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Her name is Sarah  McCullough.  Even after she’s married, she’ll still be Sarah Mac to me.

I am a somewhat independent girl with the gifting of leadership.  Not only do I recognize it, but others recognize it, too.  I fit well in the business field, as I am “business minded” and pretty good with “adult” responsibilities. These things don’t intimidate me.  In fact, some excite me.  Crazy, I know.  It’s like the guy who LOVES math when you hate it (That’s funny… that’s Sarah’s soon-to-be Mr.).  Some are incredibly artsy fartsy and right-brained… and then you have us lefties.  Sarah is the same.

Now, having a disposition such as I can make reading the word “submission” in the Bible very uncomfortable.  Thoughts of having no say in matters, answering to someone all the time, following the man around and waiting on him hand and foot, etc. can appear in the brain.  Independence is threatened, and defense mode is instantly engaged.  Not good… for several reasons.  One, that’s not what that word means.  And two, that’s only half of the story – – only half of marriage.

You’ll see in almost all the same places that ask women to submit that men are being called out to love their wives like Christ loves the church.  Wow.  What a huge undertaking.  Can you fully grasp that?  Men – – love unconditionally, love freely, love intensely, love pursuingly, love forgivingly… the list goes on.  Every day Christians try to imitate Christ, so anyone, male or female, can understand the place the man is called to be as a husband.  Women – – isn’t it easy to hold a grudge, keep record of wrongs (because let’s face it, women remember everything and men can’t remember where they left their car keys), and then bring it up in a fight?  Yes, I know you hear me.  That’s not forgiving, and forgiving isn’t always our instinct.  It is Christ’s.  It should be man’s (not gender specific here!)…  And when we can submit to our husbands by honoring them, by respecting them, by affirming them (and not just by telling them how huge their muscles are, but how great they are as men and at providing and protecting), they will in turn love us.  And because they love us we will respect them, and it goes on and on.  It’s a circle.  We don’t respect our men to get love out of them, no no no.  We respect out of selflessness, expecting nothing, and when we do that they will give freely.  That is the beautiful and perfect picture of marriage.

Sarah is exactly like me.  In fact, we really should never have become friends, because two women who have the same strong leadership gifting, like us, as well as so many other giftings in common (piano, voice, beauty 🙂 , etc.) usually compete and can’t tolerate each other.  But it’s never been an issue with us.  We look nothing a like, she is younger than me, and we have really only been friends for maybe three years, but we are the same.  I understand the independence but recognize the “homemaker” in her.  I know the drive and ability in her to do well for herself and go far in a career, but understand the need for a partner and to be provided for and protected.  We know the strength and capability in ourselves, but desire to be the Proverbs wives for our men.  What a joy it is to have a friend who undestands me to the core and to be able to empathize and minister to someone when you understand exactly where they are!  And we probably love taking the names of our husbands a bit much, when most would be like it’s just a name… but to us it resembles so much more:  covenant, love, commitment, a deep connection in our heats and souls, a life with our best friend.  It says who we are:  wives… helpmates.  I would have “G”s and “Goins” all over my house if I had room.  And Sarah will, too, thanks to some of the gifts she’s already received (except they say “Grant”).  And then we’ll be even more a like…  we’ll both have houses full of “G”s.  🙂

Yep, Sarah is marrying Casey this weekend.  I cannot wait!  I had the privilege of doing music ministry in Mexico with Casey for a month in the summer of 2006, just shortly after they became a couple, and he already loved her so much even then.  I know this because he talked about it all the time!  I “put up” with it, though, because I was so happy for them.  You see, I had them pinned as perfect for each other months before that… and I just waited for them to realize there was more to their relationship than just friendship… 🙂

Sarah, thank you so much for being there for me and for standing up with me on my wedding day just six short months ago.  It is my pleasure, and I am so honored, to now do the same for you on your wedding day.  I love you dearly, friend.


So Jeff has been in Melbourne, Florida, since Thursday leading a Short Term Mission Trip for AIM. Lots of things preceding the trip went wrong, from his car breaking down on his way to training (the old one, not the silver bullet!) to housing falling through and his luggage hopping on a different flight than he on the way to Florida.  However, God is sovereign and there are many beautiful stories coming out of this trip.  Today, though, much of the group (including Jeff) are feeling under the weather.   But, these kids are troopers and desire to continue serving and push past the sickness.  What beautiful hearts. 

