Nineteen Years Ago Today …

… I married the love of my life.

Wedding Rings

Kevin and I got married in a small, pretty church in Nixa, Missouri. Even though we were not members of the church, we picked the church because a coworker of mine suggested it; I found it attractive, easily accessible and fell in love with the lovely stained-glass windows behind the pulpit.

Our wedding day arrived and though we were nervous, we weren’t OVERLY nervous. We had lived together for two years prior to our wedding so we were comfortable enough with each other that it really never occurred to us to BE that nervous.

We were more concerned with getting the ceremony over with and traveling to Cozumel, Mexico for our honeymoon. 🙂

After the Wedding Ceremony
(Hence the hurry-up-and-take-the-picture smiles on our faces).

Our wedding was small – there were only about 75 people there – and it certainly wasn’t fancy; we used my student loan money to pay for it. We cut a lot of corners – my mom made my wedding dress (thank you mom!) and we toasted each other with peach paper cups, but we didn’t care. We had agreed that it was more important to us to use what money we had to pay for our honeymoon and even though our wedding was important to us, it was really only a formality at that point – we had already made a commitment to each other long before THE day.

Wedding Cake

We did splurge on the cake though. I went to a cake lady a friend recommended and I had so much fun talking to her about what I wanted. My colors were peach and white, which is really odd considering I had never liked peach up until that point and in fact, have not really liked peach from that point on, but everything was peach for my wedding.

I used to be REALLY big into Precious Moments figurines so it seemed natural to have the wedding figurine for my cake topper.

Cutting the Wedding Cake

The entire reception is still only a blur to me. I remember the ceremony quite clearly (probably because Kevin and I made funny faces at each other the entire ceremony and silently wondered if the music we had selected would EVER end so we could continue the ceremony), but the reception, not so much.

I do remember being extremely nervous though. There was my family, his family and some of our co-workers so I felt like I had to be three different people all at the same time.

Feeding Wedding Cake to Husband

And I wasp pretty nervous when it came time to cut the cake and toast each other. I had given Kevin specific instructions NOT to smash cake into my face and of course, I resisted the urge to smash cake into his face.

But only just barely. 😀

In fact, now that I think about it, the bite that Kevin fed me is the ONLY piece of my wedding cake that I ate that day. (I was too nervous to eat).

We did end up saving the top layer of our cake to eat on our first anniversary. We have a video of us trying it and then promptly gagging and laughing our heads off because it was so dry it was like eating sawdust.

This is one of my favorite pictures from that day:

Wedding Conversation

This picture was not posed, the photographer just had the presence of mind to capture it. This is my oldest niece (she’s married now). I was very nervous about trying to fit in with my new family and I just adored this little girl so much that I had to tease her and make her smile.

It’s been a long, bumpy 19 years … but it’s also been the best 19 years of my life.

Thank you for being so patient with me, Kevin. Thank you for being stubborn and not giving up, even when I was ready to. Thank you for being my husband. Thank you for being in my life.

I love you.


The Love Dare Challenge

I’ve decided to give two copies of the book away (thank you for your interest!) and one movie away.

The winners are:


#11 – Carol Lawrence – book!

#15 – Rachel – book!

#25 – James Jenkins – movie!

THANK YOU to everyone who visited, commented and read my experiences with The Love Dare!!

Okay ya’ll, are you ready to take the Love Dare? If you don’t know what I’m talking about and want to learn more, just click on the badge below and you can read more about what the program is, what it means to me and why I’m hosting this 10-day challenge.

Love Dare at
(click on the badge for details).

In the meantime, let’s get started. Please visit this post every day for your new challenge. I’m actually going to be one day ahead of ya’ll so I can write about my experiences and I will post about my experiences in separate posts and link to them here.

Day Ten: Love vs. Lust. End it now. Identify every object of lust in your life and remove it. Single out every lie you’ve swallowed in pursuing forbidden pleasure and reject it. Lust cannot be allowed to live in a back bedroom. It must be killed and destroyed — today — and replaced with the sure promises of God and a heart filled with his perfect love. What did you identify as an area of lust? What has this pursuit cost you over time? How has it led you away from the person you want to be? Write about your new commitment to seek Him — and to seek your spouse — rather than seeking after foolish desires. My experience.

