“The House Don’t Fall When the Bones Are Good.”

Do you remember the game “Red Rover?”

“Red Rover Red Rover, we DON’T call the enemy over.”

It was one of my favorite games to play during recess. We would all line up in our two rows and call out players to “come over” until the teacher yelled for us all to line up & go back inside.

When I think about the way the devil attacks marriages, I kind of compare it to this game. You see, when the devil runs over to your marriage in an attempt to “break your chain” or in my analogy, hurt my marriage, I picture him running full speed trying to tear us down. When he doesn’t, he has to stick around. He then attaches himself in an attempt to continue to attack until he succeeds or is defeated. But in the scenario where he wins, or breaks through the chain, he then takes you back with him to his side.

I started talking to a young couple that had been married for 8 years and have 3 small children. Despite the amount of years being married, they were very young. It was during our conversation that they started telling me how hard it has been. The wife stays home while the husband works, they don’t have any family that live close to them, and they never get a break from their kids. In the midst of this conversation, they mentioned that they almost got a divorce last year. She said it was bad – to the point he was moving his stuff out. My heart broke for this young couple. Life is hard sometimes and it seems as if for some, it is harder.

Me and my family needed a break really bad. 2020 has been a roller coaster and we just wanted a few days out of town. We booked a couple nights at the Opry Land Hotel in Nashville, TN. This is our home away from home. Nashville is where me and my husband met, Trevecca Nazarene University. This is where not only did I meet the love of my life and best friend but also where the foundation of my faith was strengthened. When we get a chance to go back we truly enjoy it. We make sure to take our boys to Trevecca and show them all the buildings on campus and all the other places we loved to go to that holds such a special place in our hearts. Even Opry Land Hotel is special to us. When we were in college, we would go there to study and walk around. It was always a cheap date night. The boys love Nashville and especially the hotel. One night we decided to take the boys down to the pool and I took advantage of the hot tub. It was there I met this nice young couple. It amazes me that in just a few moments, and very short conversation, this young couple opened up about so much.

I wanted to spit up all my amazing, wonderful, and truly insightful knowledge I have on marriage and raising children because we have it all figured out ….. ya right. I did want to tell them everything we have learned in our 18 year marriage, through trials and mistakes, to help. But soon realized, instead, they needed a listening ear and encouragement. Every time they would say how they almost gave up, I said “But you didn’t!” I told them our scars are beautiful reminders of where we have been and that we made it through. I said when you have one working and one staying home this is such a stressful time on any marriage. The one at home is tired and ready to throw the kids at the one walking through the door (TAG you’re it!) and the one coming home from a long day at work is tired and just wants to rest. This is just the tip of the iceberg – this isn’t even discussing money or unspoken expectations each has for the other. Being able to be a stay at home mom was such a blessing but it is hard and this ended up being an unexpected curve ball that I never saw coming. I was able to stay home for 3 years with our first and it was amazing, but hard and hard for so many reasons that NO one tells you about.

It was through our conversation that it was clear this young couple never gets any one on one time with each other. They explained how they don’t have anyone to watch their children and that even the children sleep in their bed. I explained to them that we have always put our boys to bed at 7:30, now we are leaning to more like 8:00 due to their age. We have always had this consistent bed time routine for them and this allowed us to have time to get a few things done around the house and then have “our” time! This has been such a wonderful time for us to grow and keep our marriage strong. Guys lets all agree we need some time for us! We may want to have a glass of wine, play cards, or watch a movie snuggled on the couch. We have also always agreed on our children not sleeping in our bed. The way I look at this is once you have kids they are not to consume you and everything including your marriage. They are now a part of that but not the whole. I love my boys with everything I have, but I also know that is completely an unhealthy way to view it. You could tell this was a completely new way to look at this for this couple. In a marriage you have to work at it and continue to grow your friendship, because at the end of the day and 35 years later when you look over and an old grandpa is sitting next to you, you are gonna want that to be your best friend and partner.

