Tuesday, November 8, 2011


Hearts ~ I'm thankful for the little things! Like Hearts ♥, James and I give each other hearts, usually ornament type hearts, wood, glass, paper cloth, metals, crystal, musical, themed...when one of us sees one that makes us think of the other we get it. Often they are gifts for Anniv., Birthday, Christmas....but James came in with his hand behind his back at 11:30pm after working a 13hr. day and handed me a simple little woven heart with a red ribbon. It is beautiful and made me cry! While he was taking care of his client one of the older neighbor ladies came by to check on his patient and give one of the hearts she had made as a cheer up gift. James got to talking to her and found out that she is making them to sell at a craft fair in a few weeks so he went next door and bought one for me! When I started crying over the fact that he would think to buy me a hand woven heart in the middle of such a long hard day of work, he started crying too, so we sat here on just an ordinary day made extraordinary by his thoughtful and generous heart which was portrayed by this little woven heart we held between us! I'm thankful for James, His Big Heart and all our little hearts that remind me of all the times he thinks of me!

Friday, October 21, 2011

Holding Me in His Sleep

It is no secret that I was married before for 12 years. And at 43 years of age I have given my fair share of marriage counseling to young women who were my former students and ended up being friends. I also read, A LOT! And always have.
But I have never heard or read or known of anyone like my husband James. We have been married almost 13 years and this just dawned on me the two nights ago. I've noticed it, in a way before but never had it been clear like it was the other night.
When James sleeps by himself or with one of the kids he sleeps facing the outside of the bed or on his back. If one of the kids is in the bed he always piles pillows and blankets between him and them so they don't kick him and wake him up.
So when I can't sleep because of pain and am up late I try to slip in as quiet as I can when he has to get up real early to go to work, because I don't want to wake him up. And most of the time I don't. When I get in bed I always very gently lay a hand on his arm or shoulder or back....usually on top of the blanket so it doesn't disturb him, but just to be touching him as I fall asleep. Like the other night.

But even in his sleep, without his breathing changing or anything. He knows I am there. He always reaches out in his sleep and holds my hand with at least one of his or he will take my hand and hold it covered in both of his while he sleeps. Or if he rolls away from me he takes my hand with him wrapping my arm around him while holding my hand in his sleep. Or if I roll over he rolls over and rubs my shoulder for a second before laying his arm across my waist.
He is so connected to me and aware of me. He loves me so much that even in his sleep he is watching over me, protecting me, checking on me, making me feel safe and taking care of me. If I make a sound in my sleep that is different than my normal snoring. He is instantly wide awake, up on his elbow checking on me. Even before I am awake enough to realize that I cried out in my sleep in pain trying to turn over he's awake and talking to me and helping me, turning me, soothing me, adjusting pillows, whatever I need!
I believe that when God said that "they two shall become one flesh" this is part of what he had in mind. Neither one of us is by far perfect! But together we make a far better whole than we do two halves!
You always hear about Mothers being like this with their children but I never realized that it was a bond that you could have outside of that connection with a baby you had given birth to.
But I don't know why...If God spoke it I should have assumed it. I guess because I hadn't heard anyone talk about it and hadn't experienced it myself before and then when I did at first it was hard for me to get used to being so close to anyone. Even though I loved him with all that was in me I sometimes felt there must be pieces missing or damaged that made me feel worried about giving 1,000% in case I got hurt again. 
But the other night I realized, James hurting me would be like chopping off his own leg! We are ONE person! He loves me and would give himself for me! I don't have to hold anything back ever!
Taken with my phone camera at night...James holding my hand at night!
So I snuggled my hand in his and went straight to sleep holding hands with the Man of my Dreams!!

Monday, October 10, 2011


Today has been a very strange day for me. I sometimes wondered how I would feel when this day rolled around and now I know...sad, nostalgic, free, thankful, wistful, old...and even more that I can't seem to put words to.
Twenty-five years ago today when I walked the isle to marry Charles I loved him with all my heart and never dreamed that I wouldn't be celebrating our 25th anniversary together. Each year after year 5 when things kept going further downhill and falling apart more and more that image drifted farther and farther away.
After 12 years of marriage, when the divorce went thru, each year since when this date has rolled around, I have still remembered it even as God moved my life on. It is just one of those dates that became a part of my life. So each Oct. 10th is hard in it's own way as a reminder of my failures and my past come back to visit for a day.
So today might have been my 25th wedding Anniv. if there were no sin and no willfulness and stubbornness and anger in this old world.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Red Ferrari!

