A Couple’s Weekend

Couple Time

When our children were younger and we needed some ‘us’ time…

we would simply wear them out, feed them an early dinner, and scoot them off to bed.

We affectionately called this ‘Flex Time’ and it was oh so rejuvenating for us and our relationship.

As our children have grown and multiplied in number…

bedtimes have grown later, responsibilities have increased,  parenting has become more complicated, and wake-up calls remain early.

There is very little alone time and it seems more necessary now, than ever before.

It’s nearly impossible to have an uninterrupted conversation in our home, never mind one not intended for little ears.

The work is never done.

A new problem is always on the horizon.

And life just keeps getting busier.

It’s easy peasy to place our marriage on the back-burner and forget about it in the name of sacrifice.

But what exactly would we be sacrificing as time ticks away?

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Bless This House Day

Bless this House


One day, quite a number of years ago, my dear friend Julie opened my eyes to a truth which I had lived out for forever but never plainly understood.

Chaos drains my energy.

Cluttered rooms, fingerprint-covered windows, piles of dirty laundry, Legos strewn across the floor, a sink filled with dirty dishes, sticky messes, crushed Cheerios underfoot…

they unravel me and cause me great unhappiness.

I know what you’re thinking…

But you have seven children?! [Read more...]

My Oxygen




I set my alarm for 5:15AM.


It sounds so early.


I allow myself one snooze before I have to get out of bed.


Okay, I confess…on really bad mornings, I sneak in two.


I pull my hair into a messy ponytail.  Grabbing socks and sneakers, I sleepwalk my way downstairs into the kitchen.

I boldly grind freshly roasted beans at 5:30AM.  (It’s what my life looks like being married to a recently, self-professed coffee snob.)

The aroma immediately jumpstarts my brain.

I pour half-and-half into a large mug, turning strong-black-liquid perfectly golden with the stirring of a spoon.

I indulge in my first sip. [Read more...]




I guess it all started with piles.  Lots and lots of piles.

Piles of laundry.

Piles of paperwork.

Piles of responsibilities.

Piles growing exponentially before my eyes with no end in sight.


My middle name was fast becoming ‘Overwhelmed’.

I never had a chunk of time coming my way…

to organize, plan, create, or accomplish anything.

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Cuzipalooza 2013- These are the Days

Me and Mimi


The O’Melia family bus arrived in Connecticut after a beautifully uneventful ride of only 90 minutes.


I relished it.


This is when I do my best rejuvenating…in a quiet car.

If a hot caffeinated beverage happens to be in my cup holder…even better.

Silent car rides are probably one of the number one reasons I’ve survived the last 14 years and lived to tell about it.

Now you know another fascinating fact about this mom of seven. ;)

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Cuzipalooza 2013

Crazy Kids


For the first time ever I was conveniently gone at a hair appointment while the van was being loaded and house closed down for our week-long trip North.


I was a little nervous.


You know…about what I might come home to. ;)


But it worked out soooo very nicely, this most unfortunate timing, that I might just plan it that way again in the future. :)


Duff and the kids carried some serious cheese while I was being pampered.


Wow, that just sounds so wrong…and yet I find myself getting use to the idea. ;)

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My dad was a Catholic priest.


How’s that for an attention-getter?


I’m sure your brain is now intensely processing, trying to figure out how this happened. ;)


He was a priest before meeting my mother, a pretty young thing working in the rectory office.


But that is a whole other story.


What’s important is that he left the priesthood and married my mom.

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A Scandalous Story of Love: Filled with What?!



I didn’t know Duff was a holiday scrooge until our first December in North Carolina arrived.

I broached the subject of procuring a small pine tree.

You know…to decorate with handmade ornaments and cover in festive lights.

He seemed at best uninterested.

The word ‘hassle’ may have been tossed around.  Perhaps he questioned the whole tradition and wondered if it was a ‘waste of time’.

I was pretty presuasive back then though. Still am. ;)

He dutifully came along and managed to help me shove a meager evergreen specimen, generously spilling forth needles, into the back of our Civic.

We carried it up the flight of stairs into our cozy apartment, and after much effort, managed to erect our first Christmas tree in a newly purchased stand.

