Taking Risks Together


“I never minded the risk, but we always did it together”  Anyone recall this line from The Greatest Showman?  This was spoken from one spouse to another toward the end of the movie when things weren't going so well in their relationship (don't want to give too much away just in case you haven't seen it).  But needless to say, there was a risk involved that began with them adventuring together and then led to one of them shutting the other one out basically.

As we were watching this movie the other day, this line took my breath away!  There have only been a few times in our marriage that we have unintentionally shut each other out in the middle of a risk or adventure.  Of course, no one ever starts out in a relationship deciding to not ‘let each other in’, but there have been a handful of times in our marriage that we have felt misunderstood…felt like the other one just didn’t “get” us, and the "shut-out" began.  Let me tell you now, that makes a marriage an easy target.  The lie is in believing 'my spouse doesn’t get me, doesn’t understand me', etc.  Honestly, it seems most affairs begin because “somebody understands” the one in a way they think their spouse does not.  It’s sometimes easy to get the victim mentality and think that since our spouse didn’t come from where we came from, doesn’t struggle with the same issues, doesn’t have the same weaknesses (ie: biking. LOL) , etc, then they don’t get us and that maybe there is somebody out there who does.  Being loved and understood is one of our greatest needs…not only in marriage but in life.  We all want to be understood.  If you think it doesn’t apply to you, just ask yourself if you’ve ever tried to do something kind, or say something (that you thought was said or done in love), only to have it misunderstood and turned around.  That is the worst, right?  You leave thinking, “that is not what I meant at all. I was trying to help!”   Oh please tell me, we are NOT the only ones who have struggled with this in our marriage! LOL.  I am sure we are not.

There was a time in our lives where we were on an adventure where we pretty much risked everything!! We knew it was exactly where we were supposed to be in our lives at that time, but we also knew it was outrageously risky! Our initial goal on the adventure was to do it together but while we were there, circumstances of the adventure had a tendency to pull us apart. Allen has always been very loving and doting on me and very committed!!   Therefore, when it seemed like his commitment to the adventure we were on became a priority over our relationship, I knew something bad was wrong.  It was a very scary time in our marriage really.  Neither of us could really see straight at the time, except we just knew we had to communicate about it and remedy it, otherwise we would never be the same again!  After much pressing and pursuing and communicating (even at the risk of being a pest at times), we were able to see the difficulty for what it really was.  We were able to see that Allen was shutting me out a bit and it had grown to a dangerous level for our marriage.  Once we finished that adventure and resumed “normal life” we were able to step back from it and have perspective and see the danger we were in and how it could have been devastating for our marriage.  We began to take this risk as individuals and isolate ourselves and shut each other out from in the middle of it and it was not at all healthy.  We had a lot of healing to do after that, but thank goodness we serve the “Great Physician” and he healed our wounds and redeemed that adventure! “I never minded the risk, but we always did it together”... We love risks and adventures, but doing it together is always better!

A more recent happening illustrates this a bit differently so hang in there with this one.  When my mom was passing away last year, I had been traveling back and forth to Atlanta for months and then we realized the end was in sight for her and we all knew it would require a lot of sacrifice (major risk)!  We knew it would require me heading South to go be with mama until the end. However,  we didn’t know how long that would be for.  Anyhow, as I walked thru this with mama, it was easy for me begin to shut Allen out a little bit (altho I was totally unaware).  After all, he wasn’t there with me and even tho talking to him at the end of the day was the absolute highlight of each day, I still began to tell myself he didn’t understand.  Just FYI…that’s a dangerous L I E!!!  In the midst of that sorrow and pain, I would sometimes reach out to my twin or a friend who I thought might “get me” when I was breathless from grief.  Sometimes I think I shut him out because I just felt so bad that every time I talked on the phone to him, I was either bone weary or sobbing.  Loving and caring for someone thru all the stages of death is one of the most exhausting, painful and beautiful things I have ever been thru in all my life!  That experience was unlike anything I’ve ever known (or ever thought I would know) and it felt so darn isolating at times.  Then even after mom passed, I began to detect a habit. I would not fully let myself grieve in front of Allen at times. Sure sometimes I did, but other times I would be a bit guarded.  I would think ‘who wants a wife who cries all the time?  I've got to pull myself together!’  And let me just say, for the record, that Allen never did anything to make me feel that way. Never once did he condemn me for crying all the time or get upset with me for being continuously sad or act without compassion even in those moments I was totally unable to function in my grief (There were more of those than I care to admit!). He has always been overwhelmingly supportive of me in this process. Me isolating myself and being guarded around him was due to a lie I chose to believe... Not his responses to my grief!   I believed he deserved a happy wife and that he would eventually get tired of seeing me so sad, so I needed to pull myself together and stop crying in front of him.  But I WAS WRONG!!!  We had taken this risk together,  but I was isolating myself in it. 

