This week we have had two beds delivered to our house.
The first is a king-sized memory foam mattress that is currently sitting on the floor as we eagerly await the arrival of our new bed frame. It arrived around 2:30 yesterday afternoon and Jack was super excited to greet them at the door (almost as excited as I was!). After some coaxing and wrestling, I finally got him in the back yard to give the delivery guys an obstacle-free walkway. At first I was really concerned about how they’d navigate our narrow stairwell and the U-turn at the top that leads to the master bedroom. The foundation (as opposed to box springs) came as two twin-sized pieces, so those were easy enough to maneuver. And the mattress, much to my surprise, came rolled up into a tight cylinder wrapped in plastic. One guy carried it over his shoulder and the other one steered. They got it in the room, sliced the plastic off, and unrolled it onto the foundation – I was told it’d take a couple hours to completely “inflate.” I thanked them profusely and they told me to “tell Jack bye for us!”
When I tell you that last night was the best sleep I’ve gotten in ages, that is by no means an exaggeration. We’ve been wanting to upgrade to a king for a while now. And Trey and I have always had different opinions about whether the sleep number or the pillow-top queen-sized bed was the comfiest (um, it’s the pillow-top, no contest) so we compromised on the memory foam. The first thing he said to me this morning was “why did we do this years ago???” Why indeed?!?!?! Yes, last night’s sleep – though the fact that we were bone tired to the point of not being able to walk straight when we got home at midnight (way, way, WAY past our bedtime) might have skewed our judgment – was GLORIOUS.
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The second bed we’ve had delivered this week is Pop’s hospital bed. It’s in the dining room facing the back wall so that when he arrives with hospice this afternoon he can look to his right and see the tv and to his left he can look out the window. When the first bed of the week was delivered, we moved our sleep-number (cause it’s collapsible!) queen-sized bed into the dining room so that Nana will be able to stay by Pop’s side all night. I hope she doesn’t mind though, Frank and Rufus have already decided it belongs to them.
I hope Trey’s folks are comfortable in their new beds tonight – we’ve done everything we could think of to make it so. But I cannot lie, if they’re not comfortable in the middle of the night, we won’t know…because our new bed makes us both sleep like rocks!
From the moment I met Trey, I knew he was something special. He was smart and funny, gentle and kind…and those baby blues blew me away. I knew he was good for me because I couldn’t wait to introduce him to my parents. Right off the bat, Trey made me want to be a better person. God brought us together at a time in my life when I really needed a spiritual role model, and I found one in Trey.
Now I won’t say that I haven’t had any low points since we met (Lord knows I’ve had the lowest low), but God gave me Trey. Trey, who chose to love me when God told him to even thought I was impossible to love. If Jesus is my Savior, then Trey was the tool He used to rescue me from The Pit.
Trey is one of the most intelligent people I’ve ever met. He knows things I could never begin to understand, and yet he can explain almost anything to anyone in a way they can understand it. He always know the perfect analogy to make any problem relatable.
He’s also a very patient man. When faced with a difficult person or situation, Trey shows more grace and diplomacy than I could ever muster. When I would want to kick someone in the face, Trey can just take a deep breath and deal with even the most frustrating circumstance.
Trey loves with his whole heart: me, his family, his friends, his God, and his life’s work. He gives his all every day and constantly puts others before himself.
After months of studying Proverbs 31, I’m still nowhere close to being the Wife of Noble Character. But every day, no matter how I might fail him, Trey makes me feel like the best wife int he world. He’ll even tell people that he’s so blessed to have me in his life – little does he know that the blessing is all mine.
Trey tells me I’m beautiful every single day – even when I feel fat and gross and haven’t showered or changed out of my pajamas. He kisses me hello and goodbye each day when he leaves the house and each evening when he comes home. He calls me his better half – but he is mine.
Trey goes out of his way almost daily to help others. Whether it’s holding a door open for a stranger or completely rebuilding a friend’s computer, he’s happy to help. Even when I feel that others take advantage of his willingness to help out, he doesn’t complain.
He is the best man I know. I love and respect him more than I could ever say and I will never be able to honor and serve him the way he deserves – but I vow to spend the rest of my life trying.
