Friday, October 24, 2014

Feed Your Faith



Got a little vlog for you this morning on parenting from power, not fear. Are you creating an empowering protectiveness in your parenting...or is it a paranoid protectiveness?

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Thursday, September 4, 2014

Silver Honeymoon

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Just warning you ahead of time that this post may be a bit cheesy. And sentimental. And obnoxious.

So there's that.

You've been warned.

But just wanted to share some thoughts and pictures from our time on the Riviera Maya for our Silver Honeymoon.

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It's a case of 'do as I say and not as I do'...while I tell people all the time that they need to take time away for their marriages, Mike and I have had a tough time actually making it happen.

We're pretty good about the quick getaway locally for a night or two.

But this trip was the longest we've ever been away.

Ever.

Our original honeymoon was five days.

We stayed a week for our Silver Honeymoon.

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And in my true bargain-hunting-clothing-and-feeding-and-educating-a huge family-and-married-to-a-financial-advisor kind of way, I was all twisted up about the finances of the thing and the time away from work and on and on.

But you know what I figured out?

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Our marriage and the health of our marriage is what makes all that other stuff roll. And for things to be healthy, they need an investment. An investment of time. And treasure. And sometimes checkbook.  And to be celebrated.

So we went.

And it was awesome.

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We went to the Riviera Maya to Zoetry Paraiso De La Bonita. It's a small resort about 20 minutes from Cancun. We came to the area 25 years ago for our original honeymoon.

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We wanted somewhere quiet and peaceful. Let me rephrase.

I wanted somewhere quiet and peaceful.

Mike was willing to accomodate me.

The Introvert/Extrovert Marriage. I should probably write a book about that.

I'm an introvert who everyone thinks is an extrovert.

And Mike is the very definition of extrovert.

Mike was late to our wedding because he stopped to help someone change their flat tire. True story.
My mom was ripping her hair out...

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I can't say enough about the amazing staff at Zoetry Paraiso De La Bonita, about their incredible kindness and attention to detail and how hard they worked to celebrate with us and to make us comfortable and cared for. Yes, the resort itself is gorgeous and the food outrageously good and the setting incredible.

But it was the precious people of Zoetry who made it all come together.

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We rested. We laughed. We talked about our favorite moments over the last twenty-five years.

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We were humbled.

Radically humbled.

Because more than ever, we know that we didn't bring some magic skill set to the table when we said our 'I do's' twenty-five years ago. We each brought a lot of self and big personality and stubbornness and pride and ambition to the deal.

It could have been a colossal failure.

I know our premarital counselor sure thought it would be.

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And we don't assume that hitting the Silver mark magically protects our bond. We've seen marriages younger than ours falter and stumble. And we've seen marriages more mature than ours shockingly implode. We've seen marriages that seemed more spiritual and capable and steady crumble. We've seen it happen.

So what to do?

We fight. We flare. We laugh. We smile. We squabble. We blow it. We try again.

We grow.

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We met several couples at the resort. We were regarded as somewhat legendary with our twenty-five year anniversary designation going on.

And you can imagine when they heard the number of kids. That took us to some kind of freakishly mythic level...

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They would ask what the secret was, how to make it stick. They worried about the seven-year-itch and how kids and careers might change their relationships.

I'm sure it would have been far better for a person like me in ministry to answer that praying together thirty minutes a day was the answer or that going on mission trips or reading the Bible to each other at bedtime was all the secret sauce. Spirit secret sauce.

But Mike and I have managed to have fights over passages of Scripture we're studying. And we've had temper flares in the midst of ministering to others. And we've used an arrogance at times with each other that we've tried to pass off as something theological.

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This we may have managed to figure out.

Fighting for the relationship is different than plain old fighting. And God's mercy and patience with us seems to show up when we bring that distinction.
Our relationship is boisterous laughter and genuine friendship and bickering both silly and serious and odd movies and gut-busting comedy and mushy sentimentality and good books and crazy chemistry and the occasional throw-down.

And God.

And fighting for it.

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So we celebrated all that.

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Michael, thank you for putting up with me and supporting me and letting me have lots of babies. And for dealing with me when I work too much. And dream a lot. And write.  And accept too many speaking dates. And put off cleaning the kitchen.  And take pictures. And drive you crazy. A little. And a lot.

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It is my joy and honor to be able to say, after a quarter century, "I still do..."

I love you.

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Friday, August 22, 2014

Challenge Met! Kinda...Sorta....



Got called out by the amazing Susan Seay, my sister pastor Kat Cannon and by my adored and precious Nat. Disclaimer...Of the Carr Ten of us who could have participated, two were in route from Uganda, one was in California, one was closing a business deal and one had to hold the camera...or so they claim...

We dedicated this ice bucket experience to the memory of Earl Kahla, the daddy of one of our best friends. He passed away 17 years ago after a valiant fight with ALS. Learn more about ALS and donate by clicking here. #IceBucketChallenge #StrikeOutALS

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Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Quarter Century

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Twenty-five years ago today, this is what Mike and I were up to...

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I love you, Mike. Twenty-five years. Wow.

Grateful. Thankful.

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Saturday, August 9, 2014

Uganda!!!

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2 of 8 McKenna and 3 of 8 Justus are in Uganda, working with Music for Life and The African Children's Choir.

I looked it up. Kampala is 8,554 miles from home.

Gulp.

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We sent them off on Wednesday and they'll be in Uganda for 2 weeks. A lot of these pictures will be on Facebook but I still have some family members who are, ah, trepidatious (read here paranoid) about the whole Facebook/social media thing, so I thought I would put the pictures on the blog as well for those who decline the FB/Instagram/Twitter experience.

Side bar. True story. My brother is on Facebook...but under a pseudonym. He's not quite sure why he doesn't have any friends yet.

I digress.

Madison 1 of 8 is in Los Angeles this summer working, so she wasn't here for the big send off. It was tough on the younger kids for two more of the big kids to be hitting the road. There were a few tears.

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At the airport, we took a few selfies before they headed through security.

Uganda send off

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They flew first to London, where they had a short layover...

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McKenna took that beautiful picture up there during the flight. She posted it with "I love moments that give me the chance to realize how small my world is. #atxtoafrica"

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Another flight took them into Entebbe, Uganda. Total travel time...almost 24 hours.

They then traveled by bus up to Kampala, where they will be working with younger children the next few days. They'll then head back to Entebbe to work with a group of high school age kids there.

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Because of the magic of the internet and a little app called WhatsApp, we've had some limited but wonderful contact with them, texting back and forth about what they are seeing and experiencing.

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Justus has written about the unbelievable poverty and the incredible sweetness of the children...

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(Justus is the tall guy with the orange backpack...)

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McKenna has written that serving these kids is humbling in so many ways.

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This is the area where they are staying and working.

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I'll post more pictures as they become available. A big shout-out to Kristen Benton, Russell and Valerie Lyday and Joye Qualls for getting this photos up on our various media outlets so we can see what all the team is up to. And for those of you who donated resources to help get the team to Uganda, blessings to you. You are helping the next generation, both here in the States and in Uganda, to visualize a brighter future.

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