Never Enough 

Dear Delilah, 

I do not promise to be perfect. I will certainly fail you at times. However, I promise to always love you unconditionally. I promise to always remind you that you are wonderful & never let you doubt that you are enough. 

As a child we look to our parents for different things. We look to our mothers for comfort, advice, food to nourish us, sprite & popcicles when we’re sick. We look to our fathers for guidance, strength, wisdom, help building a clubhouse, changing a flat tire. 

I remember growing up with a dad that knew everything. Or at least I thought he did. My dad flew airplanes & he made the best paper airplanes too. He built us a 2 story clubhouse with a super cool loft. My dad wrote beautiful poetry & sang in the church choir. He could design a robot to do anything you could dream of. He was superman. He knew everything. 

I remember the first time I realized my dad didn’t know everything. We were on our way to someones house & we had to stop so my dad could use a payphone because we were lost. I was seriously mindblown at the realization that my dad didn’t know our exact location & how to get where we were going. So silly as an adult but the memory will forever stay with me. 

With years comes wisdom & we look to our fathers for wisdom & truth. Some of those “truths” have burdened me for years. 

At 15, my mom divorced my dad. It’s a long tragic story but it boils down to my dad believing my mom worships Satan & all women are sent to ruin the lives of men. Blah blah blah. I suddenly became the daughter that would one day grow up to be an adulterous whore. It was only a matter of time before I would destroy the happiness of anyone that came close enough. 

After my parents got divorced I stopped dating. For over a year I wouldn’t let guys close to me. The friendzone was safer than the turmoil I would cause them. 

At 16, I had my first real boyfriend. I allowed him in. After a while our relationship became him out with friends while I was left behind. I didn’t mind settling because the last thing I wanted was to upset him. After all, I would eventually become a problem that was too big for him to bear right? 

At 20, my now husband respected my wishes & asked my father for my hand in marriage. My dad warned him to back out. “If you change your mind, I will never mention we had this conversation”. He urged him to avoid a life long commitment with me, someone who would only suck his life dry & leave him miserable & alone. After all, didn’t Eve destroy Adam’s life? My dad is still upset that he wasn’t invited to the wedding. 

At 22, I long for acceptance. I’ve been married for over 2 years & if I so much as forget to take the garbage out on trash day I wait to be scolded by my husband. I married a wonderful patient man who loves me unconditionally but that’s not enough to rewire my hard drive. Maybe I added too much red pepper to our meal or forgot to make the phone call I was supposed to make.. Is that going to be enough to make him realize that I’m no good? I got in a wreck this year & it was my fault. The first thing I did was call my husband to tell him it was my fault. I remember saying “I’m so sorry. I’m so sorry. I’m so sorry.” I’ve learned to apologize for my existence. It takes me months to get up the nerve to voice my opinion on things I know my husband doesn’t want to hear. I ask his approval to buy things even if it’s things we need around the house. I sat in the driveway for 15 minutes tonight waiting on a text from him that gave me permission to go out to eat for dinner. What is wrong with me?! 

I’ll tell you what’s wrong with me. I was taught that I could never be the cause for any man’s happiness. I was set up to fail. I spend my life walking on egg shells in fear that I am not capable of bringing light into someone’s life. No matter how “perfect” I am I will never see myself as enough because my first superhero & the first love of my life promised me that I would only destroy anyone who dared love me. 

At 22, my husband tells me every-day that I am enough. I hope one day I will believe it. 

Thank God for the loves of our lives that come along & clean up a mess that is not theirs. Thank God that they pick up the pieces of us that they weren’t responsible for shattering. Thank God for pure unconditional love. Love that says you are more than enough. 

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The Secret to Marriage

What makes a marriage last?

That is the age old question right? People always attempt to answer it with things such as don’t go to bed mad, always let your significant other know you appreciate them, help around the house, never stop saying “I love you”, etc. All good answers I must agree, but I’ll tell you the real answer. The answer is so simple yet so complex.

LOVE YOUR SPOUSE.

For those of you rolling your eyes, hear me out.

