Renew Your Vows

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“Plan to renew your vows at every opportunity.” (KSM)

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Renew Vows

We loved this piece of advice. I usually hear of people doing this at a particular marker, like the 20th year or some other big anniversary, having a ceremony among friends and family. Chris & I decided to take this advice to heart and started the tradition on our first anniversary trip. Yesterday was our second anniversary. This is a tradition we plan to continue. Reminding each other what we promised on our wedding day is a very good practice.

On our first anniversary trip, we went on a road trip up the coast of HWY 1, and stopped in a little town called Harmony. (Population 18. It’s one street long.) We stopped at their chapel and renewed our vows right there. It doesn’t have to be fancy. We didn’t book the place or anything. We just stopped on our way to San Simeon, and set up the tripod and took a photo while we did it to capture the memory.

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July 2012 Order-9995

Put God First then Your Spouse

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“Continue loving God first and showering His love on each other.” (LF)

“Each day continue to look for the imprint of God in the lives of each other and you will always be refreshed and fall deeper in love. Seeing Jesus in your wife and seeing Jesus in your husband will always be exciting and fresh.” (PF)

“My favorite piece of advice to anyone contemplating marriage is to make sure that God is at the center of that relationship. Although marriage is a wonderful thing, it is also difficult at times so understanding that God is the first member of your relationship is a must. When hubby and I are having a disagreement, we make the choice to take our eyes off of each other and look up to God instead for guidance.” (anonymous)

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Put God First

How does putting God first look to you in your marriage?

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Speak Life & Blessings Over Your Spouse

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“‘By the fruit of his lips a man is filled with good things, just as surely as the work of his hands rewards him.’ Proverbs! Speak life and blessings over each other all the time, and watch as your life yields fruit because of those words!” (LS)

“Your tongue is either a pump or a nail for your spouse’s self-image. Choose for it to be a pump.” (EB)

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Speak Life and Blessings

Chris is often exhorting us to watch our words and reminding me of the power of words. This can be for good or for bad (speaking positively or negatively over your life and its circumstances). Why not use your words to speak life into your marriage, your work and ministry, and to speak life over your spouse? I’m not just talking about speaking encouragement to them, which is important, too. But purposed prayer over them (whether they are present with you or not), using Scripture, like Proverbs, to speak life and blessings.

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See Your Spouse as a Gift

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“Take care of the gift you have been given.”  (GS)

“Marriage has been a source of many blessings in my life. It fits in beautifully with one of my favorite quotes: ‘Man will fully discover himself only by making a sincere gift of himself.’ One of my fervent prayers is that I can always be a sincere gift to my wife and children. Not that I’m fully there yet, but like all of us, I consider myself a work in progress.” (DR)

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“Take care of the gift.” This was a gift I had asked for, for years, before God “finally” blessed me with a husband. He is a gift. I think sometimes, it can be easy for people to forget this was something they longed for. While we have only been married for almost 2 years, there isn’t a day that goes by I don’t thank God for Chris. He definitely is a wonderful gift. I hope I never make him feel like he isn’t or start to take him for granted. I also love the second piece of advice along the gift lines that encourages us to pray we are a gift to the other person. Chris often tells me I am a treasure, which means the world to me because of a time when I was told I was not a treasure by someone I loved. I pray Chris always sees me as a treasure and that I always give him reasons to think so.

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Wisdom Wednesdays Launch – Bonding with Your Spouse

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What is Wisdom Wednesdays?

At my bridal shower and our various wedding parties, men and women filled out advice cards filled with wisdom about how to have a happy and peaceful marriage. I put them all in the decorative box below, and we read them throughout our honeymoon.

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Then at our one-year anniversary mark, I took a Facebook survey, asking people to post comments with additional advice. I made Chris a special book of advice that we read during our anniversary trip where we renewed our vows (something we want to make a yearly tradition). We’ll use our blog on Wednesdays to share these nuggets of wisdom.  (We will use initials or first names only, to protect the privacy of those who filled out the cards.) We got some terrific advice that we have followed and can attest these little pieces of advice truly matter.

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We’ll kick off our Wisdom Wednesday post with a piece of advice we have followed every single night of our marriage since the beginning. Except those very few nights one of us was out of town in the past “almost” 2 years of marriage, we have never missed a single night; it’s been one of the best choices we’ve made in our marriage:

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“Go to bed together each night.

It keeps us on a schedule together and those final moments before you fall asleep where you can talk and cuddle are so precious. I hear so many people that go to bed at different times and have excuses like, ‘I’m a night person, they are not,’ but they end up missing out on a precious time of day, and then both of your schedules are off.  I think if you start from day one, it becomes a routine and you end up not wanting it any other way regardless of who is a night person or not.” (GV)

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The following photo is of Chris & Cheryl, renewing their vows on their one year anniversary trip in Harmony, CA.

