That Pesky Love Idol

I mentioned Jennifer Dukes Lee’s Love Idol back at the beginning of Lent. I had just started reading it and even the first few pages spoke to something I’ve struggled with, well, for all time. I like to be liked. I like to be heard. I wouldn’t always call myself a people-pleaser, but the applause and approval of other humans often edges out the approval of the only One who matters.

“I knew what the Bible said about me, but I measured my worth by other barometers – the mirror, report cards, and my performance among peers – even if it broke well-established moral rules.”

Reading Love Idol has been like therapy for me. With each chapter, I identify with another piece of Jennifer’s story – the striving for good grades, the saying “yes” so you don’t disappoint someone, being wrapped up in what others will think and riding the roller-coaster of their reactions.

“We ache to live our Christ identity more fully, instead of living a life yielded to our approval ratings. It is not a popularity contest. It is not a materialistic chase for medals, money, or Twitter @mentions.”

Unfortunately, the approval-seeking has been my default for so long. It’s a pesky love idol to shake. Pesky, but not impossible.

Preapproved Blog

As part of my Lenten journey this year, I gave up looking at my blog statistics. I did a lot more writing from the heart, not for numbers or comments. It felt a little bold and scary, but also felt like it was less about me.

“God’s Word compels us to choose the Holy Trinity, not the self-centric trio of Me, Myself, and I.”

Can I tell you what I love about Jennifer’s message so much?

Love Idol

It isn’t about denying any praise or compliments that come your way. It’s Jesus and our hearts. It’s about refocusing. And all of this leads to freedom. I need that daily. 

“When you and I no longer rely on praise or approval for our performance, we find new freedom: We can enjoy affirmation without craving it.”

The whole idea of being pre-approved? I’ve plastered those genius little signs on my computer, my bathroom wall, my planner. I can’t write anything that will make Jesus love me more or less. My appearance on any given day has no weight in His eyes. There is no planning or scheduling or working my way into a better place in heaven. I am and always have been pre-approved by Him.

“I yearn for us all to know the deep, deep love of Jesus – that it would be enough, that it always has been enough, and that it’s a love that can never be over matched by anything or anyone in this world.”

Love Idol is marked with many underlined passages and stars in the margins. It bears the soul of its writer in such a way that I felt as though we were confessing and story-sharing over coffee. It spurs me on in my desire to be less about me and ALL about Him. It will be in my nightstand for a long time as I continue to let go of my pesky love idol and hold tight to the love of my Savior.

If you haven’t yet, make sure you join the Love Idol Movement on Facebook! So inspiring!


I received a copy of this book to review from the publisher. I was not compensated in any way for this post and all opinions are 100% my own! All quotes are from the book!


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Mighty {Five Minute Friday}

Five Minute FridayIt’s Five Minute Friday with lovely Lisa-Jo!

Set a timer and just write. Don’t worry about making it just right or not.

For me? An exercise in letting go and letting words flow. Five minutes only. {yes, I do set a timer and it quacks like a duck at 5 minutes, which totally makes me smile}

Today’s prompt: Mighty.

Stick around for why this week is so important!


And go…

I’m coming up on eight years of being a mom and I’m still not sure of myself. The moment I think I’ve figured out what works for our family, our boys, things change – ages, stages, moods, circumstances. I’m a little lost and trying to find my place.

Mighty Men

But I do know one thing about these boys of ours: I want to raise them to be mighty men of God. I want them to recognize the strength and power that comes from the Holy Spirit when they are living in relationship with Jesus. To use that might for the Kingdom. To be mighty for God and to love mightily. To use their passion and strong will for justice and mercy in His name.

I know no other way to do this than to be a mighty warrior in prayer for them. I’m not a guy. I don’t know how to be a godly man. But I know how to pray and prayer is a mighty weapon. None of us will be mighty on our own, but in His hands, there is strength this world can’t come close to touching.


I need to wear out the knees of my jeans in prayer the way my boys do playing hard. A mighty prayer warrior to raise mighty men of God. Only by His grace, I’m finding this is my place.



Do you ever feel lost and completely un-mighty in your role as a mother? You’re not alone. And even though our paths to motherhood are very different, I’ve never felt so understood as a mom as I did reading Lisa-Jo’s new book, Surprised by Motherhood. Mamas, this book is for all of you and it will rock your world. Go. Pre-order it now. For you, your mom, your sister, your bible study – all the mothers you know. I have more to share on this next week, but know that I laughed and cried and finished it in 48 hours.