Happy birthday, Love of My Life. I thank God for you every day. You will never know how very much you mean to me. I love you INFINIMOST!!!
WE HAVE A RENTER!
Here’s the long and short of it: Our contract with our realtor (the fabulous BK Vernon) ran out December 31, 2012. Since the contract lapsed, we can now re-sign and have the house listed at “0 days on the market” instead of almost 600. BK has also commissioned the printing of a larger “for sale” sign to put on the corner of the alley where our driveway is so that people who drive by will at least know there’s something back there.
The morning of January 31, Trey had taken the day off work and was awakened by a phone call from BK: the guy she’d told us about the week before definitely wanted to rent and he needed to move in THAT DAY! We spent the day signing paperwork and tweaking the lease.
Our renter was connected with our agent through another agent. He apparently has a history of flipping older houses (he just finished one in Hampton Heights) so we’re secretly hoping he’ll fall in love with all the awesome potential our little house has and want to buy it. AND even if he doesn’t, he’s going to let BK go in and take more pictures of the house staged…instead of empty, which is what it was when she took the first pictures. He’s also asked our permission to paint the shutters black and the front door red (HALLELUJAH!!!)…um, we said yes.
So basically, all these things roll together to mean our house is getting some much needed attention and we’re so excited and thankful for that.
This has the potential to be long and rambling.
I usually get up in the morning and do my bible reading first thing. I brew some tea and have a slice of homemade bread with butter on it and snuggle up on the couch with a cat or two. I read my daily email devotion and I read the date’s corresponding Proverb (today’s the 8th so I’ll read Proverbs 8, get it?) and then I’m slowly but surely reading my way through the bible – I finished the New Testament first and have been reading the OT backwards a book at a time. Today I’m on Daniel. Anyway, because of other appointments around town and because I just couldn’t make myself get out of bed at 6am after doing yardwork all evening, I didn’t have time to do it this morning. So my whole day started a little off course.
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Today I completed Level 2 of Jillian Michaels’ 30 Day Shred for the first time. It’s my 11th day overall using the program. It’s been hard but good. I haven’t lost much weight but I can tell I’m getting toned, and losing inches (which is always nice). I’m sore, but not too sore. Just sore enough to be reminded that I have muscles that are being strengthened and not so sore that it hurts to run up the stairs. I’ve also been following the diet program from Power 90. Overall, I feel more confident and healthy. Not to mention a little proud of myself, even if today’s work-out totally kicked my booty.
* * *
Trey’s out of town at a conference this week. I realized within 4 hours of his being gone that it is HARD to be a Proverbs 31 wife when your hubby is out of town. When he’s not coming home from work at 5 every day, what’s my incentive to have the dishes and the laundry done? Why not just have a movie marathon or curl up with a good book all day long? Because that’s not honoring my husband. It’s been a tricky few days but I think I’ve found an acceptable balance between enjoying “having the week off” and being a good productive wife. Watch a movie in the afternoon – mow the lawn in the evening. That’s a good compromise, right?
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For my birthday, my Secret Sister gave me a Groupon for a chiropractic visit plus an hour massage. It included x-rays and a follow-up consultation from the chiropractor after which I’d receive a voucher for a free hour long massage at a local spa. Sounded like a good deal to me. I’d never been to the chiropractor before so I thought it’d be interesting at the very least, but since I’ve never really had any problems with my back (other than slight aches due to arching my back all the time) I didn’t really expect much out of it. I went for the x-ray on Monday and had the follow-up today. And what I learned was that I’m broken. Broken enough that I could see the problem areas on the x-ray before the doc pointed them out. There is absolutely no curve to my neck…at all: so basically there’s no shock absorber for my giant head. And in my very last vertebra where there should be a thicker piece of cartiledge than all the other pieces, the cartiledge is deteriorated to almost half the size it should be. He recommends 12 weeks of treatment. My first thought was, “holy cow, sign me up.” But after discussing with his assistant what exactly would be covered by my insurance and what would have to come out of pocket, I realized that it’s just not gonna happen any time soon. So I asked the doc if there was anything I could do at home to, if not help the problem, at least not make it worse, and you know what he told me? He told me to avoid reaching over my head. WHAT? I’m 4’11″! My entire life is spent reaching over my head! And even though I think it’s silly, I’m really bummed out by all this. Hillary (my awesome laser technician – I’ll get to that in a minute) said it’s like going to the dentist for a routine cleaning and finding out you needed a root canal.
