Saturday, October 26, 2013

A Love Story

I was always picky.

I would go on a date, come home, call my mom, and then give her a list of ALL of the reasons I did not want to go out with the guy again.

Other than a junior high romance, long term relationships were NOT my thing.

In college and after, I had a couple of "crushes".  Big crushes.  Crushes that changed the course of my life in a way as I changed colleges and for another changed where I lived.

Yeah, those didn't work out either.

And at the time, I cried out to God a lot.  Now I was 24 and still single, an "old maid" among my friends. 

All I longed for was a man to love me.  A marriage like I had grown up with watching my parents.  The "soulmate", the "one".

One day I was at a church event with the college/career "kids".  You know the ones...the single group.  The ever changing singles group since people would invariably pair up, marry, and leave. 

It was at someone's house, a Hogs watch party.

I was introduced to a new guy to the singles group.

Mark Cloud.

Oh my.  Did he look young.  He was fresh out of college; I had been out of college for a few years.  I thought he was adorable but incredibly young.

Not too long after that, we were sitting in church.  I just happened to be sitting next to him.  We had one of those moments where we stood up to sing or pray and were asked to hold hands with the people next to us.

If you don't know me well, I have a sense of humor.  I really do.  In fact, there is a lot more to me than most people ever really get to know since I know I can come across fairly "prim and proper" on the surface.

I looked at that young whippersnapper and asked, "Does this mean we are going steady now?"

I really was being silly since honestly I hadn't given much thought to him.

He told me later that comment scared him to death.

All of that to say that it is truly a God thing we ever got together.

Not too long after that, a group of us "singles" gathered at a friend's apartment. I really don't remember why we were there or what we were doing.  Just that we were both there.

And for whatever reason sparks started to fly.

Later that week, I had a message on my answering machine asking me for a date.  I wish I still had that message because it was very sweet.  "Even if it is just grading papers with you...I think anything would be fun with you."  (Maybe at that point he realized that I really did have a sense of humor)

Our first date?

Applebees.  Then we went shopping for a semi-formal dress for me for an upcoming Singles Christmas dinner.

Yes, shopping.

A few days later, he came to pick me up (you know, we were "carpooling") at my second job at Dillards.  My boss had so graciously allowed me to get off a little early to change for the dinner.

We went to the dinner as friends.

After the dinner, we went back to my apartment (which was like a dungeon but was all I could afford)  and just talked.  And talked.  And talked.

I still remember other people from the Singles group calling and asking if we were coming to hang out.  I don't remember our answer. I just remember that at that moment, there was only one person I wanted to hang out with.

That week he came to my school's Christmas program.

The next week or two was Christmas.

I was really sick at that point.  I remember being at home (which is where my parents still live) and hearing the phone ring.  My mom told me it was for me.  As sick as I was, I ran to the phone (because they were still corded in those days).

My mom later told me the fact that I wanted to go on a second date was her clue...this was the one.

Fast forward to May of 1996.

I know he has a ring.  In fact, I have tried it on a few times.  But it is still in a box, still tucked away.

I am in my classroom, packing up for the summer.

School is out.

I turn around and see that face, the face I love.

And I wonder, "Why is he here?"

Then as he gets down on one knee, I know.

And of course, I say yes.

October 1996.

We stand in front of friends and family at that same church where we once "held hands" for a prayer.

And we vow.

Vow to love, to cherish, to honor.

Until death do us part.

Here we are 17 years later.

He still makes my heart pitter patter when I hear his voice on the phone or unexpectedly see him in the hallways of my school.

Please know, it hasn't always been easy.  And it isn't a fairy tale.

We have both made a lot of mistakes.  There were times we haven't always liked each other.  Loved, yes.  Liked, no.  We have had arguments.  We have cried.  We have had losses.  We have had struggles.

And a lot of that was just in the first year of marriage. :)

Our life is not an easy one some days.

