October 16, 2016


On the Road Dining: Taiyaki NYC

I like to think I am up on food trends, but every time I go to New York I am reminded staying current is as much luck as anything else. I think it’s easiest to follow recommendations from friends you trust and let them take you any place they love.

During my last trip to New York I went to a three-day-old spot in Chinatown.


Thanks to Courtney, one of my local/transplant friends, I felt VERY hip. She had read about a new, VERY popular dessert shop with “fish and ice cream” called Taiyaki.


Um. What?
Ice cream and fish?

Imagine Japanese-inspired ice cream – think black sesame, bean curd, green tea – served in a fish shaped waffle-ish cone and then topped with a delicate topping of your choice PLUS a surprise custard in most orders.

If you don’t know what to order or what flavors go well together, Taiyaki has helpful menu suggestions to discover the perfect combo. Of course, if you’re not feeling adventurous, you can always go with a fruit option.


Like many popular spots, don’t expect much seating or places to hang out, but while we were staying around the store, the owner, Jimmy Chen, walked over to say hello. Chen is a recent NYU grad who fell in love with this dessert while he was traveling in Japan and decided to bring it back to Manhattan (he says it’s the first place of its kind).

Props to Jimmy!!  We loved our experience and are thrilled there’s a “new fish in town.”


If you live in New York or travel there, be sure to check it out!


October 8, 2016


What You Know When You’re 12

Don’t you love the prefix “Pre”?

We all know pre means “before,” and I find those three letters surprisingly optimistic and cheerful.

I think PREgame, PREsale, or PREschedule.  All fun things, right?

Today I have a 12-year-old son (what??) who is, by definition, a PREteen.

He is PREparing for some marvelous years ahead filled with opportunities and privileges he’s just starting to imagine. But there’s already so much adventure at age 12, I don’t want to rush through what is already in place. I want to celebrate what PRE brings us now.

Maybe your preteen experience isn’t fresh in your mind, so here are a few reminders of a 12-year-old mindset and how it’s  leveraged in daily life.

Fashion Freedom


Comfort Rules!

There is no shame in wearing shorts year round if they keep you out of uncomfortable jeans. Warmth is overrated!
Are you interested in pairing earth tones with neon? Go for it!
Why are there fashion rules anyway? No one needs those!
If anyone (including your best friend) tells you to go to a cotillion anything — RUN!  Sheesh… that was terrible.

You do you. Ignore everyone else!



Barefoot is always choice #1.
Flip flops are a close second.
Tennis shoes are a negotiated settlement so you don’t have to wear anything from the loafer family!

If you are losing battles for the more appealing options, put the shoes you dislike someplace where no reasonably minded person would ever look… and always know where to find a pair of flip flops when the search is abandoned.

Lightening Fast Learning


Focus intently on the Marvel movie trailers and learn every bit of dialog. Memorize the release dates of movies, TV shows, and Rotten Tomato scores. Even if you can sing every last lyric from the Hamilton musical (leaving out the swear words), chances are people may still believe you have forgotten test dates.

This is your last window to leverage the “just a kid” thing, so play both sides of the intelligence field!

Yes, and…


There are so many things to explore. Parents still think you need to be exposed to a wide variety of stuff, so say yes. Go with the flow. Learn magic tricks. Take up the banjo, or cello, or both! Learn to bake cupcakes. Spray paint random things. If parents offer to take you to a new state, see it as an adventure and don’t complain (or they may stop).

If you have the chance to see American Ninja Warrior, WILL yourself to stay awake until 3 am. Saying yes (even when it means losing sleep) usually has great payoffs.

Notice Little Things


Read the fine print and notice everything that interests you. Watch where your mom hides chocolate chips for her baking. Arrange your Lego mini-figures so you know if anyone has messed with them without permission. Track football rankings so you know which team deserves your support (carving out Broncos, Bruins, and Jackets!).

Look for patterns –  like how signals are timed, when frogs are most likely to be in the pool, and what the dog is doing when he’s trying to find a good place to sleep. Become an expert on the lesser-known benefits of missing teeth (like using the space for holding chopsticks).

Stay Nimble


You have better eyes than your parents. You can read fine print and navigate to websites before they can find their glasses. Pay attention to this type sequencing. Sure, they use words like “sequencing” which can be confusing, but you can move faster than they.

Speed is your friend and flexibility is your cousin, so keep them close.

