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Last summer, just 10 days from our 17th wedding anniversary, we had our biggest fight ever. It started at Dairy Queen of all places, and continued in our driveway. Yes, that epic confrontation ended with the words nobody dreams they’ll utter when they’re standing pure and perfect on their wedding day.

“After all this time, I don’t think you really know who I am.”

I uttered those words to my husband on June 17, 2015.

My spirit was crushed.

You see, after 20 years together and 17 years of marriage, I thought my husband knew me. I thought he knew ALL of me. But big conversation and big questions revealed that I was wrong.

The only person who knows ALL of me is God, my creator, my maker, the one who formed me in my mother’s womb.




The fact that my husband didn’t know a part of my heart that had been buried deep and wide since childhood was NOT his fault. I didn’t neglect to reveal every nook and cranny of my inner life before our wedding day. The truth is, I didn’t even begin to piece those parts of myself together until 13 years into marriage.

How can we be fully known when we don’t even fully know ourselves?

Sometimes we don’t know who we’re becoming until we’ve become.

We’re humans. Our deepest longing is to be known, loved, understood and accepted for who we are. But here’s the brutal truth. As much as we long, as much as we desire, as much as we try so hard to know, love, understand and accept others for who they are, it’s impossible to fully know any one person, even when they’re our spouse.

With all my heart, I wanted my husband to know that part of me.

With all my heart, I wanted my husband to understand that part of me.

I wanted him to embrace it as beautiful, lovely and blameless.

I was asking the world of him.

Can’t you just understand me?

Can’t you see what I see?

Can’t you feel what I’ve felt all these years?

Can’t you dig into my heart, live in my shoes, be me for a few moments so you see who I am, so you know every fabric of my human being?

What torture.

To ask ANY human being to know us FULLY is FOLLY, pure and utter foolishness.




“I don’t think you really know who I am.”

In that moment, life was simultaneously crystal clear and as clear as mud.

My husband didn’t know or understand a part of my heart, a part of who I am, a part of who I’ve been becoming these 40 years. It wasn’t his fault. It wasn’t his problem. It wasn’t his duty to bow down before me and say, “Yes, okay honey. Whatever you say, think, or do is a-okay, honey.” I didn’t want blind submission. I wasn’t looking for the world’s artificial answer to an always-happy marriage.

I was looking for a heart-to-heart connection. If my husband didn’t know or understand that part of me, I wanted him to talk it through with me anyway, trust me anyway, believe in me anyway, love me anyway, liberate me anyway, live it out with me anyway. Because that’s what marriage does.

Don’t worry. Don’t freak out. Don’t stay up all night wondering if our marriage is on the rocks. One year and 10 days have passed since that particular point of contention. We worked through it, and our marriage is still alive and kicking. Yesterday, we held hands for a few minutes at our son’s baseball tournament. Today, we’re celebrating our 18th wedding anniversary.


There was a bigger lesson to be learned from that epic confrontation on June 17, 2015. A lesson that has potential to transform marriages. A lesson that invites husbands and wives to to honor each other as individuals AND celebrates their partnership as a couple. A lesson I’m still learning and working hard to implement every day. A lesson that helps couples not only survive, but thrive through the adolescent years of marriage.

Seek NOT to be known by your spouse, but to KNOW your spouse.

TRUE. It’s impossible to fully know any one person, even when they’re our spouse. TRUE. God is the only one who fully knows us. TRUE. As human beings, we’re changing and growing every day. TRUE. God doesn’t expect you to know everything about your spouse. TRUE. God invites you to “love your neighbor as yourself.” TRUE. Love is not self-seeking…the hardest of all.

I’m not an expert theologian. I’m not a marriage counselor. And I’m not a professional philosopher. But piecing together all of the above, I would like to propose that if our goal is to honor and keep our wedding vows, we must do our part to know and understand the ins and outs of our spouse to the best of our ability. It’s as simple and as hard as that.