So what is the definition of love?

Merriam-Webster states that love is

  1. strong affection for another arising out of kinship or personal ties
  2. attraction based on sexual desire

So that’s going to keep a marriage together? I hate to break it to you but marriage isn’t always a walk in the park & if you’re expecting strong affection or sexual desire to get you through the hardships of marriage then you’re marriage won’t last.

Now let’s talk about what the bible states about love. I’m sure not all my viewers have a relationship with God but hang tight because some good stuff is coming.

Love is PATIENT

This is an obvious one that isn’t always so easy. Patient means bearing pains or trials calmly or without complaint. Without complaint? You mean when my husband eats the meal that I cooked and never says thank you I’m supposed to be calm? You mean when I’ve asked my spouse to pick up their dirty clothes 3 times I’m not supposed to complain and nag? That is exactly what I mean. You’ve taken out the garbage the last 3 times? Do it again.

Love is KIND

If you bring anger and negativity to your relationship during hard times, you are only going to add to the struggles. Abstain from harsh words or actions that will hurt your spouse. Offer encouragement and support and your spouse will learn to return that to you as well.

Love does not ENVY

We cannot make a marriage work playing the compare game. Being envious is not limited to being jealous of other women/men in your spouses life. Do you envy their social life? Their work life? Maybe you envy them getting personal space & breaks while your a 24/7 parent. Everyone is different but ultimately love does not envy and being envious will only hurt your marriage.

Love does not BOAST, it is not PROUD

Boasting is pointing to one’s self rather than at your marriage. Being arrogant and proud shows that your focus and concern comes from your own individual accomplishments and not from your accomplishments as a team. This can leave your partner feeling inadequate and insignificant.

Love does not DISHONOR OTHERS, it is not SELF-SEEKING

Every choice you make in a marriage should be made for the benefit of your marriage. PERIOD. When you start living your life to satisfy your own personal wants without consideration for your spouse, your marriage is no longer taking priority.

Love is not EASILY ANGERED

Anger is an emotion we cling to when other emotions are too hard to swallow. Anger can solely ruin a relationship because when we allow ourselves to become angry we lash out at the ones we care about. We say things we don’t mean that will hurt them for a lifetime. Avoiding anger in your marriage can open the door for communication and solutions. If you find yourself becoming angry then allow yourself time to cool down and breathe before confronting your spouse.

Love KEEPS NO RECORD OF WRONG DOINGS

This is the one. I personally feel like this one makes or breaks your marriage. A marriage is two HUMANS coming together; with all of their burdens, all of their mistakes, and pasts. No human is perfect and there will come a time, or 20 that your significant other wrongs and hurts you. This verse doesn’t just mean that love is forgiveness but that love is the choice to let go and move forward from the wronged action. This means that love is not judgment or consequences. Love is not throwing mistakes in your spouses face, or controlling every aspect of their life when they’ve done wrong. It’s allowing yourself to forgive them and making the choice to continue to grow your marriage.

Love does not DELIGHT IN EVIL but REJOICES IN TRUTH

Honesty is such an important part of a successful marriage. It is not always easy to come forth with the truth, nor is it easy to accept the truth that is spoken to you. However, keeping secrets from your spouse will only lead to guilt, insecurity, and many more struggles. The best thing for your relationship is being an open book. Allow your partner to know the desires and burdens that lay on your heart.

Love always PROTECTS

This is important because often you have to protect your spouse from people who shouldn’t be a threat in the first place. A marriage is a life long commitment bound by God. Your spouse is to be your second priority after God himself. Yes, this means before your family. Yes, this means before your children. You need to make it clear to the people in your life that you and your spouse are one and anything they do or say to hurt them is hurting you as well.

Love always TRUSTS

In a world now drowning in social media, it isn’t a secret that infidelity is much easier to accomplish. You can not make a relationship last if you are constantly questioning the faithfulness of your spouse. If you feel the need to read their messages and have access to their passwords for Facebook, twitter, Instagram, etc. then you are not trusting them and knowing that you don’t have faith in them will negatively impact your marriage.

