July 29, 2012


Please stand by as we reacclimate. And roll around and snarfle them. A lot. Thank you!

July 25, 2012


This week is chaos at our house. We are going to get the kids this weekend. Obviously everyone is excited! And I’m cleaning like the President is coming. Bryon is reorganizing the fridge and freezer to make room for the food that it takes to feed our herd. Hayley has been dutifully dusting. Kiki has been pacing, knowing that something is happening. There is more crazy coming, hours and hours worth of driving, and then a football weigh-in and pads for T, literally the moment we get back home. Booyah!

I finally stripped the bedding and quilts from the kids’ beds for washing (I wait until the last minute so that I can smell them while they are gone and yes I know this is cookoo), and remade them last night. I sat out all of the little goodies we’ve pick up for them this summer.

Husband and I spent last weekend out of town. For me to tell you that it was fun would be like me telling you that Jesus was nice. It just doesn’t do it justice at all. We took Friday off of work and drove to Omaha, NE. Bryon didn’t answer his phone the entire weekend. I will share more on our bucket list experience in a later post, okay?

Favorite bedtime indulgence: coffee ice cream with marshmallows, and a handful of salted almonds. Perfect for Golden Girls watching while the husband snores. Not perfect for my thighs, but we’re not going to talk about that today. [Starbucks coffee ice cream is by FAR my favorite.] And strangely enough, the espresso doesn’t keep me awake.

My succulents don’t look very succulent. They are growing like crazy and for a few weeks I thought they loved their new home. I have been diligently alternating sunlight for them, only watering once a week. Despite their growth, somn are lifeless. The bottom leaves of my echiveria turned yellow. When I studied up I found that I’ve been making mistakes: watering the rosettes of my echiveria, and watering too much, too often. I also learned that my “leggy” echiveria isn’t growing, it’s reaching out for sunlight. Boo. So sorry, sweet little plant. I will move you to the dining table, okay? Also perhaps I should not be drowning them in so much water each week. Eek! Wishing my horticulturalist hubby was more studied on cactus and less on grass, today. This is a learning experience for sure!

Our next door neighbors have four year old boy-girl twins. The twins play with Mabel every day and they have missed her this summer. Hayley is a great stand-in, but she doesn’t boss the boy around quite like his girlfriend Mabel. Also, she’s older and so (in their mind) not nearly as ornery and fun. I’ve lost my point – sorry. About twice a week for the past two weeks, they have knocked on our door with a handful of goodies from their garden: basil and cherry tomatoes. So amazing when homegrown! What sweet little people they are. Now I must make tomato soup with that basil!

Let’s end one more sentence in an exclamation point!

Okay, enough of that.

I’m feeling some serious creative juices flowing as of late. I have several things in mind: some embroidered throw pillows, coverlets for the kids’ beds, lap quilts for our living room. All of them a mix of vintage and brand new. I really need to start writing this stuff down… perhaps on our marathon car trip this weekend. 

I'd love some prayers sent our way for a safe trip there and back, and for a smooth transition at pickup time, Friends. If you please? Thank you!

July 23, 2012

The Girls' Room Is Growing Up A Bit...

Our girls are growing up. *SOB* 

While it's important to me that their little girl room says "little girl" I do think it's time to grow it up some. Just a tweak, here or there. Pictures and posters of their favorite things, a string of white lights perhaps, and I'm praying I find some vintage headboards soon for their twin beds. I have one on the loft in the garage (Moo's yellow one from our previous home), but I need a second for Hales. I also intend to paint them, but I am unsure how so just yet. This project is still swirling in my brains.

Lots of vintage, lots of the love inside of their little hearts - that's my inspiration. I want to concentrate on the things they love instead of trendy decor and matchy-matchy themes.

Here is some of my current inspiration. All images are Pinned.

July 19, 2012

(And Because It's Really Thursday) Things I Love Thursday

1.  I could easily be a vegetarian if I didn't love meat so much. I adore veggie-only meals on occassion and I've got this recipe on my list of summer favorites. Easy, inexpensive, healthy, and fresh. I reckon Bryon could sling some chicken breast on his if he wants, too.

2. I'm considering therapy to work through my Jennifer Aniston obsession. Not really. I just love her. She's ookey and silly and has a cool tattoo story. She also has the best hair in the planet. It just so happens that we have a very similar natural hair color and very similar highlights. It might also be true that on a whim I felt in the last 72 hours, I gave my stylist permission to remove approximately 7 inches of hair from my head in the above hairstyle. Tee hee.

3. Hayley is now the newest member of future Heaven. She asked Christ into her heart on Sunday. She confessed her love for him and raised her hand at altar call. We are so proud of her and I am so in love with this God that I serve. He is my very most favorite.

