You Are Strong: Yet Another Proposal


My husband and I have a running thing (not really a joke per se but it is one of those things that gets said over and over) it goes something like this… we will be listening to some couple tell their engagement story complete with horses or some other grand detail or we’ll watch the viral video of the guy who does the flashmob proposal where he has his soon to be fiancee sit in the open back of a car and all their known friends and relatives sing and dance and act out the Bruno Mars song, I think I Want to Marry You. In the couple scenario, after the telling of their story we usually get asked to tell our engagement story. (Turn about is fair play after all). “Well”, we say, “we don’t really have one”.  Then we proceed to tell the whirlwind story of how we met in late March of 1986 and were engaged by the end of July. Honestly I am not even sure what the actual date of our engagement is except that we told my mom we were getting married on July 4th, 1986 before we had even bought the ring. Kent knew pretty much right away he wanted to marry me and began bringing up the possibility in conversation just a few weeks after we met. I took a little convincing, as I was 16 and had previously planned it all out and intended to get married in my mid twenties after finishing college.

Aside: Life is funny that way. you think you have a plan and then…as the mom said on the Six Feet Under episode we watched last night, it rarely happens the way you think it will. My plan, up until this point, certainly did not include meeting the one great love of my life at a conference at the Anaheim Marriott.

So we go on and tell them our story, how he moved down to where I lived, how one day I got so freaked out by it all I lied and said I didn’t love him, how he knew and refused to believe it. We tell them how we talked about it many many times and how at some point I just realized that, YES. I did want to marry him. Usually it is sometime around here  (or in the video scenario when it ends and we are both teary eyed) that Kent says, one of these days when you least expect it, I am going to propose to you.

Here’s the thing he has been proposing to me all along. Every time we spoke about it he was proposing that we were better together than we were apart. There was no horse, or song and dance number, but there was proposing. 

I have come to a realization recently and I would like to share it with you. A proposal of marriage is NOT a one time event.  The dictionary defines a proposal as an offer of marriage and one definition I found of marriage was “any intimate association or union”. Back in the day Kent did propose to me and I have come to see that from that point on we have been proposing to each other ever since. 

Many years ago before we had children, Kent and I had a big shift in the way were looking at and experiencing life. On one particular night I remember him saying, maybe I should just let you find someone else, you could do so much better than me. I said no and told him I didn’t want someone else I wanted him: I proposed we were an us. We were. We said yes. Proposals don’t always come on white horses or on beaches at sunset. Sometimes proposals come in the middle of tornados, sometimes they come on really hard days. The important thing is to say yes when they come, and to propose again tomorrow.

You Are Strong. That is the message Kent wrote to me on my side of the bathroom mirror the day before yesterday. Those three words. Changed my life. In that moment he offered me afresh to join him in an intimate union. Sometimes proposals are simple and take 5 seconds to scribble on a mirror.

Aside #2: A couple months ago I grabbed a dry erase marker normally used for my family fridge calendar and wrote something I appreciated about Kent on his side of the mirror. He left it there. I liked doing it so I kept changing it each day. A couple days into my little proposals I had one on my side of the mirror. It is one of the most beautiful things we have ever done. And now I realize, each one a proposal and offer of intimate union.

On our 25th anniversary we celebrated by renewing our vows, I wrote mine out and Kent spoke from his heart. These vows were also a proposal; an offer of intimate union. Some times proposals are made on the glorious days when babies are born or marathon finish lines are crossed. Sometimes they are grand, romantic and/or breathtaking.

It happens every day now that I have eyes to see it. I propose to him when I ask about his hard day. He proposes to me when he helps me clean up after dinner. I offer intimate union when I make a family meal for us all to share. He offers it to me when he asks what show I prefer to watch on the DVR. We propose to each other when we forgive the other’s faults and shortcomings and when we celebrate each other’s accomplishments and victories.