While Jeff has been gone, I have resolved to thoroughly cleaning the apartment.  This is a project just about every time Jeff is gone for a work trip.  Sometimes, though, not as much is accomplished as I would like to get accomplished.  We’re not talking like picking up a few things and doing laundry – – that’s already been done.  We’re talking like scrubbing the floors, the walls, the baseboards… spring cleaning type of things.  However, last night was the night!  The brand new Swifter came out, the rugs were moved, and floors were scrubbed!  Then came the surface cleaner and some paper towels, and hello pretty white baseboards and walls in the bathroom! 

The vacuum was not left out last night, either.  Not that it’s only used when Jeff is away, but that last night was quite the night for the vacuum, so it must be mentioned. For those of you who know the vacuum (yes, actually a few of you girls have attempted to use it), this part of the story is for you!

I suffer from allergies.  In Illinois, they probably would have been classified as “seasonal” allergies, but in Tennessee they are every day, every MINUTE allergies.  All the time, non stop, like a shadow following me everywhere I go.  Anyway, because of these allergies, I have one of those bagless fancy smancy ones that supposedly help with allergies.  Ha!  We laugh in your face you fake!  These vacuums collect so much dust on their fronts, that it almost makes the vacuum do the exact opposite of what it’s suppose to – – clean and help eliminate pesky allergens.  Has anyone ever heard of dusting your vacuum?  Yep, it’s been done. 

Ever since before we got married, the “on” button has had a personality of its own.  Sometimes it willingly obliges a nice little press by the foot to the “on” button, and other times it apparently wants the day off.  Others have experienced this joy, because when we got married, a couple girls stayed in our apartment after the wedding.  They were so sweet and cleaned and organized and vacuumed!  Two weeks later, though, we got two gift cards for Target in the mail as wedding gifts from one of these girls.  And along with the nice little note, there were obvious hints that the gift cards were purchased with the intention of persuading us to replace our vacuum.  Sorry, Denise. Guess those gift cards went towards something else so much more “necessary” – – like trash bags or shampoo or something. 🙂

Well, last night, after several swift kicks (I didn’t have to work out after this!) to the “on” button and sucking up parts of both bathroom rugs, all the rugs in the apartment are clean! And right about now that new vacuum sounds really nice…  Is it sad that, after only being a wife for six months, I’m seriously thinking about asking for a vacuum for Christmas?

We have been married for six months this month (woohoo!) and have done great at living “simply,” saving and avoiding debt (double woohoo!)… Well that was nice while it lasted!  ha! But this new small “debt” is something we gladly take on and are thankful for.  Back story?  Ok!

Once apon a tme Jeff’s car broke down in Chattanooga on his way to AIM’S (Adventures In Missions) office in Georgia.  Here it is in this wedding picture taken as a joke, but we’re glad we now have it!  R.I.P. little Buick!

What started out to be just an airconditioner problem quickly became a fuse problem and then a head gasket problem, which led to lots of colorful fluids escaping from the car.  At that point the problems had declared that day to be the last day that sad little car would see the road again.

So the car was now gone, but Jeff was still in limbo between home and AIM.  For those of you that aren’t familiar with the geography down here, Nashville to Gainesville (where AIM is located) is about five hours on a good traffic day.  Chattanooga is two hours away – – almost half way.  So Jeff was very much stranded at the auto repair shop at 1:00 on a Monday afternoon.

Enter woman in shining armor!  I leave work and fly into Chattanooga to rescue the damsel(man) in distress.  On the way home it was decided that there is just too much traveling done by this family that buying another “gently” used car would not be the wisest decision.

So, we agreed to get a healthy and durable used car, and “we” decided on a Toyota.  After test driving both Corollas and Camrys, the size of the Camrys ended up beating out the mpgs of the Corollas (it was a close call!).  And now, only two weeks later and after much prayer, meet…

The good news is, the little Buick didn’t say its goodbyes as an invaluable grey box on wheels… it sold to the tow truck company for $100!  Now, what to get Ashley for her birthday… 🙂

Welcome to the family!

The Toyota Camry family!