And go read more fabulous posts on the topic of mighty at Lisa-Jo’s place today!

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Statement Necklaces for $5.95!

I have included affiliate links below. When you purchase through these links, I may receive a small commission. Thank you for supporting this site and our sponsorship of our Compassion child, Samson!

This is a super fun Fashion Friday deal from Cents of Style! Statement necklaces are the perfect way to add flair to any outfit, from a t-shirt and jeans to a little black dress! I have this beauty and love how it takes a simple outfit from drab to fab!

IMAGE: Fashion Friday-3/28/14- Statement Necklace Sale- $5.95 & FREE SHIPPING with Code CLEARANCE101 Cents of Style is offering all sorts of awesome statement necklaces for just $5.95 + free shipping today only with the code CLEARANCE101 at checkout!

IMAGE: Fashion Friday-3/28/14- Statement Necklace Sale- $5.95 & FREE SHIPPING with Code CLEARANCE101

 25 different style and color choices are available for this $5.95 deal! And each necklace comes with a pair of earrings as well!

IMAGE: Fashion Friday-3/28/14- Statement Necklace Sale- $5.95 & FREE SHIPPING with Code CLEARANCE101

What a perfect opportunity to stock up on these fun accessories – that would be three necklaces for less than $20! These would be great for yourself or as gifts – think about Mother’s Day!

This deal is only for today, March 28, 2014, and you must use the code CLEARANCE101 at checkout to get the $5.95 price AND free shipping!


Chevron Infinity Scarf

The necklaces were starting to sell out, so Cents of Style has added the awesome chevron infinity scarves for just $7.95 + free shipping to today’s Fashion Friday deals! Just use the code HAPPYDAY at checkout to get these scarves I ADORE!


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Be Generous With Your Words

I have to pinch myself sometimes when I think about how incredibly blessed I am by the amazing women God has put in my life. It really is like a dream. Women far and near who love and encourage and pray for me, each put there for a reason.

Being a “gifts” love language person, I want to buy them all beautiful, thoughtful gifts in appreciation for the ways they’ve spoke life and love into my world. Well, really, I’d like to fly us all to a private island for a week where we could laugh and cry and be refreshed. And eat anything we want. And not change any diapers. And get a tan. But those things kind of cost money…a lot of it…and that’s just not possible.

What I do have is words. Words are free, but they carry so much value. When we want to bless others in big ways on a small budget, words are the way to go.

God laid it on my heart as I approached my 33rd birthday to be generous with my words. I started a list of the women who have blessed my life over the years and pretty soon I was at 33. Family, friends, mentors, colleagues. The list kept growing. And I started writing.

A few cards a day, with carefully chosen words, filling ME up with joy and gratitude and being sent on their way. Friends, I thought I was doing this because God wanted me to bless the women in my life, and I’m sure that was part of it, but He just heaped more blessings on me in the process. And I’m still going. This cheering on of others is addictive.


The value of a cute notecard and stamp, when paired with a little time and an open, encouraging heart, multiplies infinitely in the hands of God. And when we are generous with our words and obedient to His calling to share, His timing is always perfect. I can’t even tell you the number of times a handwritten card has shown up in my mailbox with just the words I needed to hear on that very day. He is so good like that.

When you feel like you have much to be thankful for, but don’t have much to give, can I encourage you to be generous in the giving of encouraging words to those you love? Don’t hold back in speaking words of life to others. Tell them they matter to you and to God and you are giving them something worth more than anything money could buy.

Be Generous With Your Words

How do you give your words generously? Are an email or snail mail encourager? Which do you prefer to receive?

I love to use little blank notecards like the ones above, but my favorite cards in the WORLD to send are always from DaySpring. They are unique and sweet and faith-filled and I can always find one with just the right words. Now through June 30, 2014, all DaySpring boxed card sets {affiliate link} are buy two get one free with the code B2G1Cards at checkout! I especially love the Holley Gerth Heart to Heart boxed set!

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A Gift from the One Who Sees Me

In elementary school, the teacher would sit us all in a circle, criss-cross applesauce, for an ice-breaker activity.

