Hand In Hand - Don't Let Go | Marriage Mondays

marriage mondays

A few weekends back, we had to travel back to our old stomping grounds...where we met, where we fell in love...as high school sweethearts! Awww! So sappy, right?  We really were there on personal family business, but took the opportunity to escape a few times and as we walked hand-in-hand with the South Florida sun beating down on us (in the Walmart parking lot yall...you can be romantic anywhere. Hehe), and the wind blowing through our hair (well...mine - FYI: Bald is sexy, yall!)... we were reminded of the time we spent there as high schoolers, walking hand-in-hand...feeling all was right with the world because we had each other!  And you know what? We still feel that way!  Now of course it's much deeper!  It's a much more mature kind of love. The kind that has stood the test of time a bit. The kind of love that has weathered many storms and probably has many more to go.  The kind that knows that come what may, we can and will work things out! We will stick together! 

Back then, we just knew we were good for each other. We brought out the best in each other (even when it was painful to do so)! We made each other laugh (and only cry occasionally. LOL).   We loved each other unconditionally even from a young age.  We knew we had something special even then.  We were mostly inseparable. We were totally that couple that you love and that makes you sick at the same time. It makes us laugh to think about it!   At youth group, we sat together. During church, we worshiped together, holding hands of course (insert silly eye roll). On the youth ski trip, we were seldom apart...riding ski lifts together, Allen holding my hand helping me off the ski lift and down the icy mountain, ice skating together, eating together...the only time we could be separated was to sleep or to go to school/work.

And now?  25+ years later (married 22, dated 3+), we still hate to be apart!  Yes! Its true! Together is our favorite place to be!  Allen and I both have great friends that we like to hang out with, but truly there's no one we'd prefer to get away with than each other.  So...As we walked hand-in-hand again in Jensen Beach, Florida, we reminisced;  and as we did, we were amazed that our love is stronger than it's ever been!  Of course it hasn't been an easy road! We have had to push thru some crazy hard times! Last year was a pretty tough one for us). Times when the love well felt dried up. Times when exhaustion seemed to overwhelm the desire to get out together. Times when putting the kids first seemed easier than putting each other first.  Times when we had to be away from each other for weeks on end to care for sick family members.  Times when we were living in another country,(away from all family & friends), with 3 kids, and had to rely on the Lord and on each other instead of letting the stress of the situation pull us apart (it totally could have happened!).  Time spent raising our 3 amazing kids and figuring out how to have agreement in it all (a daily challenge but oh so worth the effort required). Oh...then there's the time when I had a cancerous tumor and the future was very unknown, and when we had a gut-wrenching miscarriage early on in our marriage.  The list goes on! You get the idea.

We're sure that many of you can relate to our set of challenges and add plenty of your own.  Our point in sharing all this is certainly not to air our dirty laundry or gain sympathy, but some people look at us and see this cute couple and think we have "the perfect marriage".  And while our marriage is absolutely beautiful now, it hasn't always been that way and it has been crazy hard work!! It has not always come easy (the good things seldom come easy, right?)!  It has required

  •  Surrendered hearts to the Lord,
  •  Surrendered hearts to each other and of course
  •  A strong commitment to our vows!

Now we also know that we are so blessed to have each other and BOTH be fighting for our marriage! We totally understand that not all have that rich gift, but we just wanted to encourage all of you to keep fighting!  It's been an uphill battle at times  for us.  Many times, you just have to fight very very hard and every time you crest a hill, your marriage will get a little bit (or a lot)  stronger and better than it was before!

So once again, here we are sharing a little bit of our journey to encourage you that come what may, you CAN have a great marriage!  You can weather the storms hand-in-hand and your marriage will just get better and better with each new hill you climb together!  So keep climbing, but don't let go of each other!  You've got this!

Cheering you on,

Allen and Carol

Remember When/ Marriage Mondays

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Ever wander what happened to that cute young couple that got married years ago that lives in your house?

We do! We've had that kind of year that has seemed very heavy and there hasn't really been much time to be that young fun couple this year, but thanksgiving weekend remedied all that! After  a few days of traveling to Atlanta, then prepping & cooking all day long (yes! We have a whole new appreciation for Mom, who always did most of the work) and then grieving the loss of Carol's mama a bit,  we were in much need of some fun together. My twin's precious motherinlaw provided just that for our family by providing us tickets to Six Flags!!! Woohoo!!! We were sooo excited about this!  So although we were there with  a party of 19 (oh, yes we were!), Allen & I found some time to escape on a few rides together and relive our "glory days"!

I wasn't sure I still had it in me to ride a few CRAZY roller coasters,  but we braved them! Yay for the 40-somethings! We started the day on...Goliath!!! Which is a ridiculous 165 feet in the air and drops at a speed of 72 mph!! Eek! But honestly,  I just told myself it was gonna be great then yelled "This is awesome!!" over & over on each hill! And it was yall! It was awesome! Holding the hand of my high school sweetheart, screaming down insane hills...Oh what a rush!

