49 for 25 (and some turtles)

My youngest daughter isn’t sure it’s fair.  She thinks that twenty-five years of happiness is reward enough.

But darn it, twenty-five years of happiness is stinking hard work!  Yes, it is most certainly a gift in and of itself, but big ol’ dollops of grace, some serious stubbornness determination, gobs of love sometimes pulled out of nowhere, and best friends deciding to make every effort to remain head-over-heels in love are things worth celebrating.

And did we.

The two of us ventured off to our 49th state last week (yup, only one more to go!), and had the time of our lives. One of my best girlfriends says it’s okay for me to show pictures because it’s inspiring for other folks to see not only is it possible to stay together, but it is possible to thrive together.

This was our first time with an entire week, just the two of us, since our honeymoon.  We were young parents once, and quite happy to wait until *someday when our kids were grown* to begin our travel together. We invested all we had into them and into my husband’s career (he had such a hard time taking time off when he worked for other people due to his intense desire to be the best employee he could be), but now the time is here and right and ours.

tunnels beach

Thanks to the advice of some dear friends who found Eden on the island of Kauai, we got tips and pointers for the best beaches, and soaked it all up for seven perfect days.  We’d wake up early, my sweet man would go get coffee for me, and we’d head out for the day — tasting all the local foods, exploring the tropics by water, land, and air.  He made my dreams come true with a helicopter ride deep into the canyons of the island, and we flew with the doors off and the wind in our hair, and as the little girl sang in my headset about how dreams really do come true somewhere over the rainbow, I wept.  As a little girl and a young mom, I would have never dreamed that I would ever be so lavished upon.  I beheld the breathtaking creation from my flying glass bubble and worshiped a God Who would do this just for me.  All at once, I felt so small, yet so significant that I should find myself in this moment.

We motored around in a little catamaran for half a day, backing into sea caves, and jumping into the cobalt blue waters.

Cave

na pali

Christian got a full view of a breaching whale — quite a miracle two months after their season.  We got massively sunburned and then brown as acorns.  We laughed and best-friended and read novels and spent days at the turquoise beaches, swimming and snorkeling alongside majestic sea turtles.

our snorkeling buddy

our snorkeling buddy

We went to a coffee plantation. We ate fruits we didn’t even know the name of from the farmer’s markets.  We often found ourselves with pineapple juice running down our chins and arms.  We picked and ate bananas fresh from the tree, and took about a gazillion pictures of tropical flowers.  We ate pig from a pit at a luau and more than our fair share of shave ice. We marveled at the shaking hips of dark-haired Hawaiian beauties dancing the hula.

We desperately missed skinny-arm hugs from our grandbabies, and loved being missed by, and missing, our now-old children.  :o)

We came home with our bags too heavy with shells, and bamboo t-shirts, and sarongs, and maracas, and hula skirts, and flowery leis for our sweet family and all reunited with laughter and pictures and much joy.

We experienced so many full-circle moments.  God has such a way of weaving a tapestry of legacy and love and intertwining all of the threads in a life with color and beauty amidst the threads of pain and trials.  Some perspective from a few thousand miles away on a mountainous island and thirty-thousand feet up in the clouds really helps you see some purpose in each of the pieces of the puzzle that make up this lifetime.

We have struggled, we have crawled sometimes, but we have survived.  Like the little sea turtles that make up the 10% that survive from their hatched egg-self to their ancient-eyed, full-grown self, we are proud of ourselves for not getting distracted by the other starry lights that distract from the goal, and purposefully scrambling toward the water with all we’ve had in us and with the most thankful of hearts.

To my love who has lived up to more potential than anyone on this earth had imagined as a husband to me for this quarter of a century, I am grateful for the love with which you lavish me.  I’m thankful for the tough times that grew us, the good times that cemented us, and the fact that somehow, we still haven’t run out of interesting words for each other.  For the times your heart beat with mine, the times it beat for mine, and the times it beat against mine, I thank you.

To our Daddy Who wrote our love story, I am, as always, in awe. What an amazing Author You are.

To those who read these words, I pray nothing more than that you first find your True Love.  The One Who both created your heart and its longings, and holds your tears in a bottle.  If your heart is searching for its mate, be sure your Daddy knows and has the absolute best in store for you.  I can attest, that dreams really do come true.

 

yes, it's a thing

yes, it’s a thing

hula dancers

hula dancers

luau

candlelight dinner with a view thanks to a dear friend

candlelight dinner with a view thanks to a dear friend

dressed for dinner (finally out of our swimsuits)

dressed for dinner (finally out of our swimsuits)

yeah. that hurt.

yeah. that hurt.

luau

luau

flowers

eating poke (raw ahi tuna)

eating poke (raw ahi tuna)

the roosters are everywhere there. even starbucks.

the roosters are everywhere there. even starbucks.

fruits from the farmer's market.

fruits from the farmer’s market.

me in the water

me in the water

coffee tasting at kauai coffee plantation

coffee tasting at kauai coffee plantation

coffee

4 million coffee plants growing us our brew.

