My Epic Solo Roadtrip – The Backstory

I’m sitting in my condo with the balcony doors open wide so I can hear the sound of the waves crashing outside. The ocean is one of my favorite sounds in the whole world. It’s both relaxing and also a wonderful reminder of how powerful my God is. He made those waves. He made that ocean. And He is so much bigger and more powerful than anything He created.

Here’s how I got here:

About 18 months ago, I found myself. Really found myself. As weird as it sounds, I believe the catalyst was our miscarriage. It was so heartbreaking, but that tiny, unborn baby has brought me such healing and confidence and bravery. What a legacy.

I think it was the catalyst because for the first time in my life, I walked through grief – deep grief – in a healthy way. I gave myself space to hide away from the world for a whole month. I was really open about my self-care. I was frank when people would ask how I was doing and I would tell them, “I’m feeling pretty awful, so I’m going to hide away for a few weeks and mourn and heal, and then I will go back to living.

I also learned during that time, even more vividly than I already knew, that my God is a great comforter. And He can handle it when I lean into Him with my grief and my stress and my anxiety and my fears of the future and my insecurities and even my anger. He can handle it. He did handle it.

A month after our miscarriage, Mr. Right and I got our matching tattoos. He thinks that was a turning point in my life – where I just went for something big. A tattoo is not big to the average person, but to me, the ultimate rule follower, it was SO big. It was one of the first times in my life that I decided to do something and didn’t care a bit what other people thought. I did it for me.

As a life-long people pleaser and rule follower, the past 18 months have been so freeing. It’s like at the age of 34, I realized that the people around me love me and don’t care if I have a tattoo. Or pink hair (which came later). Or a perfect home, job, family, apperance… life.  And the ones who do care – well, I don’t really care anymore what they think. And not in a “I don’t love people and care about them” way. No, it was more of a “I’m going to put on my big girl panties and just be Bethe and not worry about what others think about me” way.

I finally felt free.

At age 34.

Now, 18 months later, just two weeks shy of 36, I am celebrating finding my voice. I’m celebrating the things that God has shown me about Himself. I’m celebrating my marriage to my husband – which is so far from perfect, but is also such a gift from God. I’m celebrating being a mom to a daughter who is a delight. And a hand-full.

But I’m not just a wife. Not just a mom. Not even just an employee. I’m not defined by those titles.

I’m just… Bethe.

Before this gets too fluffy, let me also say that we have been walking through something really hard this year. So very hard. Just three weeks ago I experienced one of the greatest traumas – one of my worst case scenarios – and it hurt. And so I did the thing I did after my miscarriage – I holed up at our house and told people I didn’t want to face the world. But that it was only temporary. That I’d be back. Because now I know that you can grieve now, or you can grieve later, but you WILL grieve. And so I leaned into the grief, and slept and slept and cried and got angry at my lot and had some very frank conversations with my Creator. And guess what… He can still handle it.

The details of the trauma doesn’t matter. In due time, I will share all the details with you (goodness… if you know me in “real life” you already know all of it… or at least, most of it). But the type of trauma doesn’t matter. It’s the way you overcome it. The way you trust your Savior with your hurt that matters. It’s the way you get back up and keep living that matters.

And so that’s why I’m here.

A week after my worst case scenario happened, Mr. Right and I were on a fancy date, celebrating life in the midst of heartache. And he hatched his idea for me to go on an epic solo road trip to visit my girlfriends. To see my girlfriend who moved to Orlando, and my other girlfriend who moved to Oxford, Mississippi. ­To stop and spend some time at the beach. To rest, and to heal, and to have special girl time with my friends. To just drive and drive and spend some alone time with my God and a good audio book. To find an adventure. To celebrate finding my voice.

And so two weeks later, I’m here. And now you know. I’m out here, driving 1500 miles alone over 7 days, to celebrate. To celebrate life. And freedom. And growth. And healing. To not be a wife or mom or employee or any other label I have given myself. To just be Bethe.

To feel free.