* * *
After leaving the chiropractor I drove to MEDermis Laser Clinic for my 8th laser tattoo removal treatment. It’s funny, I both really enjoy going and really dread it at the same time. Quite frankly, having a tattoo removed via laser hurts like the dickens. But every time I go I know I’m one step closer to getting rid of a stupid mistake I made more than 10 years ago AND I really like my laser technician. Hillary is super friendly and we get along great – no awkwardness like when you go to a new hair dresser and just don’t know what to say to fill the time while you’re stuck in very close quarters. What’s funny is that I truly believe that other than our once-every-six-weeks meetings, I’m quite certain that Hillary and I would never be friends. And I can’t quite put my finger on why. But I really enjoy her company while she’s burning the ink from my flesh.
* * *
So, in short, today I’m lonely (cause Trey’s out of town), broken, and in crazy pain (from the laser treatment). I’m all out of whack and I don’t know what to do. Do I stop my work-out routine to save my back – even though the damage has already been done and it’s been years in the making? Do I try to scrounge up every penny I can so I can start chiropractic treatments asap? Do I clean the house from top to bottom to welcome my awesome hubby home? Or do I slump down on the couch, prop up my feet, write a blog whining about it, and eat 3/4 of a pint of Rock Road for lunch?
Want to hear something crazy? Okay, maybe not crazy…want to hear an amazing coincidence? Wait…now that I think of it,it may not really be a coincidence either.
In my attempts to be a Proverbs 31 wife and get my life in order (being “in your thirties” instead of just “30″ can have that effect on you) I’ve noticed something interesting. The Bible shows us 10 areas of life which require a certain amount of attention given by the Virtuous Woman (thanks to A Virtuous Woman for laying these out with corresponding scriptures):
1. Faith - A Virtuous Woman serves God with all of her heart, mind, and soul. She seeks His will for her life and follows His ways.
(Proverbs 31: 26, Proverbs 31: 29 – 31, Matthew 22: 37, John 14: 15, Psalm 119: 15)
2. Marriage – A Virtuous Woman respects her husband. She does him good all the days of her life. She is trustworthy and a helpmeet.
(Proverbs 31: 11- 12, Proverbs 31: 23, Proverbs 31: 28, 1 Peter 3, Ephesians 5, Genesis 2: 18)
3. Mothering - A Virtuous Woman teaches her children the ways of her Father in heaven. She nurtures her children with the love of Christ, disciplines them with care and wisdom, and trains them in the way they should go.
(Proverbs 31: 28, Proverbs 31: 26, Proverbs 22: 6, Deuteronomy 6, Luke 18: 16)
4. Health – A Virtuous Woman cares for her body. She prepares healthy food for her family.
(Proverbs 31: 14 – 15, Proverbs 31: 17, 1 Corinthians 6: 19, Genesis 1: 29, Daniel 1, Leviticus 11)
5. Service - A Virtuous Woman serves her husband, her family, her friends, and her neighbors with a gentle and loving spirit. She is charitable.
(Proverbs 31: 12, Proverbs 31: 15, Proverbs 31: 20, 1 Corinthians 13: 13)
6. Finances - A Virtuous Woman seeks her husband’s approval before making purchases and spends money wisely. She is careful to purchase quality items which her family needs.
(Proverbs 31: 14, Proverbs 31: 16, Proverbs 31: 18, 1 Timothy 6: 10, Ephesians 5: 23, Deuteronomy 14: 22, Numbers 18: 26)
7. Industry – A Virtuous Woman works willingly with her hands. She sings praises to God and does not grumble while completing her tasks.
(Proverbs 31: 13, Proverbs 31: 16, Proverbs 31: 24, Proverbs 31: 31, Philippians 2: 14)
8. Homemaking – A Virtuous Woman is a homemaker. She creates an inviting atmosphere of warmth and love for her family and guests. She uses hospitality to minister to those around her.