So let’s take a look at how this plays out in real life. As you will see, I’m suggesting that these are not just daily disagreements, but opportunities to know and understand your spouse better, opportunities to fine-tune your response so it not only honors your marriage, but honors the individual perspectives of husband and wife.

Seek NOT to be known by your spouse, but to KNOW your spouse.

Should we let our 13-year-old who has braces get away with brushing his teeth once a day, or can we please force him to brush 2-3 times a day?

Seek NOT to be known by your spouse, but to KNOW your spouse.

Should we eat lunch before we do errands or after we do errands?

Seek NOT to be known by your spouse, but to KNOW your spouse.

Should the bench go to the right of the door, or to the left of the door in our garage?

Seek NOT to be known by your spouse, but to KNOW your spouse.

Does he know what I do during the day, how stressful it is to balance motherhood with my personal and professional aspirations?

Seek NOT to be known by your spouse, but to KNOW your spouse.

Does she know what I do during the day, what my job entails, how stressful it really is at work?

Seek NOT to be known by your spouse, but to KNOW your spouse.

Should we watch late-night fireworks at Magic Kingdom, or should we take advantage of fewer people in the park and go on rides instead?

Seek NOT to be known by your spouse, but to KNOW your spouse.

Should we use scotch tape or masking tape to hang two posters inside our daughter’s closet doors?

Seek NOT to be known by your spouse, but to KNOW your spouse.

Should Angela Lansbury have sung “Tale as Old as Time” in that epic Beauty and the Beast scene, or should they have broken into a much grander, NON-Angela Lansbury version for added drama?

Seek NOT to be known by your spouse, but to KNOW your spouse.

How should we indicate budgeted vs. actuals spent on the paper and pencil budget we created for our 2015 tax return?

Seek NOT to be known by your spouse, but to KNOW your spouse.

Should we lie down on the bed or sit up while we’re watching a movie in our bedroom?

Seek NOT to be known by your spouse, but to KNOW your spouse.

Come over here so we can take a selfie quick!

Seek NOT to be known by your spouse, but to KNOW your spouse.

I hate selfies. They’re awkward and make me feel totally uncomfortable.

Seek NOT to be known by your spouse, but to KNOW your spouse.

Should we plant the new Ninebark shrub one foot this way or one foot that way? We always have these disagreements on where plants should be placed. It’s like a high school debate. Who’s going to win? Who’s going to lose? Who’s the judge anyway? Does this really matter anyway?

Seek NOT to be known by your spouse, but to KNOW your spouse.

Do you see how this works? Do you see how this plays out? As any married couple knows, stupid, piddly, daily disagreements like this happen all the time. Whether our discussions are small or big, important or not important at all, it MATTERS HOW we work through life as a married couple, it MATTERS HOW we work through disagreements as a married couple. How well we work to know and understand each others’ perspectives is crucial.


For more than two years, I dreamed of going to Haiti with my husband for my 40th birthday. I wanted us to experience a mission trip together for the first time in our married life. I wanted him to see me in my happy place. I wanted him to KNOW that part of me. But truth is, as much as I desperately wanted that dream to come true, I finally realized I was forcing it. I KNEW my husband, and I KNEW he wasn’t really interested in going to Haiti. Yes, I really wanted him to SEE and KNOW that part of me, but ultimately, it wasn’t worth it.





Nearly three months ago, we found out that my dad had been approved for a lung transplant and were told he would soon be placed on the national lung transplant registry. My husband suggested we try to fit in a quick vacation before my dad went on the list and while the kids were still in school. I thought it was an improbable reality, but said yes anyway. We booked the vacation, arranged child care with my generous and thoughtful in-laws, and exactly THREE WEEKS LATER, we were on the plane headed for a 4-night Disney cruise to the Bahamas.