There is so much coming at marriages these days. Sexual temptations, unrealistic expectations, selfishness, lack of contentment, and so much more. How on earth do we ever think we could possibly overcome these battles and struggles. We won’t! We can never overcome all of this on our own, we need GOD. We need God in our marriages and it is only with Him that we can overcome these many wolves that are waiting and ready to devour our marriages. We have to fight and really understand that our children need this also. They need both of us, both of us together. Now I understand that some times divorce is the best option due to many things like abuse and addiction. Divorce also is not always our choice, the other chooses this whether we want to or not. In both of these cases divorce is reality. Let’s be honest though in those cases the route causes are selfishness, lack of contentment, and falling to sexual temptations just to name a few. These wolves will destroy everything if we don’t stand guard and allow the ONE who can be our foundation and bones to “BE.”

There is an amazing song named “The Bones” by Maren Morris. In this song she sings about going through hard times and how ‘The wolves came and went, but in the end the House don’t fall when the bones are good”. Man this song gets me every time I listen to it. I even find myself screaming the lyrics when singing in the car by myself (I know that’s a sight). WOW it is so good though. Not sure if Maren has the same meaning as I do for the foundation and bones, but it is such a powerful song. When leaving this couple I turned to them and said I want you all to say next time it’s been 20 years married. He said, “wow me too!”

“No, it don’t always go the way we planned it but the wolves came and went and we’re still standing.”

Next time you’re going through it and think you’re tempted to allow the enemy to break your chain or your foundation, remember God provided you a wonderful blessing. An opportunity to learn to be more like Jesus by learning patience and forgiveness. You’ve now “built this right. Nothing’s ever gonna move it” unless you allow it to. Put priority on the foundation and then the rest is easy. “The paint could peel, the glass could shatter, but let it rain” – ’cause you (your marriage/your foundation) will remain the same.

The Bones – Maren Morris

I know this has been a little bit longer than usual and this has been our first blog in a while. Life has happened in so many ways, but we are now getting back to the place were we are able to have time to share. We both feel so strongly about the importance of putting our marriages first & couldn’t wait to collaborate together on our first dual blog post. We hope you’ve enjoyed it & encourage you to provide feedback! We will be posting more insights, rants, and funny stories so I invite you to sit and share with us.

So – Keep it Classy, Keep it Crazy!

J & K. 🙂

Wild & Crazy – But lots of FUN!

The other day I was on the phone with my sister and I could hear her house or lack of hearing anything from her house other than her classical music playing in the background while she reads and drinks a glass of wine.  Now here is what she hears from my house – running, screaming, and banging due to the large nerf war that I was caught in the middle of and soon became a causality of our own WWIII.  Our homes are so different from style to volume level.  We have always thought it was due to her having a daughter and a son where I have two boys, I’ve always said having two or more boys is like raising a pack of dogs due to them feeding off of each other’s energy.  Her kids are very quiet and don’t really require a lot of interaction, unlike mine.  The last time she watched my boys she was exhausted and needed that glass of wine from before.  My boys are energetic, talkative, demand interaction, and have healthy appetites.  They want to talk to you, tell you every show they have ever watched, want to see what you have for snacks (mostly the youngest one), and want to play with their cousins.  My boys are well-behaved, sweet, and tender hearted, but when you look up the true definition of Boy – I do believe their pictures are there.  They love to run, get dirty, spit, burp, and of course farting is hysterical.  I will NEVER understand that – ever!  They also are very affectionate, and love to give hugs.    My sister loves “her” quiet time and, well, I used to too, but I think that ran away the day I brought my first little man home and it has never been seen again.  

 Here is one of the many conversations I thought I would never have and the joys of raising boys.  I was saying prayers with my youngest and half way through I noticed he had something in his mouth.  I said spit out the finger nail (yes he bites his finger nails then mauls on them for a while – I know gross) he said it’s not my finger nail as he was pulling it out of his mouth, please note the little head jerk and attitude when he said this – I just looked at him.  He said it’s my toe nail and then showed it to me.  Just when my gag reflex went into full gear and I struggled to fight back throwing up I told him never to do that and just how gross it was.  He said well Daddy does it – I said NO he does not! He said well he bites his finer nails….the joy of boys!

Love the mom life!

Focus for today:

Love where you are at, the stage and all that comes with it – it will be gone in an instant!

Would love to hear about some of those conversations you’d thought you would never have to have…

-J

When will your family be enough?

One of my biggest frustrations is when I hear, “My wife never met my needs, so I had an affair” or “My husband was never there for me or told me I was beautiful.” This is such a weak way of thinking and going about life. People like this need to grow up and understand how their actions effect others.

