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Archive for the ‘Marriage’ Category

Benny HeadshotAllow me to gush for a moment. Isn’t he handsome? This is the love of my life.

It was a cold day in January when we met on the campus of York College in York, Nebraska. I remember it clearly. He does not. Whatever. It wasn’t until a couple of months later when we were both cast in the school play that I really took notice of him. We were dating a month later, and unofficially engaged a month after that. Benny likes to tell people I proposed to him, but we all know that’s not true. After all, I had the entire York choir present when he popped the famous question. There are LOTS of juicy details to our story, but for the sake of this post, I’m going to skip ahead to the present day.

benny3In May we celebrated twenty-two years of marriage, y’all! I threw that “y’all” in there for his benefit, since he’s a Texan. Yes, that sweet, funny, polite, southern boy married me – a kind, fierce, opinionated, Yankee girl. Along the way we learned what love really means and we’ve been spreading it around as much as possible ever since. We made three cute babies, who are growing up nicely. People can’t decide if they look more like me or him. What do you think?

Benny and the kidsI’m okay with them looking like him. My bearded wonder is hot!

And funny. The kids got that from him too.

benny2For our 20th anniversary, I spent a month making a list of things I love about Benny. It’s a little long to share the whole thing, but here are a few of the highlights:

Benny is intentional. He still pursues me. He is kind. Friends and strangers alike are drawn to his kindness. He has a father’s heart. He carries in him the amazing ability to touch the hearts of the fatherless and those who need to hear how special and loved they are. Our kids aren’t the only ones who call him Popa.

Benny is romantic. When we can’t afford fresh flowers, he texts pictures of them to me. He flirts with me. Sometimes it’s even appropriate and suitable for the public.

Benny has big, strong hands. I feel safe when his fingers wrap around mine, or play with my hair, and when they rest on the small of my back when we’re standing in conversation with others. They’re the same hands that threw our children in the air then caught them when they were small, eliciting squeals of delight, and the hands that now wipe away tears after an injury. With the same gentleness in which he holds his family, his hands bring healing to our friends and those we encounter on the streets. His hands carry heavy loads for those who need help carrying things, and lull babies to sleep at church. Yes, I love his hands.

Benny is a dreamer and visionary. He’s the one who comes up with the plans and I help figure out how to make them work. We’re a good team. He’s bold and courageous, and a fiercely loyal friend. You want him in your corner because you can trust he’ll have your back.

Benny loves me even when I’m a pain in the ass, and he doesn’t make me go camping with him. That’s a marriage saver right there!

Benny Nowell is my no-brainer choice for the inaugural post of this challenge.

I love him the most.

benny5

Be sure to check out who my fellow challenger friends love the most:

Don at donhillson.wordpress.com

Beckie at free2b2much.blogspot.com

Tracy at countyroadchronicles.wordpress.com

It’s not too late to join us! Get the details here:

nikinowell.wordpress.com/2015/11/01/30-day-people-challenge/

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My life has been a series of turning points, so it took me awhile to decide what the biggest one has been so far. I slowly traced who I am and my current life back to its inception at York College. I was seventeen when I received my acceptance and scholarship letters. They were the apex of my dismal senior year. I counted the days until my friend Erin’s parents pulled into my driveway and loaded up my life for the long drive to York, Nebraska. I wasn’t able to look back for a long time.

 

I quickly made friends, double pierced my ears as a sign of independence, immersed myself in college life, boys, music, and…oh yeah, my studies. I met men and women who shaped and challenged me. I fell in and out of love. I formed friendships that have endured to this day. I played fast pitch softball with an amazing team of girls. I sang my heart out and performed in plays with some of my favorite people on campus. I stayed up half the night playing cards. I skipped chapel as many times as allowed without serious repercussions. I served on the Student Council and as a social club president. I perfected the egg burger with cheese during my work-study in the student center. I discovered there was more to my faith than what I had preached at me as a child. I worked hard and played hard. Then I met and married my amazing husband.

I wasn’t born at York College, but that is where I came to life. I honor that here with my drawing of the big water tower that passersby see on their way to Lincoln or Grand Island on Interstate 80. Oh how I love that landmark. 🙂

My kids are still deciding what their turning points are, but go read the nostalgic turning points of my friends:

Don at Expatriatism

Freebie at Free To Be Too Much

Girl at GirlyGeeky

 

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I am a people person, not an animal person. However, there is one animal in particular that I am quite fond of. Of course there is a story there. To read it, click here. 😉

My favorite animal is…

As always, click on the image to enlarge it. It’s not too late to join us!

Email me and I’ll add you to our list. You can do it!

Don’t forget to visit the blogs of my friends who are taking the challenge with me.

