Tag Archives: marriage

My two favorite guys on Valentine’s Day

I don’t even know how to express how much better these two make my life. My heart has grown a million sizes since they came along.

Love you, Bobby and Noah. Happy Valentine’s Day!

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Thankful Series: Katie Jane Says

It’s week two of the Thankful Series, and my friend Katie from Katie Jane Says is sharing her story today.

Katie and I don’t cross paths as often as we used to, but I’ve been so impressed to see the grace with which she’s handled all life’s thrown at her in the past year. In April, she and her then-fiance Blake, along with family members, survived when a large tornado ripped through their community before hitting Tuscaloosa. They were OK, but the home her family had given them to live in was not.

Since then, they’ve gotten married and navigated some tough times as a young married couple, but they are coming through it well — and together. But that’s enough from me. Read what Katie has to say!

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For the past seven days, my Facebook news feed has been filled with statuses regarding the things for which my friends are grateful. Parents, friends, family, Jesus, living in America, SEC Football… you know, the basics. I’m so glad to see the overflowing thankfulness, but there’s something to be thankful for that I seriously doubt I’ll see in my news feed before the end of November:

Manna.

“Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” – James 1:2-4

I read those words a year or so ago, and they jumped out at me like never before. I remember writing the passage in my journal along with a big “WHAT!?!?!”. I was done with my Scripture reading for that day! But, I believed the words. I believed His words.

I’ve found myself in “trials of various kinds” over and over and over again in my life. (I wouldn’t necessarily say those times have been counted as joy!) This year has been particularly difficult. To put it simply: Tornado, unemployment, first months of marriage. We were overwhelmed, confused, and frankly unimpressed with life. Our biggest stress was figuring out how to pay for everything. “Married with bills,” I like to say! Looking at the bank account was terrifying. But, we kept holding onto James’ words and trusting that God really would take care of us.

Our families, friends, and pastors continuously encouraged us. The Holy Spirit gave us peace. And God the Father started doing something remarkable.

Little by little, things started coming together for us. Random people would call us and donate money to us (since we were displaced by the storm for a few months). We got EVERYTHING on our wedding registry (and then some). I quit a part-time job to start subbing (a HUGE risk) and immediately became busy with subbing. Blake got a job as a research assistant and another assistant job opened up for him. He got a raise for his TA position. I started tutoring again.

The list of little things could keep going… but I think you get the point.
It was like manna from Heaven. Little bits of goodness raining down on us from the clouds. Not enough to make us rich, not enough to beef up our savings account, not enough to go do whatever we wanted. But just enough to get us to the next point. Just enough to make it through the month. Just enough to keep our heads above water.

And now we are okay. We moved into a great apartment complex and we L-O-V-E where we live! I was offered an extended-substitute teaching position that should last until the end of the school year. We are finally caught up on old bills and we’re starting to see the light. Our marriage has seen some tough days already, and we love each other more because of it. God has been good, and we are forever grateful.

But that’s not the end of the story. We don’t roll down our sleeves and dust off our hands and walk away from the hardship. Though we don’t live in that place of struggle and fear and difficulty anymore, it won’t be long before something else comes along. We continue to remember how God provided for us in the desert. We are so grateful for the manna. We are grateful for finding our satisfaction in Him. And we know that without hardship, without discipline, without walking through the desert, there’d be no manna.

“And you shall remember the whole way that the Lord your God has led you these forty years in the wilderness, that he might humble you, testing you to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep his commandments or not. And he humbled you and let you hunger and fed you with manna, which you did not know, nor did your fathers know, that he might make you know that man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord.” – Deuteronomy 8:2-3

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Thanks so much for sharing your story, Katie!

Want to read previous posts in the series?

And that’s why you shouldn’t order LivingSocial deals on your phone. While you’re driving.

The other morning I logged into my LivingSocial account to check whether I could load a Whole Foods voucher I previously purchased to my phone to use in the store. I’m not one of those folks who logs into LS daily because the temptation to buy deals for stuff I don’t really need — because it’s such a GOOD DEAL — would be too great.

When I logged in, I noticed that the daily deal was for a cigar shop in Birmingham, which is about 45 minutes from us. I’d bought Bobby a similar voucher in March, and he loved it, so I toyed with the idea of shelling out the $16 for $40 in store credit. I decided against it and sort of congratulated myself for being frugal and not spending money on something we didn’t need. Our washing machine stopped working recently, so we need to save every bit we can to go toward a new one.

I got the Whole Foods voucher squared away on my phone, and we moseyed on over to the store, also in Birmingham. We picked up a couple of thick boneless ribeyes to grill for the LSU-Bama game at the Jimenezes, one set of Noah’s godparents.

As we were pulling out of the parking lot, I casually mentioned the cigar deal to Bobby and asked if he wanted me to buy it for him. I guess I’d been thinking about it, and it was a really nice thing to do for him — and it was only $16 for a $40 voucher, after all.

He was definitely on board with me purchasing the voucher, so I told him I would just order it on my new LivingSocial app on my Droid phone.