Day Nine: Love takes delight. What did you decide to give up? What did you do together? How did it go? What new thing did you learn (or relearn) about your spouse? My experience

Day Eight: Love fights fair. If your spouse participated with you, what was their response? What rules did you write for yourself? My experience

Day Seven: Love is not jealous. How hard was it to destroy the list? What are some positive experiences that you can celebrate in the life of your mate? How can you encourage them toward future successes? My experience

Day Six: Love believes the best. Which list was easier to make? What did this reveal about your thoughts? What attribute did you thank your spouse for having? My experience

Day Five: Love is not rude. What things did your spouse point out about you that need your attention? How did you handle hearing it? What do you plan to do to improve these areas? My experience

Day Four: Love is thoughtful. What did you learn about yourself or your spouse by doing this today? How could this become a more natural, routine, and genuinely helpful part of your lifestyle? My experience

Day Three: Love is not selfish. What did you choose to give your spouse? What happened when you gave it?” My experience

Day Two: Love is kind. What discoveries about love did you make today? What specifically did you do in this dare? How did you show kindness? My experience (Plus more about kindness)

Day One: Love is patient Did anything happen today to cause anger toward your mate? Were you tempted to think disapproving thoughts and to let them come out in words? My experience

(Please note: if you feel more comfortable doing this anonymously, then by all means, feel free to change your name in the comment section. Just please leave a valid email address so I can contact you, if necessary. Don’t worry, I will be the only person who has access to your email addy. Also, if you post about your personal challenge, please leave the permalink to your post in the comment section so that others may read about your experiences [if you choose to share your personal experiences]).


In order to win a copy of The Love Dare (I might give two copies of The Love Dare away, depending on demand) or a “Fireproof” DVD, all you have to do is:

1. Leave a comment and tell me what you think about that day’s challenge – this counts as one ticket. (One comment per day, please).

2. If you actually DID the challenge, then please leave a comment and tell us how successful it was for you – this counts as TWO tickets.

2. Subscribe to my feed, receive another ticket. (Please leave separate comment if subscribed).

3. Follow me on Twitter, receive another ticket. (Please leave separate comment if following).

Contest is over. Comments are closed.


The Love Dare – Day Ten – My Experience

This post is about my personal experience with The Love Dare. If you would like to learn more about The Love Dare, go here. If you would like to win a copy of The Love Dare book, or the “Fireproof” DVD, go here.

Love Dare at
(click on the badge for details).

Day Ten: Love vs. Lust. End it now. Identify every object of lust in your life and remove it. Single out every lie you’ve swallowed in pursuing forbidden pleasure and reject it. Lust cannot be allowed to live in a back bedroom. It must be killed and destroyed — today — and replaced with the sure promises of God and a heart filled with his perfect love. What did you identify as an area of lust? What has this pursuit cost you over time? How has it led you away from the person you want to be? Write about your new commitment to seek Him — and to seek your spouse — rather than seeking after foolish desires.

From The Love Dare book:

¤¤¤ Adam and Eve were supplied with everything they needed in the garden of Eden. They had fellowship with God and intimacy with one another. But after Eve was deceived by the serpent, she saw the forbidden fruit and set her heart on it. Before long, Adam joined in her wishes, and against God’s command both of them ate.

That’s the progression. From eyes to heart to action. And then follows shame and regret.

We, too, have been supplied with everything we need for a full, productive, enriching life. ‘We have brought nothing into the world, so we cannot take anything out of it either” (1 Timothy 6:7).

God’s blessings, however, go so far beyond these fundamental needs, we could rightly say that we want for nothing. Yet like Adam and Eve, we still want more. So we set our eyes and hearts on seeking worldly pleasure. We try to meet legitimate needs in illegitimate ways. For many it’s seeking sexual fulfillment in another person or in pornographic images designed to feel like a real person. We look ,stare, and fantasize. We try to be discreet but barely turn our eyes away. And once our eyes are captured by curiosity, our hearts become entangled. Then we act on our lust.

