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Category Archives: love

We Kissed Anyway (and it wasn’t Valentine’s Day)

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We Kissed Anyway (and it wasn’t Valentine’s Day)

I’m going to be honest with you (as I always am). This picture wasn’t taken on Valentine’s Day. I don’t know the exact day but this picture was taken in the hardest season (not exaggerating) our marriage has ever endured. I look back at it with wonder.

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Choosing Sacrificial Love

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Choosing Sacrificial Love

I shared a post recently over at RebeccaBender.org about how to choose to be a sacrificial lover. While I’m not great at it, I know how. It’s one thing to know and quite another to do. Can I get an “AMEN”? Yeah, I thought so.

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Saturday Share 2.20.16 #LinkUp {Focus: Things I’m Loving}

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Saturday Share 2.20.16 #LinkUp {Focus: Things I’m Loving}

This week’s Saturday Share focus is about things I’m loving. It’s pretty easy in our world to get bogged down with the negative. I sometimes have to force myself to see the good. That’s a shame really but it is what it is. So today, here’s some good. Here are a few things I’m loving. Leave a comment and share what you’re loving!

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Five Ways to Love Your Spouse Well When Your Love is Sick

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Five Ways to Love Your Spouse Well When Your Love is Sick

Yes, you read that correctly. “When your love is sick.” Not when you’re lovesick. What does “lovesick” even mean anyway? I digress… I’m joining in again on a Friday Five link up with Mrs. Disciple. Our writing prompt today was “Five Ways to Express Love”. I know I’m not the only one who has trouble loving well when the marriage isn’t going so well. Sacrificial love, they say. Sacrificial love sounds doable when things are going great but putting it into practice when times are tough doesn’t prove easy.

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Moments We Never Forget – A Guest Post by Kelly Nickerson

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Moments We Never Forget – A Guest Post by Kelly Nickerson

I couldn’t be more humbled and honored to share this story of love, faith, loss, hope and miracles from Kelly Nickerson. Kelly is a new friend and I’m so happy to have her over at EPFH. Be sure to check out more of Kelly’s writing at KellyNickerson.com. She graciously welcomes us on her journey and shares from her heart to yours – and mine. Kelly, you are most welcome here anytime!

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Name That Fear! – Five Fears And How I (try to) Face Them

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Name That Fear! – Five Fears And How I (try to) Face Them

I happen to own a mind that is filled with fears and doubts and a frenzy of thoughts that need to be reigned in and quenched like an uncontained mental wildfire.

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Saturday Share {!!LINK UP!!}

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Saturday Share {!!LINK UP!!}

I want to welcome as many of your stories as I can so on this Saturday, and if it works out, all the Saturdays to come, I’m hosting a link-up post sharing extravaganza.

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That time Jesus fought for me. And all those other times.

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That time Jesus fought for me. And all those other times.

Most of us have heard the story where Jesus fought his way to earth through the birth canal of a virgin. Fought his way through his childhood being the boy who did nothing wrong and whom many in his family didn’t even like him – never mind that He came to give them eternal life. Fought his way through Satan’s temptations. Fought his way through crowds. Fought demons. Fought incurable illnesses. Fought death.

He fought all these fights, for me, and He won.

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That Time I Went To A Party In Jen Hatmaker’s Backyard

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That Time I Went To A Party In Jen Hatmaker’s Backyard

goldenticketlaunchpartyI’ve mentioned here before that I was blessed to be on the launch team for Jen Hatmaker’s latest book, For the Love: Fighting for Grace in a World of Impossible Standards. One day, someone on the team threw out the “what if we had a party to celebrate the launch and what if we had it at Jen’s house” idea. And Jen said (not her exact words), “Sure!! Come on over, all 500 of you. Why not?? We’ll get food and margaritas and ice tea and chat for a few hours in my back yard. Oh and we’ll take lots of selfies!” And the party planning began.

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STAGES – I Thought I Loved You Then

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Here is the latest installment in the STAGES series. I know you’ll enjoy this one by Tori Ten Hagen who is an EPFH contributor. Get to know a little about Tori here. You can find more of her stories over at her personal blog.


Multiple times since Owen was born I’ve gone back and looked at all of the pictures from his birthday. Walking laps at the hospital, laboring in the labor and delivery room, seeing his face for the first time. So many memories. One of the first pictures taken on that day was this one.

