grace · life · marriage · wisdom

…the date night post

Okay. So here we go…

It’s Saturday…one week from the date that ended a lot worse than it began.

Date night is customary and welcomed in our house. It was an unspoken clause in our marital agreement to be friends and date and spend time together. We both savor time spent together…it’s our dual love language. We dated 14 months long distance prior to me moving to Baton Rouge, so once we found ourselves in the same zip code it was on! We are intentional about it…documenting unapologetically with selfies on the gram like a couple of teenagers. We keep it simple. A dinner somewhere new…we love good weather and a patio…perhaps a movie. Nothing fancy, and if you raise chickens you can bet those chickens on us being home and in bed by 10:00.

You think we’re boring?

We are NOT boring and we are also FAR from perfect. We fight sometimes. Say what?! Yep. Sorry to burst your Kurt and Gina bubble, but The Millers squabble. We are crazy in love and the best of friends, but we brought to the Marriage Table 40 plus years of living, a combination of 3 failed marriages, and a few too many stupid relationships gone wrong. We have context. We have precedence. We have some crap.

We were not squabbling last Saturday when I received a text around 11:00 AM, asking me to please be ready by 7:40. He made reservations at a restaurant I’d been wanting to try and I was truly looking forward to it! We both got fancied up a tad bit more than usual and headed out. The place was not what we expected thus generating a lot of inside jokes and laughter between a couple of friends. We were feeling super 50…We could not hear one another or our waiter over the ratio of noise inside the joint. We could not read the menu. We left our readers at the house so the 6 point font on the menus left us to trust our server’s suggestions. Our expectations fell a little flat but the biggest surprise of the night came five minutes before we left…

Kurt asked for the check and our waiter said I needed to go to the Ladies Room and get a selfie before we leave…he went on to explain that the words Hello Gorgeous were inverted on the wall and of course once you selfie they show up correctly and I can hashtag the restaurant and blah blah blah…I needed to wash my hands anyway so I take Kurt’s phone and head that way. I wash my hands. I take a selfie. I look down to critique the photo and a text pops up:

Hey! It’s Jen. I’m in town on Sunday and I’d love to see you! I know you’re missing me too.

What? Unfortunately, I can see this font. I read it again. Same thing I saw the first time.

I sit down on the bench provided in the bathroom, supposing it’s positioned for everyone that falls prey to shock and horror. My relationship flashes before my eyes. I’m not exaggerating. Every fuss and fight magnified and I immediately thought…I deserve this. I was crazy to think I could trust anyone…Satan destroyed my first marriage and now he was coming for this one in the opposite direction. I was shaking. I exit the bathroom and see Kurt’s face smiling back at me…so handsome…sitting there clueless as to what has just happened. I’m already hurting and dreading the inevitable conversation that awaits us both.

Flash forward 3 whole minutes. We are now in the truck. I’m asking who Jen is. He is saying he does not know who this is and it has to be the wrong number. I’m feeling sick. My heart is already hurting…physically hurting.

Another text comes through.

And another….

Then a photo of a girl lifting her shirt to reveal her bra and breasts…then another…

If you love us, you are now hurting for us. And thank you for loving us. But stay with me…the story ends well and it was a story I knew in my heart I had to tell…

Turns out. It was a scam. An attempt to get you to click on a link that follows the messages and images. Being the CIA agent I am, I research the number to find an article using the same exact images and information that if sent this text you should delete because it’s a mix between a scam and marketing scheme derived to get users to click on a link leading to a camming site. Which of course costs money and asks for payment information and so on…

I don’t want to put the link in my article but you can search “texting scams, Pennsylvania Jen” and read it for yourself.

Here’s the deal. I went to bed disheartened….even after I knew the truth. I woke on Sunday and knew I had to write. I thought about how many other couples might get hit with this nasty porn peddler as Kurt called him, and not recover. Couples hanging on by a very thin thread and this could be the one stupid thing that calls one or both of them to throw in the towel and call it quits. The accusations that will get tossed back and forth and the perfectly good evenings that will be hijacked by the devil himself. I think about the young children already struggling with the images being flung in their faces and now this *?&!{ is coming through their phones as spam. I am disgusted with all things disgusting.