I’ll share more of the story in my 40th birthday post later this week, but in short, we tried and tried to find all kinds of last-minute vacations. After lots of looking and needing to make this decision fast and now, I finally decided that I wanted this vacation to be for my husband. HE was the one who suggested it. HE was the one who had the idea to fit something in before my dad went on the list. HE was the one who had specific destinations and vacations in mind. HE was the one who had been stressed at work and needed a simple, sunny, relaxing vacation. Why was I trying to force ANY of myself onto this vacation when I was NEVER planning it in the first place? Why not KNOW my husband and give him what I KNEW he’d choose if it was only up to him? So I suggested the Disney cruise we weren’t even considering until that day I had a change of heart. I knew it was a winner when I sent him the text. I knew he’d be all over it. And he was.

One afternoon at Magic Kingdom from 4 pm to midnight PLUS a 4-night Disney cruise. No kids. Plenty of sun and relaxation. And everything Disney. My husband’s perfect vacation.

I’m still having a hard time reconciling the fact that we went on a last-minute 4-night Disney cruise instead of my long-planned Haiti mission trip. A Disney cruise wasn’t what I envisioned AT. ALL. There will be NO Haiti trip for my 40th. But it’s okay. I KNEW my husband. I KNEW he’d LOVE a Disney cruise. I knew this would be a gift to him, and I KNEW I would enjoy myself as well.

Just as I suspected, we had a great time!

During our afternoon at Magic Kingdom, on the Disney cruise, and especially during a breathtakingly beautiful day at Blue Lagoon, we spent time alone again, we got to KNOW one another all over again, we understood each other better than we had in while.









I like to wander and experience God’s creation in my own sweet time. I like a little adventure, more than I ever knew we got married. I’m desperate to discover what’s beyond the roped-off boardwalk. I’ll easily spend an hour exploring the root-system of a knocked-down tree on the beach. 100 photos of tiny shoots sticking up from the sand? Sounds perfect to me.

He revels in God’s majesty through rest. In the water. On the beach. On a chair, knee deep, or belly flat down in the lagoon. He closes his eyes, spurts affirmations and praises of all good things. “This is amazing. I can’t believe how awesome this place is. This day is perfect.” A beer. Some food. Time with his wife. Nobody around except a single guy who’s exploring? Sounds perfect to him.

We’ve known each other. We won’t ever fully know each other. But we’re getting to know each other more and more every day.










Knowing your spouse does NOT mean bending over backwards to meet their every need. Knowing your spouse does NOT mean losing yourself so your spouse gets everything they want. Knowing your spouse does NOT mean you’re a doormat. Knowing your spouse does NOT mean you get less, and they get more. Knowing your spouse does NOT mean you lose and they win. Knowing your spouse does NOT mean that they have fun while you do all the hard work. Knowing your spouse does NOT mean they get to love life, while you hate life.

Knowing your spouse means you’re mutually understanding, accommodating, allowing and liberating your husband or wife to have a voice, to grow and develop, to be who they are within the context of marriage, within the context of parenting, within the context of family, within the context of work, within the context of pain and pleasure, within the context of life.

How to survive and thrive through the adolescent years of marriage?

Seek NOT to be known by your spouse, but to KNOW your spouse.



I was a gregarious gal.

I really was.

When we first met at my husband’s fraternity house in August 1994, I remember thinking he was the most handsome guy I’d ever met in my life. I’m not kidding. I remember it vividly.

My roommate and I were college freshmen. It was our first week at school. Classes hadn’t started yet and we had nothing to do. So we decided to walk fraternity row. Both small town girls, we browsed the place like it was a candy shop. House after house, delight after delight lined the long campus.

We were just taking a walk.

My husband likes to debate that fact. He claims we were trolling for guys.

I’ve always denied the trolling. But perhaps it was true just a little bit?

After all, our first meeting by the sand volleyball court outside Delta Tau Delta that day marked the beginning of a 2 1/2 year period of the most extreme extroversion I’ve experienced in my entire life.

I studied hard those years. Enough to land a 3.92 GPA in the end.

But I also lived wild and free.







I drank beer. Lots of it.

