Commentary #88: “Make Your Own MAGIC and Manifest Your DREAM LIFE”

The quoted words in the title of this blog post comes from a relatively recent episode of the That Smart Hustle podcast by author Kristen Martin. I haven’t read any of her books yet, though I plan to change that sooner rather than later. I discovered her Facebook page, and then stumbled upon to her podcast. I subscribed, went all the way back to Episode 1, and just fell in love.

That Smart Hustle - Soundcloud

Image Credit: Soundcloud

I love her voice, her style, and her podcast format. They’re short, sweet, and simple.

Granted, she does things very differently than I do. But, what she shares in her podcast episodes are always encouraging and inspiring to me.

I’m not “into” or “practice” certain things such as the phases of the moon, crystals, tarot, and so on. I know people who do a combination of things like this, and I’m not arguing against any of it. As a Christian, I pray. However, I really like the idea of manifestation. And, I think I’m already doing it, and didn’t even realize it.

In this episode, Kristen expands upon manifesting, and how she does it in her life. It’s based on the law of attraction. Focus on something to bring it into your reality. There are several ways to accomplish this: Meditation, visualization, or using your conscious and subconsicous to focus on this thing, or goal, or whatever it may be.

Once you’ve pick the thing or goal to manifest, then you have to take action. As an example, if you want to get a new job or a promotion, then you focus on that job or promotion, visualize it, and then clean up your resume, submit the applications, or climb the ladder toward that promotion. It takes effort, and hard work, but it pays off.

For me, I “accidentally” manifested the completion of the first draft of my first novel. I was tired of struggling with the ending of the book, and I decided I just needed to finish it, no matter what it took. When I saved the draft on March 30th, the feelings of elation, pride, and joy I had were remarkable. I practically jumped up and down in my living room. I posted about it on Facebook, and the response and feedback I received was absolutely incredible. I realized how many people were cheering for me, how proud they were, and how many are looking forward to the book when it’s ready to be published. I’m still blown away by it all, and here we are nearly three weeks after I finished it.

Am I manifesting anything new, you may ask?

Yes, I am!

  1. Being debt-free
  2. Completing the first draft of my second novel

These two things are huge in my universe right now. I just took major action on #1 today, and it’s definitely a step in the right direction after a lot of negative thoughts, and a huge emotional breakdown between yesterday and this morning.

I’ve been actively participating in Camp NaNoWriMo this month for #2, and I feel so good with the progress I’ve made thus far. And we’re only 11 days into the month!

As I write this post, I just realized the Monthly Goals posts I make here on the blog are also forms of manifestation. I set those goals, and having them in writing on the first day of every month allows me to take action on them immediately, or work on them throughout that month. And, I’m able to look back on them whenever I want, to remind myself of the goals, and invest more time, energy, or whatever it is to accomplish those goals.

Now, why is “dream life” capitalized in the title?

Well, Kristen says in the podcast that you can use manifestation to help you build your actual dream life. I love this idea. She talks about making a list of everything you dream about that you want in life: What job do you have, what car are you driving, what are you wearing, what house do you live in, what state or country do you live in, and so on.

I will be working on this in my personal journal, and I’m pretty stinking excited about it already. If you’re interested in doing this yourself, think of it as your “vision board,” but those visions are achievable. Making this list, using techniques like this, will help me make those dreams a reality.

All that said, I still pray to God. As a Christian, that’s a given for me every day. That won’t change a bit.

And something special has been happening at my church that I haven’t talked about very much. As a congregation, we have a Breakthrough Prayer we are challenged to pray every day at either 5:17 a.m. or 5:17 p.m. The reason 5:17 is significant is that’s our Bible verse, 2 Corinthians 5:17, for the Next Level Innovations (NLI) process we are embarking upon for the next three years.

17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come:[a] The old has gone, the new is here!

How fitting that our church is New Creation United Methodist Church.

In a way, NLI is another form of manifestation. The three-year process has a series of goals and visualizations, and it takes effort and action from everyone involved to make it successful. I love the mantra: Going from good to GREAT.

I know, for me, since we started this process, I’ve already experienced a few breakthroughs, and I can only imagine there are many more to come.