4. When I was little I had a signet ring. It was heart-shaped. I still have the little bitty ring in my jewelry box. Oh how I adored that thing. When I saw these more modern versions at Catbird my heart went pitter-pat.

5. The girls need fringe banners. Oh yes they do.

6. If anyone recognizes this cat, um... please comment and I will reward you with 100 gold coins. Or a meeeellion jillion jelly beans. I need this cat. NEED. Like air to breathe, Peeps.

7. Heavy grandpa sweaters.

8. This week I came across a book made entirely of candid Instagram photos... and I passed out cold. And when I woke up I made a promise to journal the business out of one for Christmas this year! MUST. DO. THIS!

9. I think everything from the 80's is coming back. And this, oh my. I never thought I'd see jeans like this again. I had a pair. The floral patches were peach and pink. I miss those jeans. And, Girls, if you like these... go find a pair of thrift jeans that fit you well, and then pig out on fabric scraps at your local sewing store and go to town with the sewing machine! Don't even worry about pressing seams on your patches; the fridge will make it look extra precious.

10. Dear Universe, please make the 'all hail the green necklace' available again for order. So cheap, and so gorgeous.

All images are Pinned for sources.

Weddennessday (on Thursday)

With respect to the pink skirt from Target that I mentioned last week, um... things did not work out. We arrived at Target and located said skirt and the pink... Well, let's just say that my brain did not remember the hue of the pink correctly. It was more peach pink and less fuschia. So I walked away a second time. It was the right call.

I cannot heat avocado. According to the Latin chefs on Food Network, many people consider it a travesty to warm an avocado beyond room temperature. I have to say I agree with that. Something changes about the buttery consistency so that the fresh taste is gone. That may be fine for some, but I just can't bring myself to do it. You want to add avocado to pizza and pasta? Fine. Put it on at the end, yo. Just moi. Also speaking of avocado, the smear they're using at Subway is fantastic. Not overly flavored with fake ingredients. I'm sure there is a preservative in it (lemon juice?) but I can't really identify anything too artificial. Well worth the extra 75 cents.

I desperately need to find some planters for our succulents. They're not as happy as they could be, nicely planted. They are grouchy about watering and they are already growing and getting leggy, which is akin to them being smart-mouthed about where I try to sit them. In other words, one of my echiveras wants to jump off of the end table right. this. instant!  Kind of cute the way they sprout and grow. I've never had succulents before; I like how they are unusual.

Let's rap about shampoo for a sec. Mmm-kay? For more than a year I remained truly committed to Aquage Color Protecting Shampoo. When I went for my color correction a couple of months ago, I was out of shampoo. They didn't have Aquage in stock at the time, but recommended Aquage-made Biomega instead. I went to the website and checked it out, I sampled it. It seemed fine then, so I brought home a small bottle. The good news is, I am washing my hair less frequently than before (damaged and thirsty hair can extend another day without looking sticky, I've learned) so I've made that one bottle last this whole time. The bad news is, I hate it. Hate it. I don't care that it smells nice. I don't care that it says it is the more earth-friendly version of Aquage only because I hate it! I need to feel some lather when I scrub my head. This Biomega shampoo has zero lather. Like... none. Even if I wash twice, use more, use less, doesn't matter. Now, I realize that some shampoos have more than others, and that many of the harsher chemicals are what contribute to the lather in the first place. But apparently I have reached a point where I need just a little science.

We have reached a point in Da Plains where we are praying for rain. Actually praying for water to fall from the sky soon. If it doesn't, the crops of this great state are in jeopardy. Considering I love this great state and the food we make, I'd like to see this happen. Also considering we help feed the entire United States and then some, you want to see this happen, too. The corn is buning from the soil up, Peeps. It's sad to see. Pray with us please.

I bet I could fit all of the pop I drink into a single can each month. Did you know? Every now and then I'll take a swig of Bryon's Diet Mt. Dew, but I stick with lemonade or Gatorade for the most part. My belly is thanking me!

I am feeling the need soon to do some crafting for our girls. Not only do I want to update their room a bit, but I want to make them coverlets for their beds. Dig into the stash of vintage sheets that I have. Sit on the couch and do some handwork, which means something is getting embroidered. Right on. I'd also like to do a couple more lap blankets for couch cuddling. Same deal, different colors.

FRIENDS! Thank you for your prayers last week regarding a visit with Nana, while the kids are back east. Two nights ago I got a call that Shoes was on his way over! My mother was thrilled, beside herself with happiness. The kids cuddled and loved on her enough to make her smile last for weeks, I'm sure. I am quite thankful. God is good!  Just 10 days until we pick them up...