I stayed up late. Really late.

I hung with my boyfriend (now husband) and his brothers at the fraternity house ALL THE TIME. So much so that four gregarious girlfriends and I were unofficially coined “Delt Girls.” So much so that I was officially named the fraternity’s “Sweetheart” two years in.





I socialized like a maniac, danced like a mad woman, took plenty of jello shots, dressed in the most ridiculous party costumes, and did things my children don’t ever need to do.

Yes, I was unstoppable.

And that was just the fun, partying, social side of me. I’m pretty sure I was a go-getter all the way around those first 2 1/2 years of college.

I was on my way to a big, bold life. Nobody could stop me. Everything was grand. I was wild and free, smart and vivacious, witty and kind. I was the girl everyone could love. The girl people could laugh at and laugh with. Words flowed free in dorm rooms, cafeterias, classrooms, libraries, fraternity houses, dances, and hockey games. I wasn’t afraid. I wasn’t doubtful. I had a handful of really close friends, a lot of good friends and a TON of great acquaintances. Guys and gals liked me, and I’m 99% confident that most people (including myself) would have described me as “fun.”


I liked my new vibrant self. She was good. She was free. She was living more boldly than ever before. She was going places, that’s for sure. Yes, there was never a doubt, never a dull moment. She was going to graduate, go to grad school, get a great job as a speech therapist and live a marvelous life. She was going to be a professional, and a respected one at that. She was going to be a mom, and a good one at that. She was going to be a church-goer, too, and a faithful one at that. She was going to be wife, and an awesome one at that.

Yes, that was me the first 2 1/2 years of college. That was me the first 1 1/2 years I dated my husband. That was me most days leading up to our engagement.

But this story’s about to turn serious.

Nearly 21 years have passed since we first met at my husband’s fraternity house.

More than 20 years have passed since we started dating.

18 1/2 years have passed since we got engaged.

And today marks our 17th wedding anniversary. Congrats, babes. I love you so much. The story God is writing through our marriage is important, noteworthy, blessed and delightful. I am honored to call you husband and do life together, easier days and hard days alike. For better, for worse.




But 17 years into marriage, there’s one fear, one insecurity that’s plagued me this year more than any other.

I fear I’m not the extroverted woman my husband dated.

I fear I’m not the gregarious woman my husband became engaged to.

I fear that the woman my husband chose to propose to is NOT AT ALL the woman he’s married to 17 years later.

And as hard as it is to admit this…

I fear he’d marry “that girl” all over again, but wouldn’t necessarily marry “this girl” all over again.



The truth is, I was the MOST extroverted I’ve ever been in my entire life when we were dating. That extroversion was limited to a short window, a short burst of time. If I look over the course of my life, I know for a fact that my extreme extroversion during our dating years was an anomaly, really. And that fact scares me sometimes.

I am NOT the same woman my husband proposed to 18 1/2 years ago. I am not the same woman my husband married 17 years ago.

I’m back to my fully introverted self now.

I don’t drink beer. At all. In fact, I hate it.

I don’t party with the boys. Ever. (Although I still think men are way more chill than women.)

I don’t dance like a mad woman and I don’t do jello shots except the one time my sweet neighbor forced me to on a hot play day in her front yard. I don’t stay up really late unless I’m blogging, I’m not a social maniac at all, and I’d never use the word “fun” to describe myself anymore.

I’ve chosen to step out of the professional, American dream grind and am staying home when his preference would be for me to work full-time. I’m not nearly as confident in my mothering abilities as I would have guessed myself to be back when we were dating, and I’d much rather go to Haiti or Africa than Las Vegas or Los Angeles.

I’m a wolf. INFJ.

He’s a dolphin. ENFP.

We’re married. 17 years today.

But our personality types are night and day.

Did my husband, a dolphin, know he was marrying a wolf 17 years ago? Or did my extremely extroverted dating behavior lead him to believe he was marrying a dolphin?