Don at Expatriatism

Zoe at Welcome to Zoe’s World

Freebie at Free To Be Too Much

Girl at GirlGeeky

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Sex is good, and fun. Sex is to be a PRIVATE thing between two MARRIED people – no less, no more. Somehow I got the message growing up that sex was dirty, and that it was something women did because they had to, and sometimes men would take it by force. But I also learned that sex was what you did with a man you had feelings for to show him you loved him, and that sex can be a weapon used to get what you want. Of course a lot of my information came from women who were watching out for me because of their own horribly abusive pasts. This got even more confusing for me when I did start experimenting with boyfriends and found that I liked what I was feeling, so how could it be a bad thing? That must mean that I am bad. I am dirty. There is something wrong with me. I’d tease boyfriends though I didn’t know it was teasing. One minute I’d want to play and the next I was overcome with guilt and felt ugly and ashamed. (There wasn’t much difference from the Christian boys I dated and the ones who weren’t.) This line of thinking got me into trouble and sunk me into depression more than once. It ruined every relationship I had up to Benny and almost ruined my marriage. We’ve been together 14 years, but it almost didn’t last past 3.

I didn’t know how to go from being told my whole life that sex was bad to thinking it was good and fun and SHOULD be with my husband. That’s messed up. Sure we talked about sex stuff in pre-marital counseling, but we lied. I wasn’t comfortable enough to talk about it then and sort of thought it would fix itself after we were married. Oh boy. Was I wrong! So what happened? How did I miss that sex is not only a good thing but it is meant to be enjoyable and provide a deeper connection to your mate? Why didn’t someone explain to me the whole “two shall become one” thing?

One of my favorite magazines is Marriage Partnership. It arrives quarterly and ALWAYS has at least one article that has to do with sex. Over my short break from this blog I went back and read the last 4 or 5 issues and was relieved (again) that I’m not the only one who has struggled with some of this stuff. One article interestingly pointed out that God intended for us to find pleasure with our mates and even went as far to explain that a penis has more than one function, but a clitoris has only one – to bring pleasure to a woman. I NEVER thought of that before. After re-reading Song of Solomon, it makes perfect sense. BTW, The first time I read that book, I was sitting in church bored out of my mind. I had a hard time stifling my giggles and my shock at something so “dirty” being in the Bible. That’s a 12-year-old girl for you! I always wondered why I had verses quoted at me all the time…and mused that none came from that book. I didn’t think any of the people in my church had read it, or they would lighten up on the whole “sexual urges are from the devil” speeches. I always wondered why God would want that book mixed in with His other Holy stuff. Thanks to other writers who have broached the topic and a Joe Beam seminar on Love, Sex, and Marriage, I’m a little wiser and a lot more comfortable talking about it. I’ve also found healing from some wonderful resources, which I’ll list in a future post.

Like every other good thing in life, satan has done his best to distort sex. He found a way to take something beautiful and precious and turn it into something cheap and sleazy. I know far too many women who can’t/won’t talk about it because of shame, abuse, fear of looking stupid or naive, among other reasons. One of the other ways satan has distorted this gift from God is by convincing thousands of believers that porn is o.k. if it is viewed with your mate. WHAT??? I will go toe to toe with anyone who would argue for that case. Porn is NEVER o.k. It too is a distortion of what God intended. This applies to singles as well. Any form of porn will lead you down a path you don’t want to go…whether it be pictures, videos, or the hot and steamy love scenes in romance novels. Yeah, I have a problem with those too. It’s soft porn and takes your mind to places that aren’t pleasing to God.

I know a man who is a fill-in minister and he thinks there is nothing wrong with looking as long as he doesn’t act on it. I’m telling you, this destructive path has ended ministry careers of a few friends of mine. It has also ended marriages of people close to me. If you are a believer, you are a target and not immune from this issue. See it for what it really is, and turn away from it. If you love someone who struggles with sexual sin, love and pray them through it and help them find the help they need if they are willing. It’s not always that easy though, is it?

I’ve mentioned XXXchurch on my blog before. They call themselves the #1 Christian porn site and that offends a lot of people. (I’m not one of them.) Their mission is to unveil the deception and pain that porn plays in a lot of lives of men and women alike. They offer a free internet accountability service to anyone who is interested. It’s an accountability report that you can sign up for and once a month you and 1 or more of your accountability partners (that you choose) receives an email listing of all the sites visited from your computer. Even blogs show up as questionable sites, especially blogs like mine with post titles like “Sex, Sex, Sex”. (HaHa) The two guys who started this ministry are Craig Gross and Mike Foster. Their documentary is called, “Missionary Positions” and says on the cover, “Doing the work of the Lord isn’t always easy…But their faith is hardcore!” These guys have been through a lot on their mission to help and bring healing to the masses that are gripped by this “porno plague”. They are funny and witty, and determined to follow God’s call for them in this ministry. They get hate mail from people in the porn industry as well as Christians. They have been spit at and called horrible names by Christian protestors at a porn festival. That makes me as angry as the time I passed by a church and saw people (including children) holding picket signs that said, “God hates Fags”. They have a t-shirt that says, “Jesus Loves Porn Stars”. If you think about it, He does. He died for them too. They are not beyond His reach. They are no more sinful than we (long-time believers) are, we just don’t like to think about it that way with our “sin hierarchy”. I hope you’ll check out their website and pray for them as they stand in the gap for people who struggle with sexual sin.

Next post: Temptation – My story

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