New tree pictures on my holiday blog...
A Baby Changes Everything
I am in a hotel room in Dallas getting some work done and off to market Monday. It is a sober day for us as this time last year we were in the Baylor ER with Jack fighting to live. A year later he is watching football and doing great.
You are in for a treat today. I get to introduce you to a new blogger…a gal I have known for many years. She is one of those people, to see her is to smile. She exudes JOY….whether in the Target aisle or a simple post on FB.
I can still remember her wedding and how unique and all Callie it was. I have known both of their families for twenty years and they come from good, no great stock. But I did not know all the details of this story…Callie is her own person.
Not one that seeks the approval of others…just very secure in her own skin (as you will see later). She lives life to the fullest and makes others want to also. I feel honored to be her friend. So in Callie’s own words, here is a snippet of how she and Ben fell in love. One of my favorite things about blogging is meeting new people AND introducing new bloggers to YOU. Meet Callie!!!!
Enjoy and then go visit this fabulous gal.
A Love Story Written by God
I can promise this is true; I have loved my husband my whole life. There are a thousand different ways to fall in love. You can fall in love because of affection or chemistry.
You can fall in love because of rescue and redemption. You can fall in love because of friendship and companionship.
In my case, the love that I have for Ben started as a deep admiration and respect. God gave me the gift of hiding deep in my heart, a place for that admiration to bloom into attraction and then romance and eventually, the transforming love of a husband.
For that, I'm forever thankful.
There are always two sides to every story. I say Ben is seven years older than I am. Ben says six and a half. Mine sounds more scandalous ( which you will see that I often side with the way of scandal... ) so, I always say seven. My family and the Pirtle's have been friends for years.
Mrs. Pirtle was my 7th grade English teacher and in 8th grade, she taught me Louisiana History. As everyone knows about good ole ECA, back in the day, you could get out of class for just about anything. I remember that Ben would always burst in to his mom's class and ask for lunch money or just want to say hi.
Now that I know him extremely well, I can assure you, his main goal was to disrupt, to make a few jokes and leave the class entertained. He never failed in any of those areas. He was and still is a natural at wooing you into liking him. He is by far the funniest person I know. He is charismatic and you can't help but want to be around him. Even then, I knew that I loved the days that he came by.
At the same time, our families began to be close friends. We started vacationing together every summer. When I was 11 and he was 18, ( that's right ) he taught me to water ski. My dad was driving the boat and he was there with me in the water. He would hold me up until the boat would begin to inch forward. I would sit in his hands and wait. He joked that my whole butt fit in one of his hands. That isn't the only thing that has changed about our relationship. ;)
Those summer vacations that followed hold some of the most precious memories of my life. Obviously, Ben and I were busy with two totally different parts of life. I was in high school and he was in college. My life was about sports and trying to be taller.
His was going to LSU and starting life on his own. He had a girlfriend that I loved. She came with us on those trips and she was just as joyful and full of life as Ben. I watched him love her and again wondered why I cared so much. There's was a love that I wanted to mimic in my future, so I watched carefully.
Then, there was a summer that everything changed. (It's always the summer, isn't it? ) His part of the story is so wonderful at this point, that I can't help but mention it.
One of our dear friends, the namesake of one of my kids, came to him and, in great honesty, told him that the girl he was dating wasn't who the Lord had for him. It was hard to hear for Ben.
She was exactly who and what he thought he wanted. But he trusted this man. He sought the Lord and they ended things. This was just before he graduated. He came home broken hearted. He had spent four years with this girl. He had invested years in what he thought would be his future.
When I found out that they had broken up, I was so burdened for him. Remember, I was on the sidelines to this great relationship. I felt sorry for him and wanted so badly to encourage him. That is when our relationship began to shift.
I truly was blind to see that my heart was bent toward him in a way that the Lord was blooming in a very slow and age-appropriate way. We began to talk and I would share that Lord had his best interest at heart. I would encourage him that this relationship wasn't a waste but rich with hard lessons.