Last night, Husband and I were flipping through the television channels before bed. While I was searching for the next spot on the lineup to stop, a Hooters commercial came on. Girl after girl after girl talked about getting something 'big and juicy' and 'more than a mouthful' with their burgers, all while their tits flashed the cameras. It was obvious and suggestive. My mouth gaped open. I realize that this is the United States, and thank the Lord for free speech. But who in their right mind decided to go this far with advertising for that company? Perhaps I look at 'sex sells' differently now, but I do not appreciate the way my husband is inundated with imagery of nearly-naked women without his permission. I pray for his heart and his eyes EVERY day. It is hard being a Christian man, and reading For Women Only explained that better than anyone ever has to me. [We wives MUST pray for our husbands in this area!] So when I see a company outright POACH my husband's attention with the objectifying of women all in the name of selling food, well, you bet your ass I changed the channel. And now I'm blazing mad. I'm writing a letter to Hooters. Dude, I get the premise. I do, I do! If other dudes want to come to Hooters for more than a burger and wings, let them have at it. That is their right and yours to shove it in their faces - AND if you can hire young girls who think so little of themselves that they allow their bodies to be disrespected in such a way, well, that's their right, too. But do NOT slap your nasty, lust-busty food commercials in someone's face without their permission. I AM SO MAD!  SHAME ON THEM!

Just 9 days until we are 6 peeps again. GLORY.

Last night (after the Hooters incident and before nighty-night), Husband said to me that our marriage keeps him from a midlife crisis. Seems he likes how nauseated we make others. Aww, squee!

July 16, 2012

Black Beans

Bryon and I loooooove black beans. I put them in all sorts of things, sometimes when the kids aren't looking. Other times when their eyes are wide open.


The other night I wanted to make a side dish with them, pay them some attention, allow them to stand all on their own.

I Googled a little bit, read a few way-too-fancy recipes, and then came up with something.

In a saucepan, I combined a can of black beans (very well rinsed and drained) with:
1/4 yellow onion, diced and carmelized first on the stove
3/4 tsp minced fresh garlic
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp lime juice
half handful of chopped fresh cilantro

And then I got jiggy with it. I had a few yellow sunburst tomatoes in the fridge, which got sliced up and thrown in, just for some sweetness and color.

And then I simmered it on the stove for about 15 minutes. The beans did fall apart a little while I stirred, but I loved the consistency once it was finished. I also added about 1/8 C water to keep it from getting dry while it simmered. [Also a tsp on top before reheating.]

It was SO awesome. So, so delicious. The onions, lime, and cayenne were nice and tangy. Husband added some Tabasco because he's a wild man.

I must warn you, It's not pretty. Not once you stir it a few times. But the deliciousness makes up for the ugliness. It's not as ugly as refried beans, but I feel like I need to be honest with you.

If you try them, please let me know what you think, or what you add to them!

July 13, 2012

Cutoff Jean Shorts: A Tutorial

I bet every girl in the United States has worn cutoff jean shorts at some point in her life. I have fond memories of one pair, wearing them over and over, all summer long. I was so tiny in high school that the pair I wore then hung sloppily on my hip bones, but again I wore them to death.

Let's pause a moment because remembering these jean shorts has caused me to become verclempt.

* tear *

Those jean shorts weren't bought in a store; they were MADE from my most favorite pair of jeans, a pair of men's Levi's that had finally tuckered out after about 2 years of almost constant wear. Isn't that funny with jeans? We find a pair that we love and then we wear them to death. Even though I own several pairs now, I still turn to my favorites, the most well-worn and softest denim in my closet. I could sleep in them.

And if you're like me, you don't wash your pants until they are actually dirty. I understand half of us ladies do this and the other half washes after every wear. To me, that shortens the life of my pants and I am tall. I can't afford early shrinkage in the inseam. Anyway, carrying on.

This summer I set out to create jean shorts, which is actually the back-asswards way to go about it. I didn't want to sacrifice any of my favorite pairs because they still fit well. But I wanted that lived-in feel, the soft denim, the fray along the edges. This was the perfect reason to head to my favorite thrift store.

And also, I had no husband or children with me on that day, which means I could lollygag as long as I wanted to. And lollygag I did. I tried on about 20 pairs of jeans. Most of them, men's. I wanted them to be sloppy big so that they were reminiscent of my most favorite shorts from high school, and also just in case Bryon dried them in the dryer on high. Ahem.