Shutting him out only made our relationship vulnerable to attack.  Vulnerable to not communicating well anymore. Vulnerable to isolation.  The total opposite of intimacy, of course!  Allen has been so patient tho to continue pursuing me in this crazy grief process and not let me shut him out, and it has made all the difference. It makes me want to be vulnerable and let my guard down.  His pursuing me reminds me I am not on this journey alone and I need to continually open my heart and let him in.  

So you may be asking:  What is the solution to shutting each other out?  Well here is a small list of the things we did (not really knowing what to do, God in all His wisdom guided us to do these things. All glory to Him!).

1.        PURSUE!!! - When you realize your spouse is shutting you out, that is NOT the time to back down and let it be whatever it is.  That is the time to pursue your spouse. To love them, to encourage them, to be there for them, to try to understand their feelings.  Don’t let the conversation get more and more guarded or more and more casual and slowly let isolation take place.  Marriage is no place for “guarded” conversations where there was once intimate communication.  Don’t give up on each other. It may take some time, but do the hard thing and press into each other instead of pulling away from one another

2.       COMMUNICATE!!! This can’t be overstated!  Communicate even when you don’t know how to. Just get vulnerable and real with each other and lean into each other in conversation, trying to understand what the other needs, rather than pulling away and focusing on your own needs.  There are so many amazing good books on this as well.  If you need help, Love and Respect is always a good one to start with.


3.       REMEMBER!!!  Don’t forget what you love about each other (yah...they're probably the same things that drive you both crazy too, but that's part of the beauty).  That may mean you need to get away to do this, or go for a walk together, or just go out for coffee together.  You may need to re-read your old love letters to each other (anyone else besides us have those? LOL), or relive your “glory days” together via photos, videos.  Whatever it takes, remember what you love about your spouse and what drew you to each other in the 1st place.


4.       HUG IT OUT!!!  Yep!  Sometimes it’s really that simple. Hugging each other can totally make you feel less isolated and alone!  Just like Olaf...sometimes all you need a warm hug! Heehee

So go for the risk, but do it together and don’t isolate yourself or shut each other out.  Keep leaning into to each other and pressing on! Do the Hard work of Pursuing, Communicating, Remembering and Hugging!

The prize is worth the price, yall!

Cheering you on,

Allen & Carol

This is where the Healing Begins


 "Bless the Lord, O my Soul, and forget not all His benefits"

It was Good Friday 2004 when I received my healing! It began in this exact spot too! Kleman Plaza, Tallahassee, Florida!!!  I had a strange spot on my leg and went to see the dermatologist about some other skin issues and casually asked about the spot while I was in. As it turns out, it was CANCER!!!!  An "undefined" cancerous tumor behind my right knee. The doctors really didn't know what to do with it. After a needle biopsy, then cutting me open a week later for a larger biopsy, then sending it off to local labs, then Mayo Clinic, they were still all baffled. So they referred me to Mayo Clinic for surgery! Scary!

Fast forward a few weeks and it was the week of Easter...and our precious middle child's 4th birthday. Much fear of the unknown lingered in my soul. My amazing man took the day off to spend with us to celebrate our child's birthday.  We decided to go downtown Tallahassee (which we never seem to find time to do) and explore. We ended up in Kleman Plaza, at the fountain.  I remember the moment like it was yesterday. We were just walking around, enjoying the beautiful spring air when my Dad called me to find out if I had heard from Mayo (was waiting to hear what results of biopsy were and when surgery would be scheduled). My Dad kept believing I was healed and standing in the gap for me when I couldn't even do it for myself! He was a chaplain and had about 200 jailers praying for my healing!   God can use you anywhere, y'all! I believe this now more than ever!

So there I stood,  downtown tally, on the phone with my Dad, who kept saying, "Baby, Mayo hasn't called you yet because you are healed!"  You see, I was anxiously awaiting the call to schedule my surgery to get it over with (I was chomping at the bit since the call was days overdue).   So..as all good daughters do (ha-ha), I rolled my eyes and said, "Okay, Dad" with the tiniest faith I could muster (which wasn't much, I'll admit!).  But my Dad kept on believing! He never gave up. Every time I called him worried or upset, he would tell me the same "You haven't heard anything back, because there's nothing to tell. You're healed! There wont be a need for surgery."  Bless him!

