My Valentine

TurnerHill1994This is our 21st Valentines day together.

We don’t really ‘do’ Valentines day – we do life.

We do dates and notes and sweet-nothings and cuddling on the couch.

We do calendaring and taxi-ing and lifting each others loads.

We do kitchen and bathroom chores, laundry and vacuuming.

We make small changes and Huge changes.

We make eye contact that says more than the words that we might try.

We do budgeting and splurging, vacationing and working, reading and praying.

We take walks sometimes and hikes sometimes.

We parent and homeschool and do entrepreneurial stuff.

We explore coffee and beer places together.

We argue. We make up.

We grow things and prune things, change things and keep some things the same.

We give. We take. We lead. We follow.

We have traditions and customs and bursts of spontaneity.

We giggle. We cry. We hold hands.

I’m so thankful for our life.

Dreaming is good for Marriages

“We have found that if we don’t dream about our lives¬†

then we are simply

swept along by the torrent of demands, feeling like hostages

rather than mature adults taking charge of our lives.

It is the simple reality of calendars.

You only have so many free days.

If you don’t grab these days and hold them for all they are worth,

they will vanish so fast it’ll give you whiplash.

So this is a really good question for marriage.

What are you looking forward to together?”


Love & War, John and Stasi Eldredge


  • 17 years of marriage
  • 18 shared birthdays
  • 900 hours of guilt
  • 1500 hours of regret

That represents my relationship with Marc’s birthday.

Marc was born on January 6, 1972. His mother, (by the way) earns extra medals for an impossibly long labor under a stupid doctor’s guidance; and his father earns extra medals for helping the stupid doctor to FINALLY make the decision to do a c-section.

January 6 is also known as Epiphany – the day we celebrate the King’s showing up with gifts for ToddlerJesus. And is also just about two weeks after Christmas.

You remember Christmas, right? The time when we celebrate Jesus birth in ways that can really wear us out. Even when we have the best planning skills and humble intentions. No matter what you do, no matter how simple and careful, there is still a huge decompress once Christmas season is over.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASo for 17 years, Marc’s birthday has been met with me feeling like a balloon that has been blown up and deflated 20 times by an enthusiastic 7yo, with everyone agreeing that ‘it’s hard to celebrate a January birthday so close to Christmas’.

Until 6 days ago. On January 1, I woke up and wondered, what if I didn’t listen to the used-up balloon feeling? Did I want another load of guilt and regret to start 2013? And I decided NO.

So before I wimped out on myself, I sent out an email to a few people (at 10:38a). Not just about a birthday party – a SURPRISE birthday party. They all seemed to be game. So I set up a Facebook event. And more people were in on the ruse.

The kids and I set to work. Lists were made, and I invited Marc to go to LeMis (movies are one of Marc’s love languages and this three hour movie gave us the time get the house prepared and filled with friends).


Caleb, Anna, and Sofia were absolute heroes. If you had told me even three years ago that I could leave my children alone to prepare a party for dozens of people I would have laughed at you. But they did it. They took the list, added to it and revised it, and got it done, all as I sat comfortably at Marc’s side watching the movie. The house was ready, and the guests were well taken care of.

  • 6 pizzas
  • 3 hours
  • 24 kids (including my 3 FABULOUS, AMAZING kids)
  • 20 adults
  • 1 great surprise

These are the new numbers that will represent my relationship with Marc’s birthday from now on.

16 years ago….

My friend Renee, who blogs at FIMBY, mentioned recently that she was getting ready to read A Circle of Quiet, by Madeleine L’Engle. L’Engle is probably my very favorite author. I have a very fond feeling toward this book. So I picked up my copy and began reading it again.

The first time I read this book was 16 years ago. I had been married all of two months to someone I had not yet known for a year. This book, actually the whole Crosswicks Journal series, helped me survive a very hard first few years of marriage. That was what I remember about this book.

Today, I read what may have been the Key for my young heart to not running away to Australia 16 years ago; and it is astonishing to me that this passage still gives me the same grace and hope and love for my marriage that it did all those years ago.

“When we were married we made promises, and we took them seriously. No relationship between two people which is worth anything is static. If a man and wife tell me they’ve never had a quarrel, I suspect that something is festering under the skin. There’ve been number of times in my marriage when – if I hadn’t made promises – I’d have quit. I’m sure this is equally true of Hugh; I’m not an easy person to live with.

I’m quite sure that Hugh and I would never have reached the relationship we have today if we hadn’t made promises. Perhaps we made them youthfully, and blindly, no knowing all that was implied; but the very promises have been saving grace.”

M. L’Engle,¬†A Circle of Quiet (p107 in my book)


12 Years Ago Today….

I was sitting on the floor at a day retreat with other ministry leaders from Gordon College when a ball of yarn hit me. Looking to see who lodged the assault on me, I saw someone I’d never met before, but thought I might like to.

Today, we celebrated knowing each other for twelve years. (We celebrated being married for eleven years this past May.)

Happy Anniversary to Us.