(Proverbs 31: 15, Proverbs 31: 20 – 22, Proverbs 31: 27, Titus 2: 5, 1 Peter 4: 9, Hebrews 13: 2)
9. Time - A Virtuous Woman uses her time wisely. She works diligently to complete her daily tasks. She does not spend time dwelling on those things that do not please the Lord.
(Proverbs 31: 13, Proverbs 31: 19, Proverbs 31: 27, Ecclesiastes 3, Proverbs 16: 9, Philippians 4:8 )
10. Beauty – A Virtuous Woman is a woman of worth and beauty. She has the inner beauty that only comes from Christ. She uses her creativity and sense of style to create beauty in her life and the lives of her loved ones.
(Proverbs 31: 10, Proverbs 31: 21 – 22, Proverbs 31: 24 -25, Isaiah 61: 10, 1 Timothy 2: 9, 1 Peter 3: 1 – 6)
The interesting coincidence is that those 10 points can be condensed into the Five Spokes found in Chazown by Craig Groeschel. If one of the spokes breaks, your whole wheel collapses (um, the wheel would be your life…got that?):
1. Your relationship with God
2. Your relationships with other people
3. Your financial life
4. Your physical health
5. Your life’s work
What’s so crazy is that before I even read that part of the book, before I even found the list of what it means to be a Virtuous Woman, I decided to concentrate on each of the five spokes! And it was completely unintentional. It’s not like I sat down one day and decided there were 5 areas of my life I wanted to work on. I simply starting making time each morning to read my Bible. Then I started reading Chazown and discovered that my life’s work is to be an example to other wives of how to treat their husbands. Trey and I began our journey to Financial Peace last month – we’re slowly but surely getting the hang of Dave Ramsey’s envelope system and the debt snowball. As of August 1, we’ve both committed to restart the Power 90 diet program (Trey’s following Tony Horton’s work out plan whereas I’m letting Jillian Michaels kick my booty with her 30 Day Shred). And I think you may have picked up on the fact that I’m putting considerable efforts into being a better wife to my amazing hubby – aka working on our relationship. Honestly, all five spokes snuck up on me as areas of my life that I wanted to improve before I even read it in the book.
And what’s even more amazing is that in working on the finances, my fitness, and my life’s work, I’m honoring my husband…AND in doing all of those things I’m honoring God and working to find His vision for my life.
Seriously, how cool is that?
Happy birthday to me. Happy birthday to me. Happy birthday dear Leslie. Happy birthday to me.
Yup, I’ve been singing that all week. Well, that and…
It’s my birthday muffin. I’m a birthday muffin.
But I don’t expect you to know that one.
Today is the 31st. Four days ago I celebrated my 31st birthday. I read a chapter of Proverbs everyday – corresponding with the date, so today, I read Proverbs 31. The Capable Wife. It’s been kind of a recent revelation of mine that being a good wife, nay, a fabulous, amazing, dang near perfect wife (hey, we all gotta strive for something) is my “job.” People ask me what I do: I’m a wife. I spend my days doing whatever I can to make Trey’s life better.
But it hasn’t always been that way. When we were first married I thought I was the luckiest girl in the world because I had a hubby who would cook AND wash the dishes after a long day of work. Little did I know that was flat-out not honoring him. In fact, there were times in our early marriage when I quite intentionally didn’t honor him because I put my selfish wants and desires above his happiness…above everything else. And when things got that bad, my amazing husband prayed and asked God how on earth to deal with his horrible (seriously, I definitely had a horrible phase) wife, God told him to “love me.” And he did. And it was that unconditional, amazing, forgiving love that has grown our marriage into the amazing bond it is now. So sure ladies, if your man wants to dote on you, by all means, soak it in and praise him for his efforts. But don’t come to expect it. It is your duty to serve your husband because that is precisely what women were designed to do. Eve was created to be a companion and helpmeet (I love that word) to Adam…not the other way around.