I took several pairs at once to take into the fitting room with me. I didn't pick up anything I didn't like the look of. In other words, nothing nasty, overly dated, or off-brands that had no character. I also made sure to check out the butt of the jeans because without the legs, that would clearly be an area that I wanted to look decent. No dumpy mom-jeans ass for moi.

I scored 2 pairs after trying on those 20. Both men's and both too big for me by at least one size. One pair was $4.99 and the other was $9.99.  Cheap, considering most ready-made jean shorts will set you back about $50. Plus, the Buckle pair was at LEAST $80 new, so I felt all bad-assed for getting them for $4.99. Ha!

When I came home that afternoon, I tucked my husband into bed for a nap and set to work.

The materials I used were:
Used (prewashed is the key here) jeans that fit my body the way I wanted (for me, loose)
A pair of very sharp commercial scissors
My eyeballs
Optional would be a pencil and ruler, if you are so inclined;  I was not

I started by laying the jeans down on the floor. While they don't show it in my picture, I buttoned and zipped them to be sure they were flat and even. I smoothed them out with my hands.

I decided to use a favorite pair of shorts as my guide for length. The yellow pair is my favorite roll-up boy shorts from the Gap. Perfect for cutting them long enough to roll. [The second pair of cutoffs I made began the same way, but I shortened each leg by about 3".]

I laid the yellow shorts beside the jeans and nipped the edge at the same spot. I cut straight across the leg. Then I moved my yellow shorts out of the way, far, far out the way just in case something tragic happened with those scissors. Not that I've ever done that. Ahem.

Now if you want to be sure that your shorts are cut evenly, you could measure from the waist down the outer seam and cut in the same place on each leg. You could use a pencil and ruler to measure twice and cut once. But on this day I wanted less 'anal-retentive mom' and more 'carefree high school student.' And so, I used a different method.

With my jeans laying flat on the floor and one leg just lopped off, I folded the lopped-off leg over on top of the still-attached leg (think of the legs as a mirror image of one another). Then I lined up the cuff at the bottom, all the way across, and again flatted the legs with my hands. Then I just used the scissors to cut the same line. Voila.

I wanted to embrace my inner carefree highschool student, so I didn't stop there. I actually nipped a spot on one leg about 1/4" shorter than the other. Then I put a gash over the opposite leg, parallel with the cut hem and about 1/2" higher than the hem. I am hoping that as they fray up, they look like I've gone fishing in them eleventy times.

To fray the shorts like they're older than they really are, I wet the cut hems. Then I roughed it up with my fingers and threw them in the hot dryer. Since the jeans themselves weren't wet, they did not shrink. But the cut hems were wet, so they did fray.

Later I will use the wire brush that Bryon cleans our golf clubs with to scratch the hems up. This should make the cross-threads give. Once I pull those free, the remaining threads will fray quite nicely. The rest can happen on its own.

Ta da!

July 11, 2012


Let me tell y'all something that's super irritating: choosing to wear a maxi skirt on the same day you chose to save some time in the shower by not shaving your legs. All day long  *scruff, scruff, scruff*. A.N.N.O.Y.I.N.G. 


Last week I saw a pink maxi skirt at Target on clearance, for $8.  Like an idiot, I walked away. Now it's haunting me. Husband and I are going to go look tonight. I'd put $100 on it being gone because that's how life works when your name is Rachel.

My Andy called me this week, just to chat. We talked for 30 minutes about what was going on for him. His bike, the route he rides on his bike, where he sleeps at Dad's. You know, important stuff to a 9 yr old. I miss my 9 yr old. I miss all of them. 17 days until we pick them up!  July 28 couldn't get here fast enough.

Bryon went running this morning. At 3:50am, he got up to run. He prayed and ran and thought and ran and says he feels better than he has in months. God will do that for ya.

I have struggled with my relationship with my stepdaughter this summer. Our family is no longer built to be anything less than 6. However, for 2 months out of the year (plus a few visits if they're blessed to have them) we ARE less than 6. We are only 3. For 2 months, she is desperately bored and asking for the kids. And we are desperately full of entertaining her ourselves. Oh my. We are working on this, on encouraging her to play alone and believe in her own abilities. We are working on keeping the tender heart that God gave her, but toughening her up some to life. I can honestly say that for all of the years' worth of prayers that my 3 have gotten from me... this kid is quickly catching up to them on prayer count, which is impressive considering she didn't exit my uterus. I think that sounds right, though. Gotta pray it in. I know it will all work out for us, for these next 13 years that the kids head east every summer. I have hope because we have Him.

I wish that the kids would get to visit my mother this summer. It's very sad to know they are in the same town as her - 800+ miles from me and close to her - and they haven't seen her. I am in prayer about this, Friends. Shoes would have to take them, and that means I would have to ask him. Pray with me?