We can also lust after possessions or power or prideful ambition. We see what others have and we want it. Our hearts are deceived into saying, “I could be happy if I only had this.” then we make the decision to go after it.

Lust is in opposition to love. It means to set your heart and passions on something forbidden. And for a believer, it’s the first step out of fellowship with the Lord and with others. That’s because every object of your lust — whether it’s a young coworker or a film actress, or coveting after a half-million dollar house or a sports car — represents the beginnings of a lie. This person or thing that seems to promise sheer satisfaction is more like a bottomless pit of unmet longings.

Lust always breeds more lust. Lust will make you dissatisfied with your husband or wife. It breeds anger, numbs hearts, and destroys marriages. Rather than fullness, it leads to emptiness.

It’s time to expose lust for what it really is — a misguided thirst for satisfaction that only God can fulfill. Lust is like a warning light on the dashboard of your heart, alerting you to the fact that you are not allowing God’s love to fill you. When your eyes and heart are on Him, your actions will lead you to lasting joy, not to endless cycles of regret and condemnation.

Are you tired of being lied to by lust? Are you fed up with believing that forbidden pleasures are able to keep you happy and content? Then begin setting your eyes on the Word of God. Let His promises of peace and freedom work their way into your heart. Daily receive the unconditional love He has already proven to you through the cross. Focus on being grateful for everything God has already given you rather than choosing discontentment.

You’ll find yourself so full on what He provides, you won’t be hungry anymore for the junk food of lust.

And while you’re at it, set your eyes and heart on your spouse again. ¤¤¤

***My Experience***

There are still so many lessons that I could have shared with you from The Love Dare book. And I would have loved to continue sharing those lessons with you, but I don’t think the authors would have appreciated me virtually presenting their entire book to you, free of charge. So honestly, I urge you to go out and buy this book so you can practice the rest of the dares and read so much more on what I’ve written here.

(And for the record, I was not asked to promote this book. I did not accept any sort of monetary or materialistic incentive to talk about The Love Dare. I did all of this, I bared my soul to the Internet, I shared my marital life with you, in the hopes that through my experiences and the excerpts I’ve shared from The Love Dare book, it would touch and bless your life.)

But out of all of the remaining lessons in this book (forgiveness, intimacy, the importance of prayer, faithfulness, accountability, unity, etc), I chose to share the love vs. lust lesson with you because to me, it’s one of the single most important contributors to a failing marriage.

I should know – it nearly ruined my marriage.

When you hear the word lust, you automatically think of sex. And yes, of course, lusting after another man or woman is wrong and the fuse that could ultimately destroy your life (if lit), but I opted to talk about the lust part of this dare to also point out to you that it doesn’t always mean the sexual kind of lust —

It can also apply to anything that takes your focus, dedication and desire away from your marriage.

And in a lot of ways, I think it’s more dangerous because it’s subtle, it disguises itself in good intentions, it’s manageable, and it’s everywhere.

It’s incredibly easy to lose sight of what’s important. Temptations are everywhere and they are attractive, fun, dangerous, delicious and decadent – hence the reason they are temptations. If they weren’t all these things, people wouldn’t be tempted to go down that road to begin with.

Here are some examples of things that can cause friction in the marriage if you’re not careful and if you don’t maintain self-control:

Online activities
Hobbies / Entertainment

And the list goes on and on – it can be anything, really, if you stop to think about it. If something is taking your focus, your attention, your time away from your marriage and you’re allowing it to poison your thinking about your marriage and/or your spouse, then it can technically be called lust.

Let me explain:

Friends – Having friends is great. It can also ruin your marriage if you’re not careful. Let’s say your girlfriend is having trouble in her own marriage. And she spends most of her time bitching about her husband, or about men in general, and how she would love to just get out and start over. Even though you’re being a good friend by offering her your attention and your advice, be careful. That discontent has a way of penetrating your own life and if left unchecked, can start coloring your own opinions about your life and spouse. Before long, you’re also spending most of your time bitching about the little things and convincing yourself that your own marriage is less than perfect (which it will be – no marriage is perfect) and without even realizing it, you’re treating your spouse differently and making mountains out of molehills.