Okay. I know this is getting a little out there for some of you. (Yes, real live people have assigned animals to each of the 16 Meyers-Briggs personality types so I’m not making this stuff up.) But hear me out.

17 years in, I’m starting to believe that real life CHANGE is quite possibly the greatest threat to marriage.

What happens when our spouse changes?

What happens when we change?

What happens when we barely resemble the people who stood on the altar and said “I do?”

What then?

Do we give up on marriage?

Do we trash it?

Ditch it?

Give up?

Give in?

Say forget about this, I’m out, this isn’t working anymore, let’s get a divorce?

How do we respond to change in marriage?

What happens when your spouse gains 20 pounds, 30 pounds, 40 pounds, 150 pounds?

What happens when your spouse loses 30 pounds, is suddenly obsessed with their weight and you aren’t so much at all?

What happens when kids rock your world?

What happens when you can’t get pregnant like you thought you could?

What happens when the adoption falls through? Or when she wants to do foster care and you don’t?

What happens when your spouse starts working long, late nights to get that promotion and you’re home alone with the kids day after day after day?

What happens when you have an empty nest?

What happens when one of you goes back to school?

What happens when you have significant financial setbacks?

What happens when your spouse makes a major career change?

What happens when one of you wants to lounge around in retirement and the other wants to volunteer, travel, work, and be with the grandkids all the time?

What happens when your spouse grows lots of nose hairs and chin hairs?

What happens when your spouse goes bald?

What happens when your spouse lies in bed all day depressed and withdrawn?

What happens when your kids go off the rails?

What happens when one of your children has a disability?

What happens when one of your children passes away?

What happens when your spouse’s faith is solid and yours has fizzled?

What happens when your spouse receives a cancer diagnosis?

What happens when your spouse is debilitated by dementia, Alzheimers, Parkinsons?

What happens when your spouse is confined to a wheelchair?

What happens when your spouse requires oxygen tanks to survive?

What happens when your spouse needs help going to the bathroom?

How will you respond? How will we respond?

Change in marriage is inevitable.

What makes or breaks our marriages is how we respond to change.

If you’re married long enough, there will come a time when you’ll realize you are NOT the same person you were when you got married. We are humans. We change. We evolve. We grow and develop over time. We become more of who we really are.


As I’ve been working through this fear, this fear that I’m not the same woman my husband married 17 years ago, this fear that he’d marry “that girl” but not “this girl,” I’ve decided that marriage requires an equal parts accepting, surrendering, fighting, trusting and believing.

Accept that you have changed.

Accept that your spouse has changed.

Surrender to your current reality.

Surrender to the ebb and flow.

Fight for your marriage. Fight to the ends of the earth. Until you can fight no more.

Trust it’s the right thing to do.

Believe you are worthy.

Believe your spouse is worthy.

Believe God brought you together for a reason.

Believe God has a plan for your marriage.

Believe you can make it.

Believe marriage is worth it.

Believe he’d marry you all over again.

Believe she’d marry you all over again.

Believe that “this girl” is just as lovely and beautiful, treasured and true as “that girl.”

Believe that “this guy” is just as handsome and witty, sporty and smart as “that guy.”

Believe you can do this.

Believe you are loved.

Believe that change is not only real, but okay.

Believe that long-lasting love is forged through change, challenges and the hardest stuff life has to offer.

Believe in 40th, 50th, and 60th wedding anniversaries.

Believe in wrinkly hand holding.

In the car ride on the way home from church, he played her “Good Stuff,” his favorite B52s song from days gone by. Days prior, she’d played him “Through All of It,” her favorite new song on Christian radio, the song she can’t stop listening to, the song that resonates with her soul most right now.

A dolphin song. A wolf song.

Somewhere along the way, they met in the middle with a frog and pig song. The Rainbow Connection resonated with both.

Kermit the Frog and Miss Piggy. A frog and a pig.

Seth and Amy. A dolphin and a wolf.

Who knew.

