We are taught to leave this world better than we found it. Nine years ago Hubbz had hair and I was rocking 24 like, well, a rockstar. We were in the midst of planning a crazy-huge Italian wedding and building what was, at the time, our dream home. A modest, cute little place for a semi-young couple to start off in. We watched step-by-step as our house was built. We visited often and took pictures each step of the way. We dreamed up huge dreams about what our future would hold. I look back on our 9 years here and I wonder where the time has gone. Surely it hasn’t been that long… Except it has.
This home sweet home. It’s been a place to lay our heads after long days. It’s been a place of peace when the world outside gets to be too much. It’s been a place of finding myself. It’s been a place of learning how to be a wife. It’s the place where we learned what marriage was all about. It’s where I built a life with Hubbz. It’s the place that this man I married turned into My Champion that I can’t imagine a day without. This place has been our breath of fresh air. Lazy afternoons in the hammock on the deck with our Bella. A house stuffed to the brim with holiday memories and Shark Week kickoff parties. It’s been a home full of more BBQ’s than one could ever want and a whole lot of takeout too. It’s been a place of sleepover Saturday’s with my 3 nieces and Netflix Friday nights with Hubbz. For Hubbz it’s the home that his Papa was so proud of him for building. This is the home where Hubbz and I dance in the living room and cook together in the kitchen. It’s the place we perfected the art of s’more making around the fire pit with amazing friends. It’s the place we learned to literally get on our knees and pray together. It’s the home where we learned about compromise and intentionality in marriage. It’s the home where I fell in love with Hubbz, my best friend, all over again. It’s the home where we found out we were going to be a mommy and daddy.
This modest little place. Not very big but bursting at the seams with memories. Some good, some bad, all of them ours. Leaving this home is the end of an era for Hubbz and I. We’re ending the chapter in our life together that has been all about us. The next chapter has already begun to unfold, at the center of it, a sweet little child that we have prayed so desperately for. It is so hard to move on from what we have created but at the same time, we are so excited for the future.
It is now, that the last episode of The Fresh Prince of Bel Air plays in my head (because that’s how my brain works.) Will is standing in the living room remembering all the memories. That lump in your throat starts to form as he walks over and turns off the lights for the last time. This moment is kinda like that- except there’s no Carlton running down the stairs with his pants around his ankles wondering where everyone went (if you have no idea what I am talking about, for the love, YouTube it. I’ll say “you’re welcome” in advance.)
I stand in our living room and look around. The house hasn’t been this empty since we moved in 9 years ago- almost to the day. This place is infused with so many memories. It’s so quiet now though. Hubbz looks over at me and asks if I am ready. I turn to leave with him but before I do, I pause and I close my eyes. I can feel his arms wrap around me and my hot tears on my cheeks. I take a deep breath and I listen. For a moment I can hear the laughter we left behind that is soaked into these walls. I thank God for the blessings this home offered us. I thank God for all of the life that happened in this home. The good and the bad all brought us to this day. I look up at him and through his own tears he says “You ready for the next chapter with me?” I nod my head yes – and with that it’s time to close the lights one last time.
We are taught to leave this world better than we found it. For this little plot of land in this sweet little city, we have done just that. Change has never ever been easy for me but once again in my life, I am so humbly thankful to have had something that makes saying goodbye so difficult.
I tend to think mornings are super-duper annoying. That being said, I realize I live in a world where it is frowned upon to ignore people until 10am. To try and combat my loathing for waking up in the morning I came up with a little mantra that I repeat even before I open my eyeholes. “Today is going to be a great day!” I know it sounds super-cheesy but it actually works… I mean, except when it doesn’t… But it usually does.
Case in point…
I’m be-bebopping through my morning getting ready, extra thrilled to be rocking some adorable hand-me-down maternity clothes (my friends are basically AWESOME!) Pretty pumped about my outfit, I take a selfie to send to my people… Because they love bump selfies at obscene hours of the morning. I head downstairs to get my things around and decide our pup could use a little fresh San Pellegrino (side note, my dog doesn’t drink bottled water. She definitely drinks tap water but it’s way more fun to refer to it as San Pellegrino, so you can stop judging me now) Anywho! I bend over to give her a little love and get her water dish when I hear the most heart wrenching, humbling sound of my life.