Here’s the Breakthrough Prayer:

Almighty God, today breakthrough in our lives and in our church. Make us a new creation. Transform us by the power and presence of your Holy Spirit. Show us how to make a difference in our community and the world. Give us boldness to follow where You lead. Amen.


Resources


Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

Tag #80: “What’s On Your Heart Tag”

February - What's On Your Heart Tag

PHOTO BY FREESTOCKS.ORG ON UNSPLASH

Thank you to Stuart, author of Something To Stu Over, for tagging me!

I realize now that I should have done this tag in February, but better late than never, right?

Here’s the link to Stuart’s post, where I was tagged:


Here are the rules:

  • Thank the person who nominated you to participate.
  • Link back to the original post (Purple Rose’s & Dollfaced Writer’s)
  • Attach an image that inspires you regarding the month’s theme (or use the original).
  • Talk about what this month’s theme means to you.
  • Answer the questions.
  • Nominate 3 people to participate.
  • Enjoy the rest of your month 🙂

What’s On My Heart

  • How blessed I am! I’ve been wrestling with a significant financial burden recently, but I feel like I have some direction now. I trust God to lead me in the right direction. He knows everything!

Here are the questions for this month’s tag:

1. Do you believe in love at first sight?

  • Yes, definitely. ❤

2. Do you believe in soulmates?

  • I do now. I truly believe Al is my soulmate, and so many amazing things happened to bring us together.

3. What’s the first thing you notice about a person?

  • Their eyes, and their personality.

4. What’s your ideal date?

  • A wonderful meal together, and either a movie out or a movie at home. Al and I have had, and continue to do so now, dates like this, and all of them have been great.

5. What traits do you look for in a friend / significant others?

  • Honesty, humor, treating others with respect, willingness to discuss things deeply, and enjoying time with me.

6. What are your thoughts on being friends with an ex?

  • I’m Facebook friends with the first two guys I dated in high school. We’re not as close anymore, but that’s fine with me. One is happily married. The other is in an amazing relationship, and I hope they do get married someday. In a way, I’m actually closer to their parents, since we all met through church years ago.
  • However, there’s a significant difference when comes to the long-term relationship ex, and an ex-friend / acquaintance. The long-term relationship ex wanted to remain friends with me, but I said absolutely not due to the abuse and manipulation I went through from 2007 through 2010.
  • The ex-friend / acquaintance was a male friend and classmate of mine in college, and we developed an online friendship in 2014. I failed to recognize so many warning signs and red flags. He wanted me to chat with him on Facebook all day and all night, so much so that I was reprimanded once at my job, which was incredibly mortifying. In addition, he wanted more from me, although we were both in committed relationships during that period of nearly two years. He eventually told his girlfriend everything he wanted from me – Kissing me, and hints of more than that – and both of them ended up blocking me on Facebook in 2016. It’s been so much better since then! I now realize how toxic the entire thing was, and I’m still healing from it today.

7. If you’re a believer, when did you give your heart to the Lord? If not, what in life keeps a bounce in your step?

  • I truly gave my heart to God in sixth grade, at my first-ever youth retreat. I’ve been raised United Methodist my whole life, but I truly accepted Christ at age 12.
  • I was actually baptized / christened twice. Once in New York, where we were living at the time, and then in Florida at my grandparents’ church.
  • I continue to attend New Creation United Methodist Church – The church I grew up in. It will always be Aldersgate to me, since the name change happened when I was in high school. We became members in 1993, and my parents are dynamic members, for lack of a better term. I’ve scaled back my involvement significantly, but it will always be “home.” We’re excited to be celebrating the church’s 50th Anniversary in October!
  • I lost my faith a bit in college. I realize now this was mainly due to the manipulation of my ex-boyfriend, John, who didn’t want to be involved with the United Methodist Church as much, and he led me away in the process. It makes me sad occasionally, but I know things happen for a reason. After four long years, I finally recognized I was not happy, that I was a different person, and needed to leave. I ended the relationship on July 17, 2010, and I truly felt freedom. After ending it, I immediately prayed to God, and asked for forgiveness. I found out later he was planning to propose to me on August 8th, roughly three weeks later. We were seniors in college, attending the same university, but he wisely chose to keep his distance from me, despite being on a small campus.
  • Fun fact: Al and I were asked to be Mary and Joseph in the church Christmas celebration in 2010, about three months after we started dating. Everyone got a huge kick out of it. We were pretty embarrassed, but we went along with it.
  • I became involved with New Creation again after my college graduation, and I’m so happy I have continued the relationship. I help my dad with the blood drives at the church, serve on the media team, and serve on the Communications Team. It’s a great balance of service and involvement.
  • Al and I married in New Creation’s sanctuary on November 14, 2015.
  • Although Al does not participate in worship services or other church activities, aside from donating blood regularly at the church, he’s 100 percent supportive of my involvement and my service. He always has been, and that’s a HUGE deal for me.