Remember Promises


When your parents thought riding to elementary school wasn’t possible without getting killed (who needs sidewalks or bike lanes?!) and they PROMISED you could ride your bike to Middle School, hold them to it. Know the precise age your older sister got her phone and then constantly remind your parents of their obligation to you. If they promised Taco Tuesday three weeks ago, don’t let it go.

Parents have faulty memories. It is your job to remind them of their duties.

Make ‘Em Laugh


Things go better when people are smiling. Punishments seem to be lighter and getting past the stink eye is easier if you push someone’s funny button. Use voices. Wear costumes. Remember what makes each individual laugh. This skill will serve you well.

To our wonderful, amazing, 12-year-old son Josh, you are the very best 12 years a boy could be…and you’re just getting started.

Happy Happy YOU day!!


October 3, 2016


Find Someone To Teach

“The impulse to keep to yourself what you have learned is not only shameful, it is destructive. Anything you do not give freely and abundantly becomes lost to you.
You open your safe and find ashes.”

Annie Dillard

You are an expert in something.

Seriously. You are. I’m not talking PhD/TED speaker/Professor categories, but more daily things.  Think about all of the categories of your life.

Maybe you know how to make perfect steamed eggs.
Or you can swipe your stainless steel sink streakless.
You could be an alliteration ninja.
Perhaps you have incredible Photoshop skills.
Or you use iOS 10 so well you actually understand where your music lives and remember to swipe left for your camera.
Some people are dog whisperers while others know how to jump start a car without electrocuting themselves.
You could be totally fluent in emoji.
Maybe you understand Facebook algorithms.
Whether you have a GPS system hardwired into your brain or just know where to find the perfect bowl of pho in every major city, you have insights others don’t have.

Whatever that thing is, share.

Give your knowledge and expertise to others without an expectation of being paid back. Don’t look for a quid pro quo. Just keep your eyes open for opportunities to give your insights to others.

Teach what you know for no other reason than to make the world a better place.

This feels like a reasonable goal for today, don’t you think?

September 27, 2016


Finding Perspective

Have you you ever heard of a Lepidopterist?  How about an Entomologist?

Well, the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History employs people whose job it is to understand insects, moths, and butterflies. There are people who curate over 80% of the world’s bird species and millions of samples of minerals. The collections are MASSIVE and the organization of the whole thing makes me a little weepy. (The drawers are so very pretty!)

I watched this fascinating snapshot and thought of two obvious, but need-to-be-stated facts:

#1 – People have crazy jobs.

Seriously. I underestimate the variety and depth of work people have.  I recently learned an old proverb, “The clever fox knows many things, but the old hedgehog knows one big thing.”  The guys and gals at the Smithsonian are a array* of hedgehogs! They go DEEEEEP!

#2 – The world in an amazing place.

If you’re frustrated with politics or discouraged by current circumstances, step back and think about the breadth and depth of our amazing world. Get a little perspective. God deserves every ounce of admiration we can muster because DANG is this globe a mind-blowing creative place.

Just taste a little of the awesomeness for yourself.

And remember, you’re in good hands!


September 26, 2016

1 Comment

Avoid Leadership Malpractice

“Before I do anything I ask myself, ‘Would an idiot do that?’
and if the answer is yes, I do not do that thing.”

Dwight Schrute, The Office


Years ago I went with a girlfriend as her “plus one” to her company party. I immediately thought I had wandered into an episode of The Office.

It was  M I S E R A B L E.

The “team” had scheduled the time together and by hook or crook they were going to have fun. The boss was running the show and he seemed oblivious to the rolled eyes when he spoke. He barely noticed people slink away to check emails or leave altogether.

Perhaps the awkwardness was terrible because the team didn’t enjoy each other, but I have seen a similar dynamic play out at home and with friends. Under specific conditions, being together feels like a forced march through mud with a pebble in your shoe on a 100-degree day.

Unfortunately, these circumstances aren’t limited to parties. We feel the “get me out of here”  at family dinners, team meetings, company outings.

There are plenty of ways to destroy fun and kill camaraderie, but the quickest are to:

  • Move too fast
  • Schedule too much
  • Put your pleasure at the center of an activity

Every leader fails occasionally, but there should be some sort of leadership malpractice when a team is in perpetual dread of a leader’s plans. If you are responsible for others, there are simple ways to counteract the drudgery and ratchet up the fun.  Begin with these three basics:

  • Set modest goals
  • Build in margin
  • Prioritize serving your team (not making them serve you)

You don’t have to make huge adjustments, just dial back the over-developed sense of urgency. In the process, not only will the results be more enjoyable, you will likely discover what’s really important.