July 9, 2012

Lake Brandt, Visit One

On Friday afternoon I was feeling a bit... needy of a getaway with my husband. I was worried he'd have to work all weekend. And with one email, he changed our plans.

"We should go somewhere and put our toes in the sand," he said.

Oh sure, that's nice. Let's just up and go to Cali right now. Right, Dear. Uh huh... Say what now? You have a friend with a lake cabin? And there is a beach? And can I handle being dirty for a day or two, covered in lake water, possibly fishing and defnitely jet-skiing, and sitting around a fire?  Is my name Rachel Krutsch?

"WHERE DO I SIGN UP?" I emailed back.

We spent all of Saturday and most of Sunday about an hour away from home. But it might as well have been Hawaii for the way in touched our souls. And wouldn't you know that his phone didn't ring even one time? God paved the way, I'll tell you what.

I had so much fun with my husband. This is my version of glamping right here, Folks. The water licking the shore all night, now that was my favorite.

There were no children involved in this weekend.

Because every lake cabin absolutely must have striped berber carpeting and chenille blankets. It's a requirement. And the bouncy mattress and starfish soaps. I was in love with this cabin.

We will be back. Plus 4. Can't wait!

July 6, 2012


We are still barfy. We cause people to lose their pancakes, I mean.

I could tell you that we have been married for only 493 days, but... that is not why.

I could tell you that he made my eyes well up a night ago when he tucked me in to bed and said that he loved me enough to gift me with new cowboy boots, just because of the way they made me smile, but... that isn't why either.

I could tell you that looking at him brings me peace and that the way he moves against me when he sleeps brings a joy I've never comprehended before, but... that's not why.

The why = JESUS.

We are trying to live IN this sinful world without becoming part OF it. One of the ways we work on our marriage and keep it prioritized is by spending a lot of time together. We are truly best friends. Mindy is my co-uterus, but Bryon is the most important earthly relationship that I have. God chose us for one another. We operate in unison. I've operated BESIDE a spouse before and that, I can tell you from experience, is NOT what God intended. We aren't supposed to be roommates with separate lives and interests, with nothing in common but our children. Husbands and wives were created for companionship and joy. EVERY DAY. Look at Eve; she was given to Adam so that he would know love and would not be lonely. We are designed to support one another so that the needs and interests of each compliment the strength and weaknesses of each. Each couple looks different, of course, but it is all in, everything. Period.

We still choose to do almost everything together 493 days later.

Folks, when Bryon gets up in the morning to go to work, I feel like half of me is driving to work and the other half is laying in the bed. I feel separated from him and I miss him. Barf if you must, but there it is. Sure I could sleep in, but I'd much rather keep the same schedule as the husband I'm trying to serve and support. So I get up and dig the crusties out of my eyes (and yo, SO NOT A MORNING PERSON!) and I start my day at the same time. 

When he is gone, I miss him. When it's been too many hours, he appears at my desk just to check in. On a particularly emotional day I once accused him (all girl and pink-like) of not needing me like I need him. Silly me, I am equally blind to Boy. He's a big Jedi man. He explained to me that he DOES miss me during the day. He misses my smell and the light inside of me. And so, when it's been too many hours, he appears at my desk. Even a 30 second dose of me is enough to keep him going, he said. Sweet, huh? Our God is GREAT. This is the gift He gave me in my husband. THIS love.

People comment on our relationship all the time. Friends, coworkers, even neighbors notice that we are a grown up version of inseparable besties. Good. That means we're doing something right. To some of them, it's interesting and welcome and to others, it is intrusive and misunderstood. Certainly can cost you a friendly invite, I reckon - but oh well. Maybe it will inspire them to ask their own spouse to join as well! Most of the guys we know are still computing this behavior. A man who WANTS to spend this much time with his wife and is happy doing it, and often - what is that about? 

I will fully admit to you that the ridicule of our attentive nature sometimes pisses me off. I have a coworker that sits nearby. She is a believer and she's married, so I was surprised at her attitude. She is actually quite lovely, but every time she overlistens to a conversation between Bryon and I, she makes a comment. "Oh, you guys ride together, too? Geez! I don't know how you do it," she says with a lilt to her voice. Her attitude is passive-aggressive. It's not positive. It's... sad, the way she says it. "I could never work with my husband. I mean, I love him, but no way." Oh my. "Awww, do you eat lunch together every day? My goodness, you guys. Don't you get sick of each other?" And she chuckles and rolls her eyes.

No. No, we don't get sick of each other. And... I'm not sorry that you feel threatened by that.