Here’s a few photos from our wedding day! You can read more here: Getting Personal #18: Best. Day. Ever.

Disclaimer: All photos in this post, unless otherwise stated, were taken by Amanda MacDiarmid, or her second shooter, Cathy. Amanda owns and operates Stellar Exposures.

All credit goes to them.

The sanctuary.

Beautiful shot.

Pastor Eric Song playing his guitar during the groomsmen entrance.

Married!!

Standing in front of the floor-to-ceiling stained glass piece.


Tag – You’re It!


Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

Adventure Time: Norfolk, VA Edition (Round 3 – American Red Cross “Celebration of Heroes” Luncheon)

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This was the luncheon program. I think the “Ordinary People, Extraordinary Acts” tagline is so fitting!

I had such a unique and special adventure today!

My dad and our church have been honored several times from the local chapter of the American Red Cross, headquartered in Norfolk, Virginia.

Today, my dad, Jim, and two co-coordinators of the church blood drives, Kathy and Michael, were honored and recognized as the American Red Cross Coastal Virginia “Blood Drive Heroes” during the “Celebration of Heroes” luncheon. It was held at the Sheraton Norfolk Waterside Hotel. It was outstanding!

Shannon Revels, our blood drive Donor Recruiting Account Manager was the one who submitted the nomination. We were also introduced to Marissa Nihill, Executive Director, Coastal Virginia American Red Cross, Norfolk.

The room was full. Kathy and I had the opportunity and honor to sit with heroes Daniel “Dan” Jones and Gilbert “Smitty” Smith. Dan saved a woman from drowning in the James River in Richmond last summer, and Smitty performed the Heimlich maneuver and other lifesaving acts on a family member, thanks to his first-responder training.


Photo montage!

The tables were beautifully decorated!

The welcome slide of the PowerPoint.

Blood Drive Heroes!

The food was amazing!!

Emcee Ashley Smith, from 13 News Now, was outstanding!

Marissa Nihill, Executive Director, delivers closing remarks.

Every hero/heroes had a framed biography / back story outside the ballroom.

This is Dad’s award. Kathy and Michael’s are identical, with their names engraved.


I know I’m a little biased, focusing on Dad, Kathy, and Michael. However, every single person who was honored today has an amazing story. Everyone was so humble and appreciative!

Here’s the full list of heroes:

  • Disaster Response Hero – Keene Black
  • Coastal Chapter Humanitarian Hero – Jennifer Boykin
  • Community Impact Hero – Judy Fundak
  • First Aid Hero – Daniel Jones
  • Services to Armed Forces Hero – Jason Redman
  • Community Impact Hero – Samuel Clyde Smith
  • Emergency Responder Hero – Gilbert “Smitty” Smith
  • Lifesaving Heroes – Shane McCoy & Clifford Johnson
  • Water Rescue Heroes – Desiree Joseph, Sean Logan, Josh Turner
  • Blood Drive Heroes – Jim Stricker, Michael Strickland, Kathy Williamson
  • Corporate Humanitarian Hero – Dollar Tree

Together, these heroes provided significant relief after Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria, saved people from drowning and choking, served our country bravely through the military, organized countless blood drives, and much more. It was incredible. Kevin Gaydosh, Co-Chair, Board of Directors of the Coastal Chapter, gave several statistics about the chapter’s efforts in 2017. We noted that there were more than 48,329 units of blood donated!! That’s incredible.

It was such a special event. I got emotional several times. Several heroes received standing ovations. It was incredible to witness, and I’m glad that I was able to be a part of it.

It’s fitting this luncheon was held a week before our next blood drive. It’s also our 18th Anniversary blood drive! If you’re in the Hampton Roads area on Saturday, April 7th, we’d love to see you stop by and Give the Gift of Life.


Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

Hot Topic #20: Sexual Abuse in the Catholic Church

Pope Francis

Image Credit: AZ Quotes

To start researching for this post, I simply put the following words into the Google search bar:

sex abuse in the catholic church


On just the first page of results, this is what I found:

Note – For all my blog posts involving research, I do my best to cite multiple sources that are credible.


It was absolutely overwhelming to see the hits from that simple six-word inquiry. Google started to complete what I wanted after I had only typed “sex abuse.”

As I was beginning to compose the structure of this post, I thought of two recent forms of “entertainment” that specifically focuses on this topic:

  1. Spotlight
  2. The Keepers

I’ve seen Spotlight (2015) three times now, and it’s one of those movies that’s made a lasting impression on me. I was pleased that it received recognition, critical acclaim, and a few Oscars. Despite the plot centering on something so horrific and sickening, it quickly rose to near the top of my all-time favorite movies. It’s a well-written, well-cast, and well-performed motion picture. If you haven’t seen it, I highly recommend that you do so. I have a feeling you will come to the end of the movie a changed person. I know I’m glad that I went to see it in theaters, and watched it several times since then.

I recently wrote a blog post about The Keepers (2017). It’s a decent documentary series that was created by Netflix, and another one that I recommend that people watch and (attempt to) digest. While not nearly as good as Spotlight, in my opinion, it’s still something valuable to see.

Here’s a few sources I found on Spotlight and The Keepers:


I was raised in the United Methodist Church, but I have attended many other churches of different denominations throughout my life – Baptist, Catholic, Congregational, Episcopalian, Lutheran, Presbyterian, and United Church of Christ.

I knew certain aspects were different from the United Methodist Sunday School and traditional 11:00 a.m. services that I attended nearly every Sunday, unless we were traveling or visiting family. Most Sundays until I went off to college, you would find me in a church. For example, I tasted my first Communion wine while attending a local church service with Christine Anzur and her family after a weekend sleepover in elementary school, and I nearly gagged. I was inherently used to King’s Hawaiian bread and Welch’s grape juice every first Sunday of the month at Aldersgate. I knew a few devout Catholics, and learning about Mass, cantors, and priests was fascinating and intriguing.

As I grew older, I started to have a lot of questions.

  • What is celibacy?
  • Why were priests celibate?
  • What made them different from our pastor or minister? We had a female associate pastor when I was growing up (And we have a wonderful one now!), but why wasn’t a woman leading any of the Catholic churches?

Things like that. As a child and a teenager, I felt confident that I could trust the pastors at Aldersgate – They were all married men and devoted to their families.


I don’t remember the first time I heard about sex abuse in the Catholic Church, but I do clearly remember that my mind immediately starting racing with thoughts like, “Why? Why on Earth would a man of God do something so horrible? And, why haven’t we seen more of this in the news?”

As an adult, I’m finally starting to realize how deep and wide this cycle of abuse has run. I’m glad that priests, cardinals, and other officials are starting to be charged with these unspeakable crimes, but I know this is a never-ending saga. This is only the beginning.

Exposes, so to speak, like Spotlight and The Keepers, are glancing just the tip of this massive iceberg. This is bigger than what sank the Titanic. At the end of Spotlight, viewers are shown a list of places around the world where major abuse scandals took place. It was something immensely powerful. I already felt immensely sick from watching the movie, and seeing that long list just turned my stomach even further. It compelled me to do more than just watch the movie multiple times. It’s inspired me to do more research on the subject, and write blog posts like this one.


This is such a deep topic that I feel like I can’t possibly cover everything that’s happened over the years, or say everything that I want to in this one blog post.

For now, I plan to keep researching, watching / reading the news sources that I trust, and follow any new developments. I hope to publish another blog post, with hopefully some more good news, at some point in the future.

I also intend to watch more films and documentaries, as well as look into other forms of media, to observe the different portrayals of this incredible saga.


This is a tough topic – One of the toughest that I’ve attempted to write about since starting this little blog of mine. I hope what I have written / presented is informative, to say the least.

I welcome any constructive comments, as well as recommendations of any compelling or interesting sources that you have come across.

Thanks for reading!


Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

Commentary #53: “12 Things You Only Understand If You Grew Up Going To Church Camp”

Pinterest 2

Image Credit: Pinterest

My friend Cara shared this article a few days ago on Facebook. Just reading the title sent me back into nostalgia. Almost every summer, from fourth grade through college, and a few as an adult, I was at some sort of church camp!

Here’s the link to the original post:


I wish I had more photos to share!

Since a lot of my church camp experiences happened before I entered the world of Facebook, a lot of them are in traditional photo albums at my parents’ house, etc.

However, I did manage to find a few!

CCC 2012 (2)

CCC 2012, Albemarle, North Carolina – This was our finished wheelchair ramp!

CCC 2012

CCC 2012, Albemarle, North Carolina – We worked hard, but we also made time for fun, like ice cream!

Bandannas – Need I say more?

  • I’m not wearing bandannas in these photos, but for years, I did! They were fashion accessories – The girls traded them back and forth! We also went to the Dollar Tree before the trip to find new colors!

You probably dressed up in some interesting outfits.

  • Maybe? I remember the staff at Carolina Cross Connection (CCC) many a summer decked out in costumes, overalls, tights, tutus, and more!

Camp games were the best games!

  • Absolutely! I learned to play nine square at the camp in Florida with Daniel, Aime, and Loren (and quickly realized how competitive it was!)
  • At CCC, the icebreaker games were hilarious! Every summer was different, and it was great watching the adults!

Everyone had a camp crush they will always remember!

  • Oh, yes – No names mentioned here, but this was a definite.
  • I do know several people who met their true loves at CCC. Matt and Alex got married at a CCC camp!

You made friends that will last a lifetime.

  • Yes – I still have letters, cards, and photos from camp friends!
  • A lot of us have kept in touch through Facebook now.

You master taking 5 minute or less showers!

  • This is so true – Although the cooler water felt amazing after long days in the sun!
  • It was really hard to juggle everything carefully – Shower caddies would have been an amazing investment back then!
  • Most camps do this, but I highly recommend wearing Old Navy-style flip-flops or some type of sandal that can get wet in the shower! Camp showers are NOTHING  like your bathroom at home.

You were a master at coming up with skits and chants for your team!

  • I certainly tried. I enjoyed the group effort!
  • I definitely didn’t have much of a voice when I came home.

Every worship song seems to be 10 times better at camp!

  • This is probably the most true statement of them all!
  • CCC camps usually have some sort of “hill” or “mountain” on the property, and those experiences were always amazing!
  • I’ll always remember the girls on CCC staff standing on chairs to hold the handwritten song lyrics, with a lot of us holding flashlights!

You had a crush on someone in the band.

  • For me, this wasn’t necessarily summer camp, but mainly the Blackstone retreats!
  • I still have a few of my shirts signed by all the band members!

You always packed way more than you needed.

  • I was one of those people who followed the list of items to the letter!
  • It was so much fun packing for the trip, but such a drag packing to go home! Nothing seemed to fit properly.
  • Sometimes, I borrowed the big black garbage bags for my dirty laundry – Yuck!

You can try to tell someone about camp but no one else will understand.

  • Exactly! I wore my camp shirts to school a lot, and I enjoyed telling my friends when they asked.

You start your countdown for camp next year the day you leave.

  • This was especially true in high school, since I went to CCC nearly every summer!
  • I also did this in 2011 and 2013, because I knew I was going to be taking a whole week off work to go to CCC in 2012 and 2014! I felt very adult then, haha.

Did you go to church camp?

What were some of your favorite memories?


Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

Commentary #18: “Elevation Church Is Kind Of Unsettling – And Kind Of Beautiful”

ElevationChurch01

Image Credit: http://www.ls3p.com

“And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.”

~Hebrews 10: 24-25 (ESV)


Freckled Italian has done it again!

Megan included this link in her blog post on Friday, March 25, as part of her recurring “Friday Favorites” series.

I took a sick day last Friday after having a massive panic attack (More about that later, in another blog post), so I was skimming through Facebook late in the afternoon and found Megan’s post. Her comments fascinated me, as well as the comments from her readers. I skimmed through the story, and let it marinate for a couple days.

Here’s the link: Elevation Church is kind of unsettling – and kind of beautiful


After the initial skim, I sat down and read through Katie’s account, and I found it fascinating. She went to Elevation Church’s Blakeney venue in Charlotte, North Carolina, where Megan lives. The photo at the beginning of this post is what you would see from your seat there on a Sunday morning.

