Falling In Love All Over Again

There are a couple moments that strike me a new flame in my relationship with Josh.  Such moments that are a gift from God as a reminder of how He uniquely chose us for each other and how He cares to help keep the flame going.

My husband, Josh, is an extremely passionate and gifted musician. He is in the band Citizen Way and they tour together all around the country but he also leads worship at New Life Assembly of God Church in Janesville.  A while back I chose to commit to attend as many shows as I could, namely make a huge effort to make one show every tour even if they landed nowhere close by.  The reason?  Besides supporting my husband and making and effort to meet the people he inevitably talks about all tour, I do it because I get the warm, fuzzy, high school crush feelings all over again when I see him rocking it and looking so adorable and sexy on stage.  Yup, I think my husband is sexy.  Granted, I know the whole cute guy playing guitar on stage thing works for nearly everyone but still, it’s a good lovey dovey reminder for this wife.

A more unique way God blessed our relationship has to do with singing.  Sometimes I get the privilege of singing alongside my husband.  Most often it’s at church, but sometimes I get to join him on solo gigs.  There is something so perfect about the way our voices match up.  The only other example of such an intimate matching is in dancing relationships.  Often times dance partners end up intimate, married, or the like.  Why?  Because a dance is an intimate exchange of the heart and body.  Music is also an intimate art form.  Our voices not only match up so well because of our biology and the way God created each of our voices separately but, because of our intimacy as a married couple I am able to follow his lead through a song as easily as it is for me to take a breath.  Every time we sing together I am reminded of how beautifully matched we are simply because of this musical bond.

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Now, what I would love to know is…

In what ways do you see yourself falling in love with your spouse all over again?

In what ways do you see your married relationship rise to it’s highest beauty?

 

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So I’m Married to a Touring Musician

He comes home, he leaves, and he comes back again.  After over four years of marriage I have finally adjusted to such a reality.  Just like most couples get used to parting ways on weekdays, I have gotten used to parting with my husband for a day or a few days or a week or a month…

I hear a lot of “I could never do that” or “wow that must be hard” or “how do you do it?”  You don’t have to feel bad for me.  We chose this lifestyle and it does have its disadvantages but it most certainly has its advantages.

Disadvantages

I miss the night time snuggling.  He misses the night time snuggling.  Truth is, I think he has a harder time with this one than me.  At least, when he’s gone, I get to welcome the dogs into my bed.  The best bed snuggles he gets on the road is a butt bump with his brother.

A job on the road is a dangerous one.  Fortunately I am not a worrier.  However, I do have my moments.  Sometimes I get struck with a panic that any given moment my husband’s life might be obliterated while on the road.  They say car accidents are the 9th leading cause of death.  The Citizen Way boys drive themselves across the country overnight.  Crazy folks drive around in the middle of the night you know.  Sometimes Josh will tell me of a close call.  Like one time they were trekking along as usual when a semi truck freakishly swerved from the right of them to fishtailing around the front of them and into the ditch on the other side without even the slightest moment of contact.  I lean heavily on God’s protection and fold myself into the truth that no matter what happens He will get me through it.  There is beauty in that.  Beauty in needing God that way.

Sometimes he has more fun than I do.  Sometimes they play around at an amusement park, completely bypassing all the lines with their fancy VIP passes.  Sometimes they get to go to really warm places in the dead of winter and come home with some nice tans.  Sometimes he gets really cool, free stuff.  Sometimes he gets to go to a place I’ve always wanted to visit.  I love that he gets these things!  But I do admit that I occasionally experience a trickle of jealousy when the most exciting thing I’m doing is culling a wedding.

I just don’t fit in.  When Josh is gone I am half of a couple.  This means I don’t exactly fit in with my couple’s friends and I don’t fit in with single friends.  I think I fit in better with my single friends and, admittedly, tend to enjoy outings that aren’t strictly for the couples more than those that are while Josh is away.  In the early days of Josh hitting the road I would jump at any invitation to be out with people.  Not too long into my readiness though did I find it was hard to always be the single one at the couple’s outings.  I found myself feeling like a little black sheep that people felt sorry for but no one really knew what to do with.  More significantly, I found I became more homesick for Josh.  Sometimes this was a fond homesickness, I longed for him to come home.  Other times I grew frustrated that I didn’t get to be normal and have him around always like my other friends.  You can imagine that the latter was particularly grievous to our relationship.  Bummer for Josh to all of a sudden have a frustrated wife when he didn’t do anything wrong.  All that being said, there are so many times when I love going to couples outings so don’t be scared to invite me!  If I don’t think I’ll be able to handle it I’ll just hang back.