Finally, as we were sitting in this field, taking family photos (Yes, Allen was an amazing photographer even then..long before we began our biz), my cell rang! And it was Mayo Clinic!!! My heart skipped a beat and I answered! They wanted me there for surgery in 2 days! What?! I cant even begin to put into words my emotions...relief, fear, anxiety, and hope - all mixed together!  I felt like I could now focus on celebrating our daughters birthday,  instead of waiting on the dreaded call! (Sometimes, God in all His mercy throws you a bone!  He knew the outcome but also knew my OCD brain would not quit focusing on "the call" until I got it. LOL. Isn't He so merciful?!  He always knows what we need and want.)  So, we finished the day and then prepped for the big day!

It was Good Friday that I went in for pre-op! Allen and I traveled to Jacksonville, Florida the day before and got a hotel overlooking the ocean (because...why not go big? We didn't think we were going home any time soon! he-he)  I don't recall sleeping much that night.  I recall praying a lot and wondering all sorts of crazy things...like if I had celebrated my daughter's birthday for the last time, if this would be my last time seeing the ocean, last time cuddling with my beloved, etc? No one knew what they would find when they opened me up. All the "professionals" were baffled and most unassuring!

So, finally the next morning, Good Friday (ironic), we headed to the Clinic to meet with the Dr.  We had all the pre-op tests done (several hours worth), then finally met with the Dr.  Then as she was finishing the explanation of the procedure to Allen and I  (how they would cut me open, dig around, take a huge chunk of my leg, and do a skin graft from my other leg, leave a big scar and weeks of recovery - insert sarcasm here - etc.), she asked if I had any questions.  Well, of course I had a million! But Allen and I thought to ask the first and most important question! Ready for this?

What were the results of my lab work that was sent off weeks ago? 

Yup! I had NEVER received any news of the lab results...AKA the piece of my leg that was cut out, shoved in a tube with some liquid and shipped off to their Rochester branch!   She looks at me and digs thru my chart and says "Hmm. I don't see it here!" Let me go look! (Go ahead..GASP! We did! But it gets better so save a Gasp for the end!)  She walked back in the room and said, 

"Well, you can either go home OR we can open you back up and put some prettier stitches on that leg of yours so it heals with less scaring. The lab results came back showing its just fibrous tissue and nothing more". You see, after the 2nd biopsy (which involved opening up the back of my leg, then leaving it open for days with just a bandage over it,  while we waited on results), they had just "butterfly-stitched" me back up, thoroughly convinced that they would be opening me up again soon! So it was kind of messy.   

So...Allen and I looked at each other...SHOCKED...and said Good bye! That was it! No looking back! No asking why, no following up with their mistake,  no "I'll take the pretty stitch job, please"...nothing!  Why?   Well, we knew deep down that God had healed me and we were to leave well enough alone!   Oh, we did first find the words tho to inform the Doctor that my Dad, a chaplain, had 200 jailers praying for me, and that was in addition to the several hundred family and friends praying for me (and the beautiful lady from my church who came to my house and anointed me with oil, as she prayed over me)!    We emphatically informed the Doctor that I was healed because of prayers and faith (not mine, as much as the faith of others). It was as simple as that!


Mayo Clinic Jacksonville Florida

This is me! Celebrating with my "cheerleader" stance outside of Mayo Clinic!  Yes, I was really that little! As soon as we left Mayo Clinic,  Allen and I immediately headed to the water park in Jacksonville for an adventure to celebrate our miracle! All healing should end in celebration!!!


So, every year, around this time, God reminds me of what He did for me! 14 years ago, He gave me the most wonderful miracle!!!  And my Dad...oh my goodness...where do I begin? His faith that stood in the gap for my lack of faith was such a beautiful gift!  Now please don't misunderstand me...I do absolutely believe that we all have to choose to believe in Christ Jesus for our own salvation. Nobody can CHOOSE Christ for us.  However,  I will always believe now that our faith significantly affects our prayers! My Dads faith, the faith of 200 inmates,  of my HUGE family, and of my precious friends,  changed my life, and I am forever grateful! 

So as we finish up this Easter weekend and we remember what the Lord has done, I felt him urging me to tell my story of His great love and mercy on my life!!!  Of course the reminder this morning during our pastor's message to "tell our story to bring God glory" was a helpful reminder too. He-he.