No offense to my sweet, well-intentioned coworker, but we are not called to be quiet or to live in the dark of our society. We are not called to blend in with all of the other married people. We are called to be DIFFERENT. We are called to be HIS - ALL the time, not just when it's convenient. I know we are newlyweds. And I am fully aware that the amount of time that we "hang out" together may decrease as our marriage duration increases. But, Folks, I really don't see this changing a whole heck of a lot. When I told Bryon about these recent comments, he said, "Well, uh... isn't that how it's supposed to be?" Awww... This is the gift He gave me in my husband.

I never golfed until last year. I'd gone to the driving range once before in my life and it was miserable for me. But I've now fallen in love with this sport - for me - because my husband loves it and shared his love with me. And now we have something more to do together. When I sew, he sits beside me and holds the fabric, or cuts when I need an extra hand. That means SO much to me! When the kids (and that common ground) are grown and gone from the house, we will have only each other. Our plan is to spend years investing in our marriage so that it is fruitful all on its own, without the children. It is for this reason that we can think of no better way to spend an afternoon than telling stories, goofing off, or giving the gusto to each other - THIS is our most important earthly relationship.

We sleep intertwined many nights. My limbs put him to sleep when he is restless. His wolfness keeps me warm when two quilts aren't enough in the winter.

We shower together just to continue a conversation. Almost never any canoodling. I realize that's almost too much information, but keep hanging with me for another second... This isn't about society's version of intimacy. It's about love, friendship, and closeness - and never getting enough of one another - God's version of intimacy. Loving another person thoroughly, the way He loves us. Loving your wife as Christ loved the Church. Serving your husband. It is unconditional. Well, how can you love someone thoroughly and unconditionally if there is a whole slew of stuff you don't know about them and a whole slew of time you don't spend with them.

I would imagine, as every couple is different with different schedules and responsibilities, the amount of time they can invest in their marriage will be different. That's for them to evaluate. [My intent isn't judgey.] For us, it's this much because we are comfortable with this much. It's just... well, we are well-aware that we're barfy. That's all.

Let me tell you what this intimacy and time built for us. When you're new and you can finish each other's sentences, it's because you're new and hypersensitive to that other person, voraciously soaking up all that you can about them. When you're not new anymore and distracted by life, it is harder to be that empathetic for another person. It's also hard to spend time studying someone that you think you already know pretty well. Particularly if it's sacrificing yourself in order to do it. But if you're living and breathing their lives with them a little more, it all comes back. You already know what they are going to say. You ripple with feeling for them. The excitement of something new, something hilarious, or something shared is heightened. When we are out and about, Bryon can give me a look and speak volumes without saying a word out loud. He is more sensitive to my feelings, the more time he spends with me in a day. God affords him that consideration of my heart. I can still respect him when he's acting like a jackass because I have perspective of his life. AND AND AND - he knows that my underlying effort is respect and I know his effort is love and kindness even when our actions and words aren't showing it BECAUSE of that time together. The trust is laid in, brick by brick.

Now I want it to be said that I believe we are all individuals. We each have a responsibility to God to make ourselves righteous and merciful in His image - to work our whole lives long at that. We have a responsibility to use the talents that He designed us with. And nobody should ever depend on another human for their own sense of self and confidence - that is for God alone. So I am not talking about codependence, Folks. I'm talking about furthering my relationship with my husband the way that God intended. I'm talking about falling in love with his weaknesses and with supporting him. I'm talking about watching him sacrifice to meet my needs and love me unconditionally.

I think a lot of people are overwhelmed at how HARD it is to be actively involved in your spouse, to be married the way God intended for us to be. I am NO EXPERT at this by any means, but I do know that I am more involved than I've ever been and it is hard. Look, it is very hard to keep on smiling and supporting when your person is being a buttface. And believe me, it's equally hard for him to be loving and kind when he's talking to a woman who is nagging at him. Its HARD hard... like hard in a way that you cannot breathe and you sacrifice your selfishness in favor of your spouse. That hurts to do, it hurts our humanness - but it glorifies our Heavenly Father. He sees it. He will reward us exponentially for that giving. Just as he rewards our mates when they gut it out to speak pink. All the time spent together builds intimacy. That intimacy bridges the gap, I think. It allows the sacrifice. It is for this reason that I love arguing with my husband. Not the chore of it, not the words or the feelings that get jumbled up in the middle of the battle, but because we are both better after. BETTER. Freaking awesome. This is the gift He gave us.

This feeling that we have? I don't EVER want it to end. I want to take it to Heaven with us.