The book with the vows also holds the marriage advice cards from our FB anniversary survey:

July 2012 Order-9995

Morning Glory

Ps 30:5b (niv) “Weeping may remain for a night, but rejoicing comes in the morning.”

Everyone who knows me almost immediately thinks of the color purple. My purple feathered pen. The name of my production company, Purple PenWorks. My insistence on wearing purple practically every day of my life.

Outside my apartment is a rather stunning display of Morning Glory flowers. They’re deep purple and blue, and they look like trumpets, ready to herald good news.

When they are open, that is.

They seem to blossom in the morning and especially when it’s sunny. They can go into hiding by nightfall or on cloudy days. Sometimes, a few of them refuse to come out, even when the rest of the flowers around them are showing off their colors.

Have you ever had one of those days where you wanted to go into hiding? You didn’t want anyone to see your face because they’d be able to read the distress all over it?

There were seasons of my life where I felt like I had nothing to “trumpet,” nothing to shout from the rooftops or celebrate. Every day started the same and ended the same, with me closing up into myself—just like those flowers that hide their beauty.

I knew in God’s Word it said that while weeping may remain for the night, joy would come in the morning. I often wondered which morning and on what calendar God was referring to. I felt more like I was in mourning: mourning the loss of dreams, hopes, time frames, and progress in life. Where I wanted to be by that time in my life. Many mornings came with tears still on the brink. That lump still near my throat. Where was this joy I kept reading about?

This was a long season I call waiting.

It was a season of longing.

A season of trying to cling desperately to hope but finding it short in supply.

When I was in my early twenties, God made me a promise that one day I would get married. I thought that sounded awesome because it had been my desire since I was a young teen. I was happy to hear this was something God had for me.

What God failed to mention was that it would take 16 more years of waiting before His promise would even become a remote possibility, that I would be almost 40 years old when love would finally show up in my life and I could take that long-awaited walk down the aisle. God didn’t warn of the trials, the heartbreaks, the journey to come. While I felt ready to blossom much sooner, God would have me in the shade for over a decade and a half of waiting.

Yet still, God wanted me to hold onto hope.

Often, He reminded me of that precious promise from many years ago. Sometimes, the reminders hurt. When I managed to keep my heart in a place of contentment, any reminder of that missing promise-to-come would kick up that desire like wildfire; contentment would be out the window. I would assume if God were bringing up the topic that the time was imminent. Oh, how many times I would be wrong!

And yet, God still asked for my faith; He still asked for my hope.

It was through the fire of waiting that God refined me, built my trust in Him, prepared me for marriage, taught me to love unconditionally, and showed off His extraordinary sense of impeccable timing.

What God wanted from me was absolute surrender. A surrender of my purple pen. (The pen I would use to write in my journals from a very young age about how I thought my love life should go. I made that purple pen a character in Never the Bride. I used that purple pen to write Finally the Bride: Finding Hope While Waiting. And waiting. And waiting.)

God didn’t want me stealing back the pen once I gave it up to Him, during all those times I didn’t like what He was writing.  He was definitely not taking any of my suggestions—for timelines, for specific guys I prayed about, for the changes I ached for.

Instead, God surprised me by writing something completely different. Almost seventeen years after God first promised me that one day I’d get married, He reintroduced me to a friend from long ago, Chris Price. I’d met Chris just barely a year or so after God first made me that promise of marriage. We lost touch after a few years of being causal friends, then reconnected over a decade later in 2010.

Chris knew right away there was something to this connection. (Though wise man that he is, he kept that tidbit to himself and waited for God to talk to me about the future of us.)

With Chris, instead of me trying to convince God like many times past to “give this guy to me,” God was trying to convince me to say “yes” to this man. So, what did I do?

I said no.

For six months, I said no.

I had my ideas about what I wanted, and this idea of God’s didn’t fit my plan. But God wanted me on His plan. Slowly, He worked on my heart. He revealed to me what His best was.

Once I was willing to walk through the door and give Chris a chance, everything moved rather swiftly. Once I started cooperating with God’s plan and stopped fighting it, I stepped into the best, most loving relationship I’ve ever experienced. (Well, outside of my Heavenly Father, that is.) For the first time in my life, I fell in love with someone who actually loved me in return. Completely and unconditionally. That had never happened to me before, in almost forty years of life.

I could have continued to say no.

I could have missed out on God’s best.