Jesus…you can come on now. We ready for ya.

AND. I want to find that girl in the picture and bring her home with me and tell her she is worth more than she could ever possibly know and pray and pray and pray she comes to believe it. Damn anyone who subjects a child to lewd acts for profit.

I don’t know who this is for, or why I have to write and share the ugly parts… but I do. It’s my job. I thanked God for allowing that message to come through Kurt’s phone so I could hopefully stop some madness in your family before it starts by sharing our story. It took me a week to write it out…I could chase some rabbits on this topic and there is definitely more I could say…but for now.

I love you. I’m praying for you. Stay Faithful. Stay Alert. Be Kind.

1 Peter 5:8-11 MSG: Keep a cool head. Stay alert. The Devil is poised to pounce, and would like nothing better than to catch you napping. Keep your guard up. You’re not the only ones plunged into these hard times. It’s the same with Christians all over the world. So keep a firm grip on the faith. The suffering won’t last forever. It won’t be long before this generous God who has great plans for us in Christ—eternal and glorious plans they are!—will have you put together and on your feet for good. He gets the last word; yes, he does.

health · life · marriage · parenting · podcast · wisdom

Podcast Episode 1. Macroholics with Trey & Burgandy Rinker

I did it. I’ve been talking about podcasting for many months now and finally went for it! Nothing fancy and with zero training, but I gotta say…Not Too Shabby For A Start! From the comfort of my closet with a mic clipped to my t-shirt I made a phone call to Trey and Burgandy Rinker to find out more about the program that has changed their world!  If you feel stuck in a rut and you’re looking for some tools to lose some unwanted pounds, tone up, gain muscle, make some lifelong friends and be SUPER encouraged while doing so…listen here

family

Are they not the cutest!? Lubbock is seriously full of amazing young families and I know Trey and Burgandy will blend in, as well as stand out!

LIKE WOW.

family 2

burgandyHope you enjoyed this! Maybe one day I’ll figure out how to doll this thing up, load it onto iTunes and be a total girl boss about it…but for now…I’m just me…taking leaps and building my wings on the way down.

Show Notes:

macroholicsnutrition.com

Myfitnesspal.com

To those of you who constantly encourage me in all my happy pursuits, I want to say THANK YOU. I love having you on my team. Us “Creatives” are funny people. We wake up with a new idea almost everyday! We try really hard to fit in the boxes that look safe and consistent but we just never seem to fit. We take risks that sometimes leave us looking a tad silly…then we move on to the next one with childlike enthusiasm. It’s a gamble. But I’ll never stop rolling the dice.

cropped-love-gina.png

 

 

friendship · grace · life · marriage

10 reasons I think you should consider marriage.

marriage-sunshine

  1. You have someone to bring you coffee every morning…and if needed…wine every night.
  2. Dating your spouse is a million times better than any date you’ve ever been on. There’s nothing awkward…there’s a million things to talk about…and #3

date
instagram ALL the dates. ALL the moments. It’s like scrapbooking without the pressure to actually have to scrapbook.

3. When you go out to eat and you want the enchilada plate but you can’t decide between the spinach enchilada or the cheese and he just wants beef you can order the four enchilada platter and everyone is happy, PLUS you save money! And if it comes with avocado or guacamole and you marry someone who hates it that just means MORE FOR YOU. Sharing is caring in marriage.

4. When you have to put sheets on the bed you can yell, “Hey baby,  you should come into the bedroom…” and like magic he comes running… and helps you so you don’t have to walk ALL THE WAY to the other side a hundred times. And I can’t back this with science or data but I’m 100% certain clean sheets are an aphrodisiac.

5. When you hear something in the night you have someone to wake and see if they hear it, too…it sucks to hear bumps in the night all by yourself.