September 23, 2016


Book Review: Everything I Never Told You

Since I dialed back writing this past summer, I dialed up reading.  I soaked in words. I bathed in stories. I swam in tales.

As you might imagine, all of my books have water stains.

So. Much. Fun.

I’ve debated where to begin sharing, but I decided to start with my favorite summer read because, well, because I’m impatient that way.

“Lydia is dead. But they don’t know this yet. 1977, May 3, six thirty in the morning, no one knows anything but this innocuous fact: Lydia is late for breakfast.”

These are the first couple of sentences in Celeste Ng’s novel Everything I Never Told You.

If that were the only sentence I gave you, chances are you would think this was a mystery or whodunit read. You would only be partly right. Given the subject matter, it’s surprising how much I enjoyed this book, but dang is the writing good!

Beginning with the title of the book, the communication theme is easy to catch.

“The things that go unsaid are often the things that eat at you–whether because you didn’t get to have your say, or because the other person never got to hear you and really wanted to.”

There are plot twists and insights galore, but most of them are revelations the readers learn which are invisible to the characters. We find out how the father flirts with abandoning his family.

“You could stop taking their phone calls, tear up their letters, pretend they’d never existed. Start over as a new person with a new life. Just a problem of geography, he thought, with the confidence of someone who had never yet tried to free himself of family.”

And how the mother drifts in and out of engaging in the grieving process.

“It would disappear forever from her memory of Lydia, the way memories of a lost loved one always smooth and simplify themselves, shedding complexities like scales.”

The story grapples with being misunderstood.

 “People decide what you’re like before they even get to know you.”

And with what will be missed when someone you love dies. Ng is unblinking in her assessment of a family which has regrets and lives with unanswered questions.

“All of that will be gone by morning. Instead, they will dissect this last evening for years to come. What had they missed that they should have seen? What small gesture, forgotten, might have changed everything? They will pick it down to the bones, wondering how this had all gone so wrong, and they will never be sure.”

By the end of the novel, the reader knows more than the people in the story. While this might feel unsatisfying, I found it encouraging. I wish I could say more, but I’m afraid it would spoil your experience.

September 22, 2016


Always Finding The Best At Work

I have a new hero and he’s an elevator operator in Los Angeles.

You just HAVE to meet him.

Ruben Pardo has had his self-described “up and down” career for 40 years, and he loves his work. He takes pride in the precision of his skills and values the opportunity to connect with people.

I am challenged by Ruben’s positivity and am going to seek him out the next time I’m in L.A.

Whatever you do, do it with all your heart…


September 21, 2016


Enjoying Today’s Season

“How was your summer?”

I know. For all practical purposes, summer’s been over since the kids went back to school. Still, I ask people I haven’t seen since June this opening question.

More than once – three times to be exact – the reply has been something to the effect of “meh.” Apparently summer is too hot, too unstructured, and has far too little football for the taste of many people.

I get it. Really, I do.


I put football on TV at the first kick-off as a comforting backdrop noise reminding me that fall is indeed coming.

Apple pie season is around the corner.
I can let my pedicure go VERY soon.
Brussels Sprouts are going to be cheap.

Fireplaces, blankets, and soup will join the daily routine.

The summer sun will soften to a more gentle light, and if we can get out of 90 degree weather, life will be grand!
The anticipation is palpable.

If I’m not careful, I can look and long for what’s next and inadvertently look past what’s now. I can idealize what’s coming up and forfeit the enjoyment of today.

And, we all know every season comes with challenges.

Back to school routines are no joke.
Winter is, for the non-California dwelling among us, gray and icky.
Spring is a Claritin-filled fog.
Summer is — well, we’ve covered that.

Anticipation is best when it’s lightly sprinkled into a day; when it tilts us forward and makes us aware of opportunities and hope. However, today has joys and treasures, lessons and learnings for us. Being present is always a good option.

Yes, fall is happy. Treasure it.  Still, I hope you were able to enjoy summer as well!

September 11, 2016


What I Remember on 9/11

I always seem to be in New York in the middle of September and this year is no different, as I’m there next week. Still, it’s hard to believe it’s been 15 years since the terrorist attacks.

I wrote most of what’s below on 9/12/01, but first published this post in 2012.  It still reflects my feelings today and reminds me how everyone’s story changed that day.

I say that I’ll always remember what happened on 9/11/01, and of course the major details are seared in my brain like unwanted branding.  However, when I reread the email exchanges I had on 9/12-14, I see some of my facts have already faded.

