Missing Austin


13654182_10154354125949596_4528041502056532867_nLast night Brent and I had a night out in honor of our wedding anniversary which had come and gone quickly earlier this month. My dad is in town visiting and he took care of little Austin and our pets for the evening and overnight. It was so nice to have some time of our own, and since we’ve been sleeping on an air mattress while Dad is here, it was even nicer to have a bed to sleep on!

This was the first time I left my baby for that long — and overnight — since he was born on June 29. One month to the day of his birth, and I could hardly stand it.

Anyhow, it wasn’t long after we left that I started missing my little baby. In fact, we had to circle our apartment complex twice to get to our destination and my heart broke a little each time we passed by. I wanted to go back to him, to snuggle him and see his sweet little “old man” face. But we drove on…

Once we got settled into our room (which was at a hotel 10 minutes from home, just in case an emergency came up), I texted my dad to check in on Little Man. All was well, and we should enjoy ourselves, Dad replied. So we went out to eat and walked around the mall a bit. Our dinner conversation revolved around — guess who — our little champ, mostly due to my peppering Brent with questions like, “What thing does he do that you love the most?”

Back at our room, Brent and I scrolled through photos and videos on our phones … all of Austin, of  course. I texted Dad a bunch and even called to check in on all 4 of them. All was well, and we should try to sleep well, Dad said.

Still, I missed the little booger more than I realized I would. I thought the promise of a good night’s sleep and a little “mom and dad” time would hold me over until I once again saw his little baby face. I was wrong. I absolutely love spending time with my husband, but next time we’ll take Austie with us. It might be another year before I can bear to be away from him again. 😉

A new home


IMG_0828Recent developments have brought such relief to me and my husband. For the past 8+ months both of us have been without income from an outside job. He’s been in school and thanks to his military service we were able to pay most bills. But we were living with family — and that situation quickly eroded.

After living in a motel for a week (with a huge yellow Labrador) and making daily runs back to the family homestead to feed the cat and load up our temporary home, we were blessed to find a lovely apartment just outside Dallas. Moving is never fun, and this time was no exception. But from the first night forward, the peace that washed over both of us has been palpable.

We’ve had some wonderful times together in our new home already. We cook together, watch movies together, go on couples walks, walk Toby (aforementioned Lab) together, clean together, shop together and just enjoy each other’s presence. There’s quiet here — not quiet like our previous home — and it’s by nature a peaceful silence. It saturates us and restores the hope and excitement that was drained away at the last place we lived.

I’m not bitter whatsoever. I’m thankful for family and for their generosity. I’m grateful that they made it so easy to leave, and I know that sounds snarky, but it’s not meant to be. Finally, we can be ourselves and not fear what someone else might be thinking about us.

A couple weeks ago I landed a call center job. I went for 4 days of training but was suddenly snatched up by a local news company who decided I was what they wanted. And so here I am, a newsie again, working from home, where I can spend time with my man, my Lab and our tuxedo cat. I’m outrageously blessed.

A new home


HouseWe finally have our own home again — together — our first place that belonged to neither of us before we met. It means a lot to me because it’s truly ours.

The location is great and we settled in nicely with Brent’s things from storage. We plan to fit in my things this month. There’s not a whole lot of room physically, but I feel so much more freedom than I did at our last home.

Here, we can cook as we want, lounge as we want, sleep as we want, and go as we please without having to account to anyone. Truly, living with family can be difficult. I hope to never have to do it again.

Expectations were held without being conveyed and pressure was applied when we didn’t do what was wanted.

I’m not talking about simple respect. We never withheld that.

But now that we have our place, our little cove carved out of the corner of a Dallas suburb, we can truly live together. Being married is one of my most favorite things in this world. I don’t take it lightly. The moment our marriage is threatened, we have decided to get away from that force stat.

Sometimes, those outside forces aren’t so “outside,” though.

5 things to do when you can’t find a job


My husband and I have both been looking for jobs for the past 6+ months. Do you ever feel like you’re cursed? Well, we refuse to accept that. Here are 5 things to do when it seems like misfortune is your best friend:

  • Do something that flexes your talents and abilities. Maybe start a blog, find some new recipes or a new biking path. These types of things remind you that your worth isn’t based on just your employment.
  • Get outside and see live happening around you. This will help you feel less isolated and move like a part of what’s going on around you.
  • Pray and read the Bible. The communication with God and reading what He says about your life will under gird you, especially when you’re feeling void of purpose.
  • Involve your friends/family in your struggle. You’re going to need a listening ear, and other people can provide fresh perspective when you’re out of suggestions.
  • Keep in mind that it’s likely you won’t have another time in your life to wake up when you want to, work out where you want to, and spend your day how you want to. This WILL end.