A few years ago (before I met Trey) I attended a wedding with some friends and we were all flabbergasted by how many times the phrase “honor and obey” was used…particularly directed at the bride. Every little feminist bone in my body stood up on edge. What a sucker! I secretly thought about the bride. And, what a jerk! I secretly thought about the groom for obviously insisting that that particular decree be included in their marriage ceremony. And the friends I was sitting with seemed to agree. It just wasn’t fair. The wife was supposed to serve and honor and obey her husband, but all he had to do was love her. Seemed to me like he got off pretty easy. But even when I got past that point (ya know, it does say that in the Bible), it seemed like such an insurmountable task! I mean, who has the energy to serve her husband all the time??? What about days when I’m tired or bored or just don’t feel like it? What if I have other things to do? What if I think my hubby ought to spend more time serving me??? It’s taken almost 4 years of marriage to realize that that just doesn’t matter. Sure, there will be days when I fail miserably. But that’s precisely why God gave me the most amazing, loving, patient, forgiving husband in all the land…because He knew I couldn’t possibly be the perfect wife every day.
So, officially, on the 31st day of July, in my 31st year, I’m publicly declaring that my goal for the year is to become a Proverbs 31 wife. A Capable Wife. A Wife of Noble Character. A Virtuous Woman. And I challenge all my married girlfriends to do the same.
The Wife of Noble Character
10 [b]A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than rubies. 11 Her husband has full confidence in her and lacks nothing of value. 12 She brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life. 13 She selects wool and flax and works with eager hands. 14 She is like the merchant ships, bringing her food from afar. 15 She gets up while it is still night; she provides food for her family and portions for her female servants. 16 She considers a field and buys it; out of her earnings she plants a vineyard. 17 She sets about her work vigorously; her arms are strong for her tasks. 18 She sees that her trading is profitable, and her lamp does not go out at night. 19 In her hand she holds the distaff and grasps the spindle with her fingers. 20 She opens her arms to the poor and extends her hands to the needy. 21 When it snows, she has no fear for her household; for all of them are clothed in scarlet. 22 She makes coverings for her bed; she is clothed in fine linen and purple. 23 Her husband is respected at the city gate, where he takes his seat among the elders of the land. 24 She makes linen garments and sells them, and supplies the merchants with sashes. 25 She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come. 26 She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue. 27 She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness. 28 Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her: 29 “Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all.” 30 Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised. 31 Honor her for all that her hands have done, and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.
Proverbs 31: 10-31
Say a prayer and wish me luck…cause I certainly can’t do it on my own.
So I’m reading this book that makes me want to go postal. Much wailing and gnashing of teeth. Seriously, it’s messing with my head and making me question the entire direction of my life. And yes, I’m crying as I read it…cause that’s what I do, yo.
The book is Chazown by Craig Groeschel. Chazown is the Hebrew word for vision. And it’s pronounced with phlegm (like Chava in Fiddler on the Roof) – when pronounced correctly, those around you should feel inclined to say “bless you” or “gazuntite.” Basically, Groeschel (has the hardest-to-spell last name ever) wrote this book as part of his ministry (he’s also senior pastor of LifeChurch.tv) to help people discover God’s vision for their lives. As a Christian, you learn pretty early on that God has a plan for your life, and that it’s super cool and amazing and way more awesome than your own personal dinky little plan. Chazown is written to help you think through some hard (whoa) questions in hopes of discovering what that vision might be.
So far I’ve decided that my life is crazy far off path…I’m pretty sure God’s vision for my life was not to be a total screw up in my twenties and work in a series of jobs that neither challenged me nor provided very much enjoyment. So I guess it’s a relief God has plans for me to prosper…but how the heck to I follow them if I can’t figure out what they are?
Lucky for me (and anyone else who’s read the book), Groeschel has a step by step process that helps guide you into figuring it out. Today I completed the “Purpose Statement” segment, and I strangely feel much better. And what I came up with (though you should know that it wasn’t so much me as Him) was that my purpose isn’t at all what I thought it was going to be. When I got down to it, and compared my core values, spiritual gifts, and past experiences, I discovered that my purpose in life isn’t to be a late-blooming Broadway star or author of the best novel written since A Tale of Two Cities (cause we all know Twilight ain’t it) - it’s to be a good wife and (future) mother. As I age and mature (believe it or not folks, this is much more mature than even 2 years ago), I’m discovering that what drives me every day is the deep desire to be the best wife I can be and to have a home that is welcoming and to eventually raise children to be loving, Christian folks. Don’t get me wrong, I definitely don’t succeed every day. Far from it. But actually putting in writing what think God’s purpose for my life is has given me the get-up-and-go I’ve been longing for.