My story isn’t tragic or sad, but when I think about what I’ll tell my kids, I believe I’ll hand them the unedited version of an email exchange I had with a friend from work.

So if you’re interested, this is how my story from 9/11 unfolded…{details in these brackets just added}

I had an 8 am flight to NY on Tuesday.  We were making our initial descent into NY at 9:15 – seat belt lights were on, seat backs up, etc. Then the pilot said we had traffic ahead and would have to make a turn or two before landing. Twenty minutes later he came on the speaker and said ( in a frustrated voice) that NY was currently “not accepting ANY incoming air traffic” and that we were being redirected to Raleigh, NC.  He said he “couldn’t get an answer” from Air Traffic control as to why we were being redirected, but that he’d let us know.  He sarcastically said, “it’s clearly not a weather problem”  (it was beautiful outside).

Of course, I didn’t think any of this sounded right. I pictured something bigger going on – like a crash at La Guardia or something. So, I used the airphone on the plane (which I NEVER do) to call Corrie {my co-worker in Atlanta} and ask her to rebook me into Philly or someplace closer to NY.  When she got on the phone, the first words out of her mouth were, “are you in NY yet?”  Then she asked me if I had heard what had happened – obviously I hadn’t.  As soon as she briefed me, I grabbed a flight attendant and asked her if she knew what was going on – she didn’t.  I told her and then watched her go up to the front of the plane to tell the pilots.  I got off the phone with Corrie and asked her to book me on a flight back to Atlanta – or to get me a car – or bus – or something.  Then I called David {my boss} in NY – as he was telling me the news, I started repeating what he was saying to everyone seated around me.  I was reading an article today by Peggy Noonan and she was talking about a phone conversation she had with her son that he was relaying to the kids around him – “in a crisis, everyone turns into a news anchor.”  I was the anchor on our plane.

When we arrived in Raleigh, ground crew were literally running from all over to prepare our flight for arrival.  I wondered why they were so enthusiastic – only later did I realize that they were running because a bunch of redirected planes were landing from all over.  When I got off the plane, I couldn’t get a land line out to anywhere and my cell phone only worked going to the office (odd!!)  Corrie had been trying to get me a car and was unsuccessful.  People were milling around – there was no TV to be seen (also odd) and I realized that I had better get outta Dodge!  I then ran (I kid you not – I ran) to the Hertz bus.  I see two guys sitting in the back who look normal.

“Do you guys have a car reserved?”
“Yes.” (looking at each other like I might be scaring them)
“Where are you driving to?”
“Great – do you mind taking an extra passenger along?”
“Uh – no – sure.”

I was fired up – I was going home!!!  The lines were already out of control at the parking lot.  My “driver” Steve waited an hour in line.  As I waited outside, the buses from the terminal were coming in PACKED OUT.  Soon the supervisor was outside telling the bus drivers to park and NOT pick up any more people. Again – I was just thrilled to be there.  As I was sitting around, I called Billy and my parents.  They told me about the WTC collapsing – unbelievable.   Finally, Steve and his colleague Burt and I were on the road for our 7-hour drive back to Atlanta.  They work for Home Depot in the corporate office and were really great.  We listened to the coverage on the way home – but also took breaks from it.  I didn’t actually see any footage until about 7 at night.

Steve and Burt dropped me off at Atlanta’s airport – which was eerily quiet.  I was literally the only person in the parking lot when I went to get my car.  The freeways were wide open – everyone was home watching TV.  All and all – it was a surreal day.

I know this is probably more info than you wanted to know, but it’s probably good to write it down.  Thanks for asking!!

My colleague’s reply email reminds me how fearful those first few days were.  I also notice the kindness in his words.  Everyone was so nice to each other that fall.

I am so glad that you’re safe. Your story is really something. You’re so lucky.. no make that blessed to be able to return home so quickly and so safely. Between us, what are your thoughts on the nature of our jobs with the extensive amount of air travel now? How soon will you be boarding another flight?

Take care and give my best to your family and everyone in ATL.  Respects,

My final response to the email thread, below, was written on 9/14.  I haven’t been nearly so grateful for each day as I was on that day, so it helps me to read these thoughts again.

Thanks for your note – – I realize now that I didn’t really grant God the thanks He deserves in keeping me safe.

Between us, I’m not really worried about air travel any more than normal.  I would honestly fly today. Do we need to improve security? Absolutely.  Is it risky? Yes.  However, I have always believed that we live in a dangerous world and that we aren’t guaranteed tomorrow. It’s only by God’s grace that we moment by moment have the gift of life.  It’s just that all of this makes me more thankful for that gift.