This love that drowns us every day, I can't figure out how to breathe in it sometimes because I never imagined anything so vulnerable. It's... deeper than anything. If I'm being completely honest, I never knew I'd feel this. Even when we got married 493 days ago, I never knew it would feel this good and complete and awesome. This is the gift He gave me in my husband.

And so I was thinking this weekend about our summer together so far. My 3 are with their dad until July 28, so it's been just the two of us much of the time. We've taken a small vacation and worked on the house. We've done chores and gone golfing. We've worked a lot. We've become addicted to Duck Dynasty. We have been blessed with this time together. If I were asked to describe our summer together, I'm not sure I could find the right words. Joyful. Fun. MEANINGFUL. Honest. THICK with the meat of life. Sticky with love. Deeper than it was before. Amazing.

Those are a lot of words. Truth is, I've fallen head over heels in love with my husband again. AGAIN. How is that even possible? Thank you, Jesus. And? I've fallen head over heels in love with our marriage. With us.

I think the best words are this: THIS IS A GIFT.

July 5, 2012

A Thousand Words For Love

Months ago I found an image on Pinterest that sat with me. It sat and chewed. I absolutely adored the sentiment that I read (and still wish that Google could allow me to properly credit the author) and I resolved immediately to put it somewhere in our home.

Because truly, the way he sleeps when his body is touching mine is... gosh, one of God's greatest gifts to me. It's how I remember that he needs me for comfort, too.

On days that seem too crazy, on nights that he's stressed or full of human worry, he gets into the bed and rolls and flops. The quilts tremble and the pillows end up strewn everywhere. Even when he's halfway sleeping, he tosses and turns and frets.  ...until I touch him. If I lay my leg across his, if I wrap my arm around his chest and nestle into his yummy wolf fur, if I rub his back or kiss his shoulder, he is GONE. The snores happen within only moments. Oh yes, it's how I remember that he needs me for comfort and peace. And then? Oh.... and then he scoots and wiggles his comatose self closer to my body until we are touching from toes to nose almost. Ugh, I LOVE THAT.

Yes. This sentiment needed to surround us.

And so, on a recent weekend I went out into the garage to retrieve some leftover Eider White (Sherwin Williams Duration Home, for those interested). I also unpacked the small, wooden alphabet stamps I had stashed in my drawer waiting for a time when Bryon would be gone.

I eyeballed the spot where it would be painted and drew lines with a straight edge level. I did not use all of the lines and they were uneven, meaning some went further over to the left and others continued on more to the right. I decided to set myself up as best I could and then wait to see what happened when I touched the paint. Inspiration changes things, you know.

The other supplies used were two heavily damp (but not dripping) rags, a plate in case I needed something sturdy to push on, a large towel to protect the carpet (not pictured), and a glob of the Eider White paint on a plastic lid. I knew I did not want to use a brush on the stamps and I also knew that I'd need a very thin layer of paint on the letter portion of the rubber stamp, which is the reason I chose the lid. More of this below.

As I began practicing and working with these stamps, I noticed that the letter surface was not very deep on the rubber. Therefore, letters like 'e' and 'a' were too full of paint when I patted them into the paint on the lid. Even with the thinnest of paint layers, it was too much. I needed more control before I could stamp on my wall. And then it occurred to me to use my fingers. 

Instead of patting the stamp directly onto the paint on the lid, I tapped my index finger into the paint and rubbed it together with my thumb. That made the paint thinner and tackier. The result was perfect: just enough paint to cover the portion of the letter sticking out of the rubber pad.

This took time, Peeps. I didn't watch the clock, but it was easily 45 minutes. I made a ton of mistakes and just used the wet washcloth to wipe away the letter I wanted to erase. Once the letters had dried it was time to clean up the pencil lines. A mixture of toothpaste and water on cotton swabs worked perfectly. Using an eraser leaves even bigger, smeary marks, so this was a nice little resolution that I'd Googled before I started. 

I allowed the paint to dry another 30 minutes before using a warm wash cloth over the entire surface to remove any toothpaste residue. I was very careful not to rub the letters hard, though being wall paint, they should stand up to it when fully cured.

I still didn't wash it thoroughly, wanting to give it a week or so to cure. Probably doesn't take quite that long, but I had the time to wait, so I did.

Husband came in from mowing to change his clothes and shower. There, beside his pillow, was this little love note, written by someone else but from the heart nonetheless.

I love that he will see it every night before he goes to sleep.  Every morning when he wakes up. Whever he's ready to kick my bahookey. Or snuggle it.

July 3, 2012

Somethin' 'Bout A Pair of Boots

So, just the other day I posted about some things I've had my eyeballs peeled for, in terms of fashion for the upcoming fall.

