13 Years

13 years ago seems like a lifetime ago in some respects. I can hardly remember a time in my life when I wasn’t married to Ryan. In other ways it seems like I blinked and suddenly we have three kids, a mortgage, and an extra ten pounds around our middles.

This last year has been one of our hardest. We have emerged relatively unscathed thanks to the 12 previous years. We have spent 12 years building the best marriage we could possibly build so that when year 13 happened we would be just fine.

Foster care stretched us and grew us. I am so thankful that we did it. And so thankful we did it together. We are better for doing it.

But it got hard to focus on each other in all the chaos and we let things fall a little through the cracks. Thankfully just the little things. All the big things were still there.

I still love this man intensely. He is an amazing husband, father, provider and protector. He is my best friend and no one can make me laugh more than him. I love being married to him. He is the best part of me. He and the kids are the best part of me.

And we can still surprise each other. Today we had a simple lunch at Chipotle and then headed to a gun range for my first time shooting. Because if I am going to tick off things from my bucket list, I am going to do it with this man at my side.


Happy Anniversary babe. Here is to a lifetime more of them.


From This Moment

Today I was driving and the song “From This Moment” by Shania Twain came on. Do you ever hear a song and immediately get transported back somewhere?

Here is where I went:

wedding singer 2

This is my wedding reception. I started singing when I was 10. Music and singing have always been a HUGE part of my life. I wanted to find a way to work it into my wedding day but felt like singing during the ceremony would be awkward. So I decided to sing to my brand new hubby at my reception.

I chose from this moment because it was a big song at the time and summed up how I was feeling. Now it seems a bit on the cheesy side, but if you can’t be cheesy at your own wedding, what is the point.

I approached our worship pastor like the day before our wedding and asked him to play for me and he was game. And apparently he is also channeling Jack Nicholson wearing his sunglasses indoors…..

wedding singer

I know my eyes are closed in this one, but don’t I look happy? I had so much fun on my wedding day. It was one of my favorite days of my whole life. A million fantastic memories and so many people I love all in one place.

We are about to celebrate our 13th wedding anniversary and I can’t believe how time has flown. Maybe I’ll post a few more pics leading up to the big day. What do you think?

This post is linked up to Throwback Thursday Stories at The Mom Creative

Marriage Giggles


I dispense a lot of marriage advice on this blog and even moonlight as a “relationship expert” from time to time on our local news. But lest you think I take myself and my marriage too seriously I thought I would repost this story from my first year of marriage. We are headed back to the Weekend to Remember this weekend for a little marriage reflection and hopefully we will be on our best behavior. 

Before I got married and in the early years of marriage, I devoured all sorts of marriage books. I really wanted to have the best marriage possible so I went crazy with the books. And while reading, I discovered the most fantastic marriage organization, Family Life. Next step, I discovered they had a weekend marriage conference. So, much to the delight of my hubby, I suggested we go. Seeing as we had been married a few months and he still couldn’t say no to me.

So we went, and it really was fantastic, but that is not the point of this post. If you have been to this conference you may remember that you are given a book full of notes for all the sessions you attend. Except the notes aren’t complete, so you spend each session filling in all the blanks. And I should mention that we are crammed in this auditorium and the pace is pretty quick so often times you spend a lot of time “cheating” off your neighbor’s answers so you don’t get behind.

Well on the last day of the conference I headed out to the ladies room during a break. I came back, took a seat next to my wonderful hubby and began taking notes as usual. When I turned the page, I discovered a very large, very graphic, very anatomically correct drawing of the male anatomy. Yes, my new husband had drawn a very large penis complete with testicles in my book for all the surrounding strangers to see.

I was mortified. He was so proud of himself and laughing his head off. And if you know him at all, you are not surprised by any of this. Sadly, his weird sense of humor is one of the reasons I married him and love him so. I covered up the genitalia and pressed on.

Well, I couldn’t wait to get my revenge (in a healthy newlywed sort of way). So at the next break when the hubby went to use the bathroom, I picked up the book sitting on his chair and drew a huge pair of boobs. HUGE. And then I waited giggling to myself the whole time. I giggled right up to the moment the guys sitting next to my husband picked up HIS book off my hubby’s chair and began to open it.