“Think of a word to describe yourself that begins with the first letter of your first name.”

Ooh, how I loved these circle times. Exciting, excellent, enthusiastic! I even liked when the challenge varied a little bit. Favorite animal? Elephant! Place you want to visit? Europe!

“E” words were special to me from a young age. They felt like mine.

I spoke at my first conference this weekend – two sessions on finding freedom in healthy living at the Refresh My Heart conference – and loved every single minute. Lelia, the founder of the conference, put together an amazing weekend of Jesus and brave, inspiring women. I was so honored to be a part of it and found myself renewed as I left.

Over and over again, my fellow speakers shared stories of our God who sees and knows us better than anyone else has or ever will. Stories of God showing up and showing off His great love for us in ways only He can. The way He uses clouds and running and notebooks to say, “I see you. I love you.”

And then He showed up and showed off for me, right there in the middle of a general session.

A Gift from the One Who Sees Me

Michelle, Lelia’s sister, had been praying about a way to bless each of the ladies attending Refresh My Heart and this is what happened next… {in Lelia’s words}

She ordered wooden hearts and bought a wood burning kit. Michelle and our mom burned the edges of each heart. Then my sister found 60 words and was going to use each word twice, but my daughter Alyssa insisted that they find a word for each woman.

They found the words and Michelle began to engrave a word on each heart. Then she turned the hearts over and prayed about them for weeks about what name to put on what heart. She never flipped the hearts over to see what word was going with what name, not even on her own heart. She engraved a name on each heart then she placed it in a little box and they tied a ribbon around it.

She had no idea what I would be talking about and how well this went with my message, about how God sees us and how we need to believe what He thinks of us. 

After my message, I told everyone to open their boxes and see what God thinks about them…

One woman shouted, “No way!” Some smiled. Some laughed. Some cried. It was absolutely beautiful. Only God could do something like that. Something to let us know, “I see you.”

What a God!  

What a gift of time and love from Michelle and Alyssa to each of us women. I was moved even before I opened my box.  And then I did…

Gift From God

…and flipped over my heart…


Exquisite. An “e” word. Just for me. Because only He could know. My breath was taken away for a moment. And I was that little girl in elementary school again, treasuring a word that seemed to be just for me.

The Hubby would later tell me “exquisite” has always been one of his favorite words.

A sweet friend I met at the conference learned of my word and texted me the definition:

exquisite: of special beauty or charm, or rare and appealing excellence

He sees me. He thinks I’m exquisite. He knows just what I need right when I need it.

I may be turning 33 today, but inside, I am His little girl treasuring the “e” word He picked just for me.

What a God. What a gift.


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Water Walker + Forgiveness

I had never really struggled with forgiveness issues in my life. And I never knew how much I would need to practice forgiveness in my role as a mother.

Only a daily basis, there are times I feel hurt, offended, wronged by my children. These offenses are often unintentional. Many times, they are are product of the natural immaturity of children. And sometimes they say or do hurtful things on purpose. If I’m honest with myself, I do these same things. That sinful nature in all of us…

Amidst this role as mother, I have found myself parenting with the wrongs at the forefront of my mind. Well, you can imagine how great a mother I am when holding on to frustration, sadness, anger in regards to being hurt by their harsh words, disobedience, disrespect.

I don’t think what I’m describing is much different than what most parents experience. Children act from impulses. They hurt others both intentionally and without knowing it. All of us do this, but hopefully we learn over time to treat others with respect and kindness.

When we’re hurt by someone we deeply love, it aches even more. That’s why our children can cause such strong emotions in us. We love them so much and can’t imagine they could ever do anything to upset, hurt, emotionally damage us. But it happens, probably to all parents at one time or another. And even a small act of disrespect from our own child can feel like a big slap in the face.

Here’s where forgiveness comes in to play. Jesus wasn’t kidding when He said we’d have to forgive some people a whole lot…

Even if that person wrongs you seven times a day and each time turns again and asks forgiveness, you must forgive. ~Luke 17:4

And with kids, they might not even know they need to ask forgiveness. But the forgiveness needs to come, more for my sake than theirs. It’s a way of releasing the hurt into the hands of the One who can carry it without any bitterness, only with grace and mercy.

My mind is all wrapped around this forgiveness thing because of Ted Dekker’s newest book, Water Walker.