RIIIIIIIIIIIIIIP… RIIIP… Twice. Big rip followed by little rip… TWO TIMES.
I look at my dog who looks back at me slightly confused. I shake it off and pretend it didn’t happen. I stand up with her water dish and realize, my pantalones have become a wee bit drafty… Ummm Dollface that definitely happened. I go to the hall mirror and bend over only to see not one but two gaping holes in the ass of my maternity jeans.
It is here that I would like to pause and allow you to really grasp the magnitude of that last sentence. I ripped not one but two holes in the ass of MATERNITY jeans. Those are like normal sized jeans except they are specifically made for women who are carrying a little extra junk in the trunk… And I just ripped them… IN TWO PLACES.
It was at this moment I turned around and looked at myself in the mirror… I had a choice. Do I entertain the tears that are beginning to form in my eyeholes or do I blink them away, stay true to my mantra and realize I am growing a tiny human and my body is no longer medium-sized like that tag on the jeans says.
I am going to be totally honest and tell you I completely flirted with the first option. I really did start to cry. I have spent my entire adolescent and adult life trying to fit my body (and my eating habits) into a size that is petite and cute. I would be completely lying if I told you this whole gain weight while growing a tiny human thing hasn’t wreaked havoc on my self-esteem. I know most women don’t talk about that… But I have to. Going to the doctor and watching that number on that scale slowly creep up causes me anxiety. Seeing stretch marks form on my skin that I have worked so hard to keep free of blemishes kinda gives me fast breath and makes me freak out a little. While I know all of this sounds ridiculously vain, I would not be authentic if I didn’t acknowledge these feelings are there.
HOWEVER… Slowly I am allowing my ideas of beauty to be changed.
I am learning that body-shaming is a horrible thing to do to yourself.
I am learning that your health matters more than your size.
I am learning that size really is just a number.
I am learning that our tiny human is blowing my idea of beauty completely to smithereens.
I am learning that being a Mama is definitely going to be one of the most humbling things I will probably ever do in my life.
I am learning that life is a series of rips in the ass of your jeans and what matters is how you handle those moments.
So here I am, no longer medium-sized with a choice to make. I looked myself in the mirror and blinked away the tears. Said outloud to myself “Today is going to be a great day!” Then I went upstairs and changed into the most comfortable capri leggings the world has ever known.
As I threw away those medium-sized maternity jeans (because after surveying the damage, there was no hope for them) I also threw away my notions of beauty and what that means. I embrace Psalm 139:14 “I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.” I look to the Lord to lead me through this new shift in how I see myself and I pray that I can get a glimpse of me as He sees me.
I am 18 weeks along and our little boy is growing bigger everyday. My body is definitely not mine anymore but a vessel for bringing our tiny human into the world. The magnitude of this takes my breath away. Today is going to be a great day, indeed!
My first priority when I walk in the door after work is to look as homeless as I possibly can. After a long day of having to wear pants I feel that it is my reward to promptly remove them when I get home and lavish my body with something amazing like 100% cotton jersey knit. I feel like that is necessary information to tell you for when you read the next sentence. So there I am, laying on the couch looking all homeless when he walks in the door. I quickly sit up to pretend I wasn’t totally passing out on the couch and wipe the drool off my cheek… Sexy, I know. I straighten his oversized sweatshirt that’s hugging my baby bump these days and readjust my headband and give him my best “Hey Boo, Heyyyyy!” He laughs and walks in the kitchen. I lay back on the couch because growing a tiny human is a lot of work and it makes me sleepy. I ask him how his day was fully expecting to hear his voice coming from the kitchen but to my surprise he has now walked back over by the living room. I look over and this man with his heart of gold is standing there holding yet another bouquet of flowers, a bag of Arby’s french fries with extra Arby’s sauce and a chocolate and jamocha mixed shake.
“Why Hello, Hubbz. You have just won the key to my heart.” (Because food makes me swoon- I used to fight it now I just accept it’s the way God made me… And I swim more laps because of it.)