So I did what any sane person would do. I bolted. Grabbed my book and ran for the exit. And when the hubby came back from the bathroom, I was nowhere to be found. Finally he spotted me out by the exit doubled over in laughter. I couldn’t even pull it together to tell him what had happened. We tried to re-enter the conference and sit in the back, but we frankly couldn’t do it. We just could not stop giggling.

Did I mention this was a Christian conference? Did I mention we have the maturity of sixteen year olds? Um yeah, we had to leave the conference early hanging our heads in shame. And praying that poor guy who discovered a large pair of breasts recovered and that his wife didn’t think he was some kind of pervert. And hoping that the good people of Family Life don’t read my blog and ban us from all further marriage conferences.

*we’ll see if they let us in ;)

Fighting The Pull to Drift Apart (Guest Post)

I took piano lessons from the time I was 5 until I was 14. I probably complained about them for 7 out of the 9 years. Perhaps even eight. But here is the thing about all that work I put in back then. As an adult I can pick up pretty much any piece of music and play it. I can play for pleasure, stress relief, entertainment, and even a random wedding or two for money. All those years of doing something I didn’t always enjoy have led to a lifetime of enjoyment. A lifetime creating beautiful music.

I’ve been thinking of those piano lessons a lot lately as I have two daughters who are complaining their way through lessons. And I’ve been thinking about it a lot in relation to marriage.

I think far too many of us stand in front of our family and friends and declare, “For better or worse, until death do us part,” but have no idea of what the worse part really means.

please join me over at Let Why Lead today as I share my thoughts on sticking out marriage during the tough seasons…..

40 Reasons on Your 40th

Ryan turned 40 on Friday and I am so blessed to call him my husband. Will you bear with me while I write a sappy, vomit inducing post about the 40 reasons I love him? It seems like too big a birthday to slip by uncelebrated on the blog.

ryan and jill

  1. He makes me laugh. Every. single. day.
  2. He loves his family passionately.
  3. He cooks. Well.
  4. He can dance. We are typically the last people on the floor at a wedding reception.
  5. He loves it when I sing karaoke.
  6. He is crazy generous and loves to look for ways to share our resources with those who have less than us.
  7. He is passionate about our ministry preparing people for marriage.
  8. He loves crazy weird food, but finds friends to go try them with him at various ethnic restaurants. My ethnic food loves include Mexican and Italian.
  9. He is a foodie and loves to try out new restaurants with me.
  10. He still laughs at fart jokes. At age 40. And will until he dies.
  11. He washes the pans because I hate doing it.
  12. He notices things like new haircuts and clothes.
  13. He is a great in-law to my family.
  14. He is always up for splitting a dessert.
  15. He lets me sleep in.
  16. He’s a guy. From Michigan. But he doesn’t hunt.
  17. He appreciates design and fashion, But also spends a lot of time in t-shirts and track pants.
  18. He loves trying out fine wines, but is also equally happy with a two buck chuck.
  19. Despite his love of country music (barf) he generally has really good music taste. We often can be heard singing loudly together along to the radio.
  20. He LOVES a good road trip.
  21. He works really hard to provide for our family.
  22. He prays over our children every single night without fail.
  23. He eats nearly everything I cook without complaint. Even the meals that bomb miserably.
  24. He is usually the one to apologize first to his stubborn wife.
  25. He is a good listener.
  26. He is my best friend.
  27. He is a cheerleader for this crazy blog.
  28. He brings me chocolate because I could care less about flowers.
  29. He looks good a little grayer (which does tick me off a little)
  30. We frequently get caught laughing at totally inappropriate times because we have the same weird sense of humor and know what the other is thinking with just a look.
  31. He has integrity.
  32. He likes to praise me to others when I can hear him.
  33. He’s almost always the “fun parent”.
  34. He dreams with me.
  35. He is an incredible father.
  36. He thinks I prettiest with no makeup on in my pajamas.
  37. He doesn’t like musicals, but he goes to them with me anyway. And lo and behold he loves Wicked and Sound of Music.
  38. He will always watch Anchorman when it is on.
  39. He values my job as a stay at home mom.
  40. Most importantly, he thinks he is the one that married up (silly man).

Happy birthday to my favorite person on earth. You have been celebrated for two weeks straight, but even that seems inadequate. Hope I get to spend the next 40 laughing with you!!