I opened up the app as we sat waiting at the red light in front of Whole Foods. So convenient! I clicked the button to order the deal as the light changed.

As our car inched forward in traffic, I noticed that another window had popped up. “Did you know that you can buy more than one of this deal?”

Well, no, I hadn’t known that, and I was not interested. Forty bucks to spend on cigar’s was more than enough for Bobby, thank you very much.

So, as I glanced back up at the light to make sure I would be able to make it, I pressed the “No Thanks” button. Which was right above the “Buy Another” button.

I’m sure you can guess what happened here.

“Dammit!” I said. Bobby raised his eyebrows, and I pulled into the intersection. “I just ordered two of the damn thing!”

He started laughing as I explained what had happened. To say he was thrilled might be an understatement, and he has gone on and on the past few days about how he has $80 to spend on cigars.

So I learned two lessons Saturday. First, doing something generous for your husband may really be a better choice than being frugal, at least sometimes. And second: Don’t LivingSocial and drive.

Thankful Series: Bob the Writer

Thankful seriesAs I continue my recovery from postpartum depression, I’m constantly on the lookout for ways other than medication that I can cope and deal with the tough times that are part of everyday life. The idea for this series came partly from allowing my mind to wander through some ideas while I was driving one day and (admittedly) party from seeing other people doing the same thing on their blogs (like Momma Bird! Holla!).

One of the most draining, dark things about PPD was the feeling that there was nothing good in life — that all the things that might even be considered good were ultimately draining, or I didn’t deserve them so they would be taken away, or everyone else thought they were good but I just couldn’t see it from where I was mentally and emotionally. Getting into the habit of seeing the good things in my life and being thankful for them helps me recognize that there’s more than darkness and depression in my life. There’s hope.

So, especially coming into the season of Thanksgiving and Christmas, I want to be able to dwell on those things and not just the bad things or the hard things that have happened in the past year. And I’m asking other people to join me in that and to share their stories.

My husband, Bobby, is sharing today. He’s one of the things I am most thankful for. He has been a rock and an anchor for me in the past 16 months through pregnancy, childbirth, the death of my father, PPD, the tornado … I wouldn’t have made it through these things without him. Even at the moments when he was at a loss, he was there, and I’ll always be grateful for that.

Here’s his story.

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When Misty asked me to guest blog about an aspect of being thankful, I was happy to say yes. I had a ton of great ideas, and was excited to share them with her audience.

However, I’m a major procrastinator, so I never took advantage of those ideas. Now it’s November 3, and I’m doing NaNoWriMo. Oops.

So please bear with me while I talk about being thankful. I’m going to simply be honest, and lay a lot out there. I have more to be thankful than most. I’ve lived most of my life as somewhat of a cad, an untrustworthy, irascible lout who was looking out for no one but himself. I hadhusband, baby, nature, overalls very little conscience, zero faith and a dwindling core of — well, not friends, exactly — people I hadn’t betrayed or hurt yet.

It was no way to live.

In the past five years I’ve changed so much. Rediscovered my battered faith. Married the best woman I know, bought a house, had a kid. Well, Misty had the kid. But I helped! And not just in the beginning, either, thankyouverymuch. I became a master of back and foot rubs. I was there in the delivery room to be yelled and cussed at. (Although Misty didn’t cuss a ton. I think she called me an a-hole once.)

My old view was nihilistic. I didn’t mind using up things or people because — hey, we all get used up in the end, you know? But I was wrong. We don’t get used up unless we let it happen.

I’m thankful for so much. This past weekend is a great example. My wife and I went on a road trip to see family in southeast Alabama, about four hours away. Every time I see my dad hold my son, it brings tears to my eyes. This weekend he bent down and gave Noah a kiss on the top of the head. It’s rare for my Dad to show affection like that, and I just felt so fortunate to be a part of that moment.

Another moment: My mom tucked Noah into bed with her and let him nap beside her. We had the pack-n-play over at my mother-in-law’s house, and Noah decided he didn’t want to nap on the pallet my mom made for him. So he got to nap with Granny. Moments like that make my heart swell with happiness.

family, baby, nature, portraitThat’s the biggest thing I’ve noticed these days: I’m thankful to be here, to be experiencing the moments of everyday life with a good woman and a great kid. Every second that I’m a father to Noah is like holding a precious gem. Being his father, being Misty’s husband — being the man I am today — makes me thankful.

I’m also thankful that my lovely and talented wife let me guest-post on her blog. I hope you enjoyed what you read here, and that you’ll find some other worthwhile things at my own blog: http://bobthewriter.com.

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Thanks for keeping the peace in the Mathews household and writing what I asked you to, Bobby.

Seriously, I’m happy to have had Bobby guest post because I think it shows readers the other half (or third, as it may be) of our story. I also look up to his writing ability immensely and am proud to have him sharing a tidbit of his talent here.

You can check out future Thankful Series posts on Thursdays in November and December. I’ve got some great folks lined up for guest posts, so be sure to stop back by!

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