We have four kids, all with their own challenges.  We have one fuzzy dog...okay, she is actually one of the easier parts.  We have bills to pay.  Decisions to make.  Crazy schedules with church, school, and sports.

There are days I miss our early life when things were simple.

Or so they seem now.

As I get older, I realize that there is so much more beyond this life.  I long for the day we are released from this world and all of its pain and suffering to spend an eternity with our King.

I will admit, though. The one part that makes me a little sad is that the Bible indicates that we may not really be "husband and wife" in heaven. I am not sure if we will know each other or even remember a moment of this life we have had on earth.  The one good thing is that if that is the case, the Bible also says there are no tears or sadness in heaven so I won't "miss" it there like I would here on earth.

What I do know is that there isn't anyone I would rather live this crazy life with here on earth.

He is not perfect.

I am not perfect.

But together, we just work.

(We often quote Rocky..."She's got gaps, I've got gaps, together, we got no gaps...")

He is my best friend.  My love.  My encouragement.  My confidante.  My partner.  My companion.  My lover.  My encouragement.  My soulmate.

And I am so thankful that God brought us together.

I pray and hope for many more anniversary celebrations to come.

Happy anniversary, Mark Cloud!

Love Always,

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Reba's Rambles...

I have a graveyard.  On my computer.  It is a graveyard of half-written posts. 

I have good intentions.

I have ideas about what to write.

In fact, I have written several posts in my mind.

But at the end of the day, when I sit down to actually type, something happens.

I am still.

Still and quiet.

And that is enough to remind my body it is time for me to sleep.

And sleep I do.

Sometimes mid-sentence.

I am not sure if it is part of getting older.  Or if it is just the stage of life I am in .  Or if it is the constant kid activity. Or trying to balance our lives, my job, parenting, our house.

I don't know what it is.

I just know I can't stay awake.

For anything.

So I am at a crossroads...

Do I keep blogging?

Do I just give it up, hang up my keyboard?

Or do I just do it when I get to it and not feel guilty in between?

I don't know. 

Blogging has always been an outlet for me.

It is my family's history.

It is my online "journal".

And I want to keep doing it.

I just don't know at what pace.

I just can't keep up right now.

With anything.

With laundry.

With cooking.

With kid activities.

With my quiet time.

With my organizing.

With life.



Monday, October 14, 2013

Making the Time...

Our lives are crazy right now.

They just are.

I work all day.

After school, I am still working.

And a couple days a week I do intense workouts.

When that fun is up, it is into the car for the shuttling of children for evening activities. 

Baseball, cross country, church, gymnastics, volleyball.

You name it, we just might be doing it.

(And yet we laugh because we really do limit activity with the kids but with 4 of them, even limiting ends up being a lot)

There are many days we just have to "divide and conquer". 

"You take child 4 to his baseball game while I go cheer on Child 2 for volleyball then I will go watch Child 1 in his choir concert.  Child 3 can go with you..."

That was an actual conversation last week.

It was a busy night.

Thankfully not all of them are that busy but this time in our lives, we are busier than ever.

And because of that, I find myself wanting to be purposeful.  To be intentional.

I kind of referred to this in my last post about late night walks.

We (being the Hubs and me) have got to reconnect.

It could be really easy for us to get caught up in our kids and their activities. 

But we need to remember to get caught up in each other too.

So that means making time.

Being purposeful.

Coming together.

Sometimes that means those late night walks.  We just had one of those tonight.  The dog really needed a walk around the neighborhood.  But it also gave us that time to just chat and reconnect before another busy week.

Sometimes it means getting the little ones to bed and leaving the oldest "in charge" while we run out for a late night meal.  Or on days when that won't work, just picking up an order or two of sushi and sitting together at the table talking.

Sometimes it means a grocery store shopping trip together...nothing says romance like choosing ripe bananas and milk for the week...

Sometimes it means watching a favorite t.v. show together.

Or hanging out in the attic together looking for fall/winter clothes for the kids.

It means texts in the middle of the day saying, "I love you".