The one thing I have always had the biggest problem with is lack of self esteem. I have always looked at myself  as honestly and realistically as I could. I have never tried to fool myself about my looks or how special I am. When you grow up with a brother and two sisters that look the way mine do and hear comments from Mexico to Alaska that confirm what your perception of yourself and your siblings is then you are under no false illusions.
Add to that the abuse I went through from the age of 12 to 16 which made me feel like used goods, worthless and unclean. And at that time Christians didn't know how to deal with sexual abuse in their ranks. The perpetrator faced ostracism and usually quietly moved away with maybe a few whispers and questions. While the abused was, in my case, quietly advised in two or three quiet conversations that now that I wasn't a "good girl" any more I couldn't hope for a good Christian marriage and normal home life. The best I could hope for was someone would take pity on me and marry me anyway and I would just make the best of what was left of my life! (I was only 16!!)
By 17 I was thinking about suicide! It scared me to death!! (No pun intended!) I sought help and over time was able to receive enough to stableize me but not fix my brokenness.
I met James and it was instant attraction! For both of us, I later found out. But I was a mess and we now believe the Lord held him back from approaching me and dating me at that time. Later that year I met a "bad boy" who started coming to the Church and started dateing me.
I never could, and still can't, understand why my Dad gave his permission for us to date. Much less get married. The only thing I could figure out was that he thought that that was what I deserved. Here he was a Preacher and Missionary and he's giving permission for me to date and marry an older guy who smokes, cusses, drinks, listens to rock music, tells dirty jokes, ran away from home at 16 and just now came back at age 22!!
Well, if that was all I was worth and capeable of attracting then this must be God's will for my Life! So at 18 I walked down the isle, shaking like a leaf and promised the rest of my life to this man I hardly knew! I had come to love him. He was handsome and charming and I wanted a prince charming!
He was a prince and charming for the first little while, but then he started back to his drinking and things quickly started going down hill. The ugly name calling started, and use of abuse that he had learned from my past was being used against me for his fun and kicks!
And I had been trained that it was my duty to stay with him and obey him. To do what he said. I tried to be submissive but that only made it worse. The better I tried to be the angrier he got. The more I tried to make him happy the more unhappy he got. On our 5th Anniv. he told me he didn't love me. He threw me out and so began 7 more years of nightmare and confusion. He would throw me out for a while and then call me to move back. Or he would move out and leave me only to show up months later and just move back in without even asking. I never knew what was going to happen.
Sometimes I lived with him, sometimes with my parents, often with his parents, once in a while with friends, a few times house sitting, seldom a place of my own for a bit, even living out of my car at times. Always feeling lower and lower on the pond scum scale. Yet always remaining faithful to God. The one thing I never doubted thru all the years was that God loved me and so I stayed faithful to Him and His service!
Finally after 11 years of marriage, he left me no choice but to finally get the divorce he had wanted for years. So I was now 29, the mother of a 3yr old son, I had complete care and costody of my son and had had from day one. When I had realized I was finally pregnant after 7 years and told him his response had been..."I'm glad for you, you will be a good Mom." We were separated again by then and he wanted nothing to do with either of us. He even moved out of the state when I was 6 months pregnant.

Not long before I turned 30, Mathew and I were shareing a mobile home with a friend of mine that I had known since I was 17. She, Mathew and I got along great and it helped both of us with the cost of living. She is the only girl and baby of 6 kids! One of her brothers was "THE GUY" James that I had the crush on
when I was 17! Their family had a tradition of Friday night game night and they started trading off and coming to our house sometimes for them. James and I clicked right away, but I was scared to death! I was in the NO MEN zone! I didn't trust men, but he was getting around my defences and under my skin!
He came over one night, just him without all the other brothers, with a couple of movies and a pizza. Amy was gone and so we ate pizza watched movies and started talking.
He sat on the other couch across the room, no threat, giving me honor, respect and space and we talked till almost 4 in the morning! I hadn't heard him say that much in all the 13 years I had known him combined! He came back the next night and the next and ....then one day I came home from work and there was a NEW WASHING MACHINE in my livingroom floor!!
Noone had ever bought me something so thoughtful before! I knew I was sunk! I knew right then I was in love and in so much trouble!! We had a dryer but the washing machine didn't work. And Amy had a very bad back. So she would go teach at the Christian school and come home to rest. I was the cook and bus driver for a daycare and took Mathew to work with me. So I left for work at 5am. Worked till 4:15, came home did laundry for all three of us in the bathtub by hand and then dryed it. And then made supper. I tried to do a load every night because it took so long to dry them. But it kept my hands red and raw between cooking for 50 kids 4 times a day and washing all the dishes by hand in bleach water each time and coming home and doing laundry by hand and cooking meal #5. My hands were a raw mess! So his first gift wasn't flowers or candy or jewelry. His first gift was from his heart, a gift to help and care for me.  A gift to make my life easier!
By October he asked me to marry him. I was still scared. More for him...did he truely realize what a mess he was getting when he got me? I had tried to tell him, to the best of my ability and understanding at the time, but would it be enough?