They live. They laugh. They fight. They change. They come together, still. They come together, again. Time and time again. For love. Sweet love. 



Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas.

It’s the song I’ve heard most this season. It’s the song that’s resonating most with me this year.

Last Christmas, Apple launched an ad that featured the Harris family and a “misunderstood” teenaged boy on his iPhone. As far as I’m concerned, it’s one of the most brilliant, heart-warming and moving ads I’ve ever seen. It brings tears to my eyes every time I watch it. Remember the song that accompanied the ad?

Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas.

(After you watch the video – it’s only 1 minute 30 seconds – make sure to keep reading. I’ll be sharing more about my Merry Little Christmas Giveaway!)

I wonder what it is that you need to have a Merry Little Christmas this year. Love? A big bear hug from someone who really cares? Space to breathe? Peace and quiet? Forgiveness? Words of affirmation that everything’s going to be alright? Quality time with friends and family? Understanding we’re loved by a great big God who sent tiny baby Jesus to save us from the brokenness and pain we experience every day?

I don’t know your most intimate needs this Christmas. But I do pray that the longings of your heart and soul will be fulfilled. I do want you to have a Merry Little Christmas. And I do hope that one of these three giveaway packages could bring you a bit of joy this season.

Between now and Friday, December 12th at 9:00 CST, I’m giving away three Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas packages! The three packages are pictured and detailed below. At the end of this post, you’ll find a Rafflecopter sign up for each package. Sign up for one, two, or all three. It doesn’t matter to me!

Maybe you could use a package yourself, or maybe there’s someone you could gift a package to this Christmas? Either way, it’s all good. Take a peek. See what sparks your fancy. Which package would bring the most joy? Which package meets your needs this Christmas?

For Parents of Littles.

A beautiful hardcover children’s book titled God Made Light by Matthew Paul Turner, an accompanying set of encouragement notes for your kiddos, and a night light to remind your little one that there’s always light, even in the darkest of nights. And for you? The Love Dare and The Love Dare for Parents books. Because if there are two things worth investing in this Christmas and moving into the new year, it’s your marriage and your kids. Maybe this package is for you?!

DSC_2307For Parents of Teens and Pre-Teens.

Maybe, like the Harris family, you’re seeking a little wisdom as you parent a teen or pre-teen this Christmas. This package includes Dennis & Barbara Rainey’s book Parenting Today’s Adolescentas well as The Love Dare for Parents, because truth be told, we could all stand to learn some fresh ways to love our kids. This package also includes The Love Dare, because I’m a firm believer that children and teenagers need healthy, loving relationships modeled for them. Do you want to learn practical ways love your spouse even more this Christmas? Do you need a little insight as to how to navigate those teenage years? Then this package might be for you!


For One Who’s Seeking Less. Or More.

I don’t know who you are, but I know you’re out there. Maybe you’re Longing for More, and could use Timothy Willard’s book. Maybe you just need some Breathing Room, and could use Leeana Tankersley’s book. Or maybe you just need a really good cry? The Notebook DVD will help you release those tears if nothing else will. Guaranteed. When I saw this movie in the theater the first time, I thought I’d nearly break out in ugly cry right there in my recliner eating buttered popcorn and Sour Patch Kids. So if you need more. Or less. Or an ugly cry this Christmas, maybe this package is for you?!


The giveaway ends on Saturday, December 13th at 12:00 am CST. I need time to get these packages mailed and to your door before Christmas!

Enjoy, friends.

And Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas.





a Rafflecopter giveaway
a Rafflecopter giveaway



16 years in to this thing called marriage…

We know that wedding day was much, much more than a dress and a tux, a bouquet and boutonniere.


16 years in…

Puppy love has all but disappeared. In it’s place, a richer, deeper, grounded definition of love that’s committed to the test of time.


16 years in…

We know that real life marriage isn’t so much about sweeping each other off our feet as it is about sweeping the kitchen floor.