Happy Anniversary to my Beloved


Three years ago today was one of the best days of my life. After 30 years of praying, I finally got to marry Mr. Right. And thus began the next chapter of our adventure together.


Marriage is the hardest, most wonderful, most humbling, thing I’ve ever done. To have someone know all those things I spent my whole life trying to keep a secret from the world, and even with a front-row seat to all my flaws… he still chooses me. He tells me repeatedly that his goal is to help me to thrive.


We have laughed and cried together. We’ve seen each other through lengthy illnesses (me), three broken bones (him), two major job changes, countless house projects, a difficult pregnancy and now the early days of parenthood. We’ve also had some of the most wonderful adventures, had deep discussions during road trips and late night talks under the covers.


I always knew Mr. Right would make an incredible father, and after getting to watch him in action for the past six months, it makes me realize I am even more blessed than I could have imagined. I knew on that cold January day, three years ago, as I walked down that aisle and saw the man I would marry, that I loved him.

But really, I had no idea just how much.
189511_10150109187471120_6609560_nMr. Right, here’s to three wonderful years, and hopefully 75 more.

Don’t waste your pretty: A Valentine’s Pep Talk

***This blog post first ran on February 14, 2012, and was originally given as a Sunday School lesson/pep talk in 2010 to a group of single women in their 20s-30s back before I ever dated Mr. Right. I hope you enjoy!

I was single for 30 years, and the I will admit that I used to hate Valentine’s Day, because it was just highlighting the fact that I was still single. Probably the only one – or so it seemed. So a few years ago I gave this pep talk to my Sunday School class to encourage my fellow single friends that we could survive our single years, and not only survive… but do it fabulously. Here’s what I told them:

How to survive your single years:

1. Your fabulousness isn’t determined by your relationship status.
Sometimes that’s hard to remember when you see all your friends post pics of their beautiful husbands/boyfriends/babies, and you’re home hanging out with your Schnoodle. But whether or not you have a Valentine does not determine your value.

2. No pity dates. Learn to say no.
It seems like yesterday. I was 24. I had a boyfriend. And yet some sweet clueless boy in my singles group at church cornered me and asked me on a date. To a Joel Olsteen rally. (I couldn’t make this up.) I was so caught off-guard, and so worried about hurting this poor boy’s feelings that I panicked and blurted out “I’ll email you.” My boyfriend was obviously mad when I told him, and it just delayed the inevitable rejection. From that point on I decided that I would learn to be good at saying no. And I did. It’s a great life skill to have. I found that boys really do want a direct answer – and for you, it’s like ripping off a band-aid… you can just get it over with.

No pity dates girls. Even if he tells you that God told him you’re the Ruth to his Boaz. If God didn’t tell you, it’s okay to say NO.

3. Never, never, NEVER settle. Don’t waste your pretty.
We all know that the bible says not to be unequally yoked. Meaning, if you’re a believer, then you need to only date believers. No missionary “I can change him!” dating. Don’t even dip your toe in the water, or you may fall in.

But it’s not just because God wants to take away your fun and eliminate what seems like 95% of the hot guy dating pool. God has a better plan for you – check out Ephesians 5:25-33 and know that having a husband who “washes you with the Word” is such a total treat. Wait for a man who will pray for you. Who will lead you and your children well. Who will love you in the same sacrificial, intentional way that Christ loves his church. It’s worth the wait, even if it seems like you have to wait forever. I promise.

4. Being single doesn’t mean there’ something wrong with you. God’s plans are bigger than that.
Well-meaning people used to infer that people were single because God had some work he needed to do in their hearts. Like somehow the entire singles department was made up of weirdos, and the entire young marrieds department had everything together.

Ummm… have you seen some of the crazy people who are married out there?  God’s still going to still refine you after marriage. Probably more. But there may be other reasons why you’re still single.

You may be single because God wants to use you to encourage another single girl. I think God kept me single for what seemed like FOREVER because he wanted some older girls to encourage those sweet 22-year-old girls who thought life would end if they weren’t engaged when they got that college degree. My 29-year-old self showed them that life isn’t over if you aren’t living the white picket fence American dream. God is a whole lot more creative than the American dream.

