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.





Jesus Calling


I am really enjoying this devotional book.  I downloaded it onto my kindle a few weeks ago and I love reading the daily entries.  

Seriously love it.

It’s simple, yet profound.

I read it as I sip my morning coffee, brain still fuzzy and eyes only partially open.

It has been a blessing.

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God’s Creation


Tennessee Appalachian Mountains


This trip has been both refreshing and restorative.

Far removed from many obligations and a busy calendar,

the burden of appointments and activities lifted,

I’ve been able to relish and rest in the ordinary moments.


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Saturday in Tennessee

Maddie's Chocolate Mint Brownies


My Saturday morning began with something quite luxurious…

my husband let me sleep late.

When he jumped out of bed with our two little girls at 7:00ish, I blessed him repeatedly and expressed my unfailing love.

Unfortunately, I was pretty convinced I wouldn’t be able to fall back asleep.

Yet somehow I managed the impossible.

I drifted back off into never-never land.

Hours later, I was startled to learn I’d slept until 10:30am.

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A Scandalous Story of Love: The Move


We spoke with a realtor in the Raleigh area. We scoured Apartment Finder magazines. We spotted an ad in the Boston Globe advertising leases on Honda Civics for a reasonable monthly payment. This is how the world worked back in 1995 before the internet had gone viral.

The only thing we didn’t have lined up yet…were jobs.

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Cabin Fever

The Cabin

For the first six days of our mountain adventure we had nonstop illness.

It came in the form of raging fevers that lasted five days and a 48 hour stomach bug.

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Makinley Hope: Waiting

Makinley Hope

We were fully prepared to learn after our week of testing at NYU, that the seizure activity was bilateral, and surgery wasn’t an option for our daughter Gabrielle.

Duke University had already told us that this appeared to be the case.

We entered the doors of  Langone Medical Center with guarded hope, knowing that without this surgery, daily seizures and suffering would become our new normal.

I honestly wasn’t sure I could accept that.

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The First 24 Hours

TN Trip

Can I just capture for a moment what it’s sometimes like to travel with seven children… or maybe just any number of children at all?

Or perhaps this type of phenomenom is something specific to me and my little corner of chaos in this world.

We left our house at 8:00 in the morning, headed for the mountains of Tennessee, for a month long adventure.

We made a brief pit stop to have Gabby’s orthotic adjusted on the way out-of-town, and then of course it was time for breakfast.

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Makinley Hope: Part One

Princess Makinley

It was May 2008 and we found ourselves flying to NYC for a consult with a cutting-edge neurosurgeon. We were desperate to discover whether our daughter Gabrielle might be a candidate for a three-stage brain surgery. A surgery that could possibly extinguish the seizures that were robbing our child of normal development.

The plane sped down the runway and lifted into the air, when a sudden wave of intense nausea swept over me.  I held 18-month-old Gabrielle on my lap, attempting to keep her calm, as I breathed deeply through my queasiness.  I began feeling better, once we reached altitude, but the same sensation again overtook me as we descended for our landing at LaGuardia.

It was probably just a little motion sickness, I told myself.  I needed to get some food.

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