He began to confide in his friends and parents that he was at a loss for what to do and what to look for in a wife. His parents told him one day that he should marry someone like me.
Well, I guess he took them very literally. It was as if, the Lord began to open his eyes to see the things that he really desired in a wife. She didn't look like the head cheerleader or the trend setter. She wasn't the most popular one or even the prettiest. She looked pure and devoted to the Lord. She looked innocent and unaffected by the world.
It became a matter of what the Lord had set me aside for. I loved Jesus. Because of something that is so undeserving, he set Ben to love me back.
We dated on and off for four years. I had to grow up and poor Ben chose to wait and watch. There was so much grace for those years. He had lived an entire lifetime ahead of me. Everyone around me was telling me that I was missing out by just dating one person my whole life. Every one around Ben was telling him that he was crazy to date this indecisive girl. I began to believe them. Ben struggled with believing them. My heart was never out of Ben's hands. We would try so hard to get away from each other. But I knew that in him, lay my whole future.
Ben graciously waited for me. He waited for me to make up my mind that living a life really started in being devoted to our relationship. He waited until I knew that I could lay aside people's approval and desires for my life. Age difference is no big deal now. Let me tell you, it wasn't a pretty picture then. He waited. So graciously. Its the best part of my story. I did a thousand things that should have made him say enough is enough. I had to taste the world and make sure I wasn't missing out.
But here we are, almost 9 years and four babies later. He waited and I reap rewards of that everyday.
We got married in my parents front yard. I get to tell my kids about it every time we go there. It's a story that never gets old.
I tell them I loved their dad years and years before he was their dad.
I tell them that love can look a lot of different ways. I tell them to listen closely to the Lord when it comes to who to give your heart away to. Truly, it is never ours to give. And, I tell Ben that we have to pick friends with very cool kids. ( who may or may not have kids 6 and a half to seven years older than ours. ;) )
These days, you can find Ben and I completely amazed at the gift that is our life. Our kids are the greatest things about us. They are all named for people who we greatly admire. As it would turn out, they all hold personality traits or speckles of great character that we wanted to honor in their namesakes. Copeland Ruth is 6. She is observant and cautious but deeply sensitive and generous. She is as quiet as I am loud and I overwhelm her daily. I know this because she tells me so. Watson Tyler is 4. There is no child more hilarious. He is truly, genuinely funny. He loves to entertain ( wonder where that comes from??) and he has a great heart to love. He is affectionate and complimentary. He is the one that you have to hide your smile while disciplining. There is Grisham Benjamin who is 2 and, as my dear friend would say, is good at it. He is a bull and sweet at the same time. He talks softly and has a great laugh. He has freckles and they melt me everyday. Then, lastly, there is Ms. Callaway Jane. She is my last little one so my heart has a deep affection toward her. I hold her longer and look at her a little closer than I did my other kids. Over and over during my pregnancy, people would tell us that she was going to be a child of great joy. She already is proving it true with her smiles and laughs.
We are in a season of great change. Early in our marriage, Ben was called to the ministry. It has truly been an equipping tool for the Lord to get us to where He wanted us so that we could do what He ultimately purposed us for. We are beginning fresh. Ben started a non-profit called Hello Somebody. There is so much I could share about that journey but that will have to be for another time. He will be doing that full time. There will be lots of travel and missions and adventure. But, what is life if not one big adventure?
Everyday my life looks a lot the same and yet very different. I never know what Monday two weeks from now will hold. I am flying by the seat of my pants and just happen to have four little ones as passengers. We are having a great time. There isn't anyone that I would rather do that with than Ben. If you see us around running from place to place, looking like one huge wad of chaos, don't worry. That is exactly how we do things. And I hope it never changes.
So that’s the Callie I love. And just so you know what this sweet family looks like….here are a few photos I love
Now is this a gal with confidence? This was just a few weeks before she delivered her new baby.
Love this…as this as how I first remember them
and new baby
Now go encourage her on her blog….she is a great story teller.