What’s funny, in hindsight, I see so clearly why God chose this amazing man for me. In the beginning, I may not have been able to see it. But now, having just hit my one-year wedding anniversary, I see the extraordinary gem I could have missed out on, had I continued to say “no” to God’s perfect plan.

Do you ever get impatient in the waiting seasons? Do you get distressed? I had no idea, during the wait, why God had me “on hold” for so long (also known as “the holy pause” button). But as sappy as it may sound, my husband was worth the wait. He was worth the pain and anguish those years of waiting brought into my life. When I think back on the people I wished God would have given me, I have no doubt now why God said no to me every time.

When God says, “It’s not time yet,” trust that He knows what He’s talking about. He knows what He’s saving you from.

Whenever I get impatient for God to move in other areas of life, I try to remember how He had my best interests in mind with the timing of my marriage. He can still be trusted with the timing of the rest of my life.

If you are in a waiting season—no matter what you are waiting for—try not to give up hope. Hope can only make your heart sick when it’s a hope we have given up on. Trust, that if what you are waiting for isn’t here, it’s either not for your best or it’s not the right time. I can attest that though weeping may remain for a night (or even many nights), joy will come in the morning.

In the meantime, do not hide or shrink away, like those flowers that refuse to show off their colors. The world needs your beauty, that unique contribution that only you can make.

Even while waiting, you can still shine.

Blog photography by:

Christopher Price Pix

Blog originally written for and published on:

Southern Belle View

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To purchase Finally the Bride on Amazon, click the Paperback or Kindle link below:

Finally the Bride: Finding Hope While Waiting (Paperback):

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Finally the Bride: Finding Hope While Waiting (Kindle) :


Now available as a two book set:

Finally the Bride & Finally Fearless (Two Book Set): Overcoming Obstacles to Finding True Love (Kindle)

FTB FF Cover FINAL

The fictional version, Never the Bride, is available in paperback, ebook, and audio book at various book retailers:

Never the Bride at Randomhouse
Never the Bride at Barnes & Noble
Never the Bride at Books-A-Million
Never the Bride at Amazon
Never the Bride at Christian Book.com

Never the Bride

Finally the Bride Front Cover Photo by Lisa Crates of Lisa Crates Photography (lisacrates.us)

One move can change your whole life

Have you ever done something that had a huge impact on your life? Sometimes, one move made without thinking can have disastrous consequences. Making a wrong turn. Giving into a certain weakness or addiction. Choosing not to walk through a door. Walking through the wrong door. Sometimes, I wish we had that ability from the movie, Sliding Doors, to test out how two different versions of our lives would turn out based on our actions. Naturally, life doesn’t work that way, and we have to take it as it comes. We can try to make the right decisions along the way.

The good news is, some moves we make can be good. Sometimes, what seems like a simple move can have a ripple effect upon your life that can change everything for good.

For me, one of those moves, was sending the following Facebook friend request to an “old friend”, almost three years ago now:

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I can promise you: the day I sent that email, I had no idea this man would turn out to be my long-awaited husband a little over one year later. No idea what–so–ever. (And I do mean LONG awaited.)

God had a plan. I had no idea at the time my actions were God led. It took a while for me to figure that out. (Six months of stubbornness, actually, but who’s counting?) There are any number of actions I could have taken that could have stopped this blessing from coming into my life. In fact, I almost missed it completely (through such actions as rejecting what was before me, putting my original desires for a different situation above what God was offering to me.)

I’m thankful God was able to get through my stubbornness and original preferences and show me why what He was offering to me was so much better for me. Plus, God wanted a lot for me and my future. But for those things to happen, I needed to cooperate. I do not believe that God controls our actions; we are capable of making mistakes that can derail “the best” for our lives.

Are you facing a decision today that could affect your life, for good or bad? Have you prayed about it to see if God will give you a sense or a leading one way or the other? I believe God still speaks and is willing to guide us today when we ask. Are you ready to ask, and then obey what He asks of you?

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If you’re interested in our full story, check out my book Finally the Bride: Finding Hope While Waiting, a book I wrote mostly  while I was still single and waiting (waiting, too long, in my opinion.) It’s a story of God’s faithfulness in the midst of mistakes, delays, choices, frustrations, anger, and ultimately true friendship with Him.

Finally the Bride: Finding Hope While Waiting (Paperback):

*****

Finally the Bride: Finding Hope While Waiting (Kindle) :

Now available as a two book set:

Finally the Bride & Finally Fearless (Two Book Set): Overcoming Obstacles to Finding True Love (Kindle)

FTB FF Cover FINAL

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From our “engagement photo shoot” by the ultra-talented, Lisa Crates, photographer (lisacrates.us).

This was taken about one hour before the actual proposal.