Love always HOPES, always PERSEVERES; Love never FAILS

The biggest problem in marriages today is the acceptance that giving up is an option. If you put divorce on the table as a possibility or even as a last resort then it WILL happen. Today 50% of marriages end in divorce. HALF OF MARRIAGES END IN DIVORCE. Marriage is hard. Hard is the biggest understatement I’ve used in this blog post. Marriage at times is crippling. It is impossible to follow this without faltering. If you try and fail, well at least you are trying. When you feel like you have hit rock bottom then take a deep breath because there is nowhere to go but up.

When I’m weathering storms in my own marriage, God always says Love him as I have loved you.

 

When I grow up 

Dear Delilah,  

What do you want to be when you grow up? 

Had you asked me when I was 7, I would’ve said a zookeeper. 

At 12, an ASPCA case worker 

At 15, a veterinarian 

At 17, a vet technician

At 18, an elementary school teacher

At 19, I played around with the idea of working in speech pathology & audiology.  Maybe helping children with special needs to communicate. Or maybe Psychology; something about it gave me purpose.  

My plans were to graduate with an Associates of the Arts degree in theatre then transfer the credits over to the neighboring university where they would take the credits to continue a Bachelors in Education or Speech Pathology. 

Then I ran into your dad & something inside of me changed.  

I was no longer preoccupied by dreams of my own but dreams of a family. I dreamt of being a wife.  I dreamt of being a mother. 

Staying in Southeast Texas for the sole purpose of continuing school seemed so silly compared to my dreams of being a homemaker,  a nurturer, a mother, & a wife. Your father & I got married, I graduated,  & it was off to New York for me. 

New York was a beautiful experience. I made friends & found a job that I loved. I worked with one of my best friends running the toddler classroom at a child development center & I couldn’t have been happier. It wasn’t long before I bonded with the children & several of the parents. I loved the kids like my own & leaving them was harder than I ever could’ve imagined but at 7 months pregnant it was time to move back to good ole Texas. 

Now we’ve been stationed here about 6 months & I’ve had a job for 2 but it just hasn’t been the same. An Associates degree in Theatre is hardly a career & child care centers don’t pay much. Finding a minimum skill job that pays enough to make daycare worth it is nearly impossible. Staying home doesn’t help financially at all. Sometimes it’s hard to remember how insignificant money is. Our lights stay on & we have food on the table.  Our gas tanks are full & we have hot water to bathe. Isn’t everything else just an added luxury? New books, Starbucks, eating out. Those things aren’t needed. I’m stressing over insignificant things. A job is simply that. A job. 

So ask me at 22 what I want to be when I grow up. 

I want to be happy.  I want to be available for my husband & child. I want to be loved. I want to take lots of pictures. I want to cherish the little things that make life so beautiful. I want to make memories that will last a lifetime. I want to hold my family close. I want to be kind to others. I want to take chances. I want to go on adventures. I want to grow & watch you grow. I want to run my fingers through your father’s grey hair when we’re old & look into those beautiful eyes like I’m 19 again. We were young & no, I didn’t have a career, a savings, or even a plan but he waltzed into my heart & I had never been so sure of anything in my entire life.  