Wow.

Katie’s main observation:

“… I thought I’d try out the Blakeney venue because it’s a broadcast location, which means it functions like an indoor concert hall that’s loaded with media equipment plus a giant camera swiveling on a long arm to broadcast the sermon to other locations, and the Internet …”

So much technology!

Don’t get me wrong – I’ve been to several Christian rock concerts in my time … but I can’t imagine experiencing that level every single Sunday.


I grew up in a traditional United Methodist Church – It’s been like a second home since I was four-years-old, and also where I married Al nearly five months ago.

However, over the years, I’ve had the opportunity to worship in multiple churches of different denominations – Catholic, Lutheran, United Church of Christ, Baptist, Presbyterian, and a non-denominational church too.

In the last few years, I’ve seen the rise of more contemporary churches – Holding services in movie theaters, theater venues, and other modern spaces.

There’s a local one, called The Rising, that holds its services in The NorVa. I did some reading on it, and watched a few videos. I love the pastor’s enthusiasm and his messages about modern struggles and relating those to the Bible and Jesus’s time. I’m all for getting people interested in the church with different approaches – Rock music, modern messages, etc.

I think that’s great.

But, that’s not for me.


I agree with Sara – One of Megan’s regular readers / commentators.

She said:

“… I love how diverse they are and how enthusiastic everyone is, but it all feels like show and less like worship. I want my worship experience to feel honest, and it’s hard to feel that way when every Sunday is a production …”

She hit the nail on the head for me.

I don’t feel that way with Aldersgate, but I can see how that perception can be formed.

I’m on the team that runs the computers and projectors for the 8:30 and 11:00 services, and I’ve gotten a great perspective from sitting in the booth and watching everything unfold.

Our 8:30 service is contemporary – The praise band has guitars, electric drums, bass, and keyboard. It’s more relaxed – Come as you are.

Our 11:00 service is traditional – Our long-time organist plays, we sing the hymns. Most people dress in their Sunday best.

I feel comfortable, and it makes sense when you’ve attended the same church for over 20 years.


I thought Megan’s take was interesting:

“I tend to get obsessed with churches that end up with cult followings and this one is no different. I’ve been listening to podcast episodes and reading everything I can about Elevation ever since we moved here in 2014, so I was excited to see this piece on my Twitter feed. (Also I love the way Katie worded her beliefs: ‘be kind, love more, try to see the divine in others.’)”

I wasn’t sure about the “cult followings” comment at first, but after reading Katie’s account, it makes sense. She almost didn’t get into the venue that Sunday because of capacity. In seeing Aldersgate’s membership numbers go up and down over the years, I can understand how Elevation Church is attractive to many different people.

Again, I think that’s awesome that they’re booming and seeing overflow crowds, but that’s not for me. I’ve found that I prefer smaller gatherings, and Aldersgate fills that need for me, for now.


I loved Katie’s account, and I’m glad I read it and took the time to write this post.

“Be kind, love more, try to see the divine in others.”

Sounds perfect to me.


Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

Commentary #15: “The Best Explanation of Marriage”

 

1 Corinthians

Image Credit: pinterest.com

I wanted to share this graphic with you first. This passage has always been one of my favorites, and it was read at our wedding in November.

But, that’s not the main message I want to share in this post.

Take a look at this:

Image Credit: CatholicLink Español on Twitter

Image Credit: CatholicLink Español on Twitter

My friend Katie shared this infographic on Facebook recently.

What’s interesting, though, is when Katie originally shared this, the graphic had everything you see, except for the CatholicLink logo/symbol on the bottom. It makes sense, since it is a Bible verse, but still, it was an interesting observation to note.


As many of you know, I am a Christian. I was raised in the United Methodist Church. I have read the whole Bible. In the words of a Jeremy Camp song, I walk by faith.

This graphic struck me, hence why I wanted to write about it.

I wanted to break down this infographic and really dive deep.


“A man” – Maturity

I’m interpreting this as a man has matured from a boy when he decides to get married. That makes sense to me. The age of consent to get married varies by state though. Some states allow parties to marry when they’re 15 or 16!