6. You can get in the car to head to church and realize you are matchy-matchy in head to toe denim and not care because A.) You’re already running late and B.) You can learn from the experience and try not to let it happen again.

matching

7. Your spouse is a great person to bounce ideas off of…

blog-all-night

8.  Marriage is anything but boring. It’s a wild ride and in my opinion it helps you let go of weird fears and increases your bravery.  A good marriage built with the perfect combo of trust, respect and love comes with an invisible safety net for trying new things and exploring. Nothing like an adrenaline rush to draw you even closer!

parasailing

9. You learn what it means to love and in return you learn how to let yourself BE loved. There will be days you don’t love yourself…days you let yourself down…these are the times a supportive spouse can pick up where you leave off.

10. It’s fun to wake everyday and know that the good decisions you’re making for your life are not only affecting your future in a positive way, but also adding to the future of your person. Kurt and I have said from the very beginning,

A better YOU plus a better ME equals a better WE. 

Single has it’s perks and I’m not bashing anyone for remaining a party of one…I did it. In fact, I was so good at it I wondered why I would EVER want to remarry. I was an advocate of marriage but I wondered if it was necessary for MY life. I’d done it…for 18 years…why should I do it again?

And then I spent almost six months living with my parents and I knew…I knew I wanted what they have.

I think God was just waiting for me to know because He had someone waiting for me…

Marriage is not a promise of perfection or bliss, it’s a statement of your life that says,

I am here for someone else that matters more to me than me.

It’s disagreeing and laughing about it. It’s misunderstandings that are real, but miniscule compared to the understanding that humans are flawed and imperfect and you get to stay and say I love you anyways.  There’s something whimsical and majestic about loving someone more than they can love themselves…and then waking up to the same face as it evolves over time and finding it more beautiful every day. parents

My parents will be married 60 years in June. They are the CUTEST. Does this not make you want to be married forever?!

Word on the street is marriage makes you live longer, offers tax breaks, lowers car insurance rates, actually makes you MORE attractive, leads to improved and increased sex, increases happiness, and overall makes us better people.

I know I’m better…

love gina

ring-on-it

 

 

divorce · faith · grace · kids · life · marriage · parenting

a f f a i r .

Affair (n.) …an intense amorous relationship, usually of short duration

That’s one of the seven definitions found on dictionary.com….it’s a noun. You can go to an affair, host an affair, want an affair, have an affair…

I’m going to try and STOP an affair.

It was two years ago…I was parked at the post office across the street and saw them leaving the hotel. I recognized her immediately…but I had no clue who he was.They were arm in arm. She looked giddy and…can I say, prettier? Yes. Prettier. She had a glow and appeared to have put forth more effort towards her appearance than usual. It was obvious.

I knew her but I never said anything. I just watched and wondered…

Why do we stray?

Yes. We. I’ve been very open about my affair. I gave it to God during my healing process and promised if my story could be used for HIS glory I would not hesitate. I don’t go around initiating the conversation, nor do I allow myself or anyone else to define me by that chapter in my life, but I do listen up and engage when someone involves me and tells me they are “talking to someone else”….”going behind their husband’s back”…”having an affair.”

Last year I got a call that broke my heart…

“I’m so ashamed but I look forward to seeing him everyday…we have been messaging each other on a social media site…things have never been good with me and (her husband)…We have always struggled and I’m just over it. I’m not going to let it get “physical”…I’m just enjoying the attention.” 

Here she was…calling her single 40 something girlfriend who had “been there and done that” and THOUGHT she found a safe, understanding place to confess her sins and find empathy. She was wrong. I could understand but I would no way, no how, sanction her choices.

Tears began to fall uncontrollably…she could hear me crying and tried to change the subject and even make light of the information she’d just dropped on me.

“I would throw myself in front of a train to stop you.”

And I would. But please don’t make me. Please just listen to me and STOP this madness before it starts or goes any further. Yes. I’m talking to YOU. I see how you are going the extra mile to look fantastic…wearing your heels a little higher…You look great. You do. We haven’t seen you paying this much attention to yourself in forever. Have you lost weight? And you’re ALWAYS on your phone. Head down or head in the clouds. It’s exhausting deleting all those text messages…am I right? I am. It’s funny how he just happened to choose the same place for lunch today…out of ALL the places to eat you two just keep winding up at the same spot. Serendipity? No. Stupidity.