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Every time I look back at that picture I think, “I just thought it hurt then…”

I thought those contractions that started at 4 in the morning hurt. Then when they got worse at 8am and we went to the hospital, I thought they were bad. Then at 11am as I walked the halls trying to progress labor further along I thought they couldn’t get worse. You get the point. The contractions didn’t get easier. They only got worse. 4am Tori, had no idea what was really coming.

Then, we got to bring our bundle of joy home. In pain, exhausted and without the rule book on what to do next everything seemed monumental and overwhelming. Post-partum hormones had me an emotional mess.  We had a newborn and sleep was no longer happening in 8-hour stretches. I was nursing every 2-3 hours around the clock. I couldn’t just get up and go shop around Target whenever I wanted. I was embarrassed to admit it, and still kind of am, but I struggled with feeling a complete loss of freedom. Life had to be planned around nursing and naps. I couldn’t just think about myself anymore. I had another precious life to take care of. “Me” was no longer the most important thing. I cried to my husband and mom multiple times in those first few months…this is hard.

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Now I look back at all of that and see my zombie hormone-crazy self and think, “I just thought it was hard then…”

See, being a mommy hasn’t gotten any easier. The post-partum hormones have packed their bags [thank goodness!] and I’ve found my mommy routine a little easier, but this mom gig is hard. The hard things about being a mommy have changed, even over 9 months. Some things have gotten much easier and some aren’t even struggles anymore. But as those melt away new struggles and new mommy learning curves appear right on cue.

Now, before you go thinking I’m a terrible, pessimistic, cranky mom let me explain…

I also look back at the first day I held Owen in my arms. I look back at those pictures and remember the feelings I felt on that day. It was love so deep and so strong that I didn’t think more love for my son was possible. The first night we had Owen I honestly slept about 30 minutes, and not because Owen wasn’t sleeping. I sat in our hospital room and held my sleeping son and I just couldn’t make myself sleep. I didn’t want to put him down. I tried laying him down once or twice but it lasted all of a few minutes before I picked him up again. I didn’t want to stop staring at him. I couldn’t have been more in love with my son.

IMG_4408 But now after almost 9 months of getting to be Owen’s mom I look back at that night and I think, “I just thought I couldn’t love you anymore…”

I have woken up each morning since Owen’s birthday and I have gone to sleep each night and somehow managed to love my boy more. Don’t ask me how it is possible but it is. Somehow I think even after he’s off at college and one-day married and having his own kids, I’ll still be loving him more and more.

Being a mom has been and will continue to be one of the hardest things I will do. Being a mom takes up most, if not all, of my brain power on most days. When I took on the role of mommy a lot of hard and a lot of hurt came with it. And now as an adult looking back at my childhood and the things my parents put up with and went through for us kids, I know that the hard times and the hurt of parenting doesn’t really go away. Parenting is filled with hard life stuff. It is filled with snotty noses, poopy diapers and spilled milk. It is filled with toddler tantrums and teenage hormones. It involves kissing scraped knees and helping heal broken hearts. Being a mom isn’t easy and I don’t think it’s getting any easier.

But that is okay… because I love my boy more than that stuff. I will wipe snotty noses. [Seriously, I’m writing this after a day and a half with no shower and my son’s snot on my t-shirt] I will prepare myself for the tantrums to come and the teenage meltdowns in my future. I will do all of the hard stuff that comes with being Owen’s mom because I love him too much not to. When I get in bed at night exhausted beyond belief and look over at the baby monitor and see my boy sleeping I don’t remember the hard of that day. My heart aches with love for my son. Some nights I feel like that same Tori sitting in the hospital room holding her son for the first time, and all I want to do is go get him from his crib and rock him while he sleeps.

The hurt is real. The hard stuff is real. But gosh the love…the love is so real. The love doesn’t make the hard go away but it makes it worth it. The love doesn’t make the pains of being a parent hurt less but it makes them worth it.

When Owen is grown and has kids of his own I’ll look back at these years of raising my boy and I’m pretty sure the love will outweigh all the hard. I’m sure I’ll willingly tell him about all of the times he was a toot of a toddler and a punk of a teenager. I’ll tell him about all of the times he made me want to pull my hair out and nearly gave me a heart attack. But after all of that I’ll tell him I love him and I always will…

~Tori

Other posts in the Stages series:
Stages – Introduction