All In

For the longest time, I tried to make excuses. I figured that there had to be more.

Why? Because nothing made sense. I lived everyday with this confusion hanging over my head and the belief that somehow, somewhere this would all make sense.

But I’m tired of making excuses and I’m tired of trying to make sense of that which will never make sense.

The man I need in my life is all in. He chases me down and won’t let go. The man I need in my life is careful with my heart and doesn’t run over it.

The man I need in my life won’t lie to me or hide the truth from me. The man I need in my life will cherish me. The man I need in my life won’t continually hurt my heart, even after I’ve asked for a reprieve.

Relationships aren’t easy. Marriage will take work. I am a romantic at heart but I know it won’t always be easy. And there will be days and weeks when choosing agape love for my husband will be hard – when the romance and feelings wane.

But, even still, there are some basics I can’t and won’t compromise on. I made excuses for so long. I can’t make them anymore.

The man who will choose me, will choose a woman who will love him unconditionally, fiercely, and find new ways to build him up when he feels knocked down.

I know what I bring to the table. So I’m tired of making excuses and chasing down any man that’s not all in for me. The one who is, will never regret that. But until he’s all in, he’s not the one I’ve waited and prayed for, for so long.

So I’ll keep waiting & praying.

Things I Would Like To Do . . .

elaina avalos, romance, love, relationships

Where are you, Baby?

Still somewhere choosing your words carefully, I presume?

There’s a hole here in this big house. It feels even bigger than normal.

There are things I’d like to do with you.

I’d like to cook an extravagant dinner with you, music playing, and candles burning.

I’d like to argue debate pointless & meaningless things with you because you make me laugh when you’re trying to be right & stick to a point for no reason.

I’d like us to unwind from a long day on the back porch, drinks in our hands, and a fire burning in the fire pit.

I’d like to raise some kids with you.

I’d like to find new ways to find each other, when the romance wanes and life gets hard.

I’d like to feel safe with you.

I’d like to curl up next to you, in our big bed – settling in beside you – the only person I want to share a bed with, for the rest of my life.

I’d like to camp with you, beside the ocean or in the mountains. I grew up doing this and there is nothing better than to wake up on a cool summer morning, the scent of our campfire still clinging to the air.

I’d like to make you laugh for the rest of my life. Or at least until I turn into a senile old lady (haha). But more important, I want to laugh with you. It’s the way we will get through.

There are so many things I’d like to do with you.

Let’s start now.

 

Run & Never Tire

This time I'm speeding with no direction.Without a reason. (1)

Dear Future Husband,

There’s a prayer I’m praying right now. It’s really the same thing over and over. I am praying for you. I’m praying we can somehow get past this wall that appears to be in front of us now.

I pray nothing will stand in our way.

I pray you’ll find me, see me, run and never tire. Desire is one of my favorite Ryan Adams songs. It has been for a handful of years. But somehow it’s a good one for right now.

Two hearts fading, like a flower.
And all this waiting, for the power.
For some answer, to this fire.
Sinking slowly.
The water as higher.
Desire

I am 100% convinced that amazing things are ahead for us and for our patchwork family. But floating around the edges of those days when my faith is strong, are so many moments when the fear is greater.

This weekend, as I miss you and worry I’ll keep right on missing you, the fear and faith have mixed. Equal amounts of both. One minute I’m certain. The next, I’m dreading a life without you in it.

I’m working on a novel. It’s a love story. It’s our love story. The one that hasn’t happened yet. This too, like my prayers for you – and for us, takes more faith than I have some moments.

But the man I know you are (and are becoming) makes the risk worth every moment of fear in the midst of all this waiting.

I’m going to keep praying big prayers, Baby.

“Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us…” Ephesians 3:20

A Love Story in Progress

Follow your dreams

Brushing a girl’s hair
behind her ear
once a day
will solve more problems
than all those
therapists
and drugs.
– Atticus

I’m writing a love story. I thought I was stuck. Last weekend, I thought I’d never get past this mess of my own heart. The pieces still broken – fearing hope.

But the story lay hidden beneath the fear – the fear living closer to the surface.

Something changed yesterday though. I’m writing the story. I found the words. I found what I needed through a quiet challenge from God in the middle of my CPR/First Aid class – have faith. Someday maybe I’ll explain that in detail.

But for now, the love story I most want to write, is being written.