Your best friends right now are the ones brave enough to call you out. You don’t like them. You’ve stopped taking their calls or returning their texts because they don’t “understand” …but honey, THEY are the only ones who love you enough to let you hate them. The so called friends who are advocating your behavior need to GO.

I was working at the high school. I would go by the nurse’s office three or four times a week to weigh myself. My clothes were falling off me and I was seeing numbers I hadn’t seen since college. I liked it. I was not eating…I was too busy feeding my flesh. She hands me a book, Starved for Affection and says she’s here for me if I need to talk. I was angry. Like who does she think she is? I felt so judged but she was willing to cross the lines of what felt good and give me a shot of reality. Pun intended. I love you Jill. You prayed for me and made me think. I didn’t like you very much at the time but looking back I am so thankful for who you are and what you stood for. She was one of two people willing to call me out. Why do we sit back and let our brothers and sisters destroy their own lives?

I remember sitting in First Baptist Church and wanting to stand up and shout, “Is anybody else hurting?”

Can you imagine had I stood and taken over the pulpit and proclaimed to the congregation that I was thinking about another man besides my husband and I can’t hear a word the preacher is saying because I’m wrecked with shame and I’m scared to death and I want it to go away?!

Hey Church. Hey Small Group. Hey Family. Be like Jill. The best thing you can do when you suspect something has gone awry with one of your own is to rally the troops and tackle the enemy. Don’t ignore it. Don’t spend more time talking behind their backs than talking to their face. Bug the hell out of them. Literally. THE HELL. Tell them you are fighting for them and if need be against them, as you work towards digging them out of this sinkhole. The worst thing a church can do is stand idly by and watch for fear of saying or doing the wrong thing. You will. I’ve said this about so many things! YOU WILL SAY THE WRONG THING. BUT WHEN YOUR HEART IS IN THE RIGHT PLACE AND YOU’VE PRAYED ABOUT THE SITUATION AND ASKED GOD FOR GUIDANCE IT WILL BE OKAY. DO NOT JUST STAND THERE AND WATCH THE FAMILIES AROUND YOU FALL PREY TO THE DIVISION THE ENEMY CRAVES.

Okay. So my dad was a preacher and I got some on me. No apologies for that.

My 18 year marriage was not a disaster…We had a good marriage…three smart, beautiful daughters…great friends…a lovely home in a lovely neighborhood…we both had jobs and our health…we had it all. So what happened and why?

I could tell you we fought too much and he golfed too much. I could give you ten quick reasons that would attempt to justify the affair…but that is making an excuse for sin and I will not.

It’s a simple as this. We had some issues and instead of going to God with my dignity intact I let some eye contact linger longer than necessary… and before you knew it I was wrapped up in the idea that someone “saw me” and thought more of me than my husband.  One moment of feeling noticed became almost two years of neglecting that which God had given me to honor. I am ashamed but I am redeemed…and I am telling you if you are entertaining the idea of another person’s affections outside your home you need to stop and stop immediately.

This will not end well.

You are better than this.

You are being deceived. 

I always write to an audience of one. I am looking at your face in the chair across from my desk. I see you. I see where this is going. You think your case will be different. It won’t. I pray you remove the scales from your eyes and turn your heart towards home. I cannot guarantee your marriage will not end, but I can promise you, you do not want it to end this way.

It’s been 10 years…I am now very happily married to my very best friend. I am humbled that God found this person for me.  He is crazy about my girls and I cannot wait to build our life, see the world and love on our grandbabies together! My first husband is remarried to a wonderful woman that adores my girls and will be a wonderful grandmother to our grandchildren. We are truly blessed. I claimed Romans 8:28 and still do, “He works ALL things together for good.” ALL things. Yes He does. Yes HE did.

With all my heart…I pray you hear me and I am here for you if you need to pray.

love gina

 

 

 

faith · friendship · grace · grief · life · marriage

g r i e f.

I don’t know how your church does it, but where I came from, when you joined a church they had you stand at the front and after the closing prayer the members come up and welcome you with hugs, handshakes and invitations to collaborate…and by collaborate I mean sign up for a committee and participate. There is more to church than just holding down that pew or chair on Sundays, people!