The past couple months Hubbz has started a new thing… He brings me fresh flowers every week. Usually he picks them up after Saturday morning basketball but sometimes he shows up with them in the middle of a random weekday. The Arby’s he brought me I have been craving for the better part of 2 weeks. I haven’t broken down because I know fast food isn’t good for me or our little BabyB… I think maybe Hubbz was tired of hearing me talk about Arby’s in my sleep because I definitely had a dream or two about it.
I am writing all this not to brag at how fabulous my husband is… Although, he is pretty fab. I’m writing this to talk about something so deep that it makes my soul ache… The intentionality of marriage. These seemingly “Random Act of Hubbz”, are not so random. They are intentional. The man intentionally seeks to do things that make me happy. In a world where the marriages around us are failing left and right, intentionality is the missing piece to the puzzle. What if we started being intentional in our marriages? What if we put down our phones, logged off social and tuned into our partners? Don’t get me wrong, I am the first to stop my world so I can SnapChat something… But what if I wasn’t? Sure people would probably have a little less laughter in their life because my snap stories are nothing if not hilarious (I am kidding… kinda.) But seriously, what if?
The truth about intentionality is that being intentional in marriage is hard work. It takes thought and time and planning. I am sleepy just thinking about that.
It takes going outside our selfish wants and needs and desires to intentionally meet the needs of another. At this my ego screams “WHAT ABOUT MY NEEDS! ME! ME! ME!”
I know what you are thinking, between jobs, kids, this, that and the other, who has time for that? I AGREE! Then I stop and ask… Who doesn’t have time for it? Isn’t it the most important thing? The thing I know about marriage is the moment you stop paying attention to it, the moment you stop being intentional, it leaves room for other priorities to take its place. I know this so well because we had a marriage like that. We neglected it so bad it was unrecognizable. Us… The couple who vowed to live “happily ever after” (swoon) on their wedding day had a marriage that we completely incinerated because of neglect. Neglect that only God himself has redeemed and made whole again- because our God is good like that.
Today, as you begin your week, I urge you to start living intentionally for your marriage.
Husbands go out of your way to love your wife. If you don’t know how to do that, learn. Invest the time in the woman you vowed to love for the rest of your days. See what makes her tick. Ask her what you can do to be a better husband and when she tells you, do your best to meet that want or need. Make her feel like she is the most incredible woman that has ever walked into your life.
Wives, make a choice to respect your husband. Speak of him in ways that if he overheard he would stand a little taller and walk a little lighter. Speak to him in ways that nurture him and lift him up. Tell him he is handsome and that gosh dang it- his dad bod is hot! Make him feel like he’s the reason the sun rises every morning. Thank him for who he is as a man… Your man.
Live intentionally like your marriage depends on it my sweet readers, because if we are being honest, it does.
Yesterday I gave you a snapshot of where, why and how my blog was born… Today, I offer you a glorious slew of throwbacks… Enjoy!
Today is a beautiful day of nostalgia for me. 4 years ago today, I took the plunge… I pushed away the fear and I started my blog. While that may not seem life-altering and earth shattering, for me, it kinda was. I was at a place in life of self-discovery. A spot where I was determined to do big things in my life. I had reached a point where I was sick of the mundane and desired to create and live a life that mattered. I came to the conclusion that I didn’t want to look back at my life at 40 or 50 or 60 or 107 (because I definitely think I need to live to be 107) and think… “That’s it… That’s all I did!?”
So yes, I started a blog. I decided that taking my life and living it out loud was the best place for me to begin. The events that have occurred in my life since that first post have been nothing short of mind blowing. The way God has moved and worked as I put my faith more and more in Him has altered the very core of who I am.
So much has happened in 4 years. Some of it incredibly amazing and some of it totally devastating. So many things have changed yet so many things have stayed completely the same. There are a few things (and people) that have kept me grounded in peace- one of those things has been writing. In fantastic throwback fashion, I offer you my first blog post… The place where it all began.
Turn up your speakers, settle in and CLICK HERE: The First Post… Out Loud!
*Spoiler Alert… Tomorrow’s post holds a glorious slew of throwbacks… You definitely are not going to want to miss it! 😘