We have been married 12 1/2 years now. Yesterday we were sitting here talking before he went to work and the subject kind of came up in a round about way. (My hair, which I've been trying to decide what to do with it). Anyway I was telling him what it felt like growing up as the ugly duckling of the family and he kept telling me I wasn't. We just couldn't seem to make each other hear and understand.
I told him that when you have grown up traveling all over and you have heard your family described HUNDREDS of times as, Dewayne ~ good looking or handsome young man!, Audrey ~ boy she's TALL! this is my Amazon!, Myra~ she's so dainty or she's so delicate! She looks just like a little Dollie! (Mom), Sandra~ She's GEORGOUS!! She's Beautiful! (SHH just don't tell her that! LOL)
You learn real well where you stand in the genetics pool! When you hear guys talk about dateing your sisters but not a word about you, you figure it out! When you are 17 and the only person to ever ask you out on a date is a drunken, smoking, cussing, runaway, sailor and your Dad says sure! You know you are the ugly duckling! And well rid of!
Then it was James' turn for his version... he has told me over and over for the past 13 years how beautiful he thinks I am, how lucky and blessed he is, how he married up, etc. but yesterday he laid it all out for me.
He told me he didn't approach me when I was 17 and other guys didn't approach me then because I was so tall and beautiful they didn't feel like they stood a chance with me. (Not sure I 100% believe that, but that's what he said).
He described my marriage to Charles as this. He said, Charles got a Ferrari. He drove it and treated it like it was a beat up old Subaru. He had no clue what he had or how to treat it! He didn't deserve a Ferrari!
Now I have the Ferrari! I don't deserve it either, but at least I know what I have and I know I don't deserve it and I know how to appreciate it and treat it and take care of it! That is the difference! Do you understand now?
He made it so simple! And sweet!
Then as he walked in the dining room he said, (and I like my Ferrari RED!) LOL I have been begging him to tell me whether he wants me to dye my hair again or not and he wouldn't, and this was his way of telling me to dye it back red! He's too cute!!
For the first time since I was 12 (I'm now pushing 44) I feel like I, Audrey Lynn Noel Boyd Grant, am worth something! It is an amazing feeling!!

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Should I Marry This Person?

One of my dearest friends and I were discussing this VERY important question today over lunch. (Along with several other life altering topics we dealt with!) Sadly, both of us as well as too many of our close friends have been through divorces. 
I'm not talking about bad people who go out and live wild lives and marry without consideration and counseling. I'm talking good, honest, hardworking, Christian, Godly people who love the Lord and want to serve Him with all their heart.
But sin, Satan, the world and the flesh can destroy even "good" marriages if we are not ever cautious. And always tending the field that is our marriage.
God blessed me after 12 years of a very bad marriage with (now 12 years and counting!) of marriage to the most incredible man with the biggest heart on earth!
But back to lunch....this friend and I were talking about how scary it is to fall in love when you have been hurt so bad by someone you loved and trusted with your heart and life. And how could you know that this time you knew you were making the right choice....?
First and foremost, always is prayer, (LOTS, EVERY DAY!!) Soul searching quiet time alone with God , giving the whole thing to Him. Begging Him that if this is not right to please show you, Show the other person, Put up a BIG red STOP sign. what ever it takes. Literally give the relationship to God to do with as He wishes and then be wise enough to see when and if He should show you.
Second, we discussed my opinion that noone should ever get married without feeling like, EVERY TIME they  look at the other person that they are the most blessed person on earth because this incredible person actually wants to be with ME! 
How did I get so lucky? How did I win the jackpot? I upgraded out of my status and station in life! It's not about looks or money. Don't get me wrong. We have been poor as Church mice for most of our marriage, but when I look at, talk to, listen to, sit by, watch across the room, hear him laugh, see him play with the kids, or have one of our all night talks, I am amazed that this incredible man, this treasure, this loving Father, this tender hearted, giving man could have possibly even looked my way much less loved and wanted me 12 years ago and still does even with all my tons of baggage!!! Now that is a blessing only God can give!
But, strangely enough, after 12 years together, when I got home and was telling James about lunch and what we had talked about and said, he started LAUGHING!!! He said I was crazy that HE was the one who got the upgrade so to speak and I got taken in the deal! See what I mean! If you don't both feel like the other one is someone to strive for and live up to then you have nowhere to go in your life and marriage but down.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

