paul is thinking, "Can't you see all I am doing? Please affirm me, and understand and don't put expectations me and just listen and support me I am doing everything I can to find extra work to pay our bills."

When both of us are feeling empty, one of us has to step up. One of us has to man up and think of the other person first. (We both try to communicate to each other about what we need, but when our hearts feel empty, someone has to act first.) I usually fall in the immature camp waiting for Paul to be mature and do it first.

Paul and I fell into this pattern again recently and I noticed we were arguing and feeling unnoticed and not cherished. So I put the theory to the test and tried to love as God loves us, unselfishly. Even though I was feeling deeply unappreciated I tried hard to be the person in the movie that everyone wants. I choose to organize my days so that when Paul came home, I could spend time with him. I wanted dinner ready and the kids and I would cheer for Paul when he came home. Instead of doing chores in the evening, I would sit with Paul and we would talk. I would listen and affirm him. I tried very hard to devote myself to making sure he knew he was loved.

I knew how to do this because yes, Christ poured himself out for all people, he spoke of loving God and loving others. He spoke and lived to love others. But my real life example really is my husband and Christ in him. I would say that when we married and even today I struggle to love like he does. Every decision he makes, I and the kids are at the forefront of his mind. When he knows I have had a long day, he brings me a coffee or puts the kids to bed to give me a break. He won't buy new running shoes so that we can use the extra money for groceries. He has taught me in the daily grind of life what it means to love others and put their needs first. Day in and day out he is my real life romantic comedy and the man I dreamed of wanting to spend my life with. One who finds his joy in my happiness and fulfillment.

I have learned from him to love him that way. Now I'm not gonna lie, when we do this for one another, our life together is filled with so much more joy. When I put Paul ahead of my myself it sounds selfless, but truly in the end, he feels filled with love and thus in return can love me. Can see beyond his own need to help out around the house, to see me, and make sure I feel loved. So I guess you can even make it selfish to love someone this way if you wanted to but that really is the wrong motive. I want my husband to know he is loved, cherished and appreciated.

As I write this I feel like you might get this impression that Paul and I have this whole thing figured out. Let's be clear that I have made a living emptying my pride and inviting others into all my mistakes and learning experiences. I write this to remind myself of how to love my husband and those around me. I write this to share with you what I have learned in my marriage. To remind myself that loving someone else deeply and wholly truly is a wonderful gift. This is not my idea, nor am I first to write it, but living it every day is hard and we could all use a little reminder every now and then.