Our 11th Wedding Anniversary

Eleven years already! We cannot believe it’s been that long already!  This Wednesday (the 25th) will mark 15 years from when we first met and essentially started dating “unofficially”.  The days feel like the drag on forever, but the years keep flying by.  11 and 15 years later, and we are still very much in love.  We are bestfriends.  We drive each other crazy at times but we would do anything for each other, too.  I could go on and on and be all sappy, but I’ll spare you from having to read all of that. haha

Our celebration started on Friday night.  We enjoyed dinner at a local restaurant call, Butler Inn of Pewaukee.  We usually dine here on special occasions, such as our anniversary or Valentine’s Day.  We both very much enjoy the Louie’s Five Star that comes with a side of potatoes and onion straws. I’m not a huge meat eater, but this steak is definitely delicious!  It’s a bit pricey, but it’s worth every dollar.

After dinner, we took a nice stroll around the river at one of my favorite local parks.  The lighting was perfect and the leaves have changed colors so perfectly. To top it off, we had the most perfect weather for this walk.

We woke up nice and early on Saturday morning because we wanted to check out Toyland at our local Farm and Fleet.  Yes, we are kids at heart. haha We bought a few board games and puzzles, so I would say our trip was a good success.  Then we hit the road and drove down into Illinois (about a 1-1/2 hour drive) to check out the Illinois Railroad Museum.  You can read about our experience at this museum, here.

On our way back from Illinois, we made a pit-stop into Lake Geneva, Wisconsin with hopes to walk around the lake and maybe do a quick nature walk, but things doing work out the way we wanted.  Since the weather was so gorgeous, the area around the lake and shops were completely packed.  We couldn’t find a parking spot anywhere.  So we decided to just drive around some country roads and take some random pictures on our drive.  We must have been too early in the season, because many of the leaves haven’t fully changed yet (at least not where we were driving).  We then found a local restaurant and had a nice quiet meal together talking about the early parts of our relationship and our wedding.

After dinner we had planned to check out a current event, Chinese Lights, that’s been going on the past few weeks.  We called up a friend couple of ours and heading out to Milwaukee.  Once we arrived, we were told they were no longer selling tickets due to the large number of tickets that were already sold online that have not been used yet.  They said tickets will be sold again 9am Monday morning for this coming weekend (I bought our tickets this morning!  Stay tuned for a blog post).  So instead of calling it a night, we went to a local bowling alley/bar/pub and played pool, shuffleboard, air hockey, and other games.  We had a great time, as always, with our friends, and it was a perfect end to our long anniversary day.  Oh, and I guess it was Sweetest Day, too. haha

We had a lazy Sunday filled with football and the Packers.  Unfortunately our Packers lost.  We ran a few errands and called it a day.

All in all, it was a great anniversary weekend.  Can’t wait for next year and the many years to come!  Here are a few pictures from our weekend.

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The Marriage Triangle

I just finished watching the movie, “Marriage Retreat” for the millionth time.  I really enjoy this movie because it hits topics that I feel are common in different marriages.  It all comes down to your relationship with God and if you have God as the center of your marriage or not.  I picked two quotes that I like most from this movie and have shared them below.

Quote Marriage Retreat:  “I want to be closer to Him, because if we’re closer to Him, we’re closer to each other”

Quote Marriage Retreat:  For you and me to get closer, we need to get closer to Him. (See triangle below)

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The triangle illustrates how a husband and wife who are focused on the Lord will naturally grow closer together. For more, read To Uphold Our Marriage in Prayer.  I love this marriage triangle.  I have never truly understood this triangle until recently, and it’s true.  I’ve heard people say, “you can’t love someone else until you truly love yourself.”  I think in order for you to love yourself you have to love God and understand the love God has for you.  You can’t expect your spouse to love you 100% if you, yourself, don’t even love yourself 100%.  This is just my opinion, of course.

I have found two articles online that relate to this topic and decided to share them with you as well.  The first is Walking With God in Your Marriage and the second is Is God the Center of Your Marriage?

Now, I understand you may not agree with me or the articles above and that’s okay.  We all have the right to have our own opinions.  I just know that for me and my marriage with Jason, I want to work on loving myself more and growing closer with God and understanding his love for me.  Every relationship has room for growth, whether it’s a relationship with your spouse, parent, child(ren), siblings, friends, or even with God.

What are your thoughts? Have you seen the Marriage Retreat movie?  What are your thoughts on the marriage triangle?