There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you. – Maya Angelou

This love I have wanted to write about? It’s the kind of love that is rooted in friendship. It’s the kind of love that gives you a vision of your future in someone else’s eyes. It’s the kind of love that ignites your belief in another’s gifts and talents far beyond what they even see for themselves.

It’s the kind of love that is passion and fire but comfort and normal. It’s the kind of love that brings a sense of calm in the midst of trial, when he brushes your hair behind your ear – his tenderness toward you is all you need. Or maybe how with one look, he knows what you need before you even speak. And above all else, it’s the kind of love shared by two broken people that didn’t fit anywhere else.

It’s the kind of love you do the hard way.

So I guess we’ll have to do it the hard way. – Keith Urban

I’m responding in faith in a lot of areas right now, my writing is no different. This is the story I most want to write.

What is Romance, Anyway?

johnny cash, elaina avalos, romance, coffee

Dear Future Husband,

It’s Valentine’s Day. It’s a day I like to make fun of since I’m here alone and you’re . . . there doing whatever it is you’re doing (torturing me with all this waiting).

Though I am a true and sometimes hopeless romantic, I hope we’ll find romance in the normal, nothing exciting days.

You should always know I love you. I should always know you love me. Why do we have to wait for a specific day to do something special for each other?

Romance looks a little different to everyone. For me, romance is in the quiet, nothing exciting moments like when you bring me a cup of coffee on a day I’m not super excited about getting out of bed.

Or maybe while I’m upstairs giving the kids a bath, you do the dishes – your least favorite task because you love your tired wife. When I find you there doing the dishes, I won’t feel quite as tired because you’re doing this sweet thing for me. I will know you treasure me, even when I’m at the end of a long day.

I love flowers. But a dozen red roses on Valentine’s Day seems like a waste of money. But a pretty bunch of gerbera daises on a random Monday would be amazing. Or daffodils or wildflowers sold at the grocery store – maybe because I had a bad day. Or maybe there’s no reason at all.

Sitting by a fire in our backyard, the white lights you hung up for me (even though you thought it was dumb) twinkle while we sit. With adult beverages in hand we talk about nothing and everything – our norm. And of course, there’s the whole laughter thing. You make me laugh. And making you laugh is one of the best feelings I’ve ever had. For real. It makes me so happy. That’s romance to me. Why? Because you’re my best friend and the love of my life. There is no one I enjoy spending more time with, than you.

Cooking a meal together with candles burning and music playing is romance. I hope you’re a good eater (haha) because I love to cook. 

There are countless ways to show our love and respect for each other. I want to date you for the rest of my life. And that means working toward finding new ways to show you how much I love and respect you. I don’t need a date on the calendar to do it.

A Love Story

Tyler Knott Gregson, love, poetry, love story

When I was a little girl, I used to dream up love stories. It’s a curse, I tell you. It has followed me past 40 and right on into my 42nd year. Except now I write the love stories instead of just dreaming of them.

When you write love stories, you should probably find a way to balance that creative, romantic mind of yours with real life. I’d rather not sometimes. Lately I’ve been working hard at this. But failing. Miserably.

The love story I’d write for myself certainly wouldn’t start at 40, 41, or 42. But one thing I know for sure? When it happens, I won’t be giving up easily or throwing in the towel when things get weird and it’s easier to walk away.

The other thing I know for sure? All this waiting has worn me thin and tired at the edges. Worn thin and tired. When you find it and it slips away or you question on the quiet, lonely nights if he’s ever going to show up on your doorstep, you convince yourself to give up. It’s all for the best, dear heart – you say to yourself. And then what? I hang on a little longer, my heart ever hopeful until I am reminded of where I sit and where he sits.

Tonight, after 20 hard days that followed some dark months at the end of last year, my heart is tired. My heart is worn thin & tired, friends. The love story I most want to write won’t float to the surface because my greatest fear lives there.

Worn thin and tired.

Won’t you come home to me now? What’s with this waiting, my dear friend? These are the questions I would ask him if I could. The Goo Goo Dolls have a sweet and light song called “Come to Me.” Ryan Adams has one too {he’s one of my favorites} but it’s a little sadder.

“Come to me my sweetest friend…”

“History is like gravity, it holds you down, away from me”

Here on this edge, this quiet place, where I’m tired of living without him, I’m fighting for hope sitting here in this empty house. Won’t you come to me, my sweetest friend? Sit with me – right here next to me – so we can patch up these worn and frayed edges.