Sorry. That sentence was very poorly constructed considering I was an English major. After I was pre-med. I'm going to blame it on aging. Thanks for playing!

Husband and I decided to stop at the new RCC in town. For those of you who have never been to RCC, it's a country/western store that will make your skirt fly up. Well, if you're me. We went looking for something to wear to our upcoming concerts this year.

Brad Paisley
Poison & Def Leppard
Eric Church

Right. Out of our minds excited.

One of the things I posted about was a pair of cowboy boots. I've been lusting over a pair of tan Lucchese 1883 boots for more than a year. But considering they cost almost as much as a car payment, I could never pull the trigger. Sure, they are handmade. Sure, I could save up. Sure, I have the softest of soft spots for shoes, but I couldn't do it. And also, our RCC doesn't carry Lucchese in women's.

When we'd walked into the enormous store, Bryon and Hayley split left and I went right. I quickly glanced down the rows of pretty, pretty boots. I saw the most beautiful thing on the bottom shelf. [Because girls with big feet always find their shoes on the bottom shelf.]

A pair of Old West tan Canyon boots in a size 9.5.  Less than a THIRD of the cost of the Lucchese boots, too. I put them on. The leather was so soft. They fit, but the toe and the heel were snug. By that time, Salesman Billy spotted me and wandered over. With his help, I found the last pair of 10s in the store. They fit like buttah. The FELT like buttah.

Billy encouraged me to walk around for a while, to see if I really liked them. Boot-buyin' is serious business, you know. I figured I'd better go show my husband. I really didn't intend to buy any boots that day because we were off to pick out a shiny new toilet for the kids' bathroom instead. But still, they looked pretty sexy so I'd might as well go show off the hotness that he married.

He smiled when he saw me walk up all giggly and whirly and silly.

I pointed my toe and posed.

I wore the boots for a few minutes while Bryon looked around. Every once and a while he'd glance back at me and a smile played on his mouth. "I'm just making sure I like them," I said. I knew I should probably take them off of my feet, but... like buttah, Peeps. Luxurious. Sexy. I didn't want my try-on session to end yet.

So while Bryon was still looking around, I'd given Billy my name and asked him to hold the boots for me. Once we'd settled on a new toilet and figured out the rest of the budget, maybe we could come back [wife-thinking]. 

Bryon overheard this conversation. I looked at my husband and smiled because while I certainly LOVED the boots, I respected his opinion and our budget more. "I'll wait. Let's go get the toilet," I said. "Maybe we'll come back later." I finally took off the beautiful brown boots and handed them to him.

As I put my flip flops back on, my husband handed the boots to Billy. "We'll take them," he said. My husband WHO NEVER BUYS A DANG THING WITHOUT LOOKING AT IT ELEVENTY TIMES bought me a pair of cowboy boots.

Just like that.

I wore those boots for the rest of the day, and into the night. I wore them to Menard's (where we found our toilet) and to the grocery store. I wore them in the backyard. I made plans to wear them 100 times more - especially with shorts, to our concerts.

Later that night, we laid in bed and tucked the quilts in around us. I thanked him again for his gift. And then I said, "Tell me something sweet so I can sleep."

After a few minutes of quiet thinking, he folded the corner of his pillow under to prop up his smile. And then he said, "I bought you cowboy boots today. They look great on you."

He smiled some more as he stared into my eyes. "I never impulse buy. Never."

[I had explained to him that a woman's calculated buy cannot be classified as an impulse buy because in that case, we are very, very certain and when we KNOW, we know - but he told me to shut up so that he could say this something sweet.] 

"I always look at things several times. But the way you looked when you walked up to me... the way the boots made you smile," he paused, "Those were the right boots. I wanted to get them for you."

So sweet. His chest puffs up all big and Jedi-strong when I brag on his gift, too.

Man I love me some Bryon Krutsch.

Well, and then there is the song. 

It's the song we heard for the first time while driving through North Dakota this winter. Holding hands, trying out the local country station, on a break from Christian radio. We listened to the lyrics with our eyeballs popping right, and then left, tick-tocking to decide if we liked what we heard. "Somethin' 'Bout A Truck" by Kip Moore. Kip Who?  Right.

But. Something stuck with our tick-tocking eyeballs. Something we couldn't shake. And so when it came on the radio over the next few weeks we turned it up and giggled. Maybe it's because we heard it for the first time together. Maybe it's because Husband is obsessed with some of the lyrics of the song. Whatever it is, we liked it. And Kip Moore is going to sing it to my boot-wearing self when he opens for Eric Church this fall. So there.

And also, I have been recently informed that his next gift to me will be a red sundress.