Then we proceeded to ride the Mine Train! Did I mention that we hit Six Flags on the way home from our honeymoon 22 (ish) years ago?  And yup! You guessed it...we rode the Mine Train then too! So...it was a good bit jerkier than we recalled (must be the ride...certainly not our age-LOL), but we were so glad we recreated that memory. It was so worth every ache!

Then as we walked thru the Christmas lights (shivering,  I might add) and rode a few more rides, our heavy hearts lifted a bit, and we decided that a day at Six Flags was Exactly what we needed! Holding hands on coasters,  flirting on the swings,  and stopping to pose for silly selfies, wrapped up in each other, delighted our souls and rekindled our love! We got to leave the "adult" world behind for a bit and just be kids together...those same kids who explored Cedar Point in Ohio,  who fell in love on a youth ski trip, and who hit up all the coasters at Six Flags as a last hurrah on our honeymoon! Yes, our backs ache more now than then and our burdens at times are heavier than we ever imagined possible, but the love between us is stronger and more beautiful than we could have ever dreamed of too!  Can't ask for more than that, right?!

So heres to "Remembering When"! Don't forget to take time out of your overly-full schedules this season to walk down memory lane together...whether that's by reliving an old memory or creating  a new one by being a kid again...its so important to remember how much fun you once had together and go do it all over again!

We'd love to hear about some of your favorite pastimes together too! Amusement Park hopping? Skiing? Sports? Whatever it is, get out there & be kids again together!

Cheering you on,

Allen & Carol

In Sickness and In Health

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22 years ago, when we vowed to love each other "in sickness and in health", we never imagined what the years would bring?  Looking back, I wouldn't want to know what the years would bring anyway. I mean, who really wants to know, right?" If we knew how tough things would get, would we sign up for it? Well, maybe. Hee-hee.  No matter how sick or how well tho, Allen & I would choose each other all over again. In a heartbeat!

Speaking of heartbeat,  mine (Carol's) started acting funny this weekend.  The combination of that, a bit of chest pain & lightheadedness led us to call the doc and head on into urgent care.  After an EKG, chest xray and blood work all came out fine, we were sent home.   Of course Allen was right by my side.  Even tho that meant he had to give up his beloved Saturday afternoon and clean up his weekend projects earlier than planned.   Y'all, this man is such a hard worker and I HATE making him give up his weekends...especially after Hurricane Irma gobbled up our last weekend and entire week really.  Anyhow, home we went without much explanation (except musculoskeletal pain diagnosis,  since I had fallen down a few stairs 5 days before).    

Next morning,  I woke with the same symptoms and thought maybe I was imagining it.  So we went to church and while out to lunch,  got a call from the nurse where I was day before, that said my bloodwork came back and my  "D-Dimer" was elevated...in English terms, they wanted me to go to the ER for a cat scan to rule out Pulmonary Embolism (a blood clot).  Not really what we wanted to hear of course.   So, we finished eating lunch and now my sweet man sits next to me in the ER.  I really don't know how I got so blessed! Not only was he insistent on taking me (yes, I told him I could drive myself..LOL), but he also has been doting on me and taking such great care of me.  I hated for him to give up more of his weekend (Heck! I even hated giving up Sunday afternoon myself! Sunday afternoons are a bit sacred at our house. Its a time we can rest, or read books, or tinker, or really do whatever we want. Its glorious!).  But give it up he did. Why? Because of the "In Sickness and In Health" clause.  Oh...and because he LOVES me. And thats what love does

Love gives up its weekends; 

Love takes you to the ER; 

Love sits in a cold uncomfortable chair in the ER for hours...just to be by your side;

Love tells you its going to be okay when you're scared; 

Love bears all things, believes all things hopes all things, endures all things..LOVE NEVER FAILS. (another part of our wedding ceremony that comes from I Corinthians 13...aka the Love Chapter in the Bible).

This is just what  we do for each other.  Together we have been thru surgeries, hospital stays, 3 labors, a miscarriage, flus, middle-of-the-night ER visits, debilitating back pain, anxiety and depression and much more.  This is just what Love does!

So here we sit,  at the ER. Several EKGs, too many vials of blood taken (ick), and a cat scan later, turns out, we are all cleared.  Not really sure what my body is doing but seems it's reacting strangely to falling down a set of stairs this past Monday.  In the healing process,  it has decided to give me a bit of a scare!  But the whole process was made so much easier with my Love by my side. Cant imagine going thru these things without him.

Remember to always be there for each other...in sickness and in health!

Cheering you on, 

ALLEN & CAROL

Lessons From "IRMA"

Lessons From "IRMA"

When we decided to evacuate, we weren't sure what that would entail...a long drive, heavy traffic, high winds?  Would we pack enough? What should we take? What should we leave? So many uncertainties.  But 1 thing we knew...that always remains the same....OUR GOD IS GOOD AND WE CAN TRUST HIM!

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