I’m not sure I had ever read a Ted Dekker book before and suspense is not my normal choice for reading material, but the spiritual message and theme of forgiveness really drew me in.

Letting go is something you do, not just talk about. Talking about forgiving changes nothing. Doing it changes everything, not just in you, but somehow in those around you. We are not healed alone. Don’t ask me to explain. ~Ted Dekker, Water Walker

The main character of Water Walker, Alice, faces unimaginable trials and offenses from those who claim to love her. Honestly, her suffering was quite difficult for me to read. But that makes her walk towards Jesus and forgiveness even more amazing. A miracle.

I was really moved by the way Dekker used the imagery of stepping out of the boat onto the stormy water to illustrate forgiveness. Our eyes must always stay fixed on Jesus, not the waves and storm around us. And this is a huge act of faith, this forgiving and releasing the feelings we hold against someone. Truly forgiving is what makes us water walkers.

Since finishing Water Walker, I find myself recognizing the negative ways in which unforgiveness eats away at me. I am experiencing the freedom that comes in telling my child I forgive them for something they didn’t even know hurt me. And I forgive in my head, my heart, sometimes seventy times seven times a day because I know this is what Jesus would do.

I’m a better mom because of forgiveness. And I hope my kids learn to do the same forgiving for me.

What has been your experience with forgiveness and motherhood? Are you, like me, easily hurt by things your children do or say to you?


If you’re interested in reading Water Walker, you can get the first episode of the book for free here!

I received this book to review. I was not compensated in any way for this post, and all opinions are 100% my own!

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Mixing Prints: Shoe + Scarf Sale from Cents of Style!

I have included affiliate links below. When you purchase through these links, I may receive a small commission. Thank you for supporting this site and our sponsorship of our Compassion child, Samson!

I just adore the trend of mixing prints. Mixing prints adds new life to your wardrobe because, well, just about anything goes! And if you want to try mixing prints, accessories are the perfect way to start. Cents of Style has a Fashion Friday sale that will help you step out into this bold trend!

Mixing Prints Sale 2

Get a pair of these fabulous leopard print flats and pick out a bold print scarf for just $21.95 + free shipping total today only with the coupon code MIX at checkout! Leopard print is considered a neutral and I wear my leopard flats all the time.

Mixing Prints SaleThe scarf is available in 8 different prints + colors, including paisley, feather, and floral. Lots of fun, bright, spring colors!

Here’s how the deal works:

  • Add the shoe and your choice of one scarf to your cart.
  • Proceed to checkout.
  • On the second page of checkout, input the coupon code MIX (not gift card code)
  • Your price will drop from $44.90 to $21.95 shipped!

This mixing prints sale is only good today, March 21, 2014, so don’t miss out! Remember to use the coupon code MIX at checkout and have fun with trying this trend!



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Natural Room Sprays for Stinky Boys!

Happy first day of spring!

Between sports, playing outside, and just plain growing up, we’re entering the world of stinky boys. Yes, I still have one in diapers, too, so we’re covering all ends of the stinky spectrum! In all honesty, I contribute just as much to the stink with my smelly workout clothes!

We’ve tried all number of air fresheners and some of them smell simply delightful…but they are loaded with chemicals and we just don’t need that floating around our house! I would much rather freshen our “stinky boy” air that my guys are so proud of with natural room sprays and I have a few favorites to share with you today!

Natural Room Sprays

All of these room sprays use essential oils, a new world I am loving and learning all about! Just put the suggested oil and water together and give it a good shake to mix it up before you spray!

Purify Room Spray

What You Need:

  • Small spray bottle
  • 2-3 drops Purify essential oil blend {buy here}
  • Water to fill bottle

Purify is an amazing cleansing blend that I have found to be fabulous at eliminating odors and “clearing the air!” The scent is not overwhelming and it really does give the area a refreshing atmosphere!

OnGuard Room Spray

What You Need:

  • Small spray bottle {mine was 3 oz}
  • 2-3 drops OnGuard essential oil blend {buy here}
  • Water to fill bottle

OnGuard has a wonderful fall smell {my favorite time of year} AND it has great immune-boosting properties! Plus, the boys think the name is really cool, like something a knight would yell!