My father left my mother almost 15 years ago; it would have been their 30th wedding anniversary. I didn’t know it growing up but my father had a hard time seeing past his own needs, wants, and pain. Looking back over my childhood I thought we had it all, the perfect family. Now, we weren’t rich and I didn’t have everything I asked for, but we were given more than we probably needed and most importantly I had loving parents. Only when I got older did I start to see the truth, subtle at first then painfully obvious. Shortly after I graduated college and during my first two years of marriage my family exploded.

My father had multiple affairs over the course of their marriage and now not only destroyed our family but others as well. Wow, how selfish can you be? He used to tell me “You don’t know the whole truth.” Like any additional information would justify all his actions/decisions. Just take responsibility- you did this because you are selfish and all you think about is YOU! If you were so unhappy how about work on it. I don’t know, put all that time and energy that you put into sneaking around and creating this alternate happiness into your current marriage. Other questions I would have to ask is why are you so unhappy? What else do you need to be happy? I have found that the ones hurt and most effected by this type of selfish behavior will never get the answers to these questions.

In most cases, divorce is such a devastating tragedy. I completely agree that their are circumstances where divorce is necessary, but in both my parents’ and my sister’s divorce this was not the case. Both of these tragic events were the result of ONE person thinking of their own “needs” and “happiness” as more important than the people they were supposed to love more than anything. I know people reading this will say “Do you really want someone to stay just because of the vows they took, regardless if they are miserable?” My response would be the same as above, how about you put all that time and energy into your marriage/family and see how that turns out. Too many times people want to run because the “spark” they initially felt is gone. What they fail to understand is that the spark they first felt is no more than the infancy stage of a relationship. A deep, meaningful marriage takes hard work and a dedication to the other. Putting their needs above yours is not easy and sometimes feels as if it will snuff the “spark,” but these seemingly tough times lead to something much brighter than a spark.

I look at my niece and nephew and just can’t understand what on earth could you (my brother-n-law) possible want more than this? Why on earth, when you look at your family picture can you say “this isn’t enough”? I actually asked him this question, but to be honest there isn’t an answer that would be good enough. I love my brother-n-law, and it truly saddens me that he has allowed “the grass is greener” lie to break up his wonderful family. The truth is both my father and brother-n-law are both on their third marriage and still looking for what makes them “Happy”.

In my previous post, “Focused Eyes”https://classedupcrazy.com/2019/08/16/focused-eyes/ it focuses on the blessing in your life, especially those that your missing through the events of everyday life. I also mention that many people look at the “green grass” on the other side and wish they had more, but they fail to realize that that “green” grass still has to be watered, mowed, and taken care of or it too will turn brown and die. Everything great in your life requires hard work and lots of time. The sad truth is that I no longer have a relationship with my father, but it’s not due to me holding on to the past and not forgiving him. I have forgiven him, but it is clear that he hasn’t stopped to see anyone else but himself and I’m not sure that he even knows how anymore.

I wish people would stop and see that this horrible and devastating lie, that so many are being lured in by, as the ugly and awful thing it is. The greener grass is just a fake and false sense of reality that will strip you of everything you hold dear and hurt the very people that you love the most. Please do not fall into this mindset; learn to take your blinders off and see the many blessings you have right in front of you each day!

“The happiest man on earth is the one that is content with what he has.”

J

Customer Temper Tantrums

What is up with the way people react to the word “NO”? Every time I am put in a position to uphold to a policy the first response I get lately is “Your treating me less than human” or “Your treating me as a 3rd class citizen” – What? Why is it that when people are told “no” or “you need to do …. first” the first thing that comes to their mind is – That’s not fair! Every time this happens I have to take a double take – because I thought I was speaking to an adult in an higher education/healthcare setting not with children. Then reality hits and I AM speaking with an adult, but this response is what I get from my 7 and 11 year old. We have done such a disservice to our youth and young adults by letting them think that they need to challenge everything. Yes I am a huge component of asking questions and being completely informed, but having unrealistic demands is obnoxious and shows lack of maturity.