Or, your Mr. Right may not be ready for you yet. God did a major work in my Mr. Right’s life, and we just wouldn’t have been a good fit a few years ago. Plus he lived in Colorado, and I would have hated long-distance dating. But when the time was right… he practically dropped in my lap. He moved suddenly from Oklahoma to Fort Worth and then drove FORTY-FIVE MINUTES to my church – I have assured him that I prayed him all the way here. So keep praying for your future man… he may have a long commute to get here.

5. Use this time to its fullest. Find an adventure.
For me, I decided I would use my time to travel. And I did – three trips to Europe, plus I traveled all over the US and to Mexico… basically anytime a friend or family member was up for a trip, I was the first to volunteer. And because of that, I watched sunsets on the beach in Greece and saw my Rangers beat the Yankees in New York. I also ran a half marathon, learned to quilt, got a master’s degree, took salsa lessons… no need to sit at home on Friday nights wondering where your man is. Go find an adventure.

6. Serve. Serve. Serve.
“Let us not become weary of doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” (Galatians 6:9)

While you’re waiting for Mr. Right, keep yourself busy by serving others. You’ll end up having a blast, and when you’re focusing on others you have less time to sit and worry about when your prince charming will make his grand entrance.

7. Don’t be bitter. Don’t make all guys pay for the sins (or extreme stupidity) of just one.
“Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger… be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” (Eph. 4:31-32)
“I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you. I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.” (Ezekiel 36:26)
There’s nothing uglier than bitterness. The cutest girls are the ones with sweet spirits.

8. When you DO date… don’t peace out on your church and your ministry.
We’ve all seen someone do the break-up walk of shame back to church… they fell in love and disappeared from the face of the planet. And then somebody changed their mind, and whoops, she’s back. Don’t be that girl. But if you see that girl… go love on her, because she probably could use a friend.

9. NEVER compromise your morals. Remember your lines and don’t cross them.
Know your limits in advance… because in the heat of the moment, when that cute guy looks at you with those big brown eyes… you’re probably not going to make good decisions. So already have your mind made up – it’s worth it.

10. Remember that God’s timing is PERFECT. He has a plan for you. He keeps his promises, and he has not forgotten about you.
“The Lord longs to be gracious to you; he rises to show you compassion. For the Lord is a God of justice. Blessed are all who wait for him.” (Isaiah 30:18)

“Do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded. You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised.” Hebrews 10:35-36

“You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust you.” Isaiah 26:3

So my fabulous friends… any other advice that I missed? How have you chosen to thrive?


Crushed under the weight of my own expectations

I was doing some heavy thinking on the treadmill yesterday… what else is a girl to do while she sweats out four very ugly miles as part of her half marathon training?

And what was I thinking, anyway, training for this half marathon? It has been an ugly few weeks… I have a dozen excuses of why I’m not very stallion-esque while I run, but none really matter… I’m still training through the ugliness. Even yesterday’s ugliness when I happened to forget my deodorant (gasp). I feel sorry for the person running next to me. (Let’s be honest… my nose has been stuffy for two months, so I was blissfully unaware of how much I really embarrassed myself.)

But back to the treadmill… I was mulling some deep thoughts as I sweated to Beyonce. I read a blog yesterday about ways to increase the amount of walking I do. Which is a great idea. You know the drill… park at the back of a parking lot, take the stairs, yadda, yadda, yadda…

And this is how my stream of consciousness progressed:

I should walk more. Heck, I’m trying to drop a few pounds, this sounds like an easy way to facilitate that.

But then I’d have to wear flats every day. And even my best work flats aren’t really made for a lot of walking. So I’d have to buy new shoes.

But I’m supposed to dress for the job I want… It’s proven science (at least, I saw it in a magazine once) that the most professionally intimidating women wear stilettos. And since I have a fairly public job, I need to be a put-together professional fashionista.