Coping without you

I’m angry.  I’m in no way angry at you.  I’m angered by your absence. My anger isn’t an isolated emotion.  Accompanied by sadness,  lonliness, & helplessness,  I’m drowning in emotions that are foreign to me.  When you’re here,  my emotions are at rest. The usual ones remain;  love,  happiness,  relief.  When you’re here I am half of a whole.  I am a player on our team.  In your absense I am incomplete.  I’m expected to be whole & take on the roles of the whole team.  I’m supposed to keep a smile on my face because I’m a military wife. My husband is a hero so how can I be angry with my situation?  “You chose this life”, “you knew what you were signing up for”. Excuse me,  are you trying to comfort me?  After two years of marriage, I’m sleeping alone.  My daughter has the best dad in the world and he can’t even see her. Yes,  I’m angry.  Anger is an emotion I don’t know well. I can cope with being sad.  I can cope with being alone.  How do you justify being angry at a situation instead of a person?  I’ve heard parents of cancer patients break down and say they are just so full of anger.  Not at their child of course,  their child is the victim. Friends & family are just collateral damage.  That’s where I fall,  I’m collateral damage.  My husband is going through life without his wife,  his daughter,  his dogs,  his home.  I’m sure when sick children see their parents angry they often feel like they are at fault. Anger is rarely talked about,  it is rarely explained & perhaps that’s where the problem lies.  Anger is an emotion that is easier to avoid.  But what if we started discussing our anger?  Would there be less children blaming themselves for failed marriages?  Less sick people feeling like burdens? Less soldiers feeling like their wives are upset with them?  I’m not angry with you.  I’m angry without you. Forgive me when my anger comes across wrong. Forgive me when my anger takes the form of a snide comment about you leaving.  I promise I never mean to hurt you. I know you take my words to heart but it’s just bottled up pain, bottled up anger that slowly comes out. I guess now that I think about it, my anger has always taken the form of words.  My heart and soul express themselves through words. What a blessing and a curse.  Your ears are blessed with I love you,  I miss you,  and I could never live without you.  I guess it doesn’t help when the kind words you recieve are followed by “you left” and “I’m alone”. I never say things to be malicious. I don’t forge my words into daggars to wound you.  But it seems that way.. I promise I’ll try to be aware of what I am saying. I promise I will try my best to talk about my anger while reminding you that my anger is in no way directed at you.  I am so proud of the man you have become.  I am mesmerized watching you with Delilah.  I am so thankful for your patience and attentiveness as both a husband and father.  I am extremely proud of your success in your career,  that at 21 years old you are not only excelling but financially supporting a family of 3, plus 2 fur babies.  We’ve purchased our first home & 2 vehicles. Not to mention the discipline and respect the military has instilled in you. Oh man do I have so much love and respect for you.  You are so much more than I ever could have imagined for myself. My heart is bursting with appreciation for you. Without you my heart is angry, but I promise I’ll learn to cope in a way that doesn’t hurt you. I love you Cody Montana. 

Touch

Dear Delilah, 

Never forget that your body is yours. There will come a day when people try to convince you otherwise. 

Your body will fail you in the moment. Keep your mind & heart strong. The internal battle is the hardest to fight. 

Butterflies do not equal love. 

Smooth talking does not equal respect. 

Guys seem to know exactly what to say to make you feel like you owe them something.  

Babygirl, you are special. Don’t be the next number to a guy who doesn’t see that.  

I pray that your father & I can be a pure honest example of love & adoration.  

We both grew up in broken homes & searched for love & acceptance in the arms of strangers.  

They all make you feel special. For a moment. 

Don’t settle for surface compliments.  Yes,  “you’re beautiful”.  Boys will get “lost in your eyes” & “love your smile”. “Your dress is pretty” and “your hair is gorgeous”.  It’s garbage. 

Wait for the man that loves that you laugh when you’re nervous, that you geek out over astronomy,  or fight for what you believe in. 

You’re brilliant. Never compromise your intelligence for anyone. 

It’s human nature to want to be wanted. You have to learn to want & love yourself first. 

“How you love yourself is how you teach others to love you.”  -Rupi Kaur

I wish so badly that someone would’ve had this talk with me. It’s not enough to say “wait until marriage”. 

When you’re uncomfortable, say no.  When you’re drinking, say no. When you don’t even know his middle name,  say no.  

So often I wished I had just stood up for myself. Why was it so hard to say what I was really thinking?  Why did I feel like anyone deserved such a sacred part of me?  

I want so badly to shelter you from the pain. The false compliments, the temporary butterflies. The mornings after, tear streaked pillows. Sweetheart, it’s so not worth it.  

I know I’ll annoy you about who you’re with, where you’re going, when you’ll be home..  But I’ll be up late waiting to make sure you come home safe. I’ll bug you with questions about how things went & you’ll roll your eyes because I’m over protective.  