My husband: The patient patient


I’d been pleading with Brent to let me take him to the hospital for days, ever since a large lump on his left shoulder became red, itchy and burning. He was in a ton of pain, and finally woke up one night in so much pain that I didn’t have to cajole too much.

“It’s time,” I said. “We’re going. We’re going.”

The ER doc said he’d probably need surgery to remove the complex cyst from my husband’s shoulder, but an on-call surgeon said to go ahead and drain it. The situation was pretty serious, it seems.

After a painful procedure that seemed to endure for hours (I sat in the room as they did it b/c I couldn’t bare to leave him in there alone), I went over to the hospital bed and bent down to Brent’s face, which was mashed into the mattress. “I’m so sorry,” I said. “I’m so sorry.”

I never want to see my husband in pain again.

Brent was admitted into the hospital where he stayed for 4 days and he was an excellent patient! He never complained, ate the tasteless hospital food with gusto and let the staff nurses change his wound bandage with class, despite how much it hurt him. I held his hand a lot during those days, and he almost never wanted to let mine go.

I slept in his room in a mercilessly uncomfortable recliner with a foam pillow and a thin blanket. I made the rounds to the cafeteria several times in search of diet soda or something more palatable for Brent to eat. The other nights I spent home in our bed sleeping alone. And it was really lonely.

One night in particular I was so exhausted and stressed out that I hit the bed and just cried and cried. I missed my husband so much! I worried about him, the staph infection coursing through his veins and the wound in his shoulder. How long until the pain was gone. I wondered?

He’s home now, and I couldn’t be more grateful. It’s a lot different having a husband in the hospital than having a parent in there. Both are hard, but with a spouse it feels like half of your heart is on a painful vacation. I stand grateful though, today, that I get to care for him wherever he may be.

Other women love my man


all the ladies love my husbandToday is a great day to talk about my husband, Brent. He’s so gracious to me and is truly my best friend.

He has patiently gone with my to multiple doctor appointments as we’re trying for our first child. He’s so tender that when he’s not with me, my doctor asks about him and says, “Oh tell him I miss him. He’s so sweet.”

And he really is.

There’s nothing Brent won’t do for me, even when I’m grouchy or feeling down. He buys chocolate bars (but not too many!), ice cream, flowers, teddy bears, bones for Toby (;0) my personal favorite!), makes amazing home cooked meals, takes care of the bills, gets tires for my car, brings me water late at night and loves to make sure he’s holding me tight when we fall asleep.

There’s no one like Brent.

In some ways this is funny, and in others quite disturbing … (;0) ) My Mom left a voicemail for me a while ago and told me I better get a lasso (she was trying to use Texas jargon) for Brent if she ever comes down to visit here again. Nervous giggling ensued. “Oh I just LOVE your HUSband!” she said, adding a few embellishments. Thanks, Mom. Glad you approve. Now step aside please, you can’t have my husband.

I don’t blame her though. Brent is just like the man described in Song of Solomon:

Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth—
    for your love is more delightful than wine.
Pleasing is the fragrance of your perfumes;
    your name is like perfume poured out.
    No wonder the young women love you!
Take me away with you—let us hurry!

Thousands of little things


thousands of little thingsI’ve been thinking a lot about all the little things my husband is — and does — that make him my Superman.

When we first started getting to know each other, he seemed unbelievable. He liked all the things I did, grew up in church similar to how I did and knew all the fun trivia of the 80s and 90s that I had bankrolled over the years.

The logical side of me wanted to believe he was too good to be true, but I was wrong. He’s just really that good of a guy.

I got to wondering this morning as we stopped at the gas station, “How many times have you pumped gas Sarah,?” The answer is, very few. He always get out, pays at the pump (or runs inside if the pump isn’t working) and fills up the tank. And, he does it during the frigid days when the Oklahoma winds blow down through North Texas, and on the so-hot-nothing-should-be-alive days of the Texas summers.

Here are a few more things that make him my Superman in small ways:

  • He gets up early and feeds the cat. He lets the dog out then feeds him and fills up his water bowl. I’m still in bed.
  • He makes dinner most of the time, and man, can he cook! He usually lets me choose the cuisine too.
  • He takes out the trash, all the time. I never have to even think about it, because Brent’s all over that chore.
  • And one of my least favorite things to do … plunging the toilet … is Brent’s domain. He does it without complaining, even though the drainage pipes are badly in need of plumbing.

6 months down


SARAH 1Today is our 6th month anniversary. To celebrate, Brent took me to breakfast at this little cafe here in Ponder. It was nice to go someplace new and spend time together just eating and catching up.

One thing we talked about was where we were at this time 6 months ago. Brent was waiting at home, laying down, while his out-of-town family was entertained by his father.

He had arrived at my hotel room early that morning to pick up his USAF uniform jacket, since I had to sew his stripes onto each arm the night before. When I’d opened the door, I gave him a big hug and said, “I’m so happy to see you.” (Funny how love is … I’m with Brent all the time, but I miss him even if we’re just in separate rooms.)

