family & home

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Everything I’ve done over the past decade or so seems quite mundane when you look at it on paper. I grew up, went to college, got married, started a family – it all sounds quite usual, does it not? These days I am in the thick of raising our little ones, wading through the joy and the struggles and the lessons day-by-day. It is often intense, sometimes exhausting, and quite frequently hysterical.

But one of the most seemingly ordinary things to have occurred during these past eight years of child-rearing is one of the most thrilling experiences I have ever had.

I taught my child to read.

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Today is our ninth wedding anniversary. Remembering the times we’ve moved (4), the children we’ve had (also 4), and the years we’ve shared is always a blessing. This past year has been the hardest year for either of us – both as individuals and as a couple – but it has been rich in blessings and mercies and the Lord has, once again, brought us through.

I wrote this post – one that I wrote as an open letter to my newly wed self – two years ago. I thought I’d share it again today.

Dear New Bride,

Today you are getting married. You have met the man you will spend the rest of your life with and today is the day you seal the deal. Never mind the fact that your Dad offered you a Greyhound ticket out of here last night and at least half of the forty-five people waiting to witness this grand occasion are livid at your audacity to get married in a way that they don’t approve of.

But you will make it through this day and look back on it fondly as “One of the worst days of my life.” Thankfully your marriage, which is the thing that really matters here, isn’t nearly as bleak.

Oh young girl, you are as naive as your twenty two years show. You will profess love today without even knowing what it truly means. You see roses and love letters and endless affection in your future, but that is not love. You will have all of those things and more, but they do not make a marriage and could never compare to what a loving union really is.

You are marrying an imperfect man today, but that man will change your life in ways you can’t even imagine. Over the next seven years you will go through the growing pains of learning how to be a husband and wife while on the job. Whatever you think a marriage should look like throw it out the window because you are wrong.

Love is not him making you happy or comfortable for the rest of your life.

Love is not lying to you about who you are or allowing you to deceive yourself.

Love is not a public declaration of affection or a meaningless gift on Valentine’s day.

No, my dear, love is none of these things. This man who loves you will tell you when you are wrong, will tell you when you are selfish, will tell you when you are disrespectful, and will tell you when you need to change. He will do all of this with a look on his face that lets you know that he doesn’t want to be the one to tell you, but he’ll tell you anyway.

Because he loves you.

This man will grow in ways you can’t imagine. He will exemplify Christ’s love for the church, drawing you closer to Him.

He will quit his job and throw away his all important “security” so that he can live out the life God has commanded him to live.

He will build a home for you when you need one and  will dance with you within the walls of its 150 square feet.

He will teach your sons to be men by being one himself.

He will hold your hand as you bring life into this world, he will chase your sons around with roaring giggles, and he will love your daughter as only a father can.

He will put up with your ridiculousness and learn to kind of sort of appreciate your sarcastic sense of humor.

He will pray with you, he will laugh with you, and he will teach you things you never knew about yourself.

He will build you a table, plant you a vegetable garden, and empty your composting toilet.

All of this may not sound romantic, young bride, but what it is is love. If only you could really appreciate all that he means when he says “I do.”

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It seems like a good week for introductions, what with the solar oven finally getting its own announcement and all. And if that does, then surely this new living space should have its own post, right?

The last few weeks have been a flurry of activity on what we are calling the new cabin. Walls were put up, ten windows in all were installed, and Stewart decided to put up the siding to protect the radiant barrier. The number of (cute) supervisors on this project has been way over the top. Moving day(s) will take place once the last of the work is done.

And I plan on leaving as much stuff behind in this older living space as I possibly can. One of the perks that I am so looking forward to is having a place to just put the things we don’t use every day. It seems like such a small thing, but I do believe it could be a game-changer for us. That and the possibility of a separate office space!

We’ve eaten quite a few meals over there on hot days and I’m already enamored with the breeze blowing through that place.

The Lord has truly provided everything we’ve needed in His perfect time.

But oh, I remember all of the plans we made… We’d live in a tent while we built. We’d build underground right away to mitigate against the heat. It would only be us and two three four small children in this space we’ve dubbed the hallway house. We’ll figure it out, right?

Snort.