Room Sprays Big

Lavender Room Spray

What You Need:

  • Large spray bottle
  • 20 drops Lavender essential oil {buy here}
  • Water to fill the bottle

This is great to mist in bedrooms before bedtime. I’ve also sprayed it around our school work area to promote a little more calm – anything to help when homeschooling two boys and trying to keep a third entertained!

A few notes for these natural room sprays…

  • Even though my picture has cute colored plastic bottles, certain oils can cause plastic bottles to disintegrate. The ideal small bottles for these sprays are dark-colored glass bottles which you can find here. They will also help the oils in the spray retain their effectiveness.
  • You can make room sprays from many of your favorite essential oil scents! Just follow similar ratios as those listed above!
  • I use doTERRA essential oils because they are what I know and love. They are pure, therapeutic grade essential oils. For more information about doTERRA Essential Oils and how to order them for your family, please click here!

Essential Spring Cleaning Blog Tour

For more great spring cleaning with essential oils tips, visit these lovely sites today:

For a full list of all the posts in the Essential Spring Cleaning Blog Event, click here!

Have you made your own room spray using essential oils? What is your favorite scent?

I am a doTERRA Wellness Advocate and receive commissions and/or bonuses from doTERRA.

Disclosure: I am not a medical professional. The statements and suggestions given here have not been evaluated by the FDA. I am simply sharing ideas and suggestions on how to use essential oils in everyday life. I assume no liability for the way you choose to use essential oils. Use your good judgement and act responsibly.

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10 Days for M’Dai: Restoring the Joy of Motherhood

Big J will be eight next month and I still remember the day he was born like it was yesterday.

Big J birth_opt

I had gone in the day before for my regular OB appointment where they determined my blood pressure was higher than they would like. A phone call was made to the hospital to let them know we would e coming over for an induction. This was the day before he was due anyway, so we felt as prepared as first-time parents could be and gathered up our hospital bags to go meet our firstborn son.

I was placed on one form of drug to induce in the early evening and another later in the night while also being hooked up to monitoring devices. Other than feeling somewhat crampy and nauseous most of the night, no contractions ever really kicked in, and by the time the doctor came to check on us for the second time the next day, it was decided he would break my water to get things moving.

Now, we had planned on as natural a birth as possible, but I wasn’t prepared for going from no contractions to strong, piggy bank contractions and within in an hour I was begging for an epidural. Well, Big J wasn’t going to allow for that to happen because, as I shifted position in the hospital bed in an attempt to get more comfortable, his heart rate suddenly dropped. We tried to move me back to where I had been to help him out, but within a few minutes I was being raced down the hallway to the operating room for an emergency c-section. Big J was out of me and in the care of great doctors with his daddy’s watchful eye in no time at all. And, although he was a little blue when he first came out, he was otherwise perfectly healthy. We all sighed with relief and went about our lives as new parents.

I shudder to think of what could have been with Big J had we not been under the care of such skilled doctors and nurses. While any number of factors could have resulted in his low heart rate, had I not been hooked up to a monitor we may not have know he was in distress. Had we not been at a hospital with a doctor who could perform an emergency c-section at a moment’s notice…I don’t even want to think about it.

But I AM thinking about, this week in particular, as I’m learning the stories of mothers around the world losing babies or even their own lives during childbirth because they lack adequate obstetric care and the basic knowledge and needs that should accompany motherhood.

In Cambodia, 1.7 million people lost their lives at the hands of the Khmer Rouge from 1975 to 1979. While this may seem like a long time ago, the effects of this genocide are still staggering. The closest to my heart are the mothers. They are women who grew up with no older women to teach them the ways of a healthy pregnancy. They are women who had no health professionals to monitor their bodies and babies because the Khmer Rouge killed all the doctors and educated people they could find. No role models existed to teach them about nutrition and personal hygiene.

The cycle has continued since then, and this cycle has resulted in a fear of childbirth and motherhood among the women of Cambodia, especially in the remote villages where no aid has been provided, no relief offered, no cycle broken. A pregnant woman in the Kratie province of Cambodia is 10 times more likely to die in childbirth than in the United States. Babies in their first month of life have the highest mortality rate in the country. One out of every 12 children doesn’t even make it to the fifth birthday.

The likelihood Big J would have survived birth in these conditions is very small. Like I said, I can’t even think about that.