Everyone of us live by rules whether they are written, spoken, or a part of daily expectations. In my offices we are 100% customer service focused and we do this well (in prior post “Customer Service – not a job task, it’s a mindset” you can see my passion on providing great customer service), but it really seems that in the moments this is called into question it typically is when the customer does not like to hear “No” or “Wait”. Accusations of poor customer service never stem from the customer actually being treated poorly or receiving poor product, but from an unrealistic since of entitlement. Let’s call this what it is – an over sized temper tantrum. You are not showing your superior intelligence by trying to always buck the system or prove your injustices, some things are put in place for a reason. As long as those rules and policies are not truly an injustice then follow the policy and move forward.

-J

Choose to love the one you’re with.

Do you want to know what can really get me on my soap box? When people say “Oh, we just fell out of love.” I’m sorry – okay, not that sorry – but that is total BS.

“We fell out of love.”

“They stopped taking me out.”

“They stopped telling me I’m beautiful.”

Okay, but what about taking personal responsibility for what YOU are doing or not doing anymore? When was the last time YOU suggested you go out for dinner? Or when was the last time you told THEM that THEY were beautiful/handsome/fine/*insert compliment of choice*? If you have been 100% open and honest with your feelings and what you are searching for and they still refuse to give this to you, sure. You might have a few issues that need to be worked out. However, I can guarantee you most of the time a simple change in your own lifestyle and communication can make a huge difference.

I’ve always dated with intent. For as long as I can remember I was running “boys” off with trying to be too “serious.” I would get upset when they cheated. I would get upset when they lied. They always left me feeling foolish because I was “too young to settle down.” However, I don’t see the point in wasting my time & wasting my youth on a relationship that I know isn’t going to result in a future. If you lie and cheat on me now, you’ll lie and cheat on me later in life & I’m just not about to let that happen.

The first night I hung out with my, now husband, we laid it all out there on the line. He said “this is what I’m looking for… this is what I want…. I’m looking for a wife… this is my past & this is my reputation.” As weird as this may sound, it was exactly what I wanted to hear. I had wasted too many years on things that would never last. I was looking for a future and this man was it.

Now I’m not going to say we are perfect. But I would say we are as close as you can get. I’m very proud of what we have. Sure, we have our differences. & Yes – there are things that sometimes get on my nerves. But you know the difference in our marriage and others out there? We’re too stubborn to give up. We are going to work through the challenges. We are going to communicate and continue to put each other’s happiness before our own. & you know what? THAT is going to last.

No one “falls out of love.” Love goes through cycles. You have to learn to grow together, not apart. You have to CHOOSE to love each other every day. Even when they haven’t taken you out in a while, even if their compliments have been lacking lately. Be intentional. Tell them what you want. Tell them what makes you happy. When they choose your happiness above their own, and you do the same, there is no reason why anyone should be unhappy.

Marriage is for life. Marriage is NOT “until I no longer feel like working for it.” If you are willing to break one of the most sacred vows there is in existence, what else are you willing to do?

Keep it classy,

K.

Goodbye My Friend – I Love You and Miss You

I know I have written about first impressions and we all know how important those and first encounters are. The way I met Ashley wasn’t the usual way to meet your soon to be best friend. It was freshman year in high school and her boyfriend was causing some issues in English class. I called him out in front of everyone for picking on someone, and lets just say the craziness started. This was not something that was typical for me, as I was shy and timid, but was necessary at that moment. Through this event I met Ashley. Once we got to know each other we were inseparable. We made sure to have as many classes together as possible. I remember one of our Science teachers begging us to listen and stop talking, we would just sit and giggle. We were always staying over at each other’s house and if we weren’t together we were on the phone talking.

Ashley was a sweet and kind person, beautiful on the outside as much as she was on the inside. She was very soft spoken and the only major downfall she had was a terrible taste in boys. I always had nicknames for them. The worst one of them all I would call “Fish Face”. We would still laugh about that years later. Ashley was raised completely different than me and her mom was relaxed and a little on the wild side, to say the least. I went with them on a couple of trips and those memories were ones we would talk about 10 years later.

It came down to our Senior year and I was planning on moving to Nashville for college, but that would mean saying goodbye to her. I remember that evening when she came over to my house to say goodbye. We cried and talked and then cried some more. To that point, that was one of the hardest goodbyes I had ever said. She was my best friend and like a sister we did everything together and now I was leaving her behind. I felt so guilty for leaving. I was also so scared to do something this big without her. I went away to college and tried to stay in touch as much as possible. Her and her boyfriend came to visit a few times, but I started realizing something that I never wanted to admit; we were drifting apart. She was living her life here and I was making a new one there. Over the next four and a half years the miles between us became not just literal but figurative for our friendship. We both got married a few years later and were in each other’s wedding, we wouldn’t have had it any other way. My husband and I moved back to my home town and we stayed in touch at first. With the busyness of life, work, and then I had two small kids staying in touch became less and less.

