Marie Alvero is a former missionary to Africa and Mexico. She currently lives a happy, busy life with her husband and children in Central Texas, USA.
I love working out, and I also love food! Cooking a great meal makes me incredibly fulfilled and happy, and I’ve often read cookbooks like they were novels. So, knowing how passionate I am about food and fitness, and seeing all the workout videos and amazing recipes I share on social media, you might imagine me to be a super fit gal who eats only the finest foods.
My husband and I spent a year in a small town in Tanzania. When I say a “small town,” I mean a town with two stoplights, no supermarket, no restaurants to speak of, only one two-story building, and no entertainment! We lived in a simple house with only the most basic furnishings and conveniences.
Weary. That used to be my word for December. Yes, I know it doesn’t convey the true wonder of the season. But the days are hard and long, and by this time of year, I have 300-plus behind me. I just wish the year wouldn’t race past me and leave me feeling totally spent—and still coming up short.
I recently had the opportunity to be around a couple who had 35+ years of marriage under their belt. Watching the way they interacted with each other raised the marriage bar for me.
As we gathered to enjoy a meal outside, Jen came to the serving table to get a plate for Greg. “Greg loves asparagus!” she said, excited to be serving him something he enjoyed.
Change is a scary thing. Even the best of changes have some downsides or fallout, and the worst of changes usually have some silver lining hidden in them. But no matter how much I know this in my head, sometimes it’s hard to believe it in my heart.
Sometimes, at the most unexpected times, we get little revelations that clarify perspective, give insight, and recharge our faith. I got one of those the other day.
It had been a long few months financially speaking, and now our vehicle was in the repair shop. As I waited for my husband to call me with the cost estimate, I asked God why this was happening to us now, of all times. “We’re already struggling,” I pleaded. “How can we afford an expensive repair on our vehicle?”
I realized recently that I had been giving myself a “grouch allowance” when certain things happened.
They were mostly trivial things like having to clean up a mess when I was tired or my husband being late—things that I could have easily gotten through if I hadn’t predetermined that I had the right to get grouchy in those circumstances.
When my husband Sam and I had only one child, I thought I had a handle on parenting. I needed to adapt and bend and give up some of my independence, but not too much. I was absolutely on top of Cade’s appearance, and he never wore dirty, stained, or soiled clothes. Cade was very “portable,” and we toted him with us wherever we went. When something needed to get done, we calmly set out to do it and got it done. I knew things would get harder as we had more children, but I wasn’t worried; I was pretty good at this.
Brooke arrived next. Brooke was an angel of a baby, waking only to gurgle and coo, and putting herself back to sleep. I had gained less weight during that pregnancy, so I was back in shape in no time. If I could ace it with two, I reasoned, I could handle anything. I was at the top of my game.