I should know, I’ve been there. I worked with a group of women who did exactly that and it started affecting me. I started acting differently. I was dissatisfied. I lost focus on what was important and when I realized what was happening, I quit the job. I walked away from the poison and I immediately felt better. It was like stepping out of a smoke-filled room and breathing fresh air for the first time in seven years.

Online Activities – This. Is. A. Biggie. We all spend so much time online that it’s so easy, so very, very easy, to step into an online persona, to BE a different person online.

It starts with the IMs. Then graduates into chat rooms. And before long, you start behaving like a different person because it’s all just harmless fun, right? What’s a little flirtatious activity? You’re not hurting anyone. You’ll never meet that person in real life.

But being that other person becomes more fun than being your real-life person. Stepping into that fantasy world starts becoming more fun than living reality and before long, you’re spending more and more time online and BEING that person so that you start doing uncharacteristic things like staying online later and later, or sneaking a chat when your spouse is not around.

You start becoming close to another online “person” and before long, you’re making tentative plans to meet, in real life.

*raises hand* Yep. Happened to me. And again, I had the strength to step back, take a good, hard look at myself in the mirror and ask myself, “What the hell am I doing?!”

I cut out all the chatting. I put a stop to the temptation and re-focused my energies on my marriage.

I honestly don’t know how Kevin has put up with me all these years. I like to pride myself on being this strong person, but honestly folks, I’m not. I’ve dipped a toe in nearly every temptation that is out there.

This also applies to online games. And that’s THE biggest reason I never allowed myself to join the online Sims game. Because I KNOW me. I KNOW I would get sucked into the game and though I would have loads of fun, it’s not worth neglecting, or hurting, my family in the process.

It also applies to naughty websites or websites that “encourage” you to have an affair because you “deserve” it. *snort* You DESERVE heartache and unhappiness? Because that’s exactly what will happen if you succumb to their empty promises. Stay strong and simply don’t click.

There has to be (or there will be) a time you HAVE to just shut it down and walk away.

Work – being too focused on getting that promotion so that you’re opting to spend more and more late nights at the office instead of making it home. (And then there’s the whole office romance thing. Another biggie).

Children – Yes, children are important. Yes, they need looking after. No, they shouldn’t be allowed to take your focus away from your mate. Children are smart buggers. And if they see they can take advantage of you, they will – every time. Children need to be taught that mom and dad need some alone time. They need date nights. And even though it SEEMS selfish to put your marital needs ahead of your children, it’s not. Children need to see the unity and the commitment. They feel more secure when their parents are happy and in order for the parents to be happy, they need to spend time with one another.

Children are tougher than we think they are. They’ll survive without mommy or daddy for a few hours or even for a night. They’ll be fine if you don’t spend every waking moment, or every last ounce of your energy on them.

Hobbies / Entertainment – same concept as the online activities. Just watch your time and devotion and make sure it’s not becoming a substitute for what’s real.

Commitments – Taking care of people is admirable. Volunteering your time is wonderful. But don’t allow your commitments to encroach on your time with your spouse. Cut back on your responsibilities outside the home. You can’t do it all. Manage your time wisely. Don’t make commitments to other people more important than your marriage. And even though you may not see it that way, I’m betting the neglected spouse does.

Again, I’m telling you all this because I’ve lived it. I KNOW how easy it is to be too tired, to be stretched thin, to be distracted or wooed from what’s important to me and my family as a unit.

And I’m STILL working on controlling this whole online/computer thing.

And I’m done.

Thank you for reading these past ten days. It’s been a long, mentally exhausting journey for me and though I’m tired, I’m glad I wrote all of this out. It feels good to purge and hopefully by reading about my experiences, it might help you with yours.

Hang in there. Marriage is a lot of work, but in the end, it truly is worth it. Hopefully, you can convince your spouse to make that journey with you.

Good luck and God Bless.