4 million coffee plants growing us our brew.

wameia canyon

falls

view

view

shave ice

shave ice

art walk, downtown hanapepe

art walk, downtown hanapepe

heading home...

heading home…

 

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Marriage; as it relates to cute shoes and combat boots

I just returned from an anniversary trip with my man.  The same man about whom I may once have said didn’t have a romantic bone in his body planned a trip without my help and told me just to keep four days open and pack my bags.  Now that’s romantic.  This is the kind of thing a girl waits for, longs for.  And I know most don’t get.  So I write this carefully, not wanting to brag, but to encourage that even the things that seem like were once impossible are simply not.  Dreams bigger than what you know to dream are possible when you hand them over to Someone big enough to handle them.
But some things need the right apparel…

Some deep discussions have been happening at my house lately.  All of them point to one glaringly obvious truth.  We (boys and girls) are just never really going to understand each other.  The differences are countless and vast.

It doesn’t mean we can’t coexist and even love each other madly, but it does mean that there are invisible lines drawn that need to be straddled and even hurdled occasionally in order to do life together well.

The stuff that makes us up is just made from different materials.  One group is velvet-coated rebar, and the other is more like massive steel beams.
I’m thinking that originally, when we were created, there wasn’t such a chasm of differences between us, but perhaps that whole kick-you-out-of-paradise-curse thing may have shoved the whole night-and-day difference thing into overdrive.

In my opinion, the list of differences can, for the most part, be summed up in two words.
Logic versus emotion.
To demonstrate my point, I’ll use just one aspect.  Competition.

This word alone is why I had mostly guy friends until I had a little maturity under my belt.
Guy competition happens every day in any scenario and can involve who can throw rocks farther, who can lift more firewood, or, oddly enough, pee the farthest (?).  And even after a fistfight a “Sorry, Dude” and a handshake is all it takes to patch things up.  A logical fight with a logical ending.

Girls.  Oh, no. We walk into a room and our competitiveness shows in the way we size up every other girl in the room to figure out how we fit in.  We take in all the hair, and shoes, and let’s be honest, the shapes of every one else and base our own score on what we see–as if olympic-like judges sit at a table in our minds determining our worth.
And a girl who is feeling especially insecure may decide to wipe out the competition with a word–to wreck a life with a well-placed emotional bullet that no handshake can ever repair.image

So, how in the world is marriage supposed to work in this craziness?  How do we find the balance across the chasm that divides with the odds stacked high like some Empire State-sized Jenga game?

I took my husband to see Man of Steel for Father’s Day.  Amy Adams, a favorite actress of mine, played Lois Lane.  For the first two-thirds or so of the movie, she functioned in her cute shoes.  You know, the ones with four and a half inch heels.  She got carried around by the big guy in her cute shoes and she ran from the bad guy in her cute shoes.  She fell in love in those same shoes, but when push came to shove, and her man was in trouble, the girl found herself some combat boots.

See, I’m usually the girl in cute shoes.  In fact, these are my favorite pair.  Image
This particular pair hurts my feet like the dickens.  Perhaps it’s my Dutch heritage that made me think wooden shoes were a good plan.  But, to the consternation of my son who has no idea on earth why a girl would wear something so impractical, I will wear them and quite happily because they are so darn cute.
But there comes a time…

A time when it’s time to put the combat boots on and fight for and alongside the man I married made of steel beams in the only way I know how.

As much as we want to, to act instinctively based on emotion or logic alone will always be unproductive.
Wanna know what I learned?  It’s the toughest thing I ever have to do, and most times I fail.  Fighting for our marriage, putting on the boots, looks mostly like keeping my mouth shut and letting go of control.  Right, wrong, or otherwise, there are times when I need to just back the truck up and let my man lead and watch the ‘S’ on his chest grow to superhero-like proportions.

The only bridge we’ve been given is to consider the other position.  To act outside of instinct and consider a different approach.  Loving intentionally.

Men, do the opposite of what may come naturally and LOVE!!!  Love her!  Be willing to lay down your dreams, your ego, your plans–for her.  Not that you’ll have to, but love her that much.  It’s not a logical issue this time.  But, that’s why God made sure to tell you the secret, and how to implement it.  Just love her.  If you really do it the way you’re supposed to, she’ll follow you to the ends of the earth.

Ladies, don’t react with that emotion that can destroy in a word, or even a look.  Put on your boots and fight by standing alongside and praying for him.  Make the decision to hold your tongue and let a loving husband lead.  Even if you’re darn sure you know better than he does.  Be willing to let him make a mistake and correct it, because a humble leader is what we long for, isn’t it?  We may think we can do it best, but truthfully, we are the most secure when the weight of the world rests squarely on some steel beams.

It’s never gonna be perfect.  But the moments when we sit well in our shoes make it worth it, and make for a much more comfortable journey.

Image

Happy 22nd Anniversary to us!!

What are some of the major differences you have to hurdle in your marriage or have observed in others’?