In the glorious year of 1989, a freshly wed newlywed navigating my way through adulting, I joined a church and found myself on a committee…It was the bereavement division and my role would be to deliver…when needed…a meal to a family suffering loss.

The phone rang and I did like any good southern girl would do when asked to bring food…

I swung through the Kentucky Fried Chicken drive-thru and got a bucket of chicken.

I found the house and rang the doorbell.

Before I continue…let me offer you a visual.

I am wearing the same outfit I wore to my bachelorette party a month prior.

Why? Because I was ignorant.

It was all things 1989. Black pants and a black cropped, double breasted jacket with large gold buttons and braided cord accents. Think Michael Jackson goes sailing. Add in my big permed hair and ankle boots that had seen their fair share of dance floors and you’ve got the picture.

I step inside the living room and stood equipped with a bucket of chicken, yet unequipped with the proper words to offer and I said…

“I’m sorry for the loss.”

Yes “the” loss. Not…”I’m sorry to hear about your dad? mom? brother? uncle? daughter? ….no…The loss. As if they lost a job or their car was repo’d…

I placed my deep-fried condolences in the nearest hands and got the heck out of that awkward, learning opportunity.

And let me say…I still to this day don’t know who died.

I just knew someone did and my job was to take food.

Grief is weird. People don’t know what to do with it. Especially if they’ve been blessed enough to not endure a loss that hits close to home.

It’s been over five months since I lost my best friend and only 2 months since I said goodbye to my stepson. The grief is still very tangible and dealing with me on new levels everyday.

Stages.

There is guilt for having a good day. Anger for having to feel guilt at all. Tears that seem endless and daily. Denial that takes on a new name…known as reality…and with that reality deep, deep breaths that exhale all the pain and make you day by day stronger. And just when you feel stronger your days get better… and then….you feel a little guilty.

It’s real people.

As I’m typing this I receive a text from a friend telling me her family just lost someone young and it’s so very sad and unexpected.  I get it now. My sympathy is now empathy and I hurt with them.

Sympathy says, “I’m sorry for the loss”. Empathy says, “I’m so very sorry. I get it. It’s not going to be easy. I’m here for you. Don’t hesitate to call. I’ll come running. Let’s pray. Now. We need Jesus. Oh my God. Why?”

I had some friends call me immediately and jump right in the pain with us. I had others who needed a minute to reach out and that’s okay. We don’t know what we don’t know…but when we do know…we act differently. We are seasoned in our ability to just be there and sit in it. To be okay with the awkward and the silence and the mourning and the loss. To know that words, whether finesse and eloquent, or stumbled upon and quirky are simply coming from someone willing to show up in the middle of the inevitable.

If you’ve wanted to reach out, please do. Please do not hesitate to call me and please don’t worry you will say the wrong thing. You will. And I will, too. The sweetest thing was when two of my Baton Rouge friends showed up on the scene with lunch and fruit trays and sat with us at our table and made us eat. And even if they’d both shown up with buckets of chicken and dressed like they were going to a club we’d have appreciated it…which makes me think my efforts back in 1989 were more appreciated and less judged than I’d imagined.

I truly am sorry for the loss. I am sorry for those gone too soon. I am sorry for floods that take everything. I am sorry for failed marriages and kids that didn’t grow into the adults you were hoping they would be. I am sorry your business took a hit and your life is now downsized. Anything that makes you sad or lonely or realize the brevity of life and the reality of the pain… I am sorry.

Please continue to keep Kurt in your prayers. I never imagined two months after I said I do, I’d be married to a man who daily grieves the loss of his boy. His one and only son. But I also never imagined God would think enough of me to call me to stand beside this beautiful soul and hurt with him. What an honor. Two really is better than one.

love gina

 

 

 

 

faith · grace · marriage

t i n d e r e l l a…

treeAt the end of this blog there is the most beautiful video I’ve ever seen…

But before that, there was this…

I honestly don’t know where to begin…the story of us is so much more than I can squeeze into a blog post.

It’s a novel and perhaps one day I will write it and read it and wish I were her… then suddenly realize I am…and smile.