But we need to think about it and we can think about this because there is hope, provided in the form of help from Samaritan’s Purse and 10 Days for M’Dai.

1406CB Maternal Child Health Cambodia

M’dai is mother is the Khmer language

Samaritan’s Purse started a Maternal and Child Health program in Cambodia’s remote Kratie province in 2013. The goal is to reduce the mortality of mothers and their young children by improving obstetric care, teaching essential nutrition practices, and increasing access to quality healthcare.

1406CB Maternal Child Health Cambodia

In the first year of the program, 5,745 people in 20 villages were reached, 255 health volunteers were trained, and 40 local pastors were equipped to reach out to their communities.

1406CB Maternal Child Health Cambodia

Women are being taught the importance of holding their babies. Nutrition classes and cooking demonstrations are training women to properly nourish themselves and their families. Churches are coming alongside these women to offer support and the hope of our Savior.

For these 10 Days for M’Dai – March 16-25 – you can be a part of restoring the joy of motherhood to the women of the Kratie province of Cambodia by praying and giving in the following ways:

  • $12 provides a healthy cooking demonstration for a village.
  • $64 equips a local church leader to reach out to a community with practical help and spiritual counseling.
  • $76 trains and equips a volunteer to perform maternal and child health promotional activities.

Moms, we know the challenges of pregnancy, childbirth, and raising children…and we do it all in safe, healthy conditions. Let’s take the fear out of motherhood for the women of Kratie and join hands to restore the joy.

He gently leads those that have young. ~Isaiah 40:11


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He Likes It When I’m Clingy

First things first…


Moving on…

Before The Hubby and I started dating, I was seeing the guy who live across the hall for a short time {I only ever dated three guys in my life. These two just happened to live on the same floor in college!}. When he broke up with me, The Hubby came to him the very next day to ask is he’d be cool with him asking me out.

My very-recent-ex was fine with this, but warned The Hubby that I was “clingy.”

“I like that about her,” said The Hubby.

I’m not sure when I first heard of this conversation, but at first I was offended. Clingy is not a good thing! But when The Hubby had a chance to explain, “clingy” to him meant a girl who enjoyed being with him and doing all kinds of things together and needed him, not in a desperate way, but in a “I don’t want to do this life with out you” kind of way.

We officially became a couple 14 years ago today in Dublin, Ireland while on a band trip to march in the Dublin St. Patrick’s Day Parade. And now, even 14 years later, I’ve noticed The Hubby still likes it when I’m “clingy.”

He likes to feel needed. He appreciates knowing he is missed while he’s at work. He feels important to me when I make spending dedicated time with him a priority. And he likes when I am physically “clingy” as well – holding hands, cuddling up, and the like.


Sometimes I get in a groove of just doing things myself and forget we are a team. I don’t ask for help because I don’t want to burden him. This might work well for some marriages, but The Hubby loves helping me, especially with things he is more skilled at than I, i.e. organizing, planning, packing, fixing…I could go on! A day with the kids may have left me ready to curl up in a corner by myself, but he still loves it when I curl up with him, and when I remember to do that, it is even more lovely than when we would cuddle up for a movie 14 years ago.

Our dating anniversary today has me thinking back to all the things that drew us to each other in the first place. I reminded him this weekend of that day back in 2000 when I was first described as clingy. He said he still loves it, but it doesn’t happen often enough!

We may have 10+ years of marriage and 3 kids added to our couple resumé, but underneath all that, we’re still those two kids in love who couldn’t get enough of being together. And we still love so many of the same things about each other – they just often get forgotten in the busyness of raising a family! I’m recapturing that “clinginess” The Hubby loves so much and focusing on those things I’ve loved about him from day one as well!


What drew you to your spouse in the beginning? What drew them to you? Do you still value those things in each other?


Something neither of us had 14 years ago was a love for running! That photo above was taken this weekend when we both ran the Irishman – a 5 mile, 5K, and 1 mile race all in one day! The Hubby SMOKED it, finishing 15th overall with an average 6:40/mile pace {and he ran with a pulled muscle and a head cold}! Despite being slightly slower than last year overall, I set new PRs in the 5 mile and 1 mile this year! It was cold, windy, and there was even a little snow, but this race is always a fun challenge AND it’s all about the Irish, so I can’t help but love it! Anybody else run a St. Patty’s Day race this weekend?

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