I’m stuck with the full load of responsibility.  When Josh is gone, especially for long periods of time, I soon get stressed by the load that falls on my shoulders.  I am suddenly also in charge of the matters Josh consistently takes care of.  As a result of this phenomenon I happened to take on most of the load on a daily basis.  This way, when he’s gone, I don’t get hit so hard with lots of extra responsibilities, I just get hit with the full load I normally handle.

Communication gets tough.  Those of you who are married know how important good communication is.  When Josh is on the road we are left to the occasional phone call and texting.  Of course this is helpful, but phone calls can only dig so deep.  I’ve come to find that certain good communication habits fall by the wayside when they haven’t been practiced even for a little while.  When we get back together we are suddenly held accountable again for body language or tone subtleties that get masked by a phone call. We tend to misunderstand or misread each other for a good chunk of time before we get adjusted back to good communication habits.  We also find just how much is left out of our phone conversations.  After all, it’s hard for Josh to be as transparent and sociable with me when a whole van of dudes will hear what he tells me too.

Advantages

I can get lots done when he’s gone.  Sometimes friends ask me how I possibly manage to be so stinking productive.  Well, the answer is, I am frequently left to my own devices and a girl’s gotta do something!  This is how I can tackle a photography business, freelance photography work, DIY projects, homesteading, cooking and baking, blogging, writing, and other varieties of productiveness that come my way.  This is, perhaps, the perk I enjoy most about our unique marriage.  I love feeling useful and like I’ve accomplished a lot in one day!  I love that in one day I can get all my photography work done, make a homemade meal from scratch, finish a DIY project or two, take the dogs to the dog park, and still sit down and read at the end of the day.

I get to be Miss Independent when he’s gone.  I basically get to live like a single person while Josh is away.  I get to do what I want, when I want, with who I want.  Sometimes I like to go out with my single friends while Josh is on the road.  Sometimes I rearrange the house.  Sometimes I let the house be messy.  And sometimes I clean the place until it’s sparkling.  Sometimes I like to watch Tangled three nights in a row.  Sometimes I like to make a salad the way I like it.  Sometimes I take the dogs for a long walk along the routes Josh hates.  Sometimes I play my favorite music very loud and dance as undignified as possible.  Sometimes I sit in complete silence for as long as I want.

Alone time is good.  I’m not sure if it’s because of my lifestyle that I value alone time and quiet time so much or if it’s the way I was from the beginning, but all I know is the moment Josh comes home I am struck my how much more noisy my life gets.  When it’s just me at the house I get to choose any and all noise that fills my ears.  Then, suddenly, when Josh gets back my whole day is packed with music or other noise – sometimes I even experience the noise through the night with heavy breathing or as I try to lay down to sleep while he’s still working on a song in his studio.  If Josh isn’t actively writing or rehearsing a song, teaching music lessons, or performing on stage he’s usually still singing some song as he goes about his day.  What I’ve learned in all this is that, eventually, even music just becomes noise.  The bit I miss least when Josh is gone is the repetitive song playing.  When he’s recording or practicing a song I hear the same one line of melody so many times that my feelings towards that line of notes is no different than to how I would respond to a broken record or someone unrelentingly knocking on my front door for an hour.  This admittance pains me because I feel guilty for feeling this way – especially when most folks comment on how I’m so lucky to have my house filled with live music all the time.  I will admit that the first time and even up to the fifth or sixth time I’ve heard the same song in a row I feel blessed and privileged… it’s when the song seems like it’s never going to end that my seams start to split.

The reunions are always incredible.  They say, “absence makes the heart grow fonder.”  Well I’d say Josh and I are well advanced in fondness due to all the time spent apart!  Every time he leaves I am now in the habit if switching gears to life as an off-the-market single woman.  It’s like changing clothes to me now.  Simply switching gears.  My heart lives in this interestingly content place of getting things done, hanging with the dogs or friends, or soaking up some alone time while also wholly looking forward to the moment he walks back through the front doors and into my longing arms.  It feels like the honeymoon stage all over again!  You may be thinking, well I’m sure glad I’m not in the honeymoon phase anymore!  We were way too emotionally insane and unbalanced to want to go back to that!  Let me tell you a secret, this perpetual “honeymoon phase” of ours is a different kind of animal.  Instead of coupling the intense emotional excitement and passion with so much miscommunication and misunderstanding we get only the former!  Cool huh?  Perhaps this sounds totally not fun to you, but I’ve come to love the emotional highs and lows.  Also, to be completely transparent, good ‘ol hanky panky after a forced period of time away is real nice.