For Always

For Always
For Always…All my life I dreamed of someone special who’d come along and make my dreams come true.
When I least expected love, it came my way, the moment I caught a glimpse of you!
For Always, I will give you my heart. Cherish every moment in your arms. As long as we’re together, I can face another day. I’ll love you (I will love you), For Always!

Hand in hand we’ll spend our lives together, we’ve pledged our love for all eternity. My soul is soaring, there is joy just in my heart. For I’m in love with you. (I’m in love with you!) And you’re in love with me (in love with me!)!
For Always, I will give you my heart. Cherish every moment in your arms. As long as we’re together, I can face another day. I’ll love you (Yes, I’ll love you), For Always!
For Always, I will give you my heart. Cherish every moment in your arms. As long as we’re together, I can face another day. I’ll love you (Yes, I’ll love you), For Always! For Always! For Always!

Jim and Melissa Brady

James and I have been married for over 12 years. Melissa Brady has been my friend since we were girls of only 11 years old and I met Jim and his family in Texas when I was in 1st grade! Who would have known that these MANY years later their CD of love songs would mean so much to us? So many of the songs were as if they were written with us in mind and Jim and Melissa had never even met my husband when they made this CD and wrote these songs.
But that is just the way our Great God and Heavenly Father works. His Word can speak to a parent who has lost a baby or a wife who is a new widow or a single person who desires a husband or wife. He speaks to all of our needs and he can use a willing vessel to write songs that touch people’s hearts all around the world for his purpose. Songs that have a special meaning to each person or couple depending on where they are in they’re life.
 Are James and I perfect? NO Do we have a perfect marriage and never disagree or “fight”? NO Do we adore each other more than the day we got married over 12 years ago? You better believe it!! We gross out our kids all the time and especially embarrass our 16yr old (another blessing with a long story for later) son by hugging and “smooching”. But our kids have no doubt even on tough days when I’m hurting and snippy or Dad has worked 12 or 14 hrs, that we still love each other and that will be FOR ALWAYS!!
They know if Dad and Mom are in the same room they will be touching, my head on his shoulder, holding hands, sitting on his lap, his head in my lap, one of us rubbing the other’s feet, him brushing my hair, hugging or kissing or just sitting talking and laughing. We will be TOGETHER.
Twelve years, three kids, two cancers, 13 surgeries, and LOTS of grey hairs and he still holds my hand every time we ride in the car, no matter who is there. He holds my hand when we walk together, puts his arm  around me in church and gives me his arm when we walk in church and pulls the car to the front door while our sons help me in the car after church! I am loved and cared for like I am a fragile treasure! I AM LOVED FOR ALWAYS!!!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

~Loves it when he hugs her for no reason, makes her laugh when she wants to cry, picks her up when she's down, holds her near when she needs him the most ♥

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

He Knows Me

Years ago someone had told me that if you have a hard time waking up from surgery sip a warm Mountain Dew.
So when we were on our way to Anchorage for my surgery I asked James to have one waiting for me when I got back to the room.
Now for 12 years I have drank nothing but Diet Coke and Coffee (Water and Iced Tea) but to "buy" me a drink, its always one of those two. And so here we are driving to Anch. two days before major surgery, trying to make an apt. we are late for, we are both scared about this surgery and I ask him to do this strange thing out of the blue while he was driving.
The day after my surgery James came into my room with a beautiful shawl (in the PERFECT colors for me), and I love shawls!! And a journal (I love Journals! I have a whole book shelf FULL of them in our bedroom.) but he was miserable looking???
I thanked him and told him how much I loved him and them and how sweet he was to think of things I love and enjoy instead of flowers that would die or candy I'm trying to avoid. But he opened the journal and handed it to me and he had written almost 3 whole pages! This from a man with severe dyslexia is a HUGE chore!! As I started reading what he had written he started crying, and so did I, but not for the same reason.
He wrote how bad he felt that I had gone thru surgery and only asked for one small thing (the Mountain Dew) and he had forgotten it. And how devastated he was that he could have forgotten to have it there for me after what I had been thru.
I had forgotten about it!!! And told him it wasn't that important. But he was so upset with himself that he had forgotten it even with worrying about me in surgery and coordinating our kids back home and all that was going on. It showed me once again how very deeply, to the very core of his heart he loves me! It HURT him that he hadn't done one small thing I had asked in the middle of all the insanity we were going thru.
Do I as his wife care for him that much? Am I that selfless in my love?