And remembering to write what I love about him on his picture frame.

It means planning a weekend getaway to celebrate our anniversary.

It means leaving little cartoons or articles out that  I know he would like.

It means sharing about the day, even the mundane.  Not long ago, I mentioned an update on a house near us that was getting a facelift.  Before I had even finished, he said that he had noticed too and wondered if I had seen it yet.  It isn't life changing information we share but just the fact that we are...

We don't have a perfect relationship.  

And there are times that we irritate one another.

But the fact is, he is still my best friend.

And though our lives are busy, I don't ever want them to be too busy for "us". 

After all, in just a few (or many) years, the kids will leave home.

Trust me, they will.

And when they do, it will just be the two of us together again.

When that happens, I want us to still know each other. To still love each other.  To still be the best of friends...


Thursday, October 10, 2013

A-Walking and A-Talking

One or two nights a week, I flash my pearly whites, flutter my black mascara eyelashes, and use my sweetest voice...

"Are we going for a walk tonight?"

More often that not, even when he is really tired or there is a great football game on, he agrees.  He being my main man. 

I don't know that it is really for me or perhaps for the dog.

Either way, I love late night walks with my hubby.

We leash up the dog, grab some bags, and head down the street.

I think the teenager doesn't really mind being in charge for a few minutes since the others are sleeping AND he gets free reign of the remote.

And me?

I treasure the time.

I get some exercise.

The pup is SOOO happy bo be outside.  (She starts running around the house once she sees me slip on my walking shoes.)

And I love the one on one time.

No interruptions (other than occasionally that little pup).

No electronics to distract.

Just me, just him, just a pup.

And the sky.  The star filled sky.

And LOTS of fresh air.

Sometimes we are silent.

Sometimes we talk.

Sometimes we laugh.

Sometimes we just listen.

But always we reconnect.

We come back together after a crazy whirlwind evening.

And we enjoy it.

Every moment.

Or at least I do...


Thursday, October 3, 2013

Thankful Thursday...

I have again written blog posts in my mind this week.

And somehow I manage to fall asleep each night before I post them.

It is a miracle I am still awake right now other than the fact I just drank caffeine. 


I can surely manage a few things to be thankful for.

And maybe next week (my intern will be teaching for solo week), I might just actually type out a few posts that are going round and round in my head...


What am I thankful for this week?
  • my kids.  I am thankful for my kids.  Even when they drive me crazy.  And they do.  BUT they also make me laugh.
  • workouts.  Okay, I am not always thankful the day after (or the night of) but I am actually somewhat enjoying them. They are hard.  Harder than anything I have ever done.  But with co-workers, they are also fun.  
  • my puppy.  She tickles me.  (Both literally and figuratively)
  • a good hike last weekend .
  •  the teachers of my children.
  • even the principals of my children.  One of them has sent me texts just to tell me good things about my kiddo.  Warms a momma's heart.
  • showers (especially after the workouts I mentioned again)
  • my mama who does the kids' laundry. I am pretty sure they would be wearing pj's every day otherwise.
  • blue jeans.  Just because I like wearing them.
  • sushi dates with my husband.
  • fall.  I love the colorful leaves, the beautiful background.  
  • watching my kids do the activities they love.
  • my co-workers.  
  • my students.  They truly make my heart happy.
  • baked potato soup (which I am anticipating eating THIS weekend).
  • the "Halloween" pictures my youngest has created and placed all over the house (because apparently I didn't decorate early enough for him)
  • a promise for a getaway weekend
  • dark chocolate.  It makes me happy.
  • half a cow.  In my freezer.
  • good neighbors.  Even when they move away.
  • nature.  Our God made an amazing world.
  • solo week. It is always hard to give up a week teaching the kids.  BUT it is an opportunity to catch up on some paperwork, some planning, and some assessing of students.
  • time with a "long lost" friend.
  • my bed. Which is where I am headed. :)
What are you thankful for this week?