“Leaves” – Transition

Transition is a big part of marriage, but it’s a big part of life, too. For me, I have transitioned several times. I left home for the first time in 2007, to attend college. I transitioned again in 2011, when I came back home after college graduation. In 2013, I left home again to move into my first apartment. In 2014, I moved back home, again, to save money, in anticipation of eventually buying a house. And then, in 2015, I transitioned into marriage with Al. Sometime in 2016, we will transition again – together – into our own home!

I used to believe that a person, whether man or woman, should experience at least some of these transitions before getting married.

That wasn’t the case with Al – He’s only moved once in his entire life, and he never went away to college. The biggest transition, that I think he went through, was a few years ago, when he didn’t have a job for six months. But, we’re married now (Tomorrow is our 3-month anniversary), and it’s amazing!

He’s shown me so many things through his experiences, like going to community college. It’s cheaper, and you get a great education, too!

“Father and mother” – Model of a complete family

This part, I disagree with. I get that this comes from the Bible – One of the oldest books, ever.

But, in today’s world, a “complete family” is not just a mom and dad anymore.

It can be two dads. It can be two moms. It can be grandparents, or other relatives. It can be either a mom or a dad. It can be a mom and stepdad, and vice-versa.

“Attached” – A new family

I’m not sure if “a new family” is the right/best way to interpret the word “attached.” With marriage, the idea is that you’re creating a new family, yes. And that the parties involved are creating a new chapter, together.

But the word “attached” is a bit strong, to me. I still have a strong attachment to my parents, I believe I always will. That’s mainly because I am an only child. It’s important to keep close ties with your family, unless you have solid reasons/beliefs to not to.

“His wife” – Complement

This interpretation confused me, at first, until I realized that I was thinking of the wrong word. My first thought was “compliment.”

Complement – Refers to something that completes or goes well with something.

I agree with “goes well with something.”

I don’t agree with “completes.”

The reason I say that is Al doesn’t “complete” me. I am my own person. I am Laura Beth. I wasn’t incomplete before I met Al. I was recovering from an extensive abusive relationship, and Al helped make me whole again, but he himself didn’t do that for me. He helped me heal, over time. He listened. He comforted me. He understood the journey I was on.

He wasn’t my missing piece. He’s a beautiful, wonderful addition to my life. I’m so happy that we fell in love, dated, got engaged, and are now married. I look forward to spending the rest of my life with him!

“They become” – A process of learning, friendship and trust

I like this one. To make a marriage, relationship, or friendship work, you have to put in the effort to learn about each other, be friendly, and trust each other.

For Al and I, we started out as friends. I didn’t know him from Adam, so to speak. Before we exchanged phone numbers and became Facebook friends, I had said hi to him maybe twice in their house between 2009 and 2010.

When I watched Inglorious Basterds with Al and Nick the night before I went back to Longwood in August 2010, I sat between them on the couch in their backyard garage. I remember thinking to myself, “I will be content if we are friends forever.”

I trusted Al from the very beginning. I felt like I could tell him anything, and I still feel that way now, all these years later. That’s one thing that will never change.

“One flesh” – Deep intimacy between two people

I get that intimacy and sex is a big part of marriage. And that’s wonderful. I don’t and won’t judge you.

But, it isn’t everything. And I’m glad this graphic shows that. It’s a significant part, but you have to have trust, friendship, and more.


Justin, a regular reader and friend, offered his two cents about this to me in a Facebook message:

“As someone not of religion, I can tell you this Laura Beth: Marriage is a grand adventure. It’s like finding a companion in an RPG, the healer to your fighter, the Sword user to your Bow and Arrow. It’s meeting someone who will fill that empty spot in your passenger seat where groceries once was. It’s finding someone who you want to annoy, or be annoyed by, for life. Someone who you love spending time with, but also can appreciate the time you spend apart, for absence does make the heart grow fonder. It’s finding someone who you may get really angry at but you’ll still hold the umbrella under them on a rainy day, and most of all it’s finding someone who you can say is THE ONE …”

I love his analogies. It’s hard for me to say anything better than this.

I’m so glad Al and I found each other. I was reflecting on the journey I’ve been on in the car yesterday. I feel so fortunate. I am blessed. My faith has guided me through my life, even when it has wavered.

It is true – Everything happens for a reason.


Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