16 years in…

We’re realistic about the fact that people change. In the beginning, we climbed the ladder in tandem. Now, he continues the climb while she heads down in search of green pastures. The challenge lies not in the climbing up or heading down the ladder, but in the commitment to discovering a safe old oak tree for meeting under at the end of each long day.


DSCN718416 years in…

We actually know what they meant when they said you’re not just marrying each other, you’re marrying the entire family.


16 years in…

All but one of the grandparents have passed. We honor their legacy, remember we wouldn’t be here without them, and daydream about just one day where we could call grandma over and ask her how she did it with three little ones, six little ones, a husband and household on top of that.


16 years in…

We know flower girls turn into PhD candidates, junior bridesmaids turn into accountants, and junior groomsmen turn into mental health workers. Long nights talking in the dorm room turn into months of phone tag just to hear her voice; years spent working towards the same degree turn into treadmill time hashing over new, grown-up mama-sized dreams. Things happen, man, things happen. What was once an assembled wedding party becomes a whole line of friends and family gone this way and that. Friends divorce, friends remarry, neighbors divorce, neighbors move out. Marriage isn’t for them, marriage is for them. The fragility, the sacred art of relationship is tested and worked out again and again by 16 years, yes 16 years.


16 years in…

We recognize marriage is like music. Some days, you’re desperate to sing your own melody. Most days, it’s better to sing in harmony. And on all days, it’s best to work together, composing each bar, each line in tandem, working towards completion of this song we’ve committed to compose together.


16 years in…

We need our Heavenly Father to make this marriage thing work even more than we’ve ever needed our earthly parents.


DSCN7192DSCN718016 years in…

We’re familiar with every reality of married life. It’s not easy folks, it’s not easy. Let’s not kid ourselves. We’re human beings and there’s nothing easy about committing to one human being for a lifetime. Kids run wild, dirt and food cover kitchen floors, people run out of underwear because the laundry’s piled up so high, and ya, we disagree on stuff, sometimes big time, like night and day. But we committed, we’ve committed, to this thing called marriage. We’re in it. Those vows? They meant something. Because we love each other. So we live those vows – day, by day, by day, by day. We decide, we’re doing this. We know, this is real love.


16 years in…

We understand marriage isn’t so much about romance as it is about cultivating deep, authentic relationship. Because the most romantic thing there ever could be is one human being understanding, accepting and choosing to love another deeply, faults and all.


DSCN526416 years in…

We know we’ve changed. We’re not the same we once were.

We’re desperate to nurture, cultivate, love on our marriage, even amidst this crazy, crazy world.

No marriages are perfect, but all are real.

So today, we commit not only to what is real, but to what is possible.

For love covers a multitude of things. Love bears all things. Love hopes all things.

The legacy we dream of is a lifetime together.

So cheers to us and all the married alike. Cheers, to living the dream you dreamed on your wedding day. Cheers, to the legacy of “I do.”



It’s a true honor to introduce you to Eva Piper, author of recently released A Walk Through The Dark. Eva is the wife of Don Piper who authored New York Times bestseller 90 Minutes In Heaven. In 1989, Don was in a significant head-on crash with an 18 wheeler. He was proclaimed dead on the scene, spent 90 minutes in heaven, and miraculously survived to share his account with millions worldwide.

Anyone who has experienced trauma knows it has a life-changing impact not just on the individual, but on family members as well. In her book, A Walk Through The Dark, Eva courageously shares her faith-filled journey as wife and caregiver following Don’s accident. Don had the privilege of spending 90 glorious minutes in heaven, but returned to find himself in excruciating pain, stuck in a hospital bed for months, and Eva was by his side every step of the way.

I read Don’s book, 90 Minutes In Heaven, and Eva’s book, A Walk Through The Dark, back to back, which I highly recommend as the books complement each other perfectly. One thing that struck me as I read each book was the powerful presence of a man named David Gentiles. David played a significant role in Don’s recovery after the accident, and was ultimately the one who convinced Don to share his story about heaven. I asked Eva to share more about David in this guest post, and consider it an absolute honor that she entrusted me with the sharing of this miraculous story today.