I’m in mourning like everyone else.  It’s a really difficult time.  I went to a service at my church on Tuesday night and the speaker went through a great story in the Bible (2 Chronicles 20 – in case you want to read the whole thing).  In the account, the king of Israel is under attack by three nations.  He calls everyone to prayer and leads the nation in a very cool prayer (excerpts below).

“O Lord, God of our fathers, are you not the God who is in heaven?  You rule over all the kingdoms of the nations.  Power and might are in your hand, and no one can withstand you….. if calamity comes upon us, whether the sword of judgement, or plague or famine, we will stand in your presence before this temple that bears your Name and will cry out to you in our distress, and you will hear us and save us……  O our God, will you not judge them?  For we have no power to face this vast army that is attacking us.  We do not know what to do, but our eyes are upon you.”

I love that last part – ” we do not know what to do, but our eyes are upon you.”

That is where I am trying to keep my eyes (honestly – the TV is the biggest distraction for my eyes at the moment).  Hope you can make it to a place of prayer today.  I can’t wait!!!


Whatever your story is from 2001 or from today, my hope is you’ll remember and pray for those who are hurting and sad.  We should always remember to pray.

August 31, 2016


20 Habits For A Laughable Marriage

One. Nine.

Pardon the repetitiveness, but when you’re talking about marriage, 19 feels like an amazing number. Nineteen years (19!!) is the invisible line Billy and I cross today and my prevailing thought is, “Dang this is fun!

Oh sure, it’s been “work,” but let’s be clear, LIVING is work.

I mean, we have to shower and sleep and charge our phones. Those actions keep our systems on line, but that doesn’t necessarily turn the work into a burden.

No. Marriage “work” with Billy is like taking a late-afternoon nap after the demands of playing on the beach – utterly delightful.

[NOTE: I am just getting started. This post involves serious gushing.  If you have a sensitive stomach, consider this your warning.]

I imagine there are many ways to build great marriages, but I can only speak to the prevailing themes of my world.  I can most accurately represent the joy I’ve experienced with a relationship rooted in a shared faith and fueled by a commitment to enjoy each other.

In fact, the most mundane block and tackle habits are actually practices which enable us to laugh, play, and celebrate life together. Let me give you nineteen (19!) examples plus one to grow on…

#1 – Stay out of debt

Nothing kills fun faster than being stressed about money. When you live debt-free, decision-making is streamlined and creativity for fun-filled activities is heightened! While this is counter-cultural, one of the best decisions of our marriage was to prioritize giving first, saving second, and living on the balance third.

Perhaps this means keeping cars past their prime… Ah well! Spend less to enjoy life more!


#2 – Get some rest

Naps improve marriage.

I am in no way being flip. Nothing makes me less pleasant than sleep deprivation. Nothing makes Billy more withdrawn than when he needs sleep. When necessary, we adjust who takes the early shift so the other one can sleep in. Under-scheduling your life is almost as important as living without debt!


#3 – Prioritize fun

Decide, in advance, to prioritize fun. Don’t be afraid to skip school to make memories. Does ______ (activity) bring you joy? If not, ditch it! If you can’t ditch it, then do it together. This leads to the next habit…


#4 – Work together

How in the world can household work be fun? Let’s take a page from Mary Poppins people…

In every job that must be done
There is an element of fun
You find the fun and snap!
The job’s a game!

You may not be as geeky as we are, but FUN is the spoonful of sugar you need whether you’re unloading the dishwasher, cleaning up the backyard, or fishing frogs from the pool!


#5 – Hold loosely to your agenda

Billy doesn’t feel the burning need to explore the latest food spot in Atlanta, but he knows I love to, so he plays along. He battles Friday traffic, stupid parking hunts, and questionable menu choices without an ounce of resentment.

Just this week he ate a chicken liver tart at The Staplehouse for our anniversary dinner, and he loved it!!


#6 – Show up

Quality time is directly linked to quantity time. You can’t enjoy a relationship which gets the dregs of your calendar. Fun is always a factor of presence. Sure, walking the dog doesn’t feel important, but when it makes for a smoother evening routine, everyone benefits!


#7 – Pay Attention

The best comedians see humor in the mundane.

They look and listen well. Your marriage is more fun when you do the same. That means noticing how your spouse likes projects and pictures. It means not just “going along to get along,” but actually creating your own shenanigans. 


#8 – Surprise & delight

Be thoughtful.