Good Friday and Easter Weekend will always hold a special place in my heart for so many reasons!  The least of which is that 1. Jesus is Risen!!! and 2. By his stripes I am healed! (Isaiah 53:3-7)

We hope you all had a blessed Easter weekend and were able to celebrate our Risen Lord!

Allen & Carol

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


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


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, 


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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Do your kids want the marriage you have?/Marriage Mondays


22 years ago, we never sat down and wrote out goals for our marriage, or what we wanted our kids to say about our marriage, or anything like that, but somehow we just knew that we wanted to stay best friends and enjoy each other for the rest of our lives.  We somehow knew 1 thing was a must...

We knew we had to be very intentional about keeping our marriage strong each and every day!

Although we had not had any training on this,  we just knew what we wanted and went after it (most days anyway. Hehe).  Well,  this year, on our 22nd anniversary (last weekend), it all paid off!!!   Much to our surprise, our sweet (almost grown...boo-hoo) children wrote out 22 beautiful things that they see in our marriage in cute little tiny hearts  and left these little notes all around the house for us. What?!!!  BEST. GIFT.  EVER!!!!

We were totally blown away by what they see in our relationship and it has been such an eye opener for us. It makes us want to work even harder to keep fighting for our marriage.  So, we wanted to take this opportunity to remind you that your kids are watching your marriage, whether you know it or not.  They see the little ways you look at each other, talk to each other and talk about each other (hopefully its good talk :)  They don't miss a beat. So be careful in your marriage and dont fool yourselves into thinking that your little ones won't pick up on sarcasm, or negativity,  or distrust,  or even...dislike. They are watching and catching it all...every smile, every hug, every encouraging word, every date, every love note!

So without further adieu,  we are so delighted to share with you the 22 notes they wrote ( So, so dear to our hearts yall!). Drum roll please....
1.  You snuggle (our favorite!!)
2.  You learn to agree on things (tough one but we try)
3.  You two always support each other (we know we don't always get this right but are so thankful they notice this)
4.  You make each other happy (awww)
5.  You set aside time for each other 
6.  You dont keep secrets (true, true, true!!!)
7. You still date each other 

8.You are best friends (crazy but true...we'd rather hang out with each other than anyone else. We are total besties.  Heehee)

9. You guys are the best example of a healthy marriage (sweetest compliment)

10.  You communicate (we went thru some tough times to work on this one, but thats a whole other post)
11. Your kids want the marriage you 2 have  (Icing on the cake!!!)
12. You look back on memories together
13. You both LOVVVVVEEE each other
14. You hold each other up
15. You believe in each other
16 You pray for each other (none of the others would matter without this one!)

17.  You fill each other with confidence
18. You both work hard to keep your marriage strong
19.You know how to make each other smile

20. You build each other up

21. You both love the Lord (without the Lords love, we wouldn't even know how to love each other!)

22.  You kiss alot  (Haha...we totally made this one up...to be honest, we have been reading these for a week all thru the house and the tape is no longer sticky. Lost # 22. Bummer! LOL)

Are those just not the sweetest things you've ever read?! 

So, whats the take away on all this?  We didn't just share this to brag on our kids (although they are pretty awesome!).  We really wanted yall to take the opportunity to reflect in your own marriage and see if there are things in your marriage that you DONT want to your kids to see exemplified.  We give you permission this week to take time out of your busy schedule - together - and make a top 10 list..

  • top 10 things you DONT want in your marriage and
  • top 10 things you DO want FOR your marriage

What do you want your kids to say about you in 10 or 20 years?  We (obviously) are still growing and learning right along with each of you.  We have to continue to dig deep and communicate thru the hard times and love on each other, even when its tough.  We certainly have not "arrived" and know we will always be growing in our marriage, but we sure do love encouraging each of you in your marriages and sharing with you what we are learning in ours.

Thanks for letting us share and be a small part of your lives. We are so grateful!

Cheering you on,

Allen & Carol


 Wanna know the secret to a fulfilling marriage?


"Honor one another above yourselves"    Romans 12:10

This post may sound a bit familiar.  If you've read our Kingdom Marriage Post (see below), you'll recognize this idea...of serving one another, but this post digs a bit deeper and shares a specific example of what this looks like for us (and maybe even for a few others).

You may be wondering 'who the heck are the people in the photo?'  Well...they are my (Carol's) Mom & Stepdad.  And they are some pretty amazing people, if I do say so myself! They have had to learn firsthand how hard "honoring"one another can be through trials.  Let's talk a bit about the world "honor" first tho.