I know our story begins way before we ever met…but I’ll start from the part where I actively participated.

I was living with my parents in East Texas after I closed Rabbit Martinis. I had prayed and committed to 90 days of working on myself so I could get back out there and either open up the juice bar again or possibly go back to teaching. When I moved from Lubbock to Jacksonville I was depressed and broke and broken. Not pretty. It was humiliating to be 45 and moving in with your parents but there was a tug on my heart and I was being led by something bigger than myself. I focused on spiritual, mental, emotional, physical and financial improvements.  I spent time praying and reading anything that drew me closer to God and His plan for my life. I listened to uplifting music and fought the negativity with metaphorical swords and a gratitude journal. I looked myself in the mirror and told myself I was loved and God was not finished with me yet. I signed up to sell Nerium and went outside my comfort zone and made cold calls and advanced to Director and had some cash flow. It was January and freezing temps but I bundled up and ran the country roads by my parents’ house. My dad sometimes followed behind me with his car lighting the way so I could keep my commitment to improve physically.  I was determined. I was my own personal life coach and I was kicking my own butt. I drove by a gym in town and stopped to see if they needed any help or if I could possibly barter my knowledge of women and weights, or teach a juicing class in exchange for a membership. The answer was no.

After 90 days I was ready to go back to Lubbock…I missed my babies terribly and it was time. After paying bills, I needed a few more dollars to help with the gas money to drive the 400 plus miles. I called an individual that I met while selling Nerium and asked if he needed any help at his car dealership. I could organize files or office space…design ads…heck, I’d answer phones…I just needed to make about $200. He called and asked for my resume. A former juice customer was a staffing and recruiting guru in town for Texas Tech Homecoming. She gave me her business card and told me I needed to be on 7th street in Dallas. I saved her card and after moving in with my parents I reached out to see if she could help me with my resume. She did and I sent it to my friend. He gave it to his brother in law and the phone rang. I met him the next day and he said he needed some marketing help with his steel recycling firm.

I’ve been where you are. I know you want to get home to your children but can you give me 3 months. If you want to do this,  I really need a commitment.

For real? 3 months. You mean 90 days….90 more days.

I got in my car and prayed.

God give me a sign. I need to know this is from you. I want to go home.

My phone rang on my way back to my parents’ house. It was the man offering me the job.

Hey, do you work out?

No. I mean yes. Well, I just run or walk or whatever. Why?

My wife and I have a gym membership and I’m happy to put you on our plan. It will be good for you. Stop by the gym, I’m here now and I’ll sign you up.

What?

You know it was the gym I wanted to join but couldn’t.

So I took that as a sign and agreed to 90 more days.

Not only did I get a gym membership but he set me up with his personal trainer.

It’s time to meet Kurt…

One night after an intense crossfit session I drove into Tyler to Smashburger to get some food. I placed my order and shortly after sitting down my vision got wonky and I felt super strange. I tried to activate the lamaze that carried me through 3 deliveries and breathe my way past whatever was happening to my body. The pain progressed, I was getting nervous and called my sister to come get me. I thought I was having a stroke but later found out I was having what is known as a complex migraine. My words were jumbled and there was a disconnect going on in my brain. Let me just say it takes a lot for me to ask for help…HELP.

Glenda picked me up and put me to bed with some tramadol for the pain. Once the pressure relieved around 2 am, 2 days later, I did what any wide awake American would do…I got on Facebook….and then…blame it on the tramadol…I got on Tinder. When what to my wondering eyes did appear but a cutie named Kurt.

I swiped.

We matched.

The next morning I had a lengthy, courteous hello.

I read it. That’s all. Just read it.

That evening I had another lengthy, courteous hello.

I read it. That’s all. Just read it.

The next day I dug down deep into my flirtatious reservoir and politely responded…

Hello Kurt. You type a lot.

Yep. That’s my game. It’s strong.

He laughed and continued texting me even though I’m every bit of a rude texter.

The day we met I thought I could make him run.

I let him know straight out of the gate that I lived with my parents, I’d lost everything and my car was going to be repo’d in a day or two.

He stuck around…even asked for a front row seat to the show.