Go out of your way to surprise your spouse. Pony up for an Amazon Prime membership and take the initiative to knock things off the “to do” list. Replace the broken soap holder, order the kid’s music book, buy better straws as a surprise.

Surprises are fun, even when they are $3.00 straws. (UH-Mazing straws I might add!)


#9 – Have a pet

No really.

Rough days are immeasurably better with the happiest dog on the planet. Sure, there’s poop to scoop, walks in the cold, window-shattering barks, but mostly there’s fun.

Sharing a pet is awesomeness.


#10 – Travel together

Wander! Explore! Get Lost! Lose your Bags! Misunderstand Street Signs!

If you can work out the stresses of travel together, you’re golden. If you find the humor in the lost bag that went to Maui and the expired passport that killed your trip to Europe (both true), you can find ways to have fun on the road.

Nineteen (19!) years in, there’s no one I’d rather travel with than this guy!


#11 – Remember the romance

Double dates are not date nights.
Having your kids with you are not date nights.

One-on-One is a date. Showering, looking good, and flirting are all part of great dates. For romance’s sake, brush your teeth, work on your appearance, maybe even Dress Up!  You are the only person your spouse should legitimately lust after, so make it worth his/her while!

Perhaps you can sweep them off their feet!


#12 – Embrace differences

There are multiple effective ways to load the dishwasher, manage money, and handle sticky conversations. There is nothing inherently noble with an extrovert or introvert. There are many acceptable ways to correct a child and talk to family members.

Differences are good things. Embrace and celebrate how your spouse approaches the world, and life is MUCH more fun!


#13 – Make amusement a goal

Fun is a muscle which develops as you stretch and practice. Billy relentlessly exercises this muscle keeping me on my toes.

Recently we stopped to put gas in my car and I gave him a $50 gift card. He used $49.99 of the card and gave me back the receipt and the card. This from a man who loves even numbers… he SWEARS he couldn’t fit in another penny, but I SWEAR he was testing to see if I’d hold onto a card worth one cent (I’m kinda cheap).

I’ll let you draw your own conclusions…


#14 – Act like a team

Problems and challenges don’t have to come between us if we decide in advance it’s not a he or she issue, it’s a “we” issue. “We” has become our favorite pronoun.

We have work struggles. We have to beat the calendar into submission. We have to figure out strategies together.

We are a team.


#15 – Tell your stories

Many times, the team fails. Many times the team makes bad calls.  Many times the team lives with messy lives. The beauty of life is sharing the messes with others.

That terrible doctor’s visit becomes a story. That epic meltdown? A story. That financial misstep? Well, that’s a story too.

The fun of the mess isn’t in the middle, it’s hindsight when you know the ending.


#16 – Pace yourself

As a newlywed I was the Queen of Terrible Timing. I wanted to wrestle every disagreement to the ground immediately and never, ever sleep on a tension. This was a horrible plan.

Sleep is a friend. Food is a friend. Waiting for space and time to talk is a good thing. (Recall the 10-to-10 rule.)

Conversations were just one of the areas where taking the long view made the days better.


#17 – Have a consistent community

Have I talked about our newlywed community group enough? We have been sitting around in circles with couple for 19 years, and it is a game changer! Marriage is MUCH richer when it’s shared.

I think I need to do an entire post on our groups…they are the best! 


#18 – Value what your spouse values

This may be my favorite picture with Billy because it represents how well he embraces my ridiculousness. I love taking jump shots. I don’t mind making a fool of myself in public. Neither of these activities are Billy’s favorites, but he does them.

In this instance, during my birthday trip, Billy endured countless jumps as we tried to coordinate couple and group shots.

He is SUCH a good sport!

IMG_8548 (1)

# 19 – Lighten up

My default in any situation is to race to analysis mode. I have spent most of my marriage retraining myself to STOP already. A light touch is always, always, ALWAYS a good option!

family beach photobooth

#20 – Pray together

Praying together is the single best thing we do.  No contest.

There is nothing more powerful than having your spouse acknowledge the hopes and dreams he has for you when he prays. I feel supported, acknowledged, and valued even in a quick, pre-caffeinated state.  Even if you’re a religious person, I  know this sounds like an awkward thing to do, but I promise you it’s no more strange than yoga… just try it!

(I don’t have a picture of us praying together so this photo booth shot will have to do!)

cargill wedding

Nineteen (19!) years of marriage to a man who makes me laugh is not something I take for granted and is something for which no amount of gratitude feels adequate.

1-4-3 sweet man of mine.