You Know What Not To Say

say what you need to say, mitch albom, elaina avalos

Love,

We don’t need to parse words.

It doesn’t depend on what the meaning of is, is. I’ll say what needs to be said when you pick & choose your words carefully.

I have had enough of picking words carefully to last a lifetime. You know what not to say.

I’ll say what should be said:

Sometimes, when you argue a point with me, I want to end the argument by kissing you. Because at times, your annoying insistence on being right is also infuriatingly adorable. I know you think you’re rarely wrong. We could argue this point. But I rather enjoy listening to you talk so I’ll just let you say what you have to say. While you’re talking, just be aware that I’m sometimes thinking things like, “I need to kiss him now.” And, “I want to wake up to that face every day for the rest of my days.” And also, “He’s hot.”

Here are some things that we’re just not going to argue about, okay? Let’s agree now that I’m right:

– We will find a way to never go to bed angry. Somehow. Some way. Life is too short. Life changes in an instant. I don’t want our last thought before falling asleep to be one of conflict or anger when God never guarantees us a tomorrow.

– We will never be critical of each other in front of other people. My respect for you will always win, even when I’m madder than hell. I will defend you. I will support you. I may disagree with you. But no one will ever doubt my love and respect for you and your decisions. Please do the same for me.

– When we get married, let’s not get crazy, okay? Let’s stand under a canopy of redwoods with twinkling white lights or barefoot on the beach – focused not on all the stuff that comes with a wedding, but on our vows and the life we are creating.

“For my wedding, I don’t want violins
Or sentimental songs about thick and thin
I want a moment of silence and a moment of prayer
For the love we’ll need to make it in the world out there

To want what I have
To take what I’m given with grace
For this I pray
On my wedding day
On my wedding day”
– Don Henley

– We should have a big family. I’m right about this, Baby. When we’re in our 70’s and the kids all come home for Thanksgiving with their wives and husbands and their kids, it will be amazing. So just trust me on this one.

– We can’t always win the argument. But I promise you that my love for you will always keep me fighting for us when neither of us feel like backing down. Let’s always fight for us.

Dear Future Husband

blue crayon poem, a.r. asher, elaina avalos, love poem

Dear Future Husband,

I have this weird tendency to spill water or coffee down the front of me when I’m drinking. It’s usually at the worst possible time – like when I’m in a meeting, a formal event, or when I’m trying to appear cool. My Grandpa would have said I had a hole in my chin. He knew because he had one too. It’s usually just water. Unless I’m drinking red wine & wearing a white shirt.

I will often do ridiculous and klutzy things. It’s a gift. I outgrew some of the klutz. But not all of it. It comes out when I’m tired or highly distracted – like when a hot guy {you] is around.

I once went to a reception on Capitol Hill after the Trafficking in Persons Act {2000}, was passed. I was out of place and completely fascinated. I went by myself after being invited by International Justice Mission {I would later work for IJM for a bit}. I do many things by myself because . . . why not? Like go on a wine cruise {with a bunch of annoying couples} down the Trent River. Who does that? Me, apparently.I’d rather do them with you, though.

Speaking of things I’d rather do with you, I have a huge long list. I do things by myself because life is too short not to try things you want to try. But wouldn’t it be nice to hop in the car {together} on Friday after work and drive to Asheville because . . . why not?

You should also know that:

  • I snore
  • I get really impatient in traffic. If you could drive us around, especially on the 1st & 15th & when we need to be on Western Blvd, that’d be great.
  • I make up ridiculous nicknames for animals and kids {my dog probably has 10}. I’m sure I will have more than one for you.
  • I am very cheap. We will never buy expensive toilet paper, for instance. This is not a compromise I’m willing to make. Angel Soft is as expensive as I’ll go. Haha. Unless you want to get a second job or we win the lottery. But even then it’s iffy.
  • I am a tremendous fan of kissing.
  • I will never leave you. Unless Don Henley proposed to me. Then possibly. {I KID.}
  • I love jewelry but fail in most other girly things like make-up & doing my hair. If I could just look like me without dark eye circles I’d be cool with that. I hope you don’t need a super high maintenance chick who wears high heels, and does her hair & make-up before she goes anywhere. I will fail you miserably.
  • I sometimes jump up & down and yell during football games. I often pace around the room at the end of a game. I apologize in advance.

For a few years I’ve written “Dear Future Husband” status updates on Facebook. I find myself humorous. I say things like, “Dear Future Husband, When I’m sick, please make me a hot toddy.”