My husband had miraculously survived being hit head-on by an 18 wheeler on a rural Texas highway on January 18, 1989. It had taken 5 1/2 hours for him to finally arrive at Hermann Memorial Hospital in Houston. His right kneecap was shattered, his left arm had been lying on the back seat, four inches of femur from his left leg had been ejected from his body and thrown out of the car never to be found.

Those injuries were catastrophic themselves but now 17 days later we faced an even more dangerous situation. Following what was suppose to be a minor surgery he developed double pneumonia. Due to the massive injuries to his legs there was no way to elevate him in order to provide the needed breathing treatments. Don got worse and worse each day. The ICU staff, his doctors, and I tried our best to get him to attempt to breathe.

I found myself begging, pleading, yelling at him “Breathe, breathe you have to breathe.” Each time he would respond, “Hurts too much.” By the third day doctors were talking about putting him on a respirator. They told me that once he was on that his chances of survival were slim. I couldn’t believe God had brought him through the accident, the long trip to Houston, an all night surgery just to have him die from pneumonia.

I was exhausted from being at the hospital non stop. I kept questioning myself “Why can’t I get through to him? Why won’t he listen to me about how important it is to try and breathe?” In complete despair I took my fears to God. I began to pray, asking for God to help me know what to say to Don. I begged Him to give me the right words. I claimed His promise never to leave me. In the midst of the prayer I realized God had a different plan from the one I was seeking. I raised my head, walked over to the phone and called Don’s closest friend.

David Gentiles was living in Austin about 160 miles away. When David picked up the phone I told him all that was going on with Don. Before I could even form the question asking him to come to the hospital, David said “I’m on my way.” I thanked him and hung up the phone. Instead of praying for Don I began to pray for David and his safe travel.

Three hours later I looked up to see David walking down the hall towards me. His strong embrace said more than any words he could have uttered. Since David was a minister he was allowed into the ICU to see Don. I didn’t go in with him so I didn’t hear their conversation in person. I do know Don told David he didn’t have it in him to fight to survive to which David replied, “That’s alright. You don’t have to do a thing. We are going to pray you through this. We are going to pray all night.”

True to his word David gathered a group of believers who began an all night prayer vigil for my husband. The following morning Don’s breathing had improved. His doctors were thrilled with his progress and began to make plans to move his healing process along. It would require 34 surgeries to repair the damage to Don’s legs and arm. But they would not have been possible if his breathing had not improved.

Throughout the ordeal of Don’s wreck and recovery I was shown over and over that God always answers prayer. He answered my prayer that night not as I had asked but in His bigger and better plan. Because I was led to call David, and because David called others who prayed many had the experience of seeing our prayers answered. I’m so very thankful I didn’t try to do things my way but instead followed God’s guidance. His way is always best.

David continued to be an important part of our lives. It was David who realized Don had experienced something while lying dead in that crushed car and through his patient questioning helped Don share his remarkable experience. It was David who convinced Don to share his story of seeing heaven. It was David who co-officiated with Don at our daughter Nicole’s wedding. It was David who served as president of the board of Don Piper Ministries. It was David who prayed for my mom when she suffered a stroke. It was David who Don would call to talk baseball, football, ministry, life. David brought much joy, happiness, and love to all who had the privilege of knowing him. We miss him terribly. At times we still want to pick up the phone and call him. There is a big hole in our heart but we know one day he’ll greet us in heaven with that same big smile and huge hug.

Eva Piper


Eva’s book, A Walk Through The Dark, is available for purchase through many outlets listed on her website Don’s book, 90 Minutes In Heaven, is available for purchase through Amazon and on his website Don Piper Ministries.


  1. Tom Baunsgard says:

    Susan and I have both read “90 Minutes In Heaven” and we are looking forward to reading Eva’s book!

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