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Can't Even Get Mad!

My husband frustrates me, because he doesn't frustrate me!! Is that crazy or what?!? And he is teaching my kids to be the same wonderful frustrating way!!! I now have four of them!
Tonight James and his brother Allen, who is having to live with us for a while, went to one of his younger brother's to play "hand and foot" for a while. (Meaning till 2 or 3 in the morning which is fine with me, it's his day off and he needs time with his brother's...)
For years, every since we have been married, we have had Game Night on Fri. nights but the last year it has petered out to almost nothing because of my health and James' job. So when no one was here by the normal time, he felt ok to go.
About an hour later, his youngest brother dropped off our youngest and our nephew. A few min. later we had three more kids ages 6 to 11 dropped off. So I was up to 7 kids aged 6 to 15. All under 12 except 1. My oldest had been at school and work all day and by 9pm was ready for bed so off he went.
Thirty min. later he got up. I asked him if the kids were too loud and he said no...He said he was worried about me and couldn't sleep thinking about me out here with all the kids by myself! Not 5min. later, while he was still sitting here, James called.
He said he was worried about me. He had a feeling that more kids had been dropped off and how many did I have. I told him, but said that Mathew had gotten back up so he should stay. Not 5 min. later both parents showed up to get their kids...
I called James and asked him if he had called the Dad's and told them to come get their kids. He said no, why? I said, cause both of them just came and got their kids! He was so surprised. He was just fixing' to come home to help me.
Mathew was going to stay up late and James was going to give up his time with his brothers to help me because they didn't want me to be over worked taking care of the kids in my health condition and God blessed them and in so doing blessed me!
I often get frustrated at them hovering over me and "babying" me, but they take such good care of me and love me so much, I really can't get mad at them! I love them and am so thankful for them!!! I truly am a blessed woman!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Reality of Loving

I was talking to a friend of mine this week. Between us we have racked up almost 45 years of experience at this thing called Marriage and Love.

There is a lot of books, songs, poems, and talk about both extreems when it comes to Love, Marriage and or the opposite there of when things are bad and even headed to or end up in Divorce. But there isn't very much honesty about the reality of what happens in between the two extreams.

What about the Day to day. After the wedding and honeymoon are over and real life sets in? You love each other and you know it but real life isn't lived on the Mountain Top of the Wedding Day or Valentines Day or your Anniversary. Real life is lived the 360 days of the year that aren't holidays. The days of getting up early for work even when you both are tired or sick. The days of paying bills and making the money stretch till the next payday. The worry over parents getting older and the kids making the right friends and choices. It's picking up his socks every day for 25 years even when it bugs you and the laundry basket is right there.

Its his going out and starting your vehicle to warm it up every morning just because he loves you and is still a gentleman, even though he'd rather stay in a warm bed. Its the little and the big things that are sweet and that aren't so sweet that you are willing to overlook and live with because you love each and know you are better because you are together.

These Valley Walks that you walk together are the real marriage. This is what those looks that you see pass between couples who have been married for years are all about. It is a deep understanding of things big and small, not just the good times but all the hundreds of problems and misunderstandings they have come thru together.

When I married James I loved him. I knew he was a good man. I trusted him. I liked him. He was my friend....

Now, I am IN love WITH him. I lean on him and give him all my heart and trust completely. I like him as a person even more and he is my very best friend in the world. We have become closer than I imagined two people could ever be. We have been thru the wringger when it comes to health, finances and the outside world, but each of these things, instead of pushing us apart has bound us stronger together.

If others in this world could grasp this concept that the reality of life and love is lived in the real world, even for Christians, not in some cloud. Many marriages would be happier and last a lot longer.