The word "honor" above is translated in some versions as "Prefer one another"...above yourselves.  That says it even better than just honor, we think!

The words before that in Romans 12:10 say to be "kindly affectionate" to each other.  Several commentaries say that refers to "tender affection", like that between parents and children. And many of us know the abundant sacrifices a parent makes for a child (whether we know that because we are parents or because we had parents who sacrificed for us).

I love the way one commentary says it: "The meaning appears to be this: Consider all...as more worthy than yourself; and let neither grief nor envy affect your mind at seeing another honored and yourself neglected." https://www.studylight.org/commentary/romans/12-10.html

Whoa!!!So we are supposed to honor one another AND be happy about it.  Delight in honoring one another?! Whew! That's a tall order!  But I am here to tell you, THIS WORKS in marriage, y'all! It just does!  There's no getting around it.  That leads me to tell you about my amazing man and part of the journey we have been on recently.

So what does "honoring each other" look like in our marriage?

 Let me start by telling you 1 of the many ways Allen honors his wife.  For the past 3 years, he has been so abundantly gracious with our money and time, continually giving me up for a weekend (or even weeks at a time) so I can be with my mom who has been battling ovarian cancer. Certainly not a journey we would have chosen, but God has been so good to us in it all. We can't dare complain. She has been quite the trooper in it all, but so many times has had to be in more of a receiving season than she'd ever wished.  Watching my parents go thru this together and learn how to honor each other even more deeply has been such a beautiful process.  They never give up on each other but just keep putting each other first (even when it's hard).  My stepdad continually gives of his time to sit by my mom for hours on end, holding her hand thru so many doctors appointments and as chemo pumps thru her veins.  And my sweet mama continues to cook for my stepdad and take care of him in the midst of her pain and exhaustion.  They are both such an inspiration!

So...back to braggin on my man tho. (Ha-ha)  Last week Allen had to make sacrifices yet again.  He not only gave me up to travel many miles south (to see my mama), but also worked extra hard to be sure I had a safe vehicle to travel in, traveling money and everything I needed for the trip.  I know its not easy for me to leave him as single Dad for the week...grocery shopping and in charge of meals (along with everything else), but he always handles it like a champ!  Oh, and did I mention that we HATE being apart? Seriously y'all...we sleep like pretzels! LOL. We find so much comfort in each others arms.  Oh! And he never complains! He totally delights in serving me.  He is the definition of "preferring" his spouse over himself.

This man CONTINUES to serve me and my mama by giving me up as much as necessary so I can be my mama's right hand for a few days.  To have the opportunity to be with mama, helping her with paperwork,  driving her around, cooking dinner, and taking her to the beach (A mama's gotta get some vitamin D! LOL) is such a sweet blessing! Three long years ago, we really didn't know how much more time we'd be granted with her. Never dreamed we would get 3 more GOOD years! Wow!! Again, God is so very good to us!  So each moment we get, we will gladly take!

 And sometimes that means my family makes sacrifices...the oldest daughter holding down the fort while I'm gone; the middle homesick daughter being gracious about mom not being home when she returns from camp, and the hubby not having his snuggle bunny at night. Hee-hee (Don't feel too sorry for the baby of the family. He got to party with cousins and road trip with mom! Ha-ha! However, he did make the sacrifice to keep mom company on a trip, not knowing he would get anything good out of it.  Sweet boy!)

But that man of mine is constantly serving & honoring me, and this is just one of the many ways he does. Words cant express how grateful I am for him....for his love, his lightheartedness, and especially for his servant's heart. Its has blessed this undeserving wife time and time again. God knew this selfish heart would need someone to show it the tangible love of Jesus Christ...many many times, before I would pick up on it and begin to give it back.  I am a slow learner at times, but Allen continues to show me love thru my kind moments and my grumpy moments (Don't be too shocked y'all! We all have those, right? Hee-hee)

So we just wanted to encourage all of you to find ways to "prefer" each other. 

We know that wont look the same for all married couples tho. In addition, some days that may mean making small sacrifices and some days it may mean making huge sacrifices. Oh, and if you have a spouse that is a little slow on picking up the "preferring one another" vibe (like I was...oops), hang in there.  Keep on loving that spouse and putting him or her first.   Eventually, they will pick up on the vibe and play the "honoring" game right along with you.  Some of us are slower learners, but when we do catch on, we've got it for life! (Seen the movie Fireproof anyone?) 

So hang in there and keep on honoring each other. Your marriage is worth it!

Cheering you on,

Allen & Carol