Granted, I still have over half of the book to go through and Groeschel assures his readers that their purpose statement can grow and change as they do, but I feel truly confident in this new (defined) direction.
So confident, in fact, that I’m going to vacuum.
A few resources that are helping me define my direction: Proverbs 31: 10-31, and A Virtuous Woman.
What’s your chazown?
When Trey and I sold our second car back in January, we knew the next time we purchased a vehicle it would be to accommodate our future children. And that can only mean one thing: Mom Car. I shudder at the thought.
In light of this looming purchase, we’ve started playing a little game. Any time I see a car I’d like to drive, I point it out to Trey and ask:
That’s a Mom Car, right?
Look at all that storage space for a stroller and diaper bag!
That cozy back seat will keep a car seat from ever sliding around.
All that horse power will really come in handy if we ever have to rush the baby to the hospital!
See, when the time comes, we’re going to be extremely responsible parents :)
It’s been a rough month…months…how the heck is it June already??? After (finally) moving into our awesome new house, I thought the big stresser of the year was behind us. Silly me.
Sometime in mid-May, we found out that my father-in-law has a brain tumor. It’s been a rough ride dealing with doctors and nurses, surgery and rehab, and soon-to-be radiation and chemo. It’s been one of the most exhausting and frustrating months of our married life. But more than that, more than all the long nights and tears and arguments and fears, there has been an overwhelming outpouring of love.
Family and friends from all over the state of Texas and beyond have been in and out of Pop’s room since day one. We’ve taken over waiting rooms and family rooms. We’ve played Gin Rummy, Texas Hold ‘em and Hide & Seek. We’ve shared hugs and kisses and smiles and tears and lots and lots of food. We’ve played with new babies and loved on old friends. As a family, our hearts are overflowing with love and gratitude for every prayer, thought, kind word, card, visit, hug, smile, laugh, sigh, and every other act of love you’ve shown us. Thank you.
For updates on Pop’s condition and to leave a message for him and the family, please visit his CaringBridge site.
After 10 months of being on the market, Trey and I decided it was time to do something about our little House For Sale. We’ve asked all our friends and family to stop what they’re doing on Friday, February 3rd, 2012 at Noon EST/11am CST and pray for the sale of our house.
Below is the request we sent out to everyone we knew (and had email addresses for) who would earnestly pray for the sale of our house. Please join us.
Dear Family & Friends, We can’t believe we’ve been in San Antonio for almost 10 months! Sometimes it feels like we’ve been here forever, sometimes it feels like we just left Spartanburg yesterday. Either way, we’ve been amazed by the many ways God has reassured us that we’re definitely where He wants us to be. As many of you know, being here for 10 months also means that our house in Spartanburg, SC has been on the market for 10 months. Anyone who’s ever tried to sell a home surely knows how this feels. That’s where you come in. We humbly ask that you join us in prayer for the sale of our house. On Friday, February 3rd at noon EST (or 11am for you TX folks), we ask that you please take a minute out of your busy day to ask God to send a buyer to our little house at 907 WO Ezell Blvd in Spartanburg. It doesn’t have to be long, but it does have to be in earnest. Go ahead and type it in your phone or write it on your calendar as a reminder :) You can use the prayer at the end of this message or say a prayer of your own. We truly believe that God has great plans for us. As we start a new chapter here (the construction on our new house is moving so quickly!), we would feel greatly at peace knowing that the burden of another mortgage is lifted. Thank you so much for all your thoughts and prayers, they really do mean the world to us. Love & God Bless, Leslie and Trey
Dear Lord, please expedite the sale of Trey & Leslie’s home in SC and send them a buyer very soon. But above all, Your will be done. Amen.