There I was, in the process of getting my nails done, then running across the shopping center to get my hair curled, all by myself on my wedding day. I remember running out of the salon mid-style after the preacher warned my bridesmaids that he would start without the bride! ;0)

I paid the stylist, made a mad dash to my friend Monique’s car and away we went — nearly flying off the south end of hills on the country roads. I’m sure she clocked at least 80 mph at some point, and that coupled with my stress ruined my hair. But we were there on time.

Monique and I rushed into the church’s bride room where my bridesmaids were still readying themselves. I was a bit of a jerk, I must admit, insisting that their attention be focused on me and getting me dressed. I still needed makeup, all my dressings, hair, veil, jewelry, shoes, bouquet and a huge glass of ice cold water. More than just my hair was a wreck, if I’m honest.

As the bridal party (and my dad) waited outside the church sanctuary, I admit I was suddenly super nervous. I don’t have stage fright anymore, but something just caught in my belly and I felt butterflies doing somersaults inside. But when the doors flung open and I heard the Ode to Joy playing, I saw him, dressed in his Air Force blues, waiting for me at the altar. And he was beaming!

What a day! What a moment that was! It was sunny then; it’s overcast and gloomy today. We have learned so much in just 6 months. I’m so blessed to be married and I love it more and more with each passing breath.

First date 2015


All the reasons I love himMy husband and I went out last night for our first date together in 2015 (Aside: Can I just say that all of that sentence sounds so foreign to me? Married, going out on dates, 2015!) and he planned it all himself.

He actually had the whole day planned for us to spend time together. We ran a couple errands, had a quick bite to eat for lunch, then walked around the mall for a few hours. This is a big deal to me because the Grapevine Mall just outside of Dallas has to be the most spectacular shopping mall I’ve ever been in. There are things to look at everywhere! People swarm the common areas, stores, restrooms, benches outside and around every table in the food court.

Brent bought me a book I’ve been wanting to read for a while now, along with a small book light so I can read at night after he’s gone to bed and my night owl self is wide awake laying there next to him. We laughed our way through the crazy candy store (I had a particularly big time once he pointed out the “Colon Blow” cereal on one of the shelves) and he picked me up a canister of Bailey’s Irish Creme centered chocolates.

At the cookie shop he let me choose a custom order of the best cookies I’ve ever tried. We finally made it to an open table in the food court where we sat and chatted for an hour or so. It’s amazing how much my husband says when I’m silent! I need to try that more often, because just listening to his soft Texan accent talk about Mr. Pibb or the Dallas Cowboys or just about anything else.

We capped the evening with a movie (we saw Exodus: Gods and Kings) at a dine-in theater. Man, those huge, comfy recliners and bottomless beverages paired with Parmesan french fries and my hand in his was the perfect way to spend a beautiful evening.

Like I told Brent on the drive home, “I really needed that. We really needed that. It’s not that I forget, but those kinds of days remind me why I married you, and why I love you so much.”

To have a silent night


Bays Christmas Card FinalMarriage issues can be so complex and hard to understand.

The sacrament of marriage is so special to our planet that often times we elevate it to near god-like status in our lives (shout out to all the husband-seeking women out there!), which of course is not good.

Then again, sometimes it’s unclear how vital healthy marriages are to our human race and we miss out on the richness of at-one-ment. Here’s what I mean (holiday version):

  • In our haste to find the perfect gift for our spouse we run over him, totally forgetting that we are so desperate for the greatest present, not because of how much he will love us for getting it, but because of how much we love him.
  • He’s so worried about making extra cash to pay for all those Christmas presents that he gets overworked and she gets overlooked.
  • Wives, can’t you see yourself snapping at your husband because you burned the Christmas cutout cookies?

This year is Brent and my first Christmas as a married couple. We opted to celebrate sans-presents for several reasons, but so far it’s been one of the brightest holiday seasons to date for me. We’re getting to spend a whole lot of time together, learning about each other and learning how we can bless each other.

Sometimes, the biggest blessing might come wrapped in “alone time,” free of distraction. At other times, it’s a simple promise to come check on him when he’s working on some homework. Pretty much daily it’s packaged in a lovely dinner that I didn’t have to make.

On Christmas Eve, we’ll head to our new home church to warm our hearts by the incense of worship. Then we’ll have a look at the Christmas decorations and lights at the Fort Worth Stockyards before driving back home under the clear indigo sky and silvery-white stars. I see mugs full of hot chocolate stirred with candy canes in our hands, keeping us warm beside the glow of a midnight fire behind the hearth. Maybe a dance or two to Josh Groban crooning from his Christmas album.

And all will be well because we’ll be investing in each other and in our marriage, even without spending a dime.