Another Anniversary for the Scrapbooks!

***Update*** I got to skype with Travis this morning (thank you Lord!!) who told me just how sick he was yesterday! Apparently it was much worse than I thought and he had to get an IV put in last night! Poor Guy! He said he is feeling much better today, but I'm asking you to pray hard with me tonight as they will be flying all night long on a red-eye. They leave Lima at 12:00am and will get into Minneapolis on Sunday morning at 11:00ish. Just hoping and praying that he is well on the flight! Thank you, thank you, thank you!! Less than 24 hours to go...I can do that!!

I wanted to thank you for your kind comments today, wishing both of us a happy anniversary. It's been a great day, although a long-distance one. I didn't get to talk to Trav on skype this morning, but I did get a wonderfully sweet email later in the day from him. Turns out my poor husband was unable to get online this morning to chat because he, like many other people on this trip, has a case of "Montezuma's revenge." What, might you ask, is that? Well, according to wikipedia, it is a nasty case of traveler's diarrhea. Yes, Happy Anniversary indeed! This one will just go down in the scrapbook as another wild one! My poor husband was in some pain today and not able to be far from a bathroom at all times...sounds like a lovely day to celebrate huh? At least I felt better about missing our chat this morning but then I felt worse because I know he is miserable. I'm hoping and praying that God will grant him the mercy to get ride of this before he gets on a plane tomorrow night! I can think of nothing worse than diarrhea on a plane! I will stop this sad tale at that because I've actually got more to say, and none of it involves bowel movements! But still, you have to admit that this just continues our streak of bad things happening on our anniversary!

I'm quite proud of us actually, 5 years is a milestone in this culture and we have just achieved it! And can I add that we've achieved it happily, without giving up, and yet without the easiest ride? In these last 5 years we have truly laughed liked crazy, made some wild memories, grown up as people (and as a couple), experienced heartache, clung to one another, and trusted the Lord to lead us along the way. It's been a great 5 years.

I realize this next statement might sound odd, or even depressing, but lately I've had an epiphany that has truly transformed my thinking and helped give me a little more perspective in certain situations, when previously I lacked any. Here's the statement: If this whole thing (our lives and our marriage) ended today, I can say with all my heart that I am grateful for the chances we took, for the joy we had, for the mistakes we made, and for the lessons we learned. I wouldn't change much about what we've done in the last 5 years and I want so badly to know that I could have it all taken away from me and still be grateful for the life we lived. I certainly DO NOT want my husband or my marriage taken from me, but I do want to feel that I have no regrets about how we spent our time. Well, maybe not NO regret, but LITTLE regret!

I read something in a devotional book in April, that really challenged me to not get so focused on what I don't have, that I miss all that I do have. In other words, I have been inspired to make an effort each day to be thankful for this season. I want to be thankful for the blessings God has so graciously given me, and there are many! Lately I've just forced myself to stop and literally look around me and take in what I've been given. It's so overwhelming when I stop and consider this life God has laid out for me. I can always make a list of things I want or even things I think I need, but rarely do I stop and make a list of things I already have. I would never suggest that Travis and I have always made the best choices or done the wisest thing, but sometimes I'm grateful that we haven't gotten caught up in being so "responsible" that we never take a vacation or have a nice dinner or buy something we really like. I love that I have thousands of pictures from all kinds of experiences we've had in the last 5 years. I love that we've lived in 3 states and 4 homes, and we have memories from each place. It can be so overrated to have a great portfolio and no debt, but yet no life or no marriage. I wouldn't trade the fun we've had for stock options any day!! Now of course we've been paying the price for debt we brought into our marriage and I certainly have a reformed opinion on that, but you know, life is too short to spend all of it worrying about money! I want to live life and "live it abundantly!" Jesus has truly made that possible.

One of my favorite sayings, from one of my favorite authors (Beth Moore) is "There ain't no high like the Most High!" I totally agree! The ride we've had wouldn't be half of what it's been without knowing Christ and following Christ. He has been the adventure of our marriage and I pray that He will always continue to be. He's also been the glue that has bonded us together on hard days and easier ones. Sometimes people tell me, "You're so lucky to have found a husband like Travis, he must be so easy to be married to." I used to get totally bugged by that, because that statement always assumed that our marriage and happiness wasn't based on any hard work on my part or divine intervention, but just "luck." Now I will agree that my husband is the amazing love of my life that he looks to be, and often he is very, very easy to live with. BUT, he is human too and so am I. And sometimes, we just downright irritate each other and we have to ask the Lord for the grace to love and forgive each other because nothing in us is able to. Trust me, we've had our moments when we're just plain sinful and ugly to be with. We've both said things we didn't mean and we've held some bitterness in our hearts that we were never intended to carry. And those things hurt our marriage. But, we serve a God who lays down the ultimate example for us and loves us even before we loved Him, who forgives us without condition, and who always wants restoration in our relationship with Him. If it weren't for our faith and belief in God, and our desire to honor Him and obey Him in all areas of our life, including our marriage, we probably wouldn't be celebrating 5 years today. In fact, I'm sure we would have run when it got tough, or quit when we were angry, or given up when we didn't have anything left. But, by the absolute grace of God, we didn't.

So, today we celebrate a fantastically full 5 years. It's not been perfect, but it's been honest. It's not always happy, but it's right. It's not nearly as God-honoring as we'd like it, but it's a work in progress. I love what we started on this night, in Naples, Florida, 5 years ago. At this very minute, I was the brand new Mrs. Travis Armstrong and I was dancing with my handsome new groom, mesmerized by his blue eyes and in love from my the top of my head to the bottom of my toe. It's nice to know that some things really haven't changed in 5 years...

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