I was given the blessing of being your parent in this life & helping guide you through life’s tough battles. I promise I will always be waiting with a listening ear, & a full heart. 

 & your dad will be waiting with his shotgun.  

Come Home

When you’re gone it doesn’t feel like living. I fall into a routine. Mindlessly go day to day feeling little. 

I miss your spontaneity. Ice cream runs & late night scrabble. Disney movie nights, midnight coffee. 

I miss your touch. Holding my hand, washing my back. Forehead kisses.  

Our bed feels too spacious.  My voice seems to echo off the walls in our home. 

You breathe life into my world. I’m suffocating without you. Come home.  

Encouraging creativity. 

Dear Delilah,

There are no limits to your imagination & creativity. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, & you’re the beholder. Open your mind & explore, the world is at your fingertips. 

I am so open minded when it comes to parenting. I firmly believe that parenting is different for every child. I don’t care if you breastfeed, formula feed, or do both; as long as your child is fed. I don’t care if your baby cosleeps, sleeps in a play pen, or has slept in their room since day one; as long as they’re getting a good night’s rest. I don’t care what language, culture, or political preferences you teach your child. But please let your kid be a kid. 

Don’t constantly sit them in front of the television.

Don’t give them your iPad or cellphone every time they get hyper; they’re children. 

Don’t sit down at a restaurant & allow your kids to bury their heads in technology. 

Children have to learn to be decent human beings. They have to learn how to act in public when they don’t have electronics everywhere. I know it’s easier than actually teaching them how to behave. It’s easier than disciplining your bratty child in front of people. 

However, overloading your small children with technology doesn’t just hinder them socially. They suffer from “I’m entitled to new electronics for every holiday”. Cell phones, tablets, iPods, laptops, TVs, etc. 

The thing that bothers me the most is that we as parents are killing our children’s imagination. We’re killing their creative capacity. 

I work at a child development center where I run the performing arts classroom. All day long children from the ages of 6-12 transition in & out of a classroom full of costumes, masks, art supplies, music, & props. I would’ve LOVED something like this as a kid. I used to gather food in my backyard (leaves, dirt, grass, pebbles), put them in my big stew pot (any bucket I could find), & mix them with all my different cooking utensils (sticks). Didn’t we all do things like this? 

I really struggle to encourage creativity in my classroom.. During our Pirate themed week I allowed the kids to drawing treasure maps. I was thinking this would be a super easy & fun activity for all the kids. I gave them 3 rules: there has to be a starting point, an “X” to mark the spot, & 5 obstacles of their choice (volcano, caves, forest, rivers, lions, etc). This was ridiculously hard for the majority of my students. They literally could not make themselves think of 5 things when they had an endless amount of options. The next day was worse. I asked the kids to write a short pirate story. There simply had to be 4 characters, a problem & a solution. I think maybe 5 kids were able to write a story that literally could have been about anything in the world as long as it included a pirate. 

These kids have been raised on television & movies, video games, & music videos. They haven’t needed to pretend. They’ve never needed to think for themselves because someone else’s thoughts & visualizations are plastered on a screen for them. The kids can’t even play charades unless they have props for everything. If they were supposed to act out “driving a car” they would literally ask me, “how can I act that out? I don’t have a car.” It is honestly heart breaking. I can’t imagine a childhood without imagination but I witness it everyday. Not to mention they ask me everyday to trash my lesson plan so that they can play on tablets or play on their phones, or worse, MY phone. 

I’m not saying never let your kid watch TV or occasionally play games on a tablet. But please stop handing children electronics every time you don’t feel like parenting or spending time with them. There are so many dramatic play toys & costumes for kids of all ages. Next time your 3 year old brings you a fake phone, answer it. Next time they ask you to have a tea party or hunt dinosaurs, play with them. When they’re playing doctor & need a patient, pretend you broke your leg. Choose books over movies. We can encourage their minds to grow. We can support their creativity. Don’t kill their imagination for your convenience.