5 Year Marriage Eval

View from our balcony

Making fun of Caleb’s stank face of course…seriously, this is what he looks like half the time

Sean and I just returned from a fun trip celebrating our 5 year anniversary in Santa Barbara where we met at school! It was the first time I was separated from Caleb for more than six hours since he was born, and while we missed him a lot, it was great to spend three days of uninterrupted time with each other (and from what I hear, Caleb had a blast with his nana, pop pop, and uncles)! Yesterday morning I asked Caleb if he wanted “mama” or “nana,” and he said “nana”…burned! Haha!

While the trip was super restful, we also used it as a time for us to intentionally take a pulse of our marriage and lives in general. We brought Mark and Grace Driscoll’s book “Real Marriage” on the trip, and over the course of the weekend, we talked through each question at the end of the book. We concluded the weekend by creating a list of areas of maturation for us and goals to work towards, as well as areas we agreed we are experiencing success in. I decided to share both lists on my blog as a record for us to reference, as well as for accountability. If I share our areas of needed growth publicly, I think we will be more likely to take them seriously. We also invite those of you who are actively involved in our lives to hold us accountable to these things, and periodically check in with us and ask how we’re doing with them.

20 areas of growth/actions we want to take immediately/future goals of ours:

  • Sean wants to begin attending the Wed. morning men’s Bible study to be in fellowship with older men
  • Pray for mentors/mentees for both of us
  • Enroll Caleb in an LARPD class to meet moms in the area who are not from my church (in order to branch out my friendships)
  • Invite our neighbors over for dinner
  • Sean wants to consistently bike to/from work four days a week
  • Be in bed by 11 pm so we get more sleep
  • We have appointed Friday nights as our sabbath and want to respect that
  • Make a meal plan, eat more meals with Caleb, and I want to cook more (Sean does a lot of cooking)
  • Walk together at least three times a week to pray as a family
  • Sean wants to grow in spiritual leadership of our family
  • Begin researching adoption options more in depth
  • Grow in hospitality and invite couples from our young married’s bible study over for dinner at least once a month
  • Sean wants to pursue friendships with other men more and I want to pursue deeper friendships with my women friends in Livermore
  • Finish working on our kitchen, downstairs bathroom, and laundry room by January
  • Pray for our families more
  • Watch less TV and read more instead
  • Be more disciplined about reading the Bible daily
  • Work towards buying a bigger car next summer
  • Strive to be more welcoming and outgoing in group settings
  • Contact our church to see if they know anyone in need who could use our downstairs bedroom for free to bless them (single mom, a young girl who recently aged out of the foster care system, missionaries, etc.) I know this one will be hard for me because I really value my privacy/alone time, but Jesus said to deny myself and lay down my life for others…so I will work towards that

20 strengths of ours:

  • We communicate well and are honest, open, and transparent with one another
  • Actively pursuing community and friendships in Livermore
  • Recently took on a leadership role in our young married’s bible study at church
  • Faithful in attending our church weekly
  • Pursuing relationships with our neighbors
  • Serve one another well and share the work load (personally I would say Sean does this better than me)
  • Staying “mission minded”
  • Always self-evaluating and checking if we are really living out our faith
  • I have done a good job exercising consistently
  • Consistently praying individually
  • Take our respective jobs seriously and are hard workers
  • Spend/save money wisely and tithe 10% (and more) of our income faithfully
  • Make connecting with each other a priority
  • Verbally affirm each other often
  • Genuinely enjoy one another
  • Challenge one another and push each other to become more like Christ
  • Both of us spend a lot of quality time with Caleb
  • Constantly have meaningful conversations and are always seeking to learn and grow
  • Always eat dinner together
  • “Fight” well (i.e. we don’t yell at each other, we resolve the issue before going to sleep, we strive to empathize with one another, etc.)

Of course we could easily come up with far more than 20 areas we could pursue growth in, but I think that’s a good/manageable start. I’m excited to see what God does as we strive to make healthy spiritual, emotional, and physical changes in our lives moving forward from here!

Salva Vida

Salva Vida means “lifesaver” in Spanish. It also happens to be the name of the most common beer in Honduras. It was interesting, because everywhere I traveled in Honduras…Salva Vida was available, however in all those places, if I had tried to drink the tap water I would have become sick. It seems like they should have called their bottled water Salva Vida, but I guess clean beer made it to Honduras before clean water.

A couple weeks ago I returned from Honduras where a small team of volunteers helped a hospital in Olanchito install a filtration system so that they could have access to clean water. They have a maternity ward there, and I just kept thinking how scared I would be if Melissa was going to have a baby AND she might get sick from the water while at the hospital. Maybe that is why the infant mortality rates in Honduras are over 5 times greater than here in the US. By the time we left, the hospital could use and drink the water without the fear of sickness/death, and that was a pretty cool feeling.

One thing that surprised me about the job was that it was not at all complicated or difficult. It makes sense though once I think about it. A very basic need should have a relatively basic solution. When I think of the world “water crisis” it seems like an insurmountable problem (which is actually not far from the truth), but for a very different reason than I had initially assumed. I guess I was thinking that facing a big problem like the clean water crisis meant it was going to be technically challenging, but that is really not the case here. We know how to make clean water, it will just cost us something to get it where it needs to go. The main challenge lies in getting the people who know how to do it to pay attention to people who don’t, and then commit the resources to get it done. We have the ability and the resources, all we lack currently is the will. It’s crazy to think about all the simple necessities we take for granted and how quickly we are able to forget about those who don’t have them. I am really glad I was privileged to be a part of addressing this issue (even in a small way), and I really hope that God is not done using me in this capacity!

Below are a couple pictures I took on the trip. The top one is from the day we arrived. It was 106 degrees and humid, and that was in March! The bottom one is a picture of the wiring job for the existing pump system. There was no “safety code” so they just cut some wires, twisted them together, and wrapped it up in a bunch of tape. Those red wires just hanging out at the top are 480 volts…enough to throw you across a room and kill you fyi. I also have a cool video I want to share but I’m still searching for it so I’ll put that up once I find it.