Don’t get me wrong, I am a sucker for a good proposal story. And, if I’m beng honest, I am looking forward to being surprised one day when Kent throws down with his “big proposal”. But you know what? This is our new proposal story and it will keep getting longer, more breathtaking and more complex with each offer made to one other. Every addition to this story is beautiful. Every one spectacular when you think about it. 


Blown away by love.

ImageThe events of the week are enough to make your heart burst. I don’t have to tell you again what they are do I? No my lovelies. I will not do that here. Your heart knows. My heart knows.   It knows that there is just too damn little precious, swiftly passing time. If tragedy serves any purpose at all for the living it must be (in my estimation) the cruelest reminder to love. Love now. Love big. Love deep. Love radical. Extend grace where it is not deserved. Hug a stranger just because they look like they need one (ask first). Give to someone and expect nothing. Forgive. Forgive. And Forgive. Again. Even the one who has hurt you in the worst way. Extinguish your hatred. Hatred of the other, the different, the them. Who are “they anyway”? Aren’t they us? What is it that is keeping you from loving? If you are going to let those fucking bombs, that damn fire destroy something why not let it blow down the walls we have constructed to divide ourselves from each other? Why not love in the most radical way possible?

Me? I am a follower of Jesus. In my estimation the most radical lover, the most radical forgiver, the most genuine, least judgmental person who ever walked this earth.

Sidenote: People always say you should fear his judgement as he will be the judge on the last day. Personally, I think you should be super relieved and overjoyed that he will be your judge. If he is anything like he was on earth (which was the exact representation of who God is), he will find ways to forgive that you cannot even imagine. He will judge with mercy and compassion. This is the man who came to save all. Who died for all. He took the full weight of all the worst the world and humanity has to offer and he absorbed it and he looked it in the face and he pronounced love and forgiveness. BOOM!

If there is anything we must do in the face of inexplicable tragedy, inexplicable betrayal and inexplicable hate in order to be like God it is to absorb all the flying sharp pieces of ugliness and hate and judgement and to fire back love, explode forgiveness and blow people away with inexplicable grace and mercy. It is his way. It is the way of life. Let me tell you, this life is too damn short for me to hold on to the shit. Today I defiantly choose love. Won’t you join me?

Pieces of you
Free Hugs


i can’t live with that


hold me closer

i can’t feel you yet


i need to forget

or maybe to remember

that i’m not dead yet

please don’t let go

it is too much like dying

and i cant be without you right now

i can still see the box closing

on a friend too young to die

if you let me go

it feels like i may lose you


i cant live

with that


Still Following the Treasure Map

When you were a child did you ever dream of finding a treasure map? Did you imagine following the steps and paces; turning north at the large rock and digging beneath the branches of the big tree? Did you envision wiping away the dirt from the top of the trunk, prying open the lid and marveling at the treasure inside?

I am discovering recently that my life has been a treasure map of sorts; except that ,well, there is no actual map. It is a map – if you will – that  is in my heart. It hasn’t always been easy to read and the treasure isn’t just something I believe I will find at the end of a rainbow or under the big black X, but something rather that I am accumulating along the journey of becoming. It is the treasure accumulated by climbing the large hills, facing adversity and the elements to find an oft obscured dotted line on a map I cannot see that brings me unexpected and unforetold treasure.  I am finding that sometimes the turns come when I think they shouldn’t and take me to places you never thought you would go. I am also discovering that the treasure I am collecting comes in many forms: The surprising discovery of a new talent that brings me joy and daily challenge to be better, the unending gift of friends who have your back when the world comes crashing in and also are appropriately giddy when you have good news, a community where love and Jesus compel us forward and the astounding challenge and ridiculous privilege of being a parent. Best of all, a loyal  travel companion who is ame every dot of the way undergirding me with his love.

If there is one thing I have learned on my quest it is that as I walk the path of my life, even when it is hard to discover, the little dotted line that stretches out behind me all the way to 1969 keeps revealing itself with surprising little dots of wonder and heartache and confetti laced celebration. I can’t wait to see the places my invisible map still has to take me. I do know this; I need a bigger treasure chest.