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Beyond Ordinary



I normally avoid marriage books.

They offend me.

I’ve never really been able to figure out exactly why this is.

I know the buckets, the recipes, the suggestions, the essential ‘must do’s', have always been very unappealing to the romantic in me.

True love does not have a recipe as far as I’m concerned. It just is.

It feels so fake to me if I go through someone else’s motions.

It feels awkward and unnatural to try to squeeze my marriage into a box and the outlined suggestions into my marriage.

It’s simply disingenuous to carry out a script written by someone else for someone else.

Afterall, my marriage is unique.

My husband is unique. (Boy is he ever! ;) )

The things that make my man happy and grow our marriage, won’t be the same for you or anyone else.



I stalk some really cool people on Twitter.  One of them being Angie Smith.

One day she mentioned how much she loves the way her dear friend, Trisha Davis, has stepped into ministry and continues to bare her heart for the Lord.

I was curious.  I followed the link.

Twitter Pic

I was immediately intrigued by what I read.

This sounded like a powerful story of forgiveness.

I wanted to know how this woman found the strength to forgive her husband.

I wanted to understand how someone digs deep enough to overcome an extramarrital affair and how they ever rebuild that trust.

I wanted to comprehend where this woman summoned the courage, the strength, to forgive the unforgivable.


I downloaded the sample of ‘Beyond Ordinary’ onto my kindle.

It’s usually my gateway to buying the book.  I honestly feel guilty just outright buying.  So instead I read 10 pages, get totally hooked, and then hit purchase without hesitation.

This little system of mine somehow lessens the guilt.  Justification is accomplished.


As I started reading the book, the children of my house began succumbing to the stomach bug.

I caught vomit, washed children, shampooed carpet, disinfected bathrooms, and read my book between retching cycles.

I was almost happy to pull an all-nighter caring for sick children if it allowed me to delve deeper into this couple’s story.  Almost. ;)

I was becoming increasingly alarmed that my marriage might simply be ordinary.

And do you know what ‘ordinary’ is?

“Ordinary is the biggest enemy of a great marriage.” 


So as I’m holding foreheads, flushing vomit, changing clothes, and giving baths…I begin to see just how easily ordinary can happen.

There is always a crisis.

A sick child.

A financial stressor.

A ‘to-do’ list.

Mom guilt.

Total exhaustion.

I have 7 kids.

Believe me, you don’t need to invent excuses.  Excuses abound.


Weeks can easily pass and you still haven’t had that important conversation.

The hot date has been cancelled once again.

You can’t seem to get a moment alone.

Litte eyes and ears are everywhere.


Ordinary simply results when entropy is allowed to have its way with your marriage.

“Can you name an area of your life you can neglect and then expect to see improvement?”

You must go beyond what is usual to have a great marriage.

You must be intentional.

Your marriage can’t always appear last on the never-ending list of tasks.

Time + Unintentionality = Ordinary Marriage

This all made great sense to me.


I stuffed soiled linens into the washer, I refused another child water, I rubbed my youngest’s back until he fell into a restless, nauseated sleep.

I continued reading.

I was too excited to sleep.

This book had finally identified what offended me most about all those books on marriage.

Two words-

Behavior Modification.


Many marriage resources focus on behavior modification.

Behavior modification doesn’t get to the root of the problem.  It doesn’t address the heart issue.

“…you can’t behave your way to an extraordinary marriage.”

This was the sentiment I had forever been trying to express.

And here it was…all of it making perfect sense, finally put into words.


I want honesty.

I want real intimacy.

I want to be fully known.

I want God to change the broken areas of my heart.

I want my marriage to be transformed to extraordinary.


“God doesn’t want to improve your marriage; He wants to transform it.  God doesn’t want to modify your behavior; He wants to change your heart.  Extraordinary comes when you, as a husband or wife, invite God to change you.”


Lord, change me.


I often marvel how God uses the most absurd circumstances as teachable moments, don’t you?

I mean this revelation…while we were setting new records for synchronized puking in this house.  Four children.  One night.  Insanity.





It’s What Moms Do

My Mom, sister, and me

When you have a mom who is present,

and loving,

and invested,

and dedicated….

it’s easy to take her for granted.

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