Sometimes I get to go with.  For every tour he’s a part of I make a point to make it out to at least one show.  Even this small consolation of a free concert is enough to be a perk but it’s the overwhelming pride and joy I experience as I watch the world’s kindest and most adorable man living his dream out on stage that really takes the cake.  And to top it off, sometimes I even get the opportunity to go with to a really snazzy event or to an awesome location.  Some of my favorite “business” trips with Josh have been to the KLOVE Fan Awards and to the SESAC Awards Ceremony.

Love and Friendship

Even with all of the advantages to our marital lifestyle I must admit I do get significantly lonely when Josh is gone.  It is just me and the dogs at home after all and they aren’t much for conversation.  I know some people are unsure what to do with a lady in a situation like mine.  Do we invite her or not?  If I could choose, I would always be invited!  Even if I can’t make it I am always filled up with warm tingles when I am invited.  The only other alternative is me pestering all you folks to hang out with me and with a husband gone so frequently that truly gets exhausting!  Moral of the story, the best way to love on this lonesome wife is to invite me for a hang.

Moving Forward…

And now we just had a baby, a little girl.  I’m sure a lot of these advantages and disadvantages will start looking very different.  And I’ll probably have more to add now that we have Maisy around too.  Maybe I’ll fill you in after we’ve experienced a couple rounds of Papa being away 🙂

 

About Arguing and Dogs

I love my dogs.  They are simple, loving little creatures who’s life goals are as follows:  play outside, eat as much food as possible, and love and please their mama and be loved by her.  They also sleep often but sleeping for my two dogs doesn’t seem as much of a goal as it is something they do to pass the time between moments when they can be eating or playing outside or snuggling with me.

Sometimes I talk about them when people talk about their kids.  People talk about their kids a lot and the closest things I have to relate with are my dogs.  Sorry if I ever talk about my dogs around you, I’m just trying to join in on the kid conversation.

Anyway, my dogs teach me a lot.  In fact, they taught me how to argue well.

Sometimes Josh and I argue.  When we do my two dogs act very differently.

When Josh and I argue Haley hides and shivers uncontrollably.  If and when you find her again she’s a hunched over mess peering up at you with Precious Moment’s eyes while convulsing like she’s experiencing hypothermia.  Because of such a reaction, Josh and I started learning to tame our tongues in our arguments.  We noticed that the more tame our volume and tone remained the longer we could keep Haley in the room.  Thus, because of Haley, Josh and I learned how to argue civilly much sooner than we may have without her.

When Josh and I argue Sam follows me around with his tail slightly between his legs and his posture is wholly apologetic.

Haley’s fear of arguments is enough to melt my heart.  However, her approach to getting us to stop the flow of angry words can easily go unnoticed for a while.  But now there’s Sam. Turns out, it’s hard to yell at your spouse when there is an adorable fluff ball at your feet pleading for a chance to console you.

This morning Josh and I had a little spat.  I can’t say it was an argument or even a disagreement, just a moment when both of us felt frustrated in various ways that needed to be discussed.  Shortly into the chat I melted onto the floor, too overwhelmed by emotion to remain standing to cry about it (thank you pregnancy), and the moment I did Sam appeared in my lap.  I actually didn’t notice he’d arrived until I was already petting him and feeling much better already.  They say there is something calming about petting a dog.  Sam must know that and that’s why he chooses to sweetly offer his fluffy self up as a sort of sacrificial lamb in the middle of a heated spat.  Brave little bugger.

I think everyone should love dogs.  They teach me so much about God’s love all the time.  In arguments they both have their ways of encouraging the argument to desist.  Through Haley I can picture how God would need to leave the room when Josh and I spiral out of control and wait in the other room until we were ready to come back into his presence and be loving again – His goodness can’t stick around with such sin storming about.  Through Sam I can also picture how Jesus stays right beside me, offering his love like a warm blanket as I discuss hurt with my husband.

Thank God for dogs.

Beginnings

– Written October 9, 2013 (5 weeks)

Beginnings foster surreal excitement.  They are moments when the whole world feels like it is within your grasp.