So I say a lot of silly things but here are a few other things you should know about life with me:

  • I have been praying for you, about you, and for our someday family for more years than I can count.
  • I will respect you – probably more than any person I’ve even known. No one will ever wonder or question my support for you and how much I believe in you.
  • I will be your biggest cheerleader and fiercest defender.
  • I really need you around. I can do anything I want to do. And I have done so much on my own. But gosh, I just need you around.
  • Your ability to make me {and others} laugh, will probably be one of my favorite things about you.
  • Your love for kids makes me love you more.
  • I will ask for your opinion because I want to hear it {also see bullet #2}. I will want & need your advice because I respect you and also, I like you.
  • I will call you out when you’re being a turd. I hope you will do the same for me because the likelihood of me being a turd at various points in our life together is high.
  • I will know you like I know myself. When you’re low, I will pull you up. When you’re high, I will rejoice in your wins, brag about you, and look at you with the same stars in my eyes I have now.

There’s plenty more where that comes from, but that’s what my heart needed to write tonight. Why? Because I miss you & wish you were here next to me. I’m not gonna lie, I’m tired of waiting. So let’s get on with the show, Baby.

Fairy Tales

fairy tale, knight, knight in shining armor, love, marriage

Every little girl dreams of her knight in shining armor. I certainly did (okay, I still do). I can honestly remember being in Kindergarten and weaving fairy tales about the man who would fall in love with me and make me his princess. Maybe not literally his princess – but his princess just the same.

I’ve met some men I thought might be him – that proverbial knight. I have fallen in love a few times. But in all three cases, I guess they weren’t the one. Or maybe one of the three could have been. I certainly saw in him the qualities of my particular type of fairy tale.

I think most women who desire to fall in love and get married have their list. This list of qualities they hope to find in this man they’ve dreamt of for so long is obviously different for everyone. My list is personal to me and I have no intention of dragging the entire thing out.

But recently, and I do mean recently, I’ve had to think a little bit more about that list and what is most important to me.

Let’s just establish here, before we go any further, that we’re leaving me out of the equation. I’ll come back to me later. I’m thinking about a series on the “Proverbs 31” woman. I have a whole long list of qualities I want to exhibit and some I think I do already.

But this fairy tale? This knight in shining armor? What does he look like?

  • He loves Jesus.
  • He has a hunger & thirst for God’s Word and living out God’s will.
  • He is committed to being part of our church & in ministry in some form.
  • He is hilarious. Or at least I think so. If a man makes me laugh that’s just about the sexiest thing ever.
  • He loves children and wants to be a father.
  • He is tender and kindhearted when the situation calls for it – particularly if it relates to me or our children.
  • He is smart and can engage in intelligent conversation. And hopefully, playful arguments and debates.
  • He loves football.
  • Did I mention football?
  • He is masculine & proud of  who he is as a man.
  • He works hard & is successful in whatever it is he chooses to do.
  • He, like me, sees our family as part of our ministry.
  • He is okay with my desire to have a noisy house full of life & people. I’m the girl that wants my house to be the gathering place for my kids & their friends (and our friends).
  • He is openly affectionate.
  • He pursues me always. Even after he’s won my heart.
  • He honors, cherishes, and protects my heart.
  • He values my opinion and seeks it out because he values it.
  • Did I mention that he protects my heart?
  • He is playful, easy-going, and finds ways to show me how much he loves and respects me.
  • He cares about injustice in the world and it impacts charitable giving or actions.
  • He is my best friend and truest companion.
  • He is the first person I want to talk to when something is amazing, rotten, hilarious, or when something “Lucille Ball” like happens to me (bound to happen).

This fairy tale? It has eluded me so far. But I still pray for him. I still think about getting married. I don’t dream of fancy weddings that cost thousands of dollars. I dream of a quiet wedding on the beach or in the tiny chapel in my hometown. The wedding is not the thing. What is the thing, is two people standing before God and those closest to them – committing to love and honor each other, always.

I still dream of the fairy tale. I pray for the fairy tale. It may not look like your fairy tale. And it certainly isn’t like the fairy tales we read about or see played out in movies. But it’s still my dream.

It feels very unlikely during times like I’ve had recently. And yet, the hope doesn’t quite die. Wherever this hilarious, tender man (who loves football) is, I hope I run into him soon. And I hope he chooses me. He won’t regret that decision.