Over the years it became very obvious that the multiple tragedies and horrific events that she had gone through were surfacing and became this mountain she could not climb. Her depression became a black hole she could not escape. We would each reach out to the other from time to time. Those calls seemed to always come when we needed it the most; like we were still connected. I loved talking with her and trying to give her hope and reassure her that she could make it through all of this. She had dreams and plans for what she wanted her life to look like, but it seemed at every turn something or someone would knock her back down. Her struggles were overtaking her and to be honest I only knew a small portion of the demons that she faced. This was very hard for me to come to grips with, how could I have not know it was this bad, I was her best friend.

To be honest, and this is something that was really hard for me to admit as well, we weren’t best friends anymore. We had drifted so far away due to life and other issues. But just because we weren’t as close anymore doesn’t mean that she wasn’t a special person in my life. All the memories and growing together is something I can cherish as being a major part of my life. Being able to reflect on our friendship made me notice that I saw so many red flags, and there was so much more I could have done but I never wanted to upset her. We called each other best friends, but honesty was never apart of it. Honesty should have been apart of it and maybe that would of helped her out of her black hole. When you love someone you should always be open with them even when the truth hurts, it may end up saving them.

It will be three years this April that my friend left us. I still have such a hard time thinking about her being gone. I always wonder if I could have done more, and I could have to be honest – everyone could have. Ashley was a wonderful and beautiful person whose simile would light up any room. She had such a compassionate heart for others. It was a beautiful life gone way to soon. I thought the night I left for college was the worst goodbye I would ever say to her, but at her funeral I wrote her my last letter. The final goodbye.

Goodbye my friend – I love you and miss you

-J

Focused Eyes

How do you have it all? This is not a “Have it all” in terms of money, advancement at work, recognition, well-kept house, perfect marriage, well behaved kids, or an unlimited bank account. It’s a good job that allows me to pay the bills, but yet one that I enjoy doing, a husband that stands with me as a loving partner, kids that are wild and woolly, and most importantly the feeling of being blessed by my Heavenly Father every day. I don’t have it all by others’ standards, but I am blessed beyond measure. I have to also add that this doesn’t mean that everything is going perfect or exactly the way I would like it. It means that at the end of the day I am thankful for all that I have and the experiences I have lived through and learned from. My life looks crazy, but it’s fun! My boys seem to find a way to keep me going even when I think I’m too tired to get up, the large bang and screams from the other room ALWAYS gets me moving! Guys I urge you to be careful watching everyone else’s lives via social media, or whatever, and wonder where did it go wrong, when did the express train run right through your house, or where is the train. There is not enough “green grass” on the other side that would EVER make me want to jump ship or wish that I were on another. This ship is mine and it’s a wild ride, but one that I love more than anything! There is one major thing you must keep in mind when thinking about “green grass”, it still has to be watered, mowed, and weeded. Every good thing takes work, it takes commitment, and focused eyes. If you are constantly looking around then you are not focused on what is in your life, or what you have so how can you be thankful …….you haven’t seen it yet!

Since my oldest son was three years old he would always end his nighttime prayers with “I’m thankful for boogers and jellybeans”. Please don’t ask cause I have no clue where this came from, and no I do not serve boogers and jellybeans for dinner. But I think this says it all and to be honest it’s something that we all need to be reminded of. When looking at my sliding glass doors at home and see the sunscreen forehead smears on it and get frustrated because I have to clean it again or picking up the millionth Lego piece off the floor, my husband reminds me “it’s gonna be gone one day and you will miss this”. It’s also those nights you get woken up with a sick kid and rocking them back to sleep, rubbing their back until they calm down due to a bad dream, or cleaning up the cup of spilled milk. These would seem like boogers in the moment, but I now see these as jellybeans. I know these are very small examples of things to be thankful for, but it starts there, being thankful for the little things and not letting those moments pass us by.

Focus for today:

Recognize the blessing you have and find joy in them

-J