The moment Josh and I decided to “pull the goalie” I was flush with the kind of excitement that is rarely experienced.  It’s the kind of excitement that you don’t realize you are experiencing until your mom catches you blushing and grinning at a text message from your boyfriend or girlfriend. It also feels like Christmas morning when you anticipate opening the gifts under the tree.  Anyway, my cheeks constantly held a lively shade of scarlet and I couldn’t keep a grin off my face.

I started looking up my symptoms. Every new bodily experience of mine brought up pregnancy links first.  In these links “I knew” became a broken record – women just seemed to sense when they were pregnant even before missing their period or taking a test.  I grew more fearful that I wouldn’t “know” like these women did.  I wanted to have this seemingly divine experience with my baby and know it was there before a test told me so.  Almost right away I had inklings of knowing but I told myself it was probably unlikely just so I wouldn’t get my hopes up.

Then there was simply no denying it.  I remember telling Josh I would be  concerned about my aching breasts and surprised if I wasn’t pregnant.  Finally, I was so confident I even started praying for our little baby before I even took the test.

Josh and I decided we wanted to find out together rather than have me surprise him with the news.  I was 5 days late for my period when he got home from tour so almost right after I got home from work we both went into the bathroom to take the test.  Ordinarily I am a pee-in-a-cup pro, but this time I totally botched it up.  To my relief, Josh appeared engrossed in other things and missed my moment of shame.  I didn’t want to sneak glances at the little dipstick because I really wanted Josh to discover the answer first.  So I left the bathroom but when I came back to grab something I could see “pregnant” in my periphery.  I gasped, picked it up for closer examination, then turned it to Josh.  We stared, wide-eyed at each other for a fraction of a second then I fell into his arms with tears in my eyes.  For good measure, we left the test out on the counter until the battery died – I couldn’t help but think the test just might change its mind.

I already love where this new journey is taking me and Josh.  He’s already so sweet, offering to cook me food, packing my lunch, and seeking to meet my every whim.  I will not be demanding.  In fact, so far I beat him to the punch on these things and often reply, “oh, I already packed my lunch” or “oh, I already did that.”  But it is awesome knowing he wants to be so present and helpful.  I know he’s anxiously awaiting the advent of my cravings.  I just hope he’s not too disappointed if what I want is something like broccoli instead of pizza or Oreos.

And now, as I write this, I am keeping the biggest secret of my life when all I want to do is tell the whole world!  Today I was asked by one of my new co-workers if Josh and I had children.  I wanted to say yes, but paused for a fraction of a second before I answered with, “no, but we have two dogs.”  I feel like I’m lying.  But, I suppose, to a lot of people, the eye-of-a-needle sized person I’m carrying with me is not a life yet.  But to me, this is my child and I am already fiercely protective.  I can only pray and hope that my body is so kind and nurturing to this little cutie and anticipate the day when I can protect them with my own arms.

The best part of all of this though, is the love I feel from my Father.  I didn’t expect to get pregnant right away.  I set these expectations because I am aware it is often times takes several months for even the healthiest of couples to conceive.  When I saw our positive pregnancy test I was overtaken by a feeling or warmth and love – like God was giving me a long congratulatory hug and whispering “I love you” the whole time.  I feel so blessed to have conceived right away.

For more baby making storytelling CLICK HERE.

Our Annual Photo Spree + Our 3 MO Belly!

Every year, around our anniversary, Josh and I take pictures together. They end up added to a collage we have in our living room that one day will cover a whole wall I’m sure.  I LOVE our tradition!  This year I loved that we got to do our photo fun with Mandy again!  First of all, she is a wonderful, sweet, dear friend!  Second of all, she is an incredible photographer!  She also did our engagement photos and wedding.

Anyway,  I love our tradition because I truly love the time with Joshua and then being able to put up pictures of our ever growing love up around the house!

This year, our shoot was a little more special because we’re having a baby and couldn’t be more happy about it!  In this year’s blend of images you will see some “pregnancy” geared images.  (Our little peanut is 13 weeks cookin’ in these pictures – so, roughly, 3 months.  As I post this we are 17 weeks into this adventure!0001 0002 0003 0004 0005 0006 0007 0008 0009 0010 0011 0012 0013 0014 0015 0016 0017 0018 0019 0020 0021 0022 0023 0024 0025 0026 0027 0028 0029 0030 0031 0032 0033 0034 0035 0036 0037 0038 0039

Big thanks to Mandy Henry for the beautiful images!