I’m a small-town Kansas girl. Population 1200; wheat fields and milo as far as the eye could see. My high school had a nationally recognized FFA program and the school parking lot filled with farm trucks each morning. But I was a town kid, a drama and music kid, and I never participated in 4-H or joined FFA. I loved the county fair mostly for the snow cones and cute cowboys.
Mom and I were getting groceries in Junction City one hot summer afternoon when I asked her the question. “Mom, who do you love most? Me, Sarah or Daddy?”
To my little girl mind, there was only one right answer.
“I love God first, then your Dad, then you girls equally.”
Not exactly what I was looking for. But even in my disappointment, I knew it was truth. And that it was good.
My parents have modeled a marriage full of laughter, determination, hugs in the kitchen, faithfulness, hard work, prayer, long walks, contentment, adventure and holding hands.
I’m so thankful for their example. Here’s to many more years!
The day we got back from our honeymoon, the shower in our master bathroom started leaking. Chad & I may have said, “I do,” but his house said, “Noooooooope!” to me living there. Or at least to me using the master bath.
We started some demo in our bathroom plus the upstairs guest bath, and they looked like this for
forever too long a while.
We disagreed on how much money to spend on the renovation. Chad wanted high end finishes to go with the rest of the house; I didn’t want to put a bunch of money into a place that’s not our “forever” home. Chad wanted to let things progress slowly, I wanted to get some small fixes done NOW and call it good. We stalled, consulted some trusted advisors (including a pair of architects), stalled some more, received an unexpected financial bonus, and ended up doing things Chad’s way. I was wrong on this one. And really, it’s a good thing I was.
18 months later, we have new custom vanities, new tile floors, a heated floor and new (huge) shower for the master, a new tub surround for upstairs, new fixtures and new art. And I LOVE it all.
When I act unloving and I feel unlovable and how can he love me and how does He love me and that one about new mercies, I cry in the night and cling to grace and the hope of morning.
Last night was an Anything + Broccoli night. A Hy-Vee fried chicken + broccoli night to be exact. Meal planning, being organized, grocery shopping, folding laundry, generally feeling normal about life has gone out the window and a baseline of stress has set in. The only thing in the refrigerator was broccoli.
But it’s only a season. Just have to get through the end of April. At the end of April, see, I’ll be done with my job at Christ Community Church. Yep. I quit my job. Well, I’m in the process of quitting.
Chad was offered the opportunity to take a new position as Director of Business Development (fancy, huh?) with Gro Master, one that would require him to be on the road visiting dealers and customers 3 or 4 days each week. At first we said no. He travels a bit right now, maybe one or two nights a month, but every week? I know some marriages survive long deployments and separation, but I wouldn’t choose that for my life if I don’t have to.
But then we remembered all the conversations we’ve had, all the If Onlys. If only I could travel with Chad.
It became clear that I could fill a role at Gro Master as Director of Marketing, handling marketing (obvs) and developing training materials and the website and all the things I love to do. And I could travel with Chad. I once (or twice) said I’d never work for Gro Master. I should probably learn not to say “never.”
So, at the end of April I’m done at CCC. I love this job. I love my boss and coworkers. It’s equal parts wonderful and hard working at church. (My pastor is my CEO is my pastor.) But I will miss it.
Over the past several weeks, I’ve been taking time off to go on the road with Chad, visiting dealers and solving all sorts of customer problems in Small Town, USA. On-the-job industry training, basically. I’ve learned a lot, and I’ve been able to check several things off my “never thought I’d do that” bucket list. Like staying at the only operating hotel designed by Frank Lloyd Wright (who is only sometimes confused in my mind with Andrew Lloyd Weber), sitting on the floor of a hog barn and playing with an injured baby pig, and showering in a truck stop. It’s been pretty great, actually. Except I’m working two jobs. See paragraph one.
I’m excited about this new season of our lives, but until the old season ends, Anything + Broccoli will be considered a success.
(and why I’m going back)
The last thing I pinned was a recipe for Quinoa Mac & Cheese. 36 weeks ago. I still haven’t made it. I also pinned a pair of DYI colorblock earrings, some wishful-thinking wall art, and a j.Crew elephant charm necklace. Adorbs.
I like clothes and jewelry and art and organization and curating life. Pinterest had become part of my daily blog-checking routine and I loved it.
But I struggled to know the difference, to feel and live the difference between helpful ideas and recipes, and thinking that an elephant charm necklace could actually make my life better. I was envious of women who had seemingly perfect meals and wardrobes and home decor and abs and folded fitted sheets and WOW, my newlywed life definitely didn’t look like that. I let it get to me, eat at me. I felt like a failure as a woman and new wife. So I quit.
It was, at the time, the best decision that I could have made for my marriage and my sanity. It was tough – I really loved Pinterest. But it was freeing.
36 weeks later, I am in a better place. My home and clothes and body still don’t look like that, and I can never seem to get dinner ready all at the same time, but
I’ve learned I’m learning to be okay with that. I’ve also learned that there’s really not a better way for cataloging internet recipes that I want to try or keep track of. So I’m going to give it another chance. Give myself another chance, really. The New Year seems like a good time for a little grace for us all.
Chad and I decided not to get each other anniversary gifts, but he did hang a little gallery over our bed that I put together, and called it a gift. I was super excited to have arts, and I love how it turned out.
But let me tell you, Chad and I hang pictures very differently. I’m an eye-ball it and pound a few holes until it lands where you want it girl, but as it turns out, Chad’s method, which included a tape measure, level and graph paper, actually creates less holes in the wall. Who knew? He’s so smart.
I just love the vintage Nebraska map and tiny birds on a wire and sunset and colors and we are, indeed, so good together.