Us As a Couple

Jason and I met in October 2002 through mutual friends.  We hungout for a little while and ended up going bowling.  I joke about how Jason was not interested in me, because he barely said a word to me, and I spent most of the night talking to one of his good guy friends.  You see, Jason is just a very shy person, especially around someone of the opposite gender.  He’s gotten better over the years. Haha.  A couple of weeks later, Jason messaged me on AOL Instant Messenger (remember that old tool? haha).  We chatted about everything for quite a few weeks.  Eventually he called me and asked if I’d like to drive around with him and look at Christmas lights.  I, of course, said yes!  We had the best time together.  We spent the whole time talking and getting to know each other better.  Jason officially asked me out New Years 2002/2003.  It came as a surprise, because I already figured we were boyfriend/girlfriend due to the fact we had already been going on dates.  Jason proposed to me a year later on New Years 2003/2004, and we later married in October 2006.  We’re coming up on 15 years from when we met, which is so crazy to us.  We have come a long way from our 17 and 21-year-old selves, to the grown adults we are today.  We have worked at our full-time jobs for over 11 years each, we’ve owned our first home for 10 years now, I earned two college degrees, we have adopted many pets, we have traveled to several places, and so much more. We are best friends.  We participate in so many activities together and we support each other to take part in our own interests.  We are comfortable in our own space and having our alone time, but also encourage each other to have our girl or guy time as needed.  We communicate about basically everything, and have very similar views on worldly topics.  Jason and I are comfortable enough to be silly around each other and just have a great time.  We have tickle fights, and many of our pictures involves at least one of us sharing a silly facial expression.  We are an amazing team.  Obviously we are not always sunshine and rainbows.  We can drive each other nuts sometimes and we have our arguments, but our negative time doesn’t usually last too long before once of us apologizes.  With all that said, we are excited for the adventures that are waiting for us in the next few chapters in our “Book of Love”.

Here are a few pictures of us from the past few years.  Eventually I’ll share some pictures from the early years of when we first started dating.  (Once I dig them out, of course) haha

Our Journey

We are Jason and Christi and we are from Wisconsin.  We have been together pretty much since the day we met in October 2002, and we celebrated our 10th wedding anniversary this past October (2016).  Many things have happened during our years together, both good and bad.  One of our biggest struggles was when we tried to start a family and it just wasn’t happening for us.  We saw an infertility specialist for a year, spending thousands of dollars, but had no success.  Christi went through many tests and was diagnosed with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) and was told she had other complications that would make it difficult to conceive.  We took a step in faith anyway.  Christi went on different forms of medications, took basal body temperatures, charted everything, used a fertility monitor, ovulation kits, and the list goes on and on.  Still no luck. So instead, we decided to put trying to conceive on hold and joined the gym to focus on our health and fitness.  We signed up with a personal trainer and had great success.  After two months of working with a personal trainer, Christi became pregnant (of course when we weren’t even trying!).  I took a few weeks before she even saw a positive pregnancy test and by the time the test showed positive, Christ was already having complications.  She was put on progesterone to hopefully help save the pregnancy but was told that the chances of this pregnancy sticking was not likely.  A couple weeks later we had our first ultrasound where the tech told us that 2 eggs had actually released…twins.  We were told that the complications from earlier (before the positive test) could have been the  miscarry of our first baby and we were told Christi would then miscarry the second baby (which she did the very next day).  Our hearts were broken into a million pieces.  For once we thought things were going to finally go our way; our prayers were answered.  After this, life kind of tossed us in every direction.  Sparing you the details, we were both faced with a lot of challenges.  We held strong onto our faith that everything would be okay.  Everything happens for a reason, right?  We believe that God has a plan for us, we just have to be patient and allow him to show us his plan.  This is where our new journey begins.

Faith Rebuilt

When I was younger, I believed in God, but never had a close connection.  I didn’t talk about my faith or share it with others.  In a way, I was partially embarrased of going to church or talking about God.  I didn’t feel comfortable praying in front of others, especially when out in public.  I can honestly say that a lot has changed over the years, and you will fully see that with this post.

I don’t know about you, but I am not the greatest at reading my Bible every day like I should.  I usually get into a good routine of reading my Bible and doing devotions or reading a Christian self-help type book, but eventually life gets busy and I lose sight on how to manage my time and what’s important in life .  This is not something I’m very proud of, but I’m here to be honest with you all.  I am very far from perfect, but I do strive to do my best in life (with the help of God, of course).