He invited me to his show. He races motorcycles….no doubt he makes me blush when he slips into that leather suit but what impressed me more was his commitment to his occupation. He is a total nerd. A smoking hot daredevil brainiac and it didn’t take my heart long to melt.

track day

After 14 months of long distance we decided to remedy the distance..being the designated gypsy of the mix, I moved to Baton Rouge.

Within 5 months of getting to spend more time together we were engaged and planning a wedding. We knew we wanted a small, simple affair to join our families and played with ideas of flying us all somewhere or flying the kids here…we wanted it to be about them. We could go to the courthouse and call it good and it would not make us love each other any less, but we knew this moment was more than just a trip to a judge and leaving with an official document. What we had found needed to be seen and shared with the ones who matter most to us.

Plottwist…

In May, in the middle of all the planning, Kurt received a disturbing call and rushed to get his granddaughter out of harm’s way before she became a case for the state.

Say hello to Ella.

Say hello to me knowing more than ever before that closing my juice bar and answering the tug on my heart to move 7 hours away to my parents for 90 days only to be asked to remain for 90 more was part of a much bigger plan. 

ella

We took all the plans before and tossed them. We decided it would be easiest on everyone to meet somewhere in Texas. Kurt began looking for venues in Austin when he stumbled upon Hotel Ella. What could be more perfect? I got in contact with Kristen Dyess and shared our story with her. She was so encouraging and welcomed our event with open arms. She introduced me to Maggie and between the two of them arrangements were made for a sweet ceremony outside under the pecan tree. The hotel was magnificent, everything was perfect and the staff felt like family.

My spontaneity gene was beneficial in planning all the details of our wedding. I found a dress within 20 minutes at Gabriella’s in Baton Rouge. I think I made their jaws drop when I said I was marrying in a week, but they were happy to help. I called my dad to see if he knew of any preachers in the Austin area that might be up for officiating our vows and he directed me to Tommy Estes. So happy he did. The kindest soul of a man and even though we met 30 minutes prior, he gently encouraged us and prayed over us with words we will cherish forever.

The day of the wedding was a flesh/heart struggle. I was scared. How am I going to do this? This child. This new calling. The what if’s. The fear of the unknown.  I knocked on Paige’s door and all three girls were inside. I said, “time to pray!” We circled up and each of them prayed over me and then I asked God to give me what I needed for the task He had called me to …you see…it wasn’t just about me being Kurt’s wife…that’s easy…I’m all in…it was about us, together, loving and nurturing and providing a home for this little girl… I left that room and never looked back. All I see now is the beauty of not only me and Kurt in her life, but my daughters, and my son in law, and my grandson and all those who will later join us as family.

Ella…you are not abandoned. You are surrounded by so much love and strength and not a day will pass that you are not prayed over.

***Kurt…I know you are reading this. I would love to hear your side of the story. I know you can type…Sir Typesalot. Maybe you should be the blogger in the family and I’ll just be cute and buy shoes and decorate the house…

Finally, I’d like to offer this toast: Here’s to being crazy enough to quit our jobs and nurture our entrepreneurial spirits. Here’s to falling on our faces and losing everything. Here’s to parents who say we can move home at 45. Here’s to crossfit and headaches and sisters who take good care of us.  Here’s to Tinder…here’s to being brave and taking a chance on love again. Here’s to dancing and feeling like a princess. Here’s to wearing white and believing in the blood of Jesus as a redemption for our sins. Here’s to the children who need us and the God that gives us strength and provision to meet their needs. Here’s to marriage and love and mystery and grace. Here’s to all the days ahead that will give us opportunity for growth and a chance to offer kindness to a hurting world. Here’s to you Mr. Miller. Here’s to being your wife.

You killed the gypsy…you’re stuck with me.

I pray that if you are wondering if God has a plan for your life that you can read our story and trust that He does…trust His timing…trust the journey…and if and when I forget…remind me of what I just told you.

love gina

Calvin Millar, you are ridiculous. Thank you for letting us be in the moment while you captured it…Now click on the following link and enjoy a front row seat to the best day ever…wish you could’ve been there…

Kurt and Gina Wedding

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