Have you ever noticed, that when times get tough and obstacles get in my way, you turn to God in prayer and start reading his word with hope to find answers to your problems?  Sadly, I do this often.  Why is it that when bad situations arise, we turn to God but when life is going well, we don’t dive into his Word?  We have this decorative sign hung up on a wall in our living room that says “Happy Moments, Praise God.  Difficult Moments, Seek God.  Quiet Moments, Worship God.  Painful Moments, Trust God.  Every Moment, Thank God.”  (pictured below) I love this sign because it is a daily reminder how in every moment, God should be our focus.  Jason and I have praised God during our happy moments, prayed to God during our difficult moments, and we thank God daily for everything he has done for us and continues to do for us. Trust… now that’s another story, sometimes.

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Now, I can’t speak for Jason, but for me, I will admit that trusting God is oftentimes a hard thing to do.  Life has always been a challenge, whether it had to do with my schooling, my health (mentally or physically), family life, friends, near death experiences, etc.  It almost seems like every time life would be going well for me, there is always something that takes place to tear me back down.  There have been many days/nights that I have cried to God to fix whatever is taking place in my life or asking why he allowed these things to happen to me/us.  Life just wasn’t being fair to us.  I went through the whole “why me?” or “why us?”.  Does the story of Job come to mind?  If you’re not familiar with this story, I encourage you to read this book in the Bible.  Anywho, back to what I was saying.  After eight months of being sick with a vestibular disorder after the miscarriage of our twins, I was praising God for making me close to whole again.  That was short-lived, as we learned of Jason’s diagnosis of his Leukemia the very same month I was able to walk again.  More tears were shed, and more prayers were said.  We did everything we had to do to help each other get through the next new battle in our lives.  Sometime last year, I threw in the rag; I officially gave up.  I decided I couldn’t be strong enough anymore.  I was defeated and I needed help.  I cried and gave everything to God.  I decided I needed him more than anything.  Infertility was of the past.  My vestibular disorder was of the past.  The miscarriage was in the past.  Jason’s cancer was in the past.  Everything was in the past and out of our control.  This does not mean we will not speak of these things or that we will forget.  No, this means we will learn from these situations and we can use them to share God’s word.  I strongly believe God was trying to use us as his examples.  No matter what was thrown at us, we still held onto our faith and believed God had a purpose.  There is a reason for everything.  Yes, we have stumbled and lost our sight along the way, but with our faith, we found our way back to God, again.

The many years of infertility we went through was one of the hardest things we’ve had to go through as husband and wife.  All the doctor appointments, tests, medications, schedules, etc. It was exhausting and it definitely tested our marriage.  Instead of becoming a team and praying together, we kind of drifted apart.  There were many days, months, or even years, filled frustration and wondering who was at “fault” for us not conceiving a baby.  Many hurtful words were said on both sides, followed my quick apologies and tears.  If you haven’t been through infertility, you will never fully understand the struggle.  You may want to roll your eyes and may think to yourself, “just get over it already”.  But, honestly, it’s not that simple.  Those years of infertility were a huge part of our lives.  It’s a chapter in our book that we can’t erase.  After we had officially “given up” with trying to conceive, we relaxed more and actually enjoyed each other’s company again.  We didn’t have the stress and pressure on us anymore.

Do Jason and I have a “perfect” marriage?  Absolutely not.  I don’t think there is such a thing as a perfect marriage.  I can say that we are the best of friends.  We enjoy spending time together, whether it’s building LEGO sets, putting together a puzzle, playing board/card games, or going out playing minigolf or bowling, etc. All of our struggles have brought us closer together.  After the miscarriage took place, and I got sick, then Jason got sick, we knew a few things for sure.  We were each other’s rock and foundation.  We knew we could depend on each other no matter what.  We re-learned how to communicate and to be the strength when the other one was needing it most.  Most importantly, we are learning to pray together and follow our faith in every aspect of our lives.  We’re coming up on our 15 year anniversary of when we met and starting dating.  A lot has taken place in these 15 years, but I am most excited for what is yet to come (with our adoption and all).

There are two songs that come to mind, that played a huge role in my life during all these hard times.  One is “Praise You in This Storm”, by Casting Crowns, and the other is “Through All of It”, by Colton Dixon.  If you haven’t heard these two songs before, I definitely recommend them.  ( YouTube videos are posted at the end of this post)  If you have heard them before, I suggest you re-listen to them; close your eyes and listen to the lyrics.  If you’re ever going through a hard time, the lyrics to these two songs may be very helpful. I still cry every time I listen to these songs.  The words, to me, are just so powerful and remind me to be thankful to God and always praise him.

If you are feeling alone or lost and need someone to talk to, we are always available.  We can pray with you/for you, or offer a listening ear. 🙂