But if I walk long distances in heels, I’ll mess up my feet. I don’t need a bunion. Those surgeries hurt.

And then I thought about other contradicting expectations I put on myself:

I want to be a domestic goddess. I should be a fabulous cook. And baker. Good women know how to bake pies.

But I shouldn’t really eat those sorts of calorie-ridden foods. I need to be eating lean. Basic. The last thing I need to be eating is pie. 

But a domestic goddess doesn’t just make grilled chicken and steamed veggies for dessert. She needs to wrap that chicken in cream cheese and bread dough and bake it in the oven. And I should saute those veggies in some sort of wonderful Italian olive oil.

As a domestic goddess, I should have a clean house. I should put myself on a cleaning schedule, and have sparkling floor and dustless blinds. On all 20 of my 10-foot-tall windows.

But I work long hours. So if I spend much time cleaning, I won’t have time to work out.

Maybe I should work out before work. Oh wait, if I do that, I won’t get my quiet time in. I could try to do both, but then I would have to wear a pony tail to work. And then I won’t look fashionably intimidating. How can I juggle a quiet time, getting ready for work, cleaning my house, working out, and cooking healthy?

And suddenly I’m drowning beneath the weight of my own expectations.

The other night, as Mr. Right and I prayed together before bed…

Side note – a pastor at our church told us that the divorce rate for couples who pray daily together is 1%… and since divorce is not an option and we want to set ourselves up for success, we’ve adopted a nightly prayer time, just the two of us, before we go to bed… and I absolutely love it.

As I was saying… the other night, as Mr. Right and I prayed together before bed, he prayed the sweetest prayer over me. He prayed that the Lord would reveal what His expectations are for my life, and that He would save me from being crushed by my own self-expectations.

I never thought of it that way. I do tend to be my own worst enemy when it comes to holding myself to an impossible standard.

And I didn’t realize that Mr. Right had noticed.

What a sweet prayer for a girl who wants to be a Martha Stewart homemaker with a Jessica Biel body and a Condoleeza Rice brain. Marriage, in the midst of all the fun, surely is a sanctifying experience.

Happy Anniversary to me (and Mr. Right)

Last weekend we celebrated our one-year wedding anniversary – it was a week early, but this coming weekend we have a gender reveal party for my sister’s first baby, and we just couldn’t bear to miss it. So we bumped it up a week and had ourselves a glorious time.

We spent Sunday night at the Omni, the same hotel we stayed in on our wedding night. In typical fashion, Mr. Right sweet-talked the hotel into upgrading us to a suite, complete with two bathrooms, a huge living room and a gorgeous view of Fort Worth.

We got gussied up and treated ourselves to a  fancy dinner at Texas de Brazil (we even snagged a coupon that let us save a little cash). Other than that, we did absolutely nothing. We mostly reminisced about our first year of marriage – it was such a challenging one, but filled with such sweet moments (and so many laugh out loud, pee in my pants funny memories) that we relived again together. In typical Bethe fashion I cried through most of our reminiscing, because (a) I’m a girl and (b) I tend to get overwhelmed with gratitude when I think back to all the miracles God worked in our life over the past year – the dozens of answered prayers, the moments of celebration, the tender moments between just the two of us… and the other times when I felt extreme sadness, and yet my sweet husband was there to walk alongside me.

And then there was breakfast. Is there any greater luxury than ordering room service in a hotel? We ordered room service for breakfast, and I got to enjoy a giant stack of pancakes without having to change out of my pajamas. It made me feel like a princess (it doesn’t take much, does it?). Then we climbed back in bed and spent the whole morning watching movies. It was peaceful and relaxing and I loved every minute of it.

We spent the afternoon shopping and eating lunch at our favorite Fort Worth spot (Zoe’s), and I snagged the cutest red ruffled dress at a local boutique. And then we drove home, took another long nap, and spent the evening watching more movies.

It was the perfect end to a great Christmas vacation, and I feel recharged and ready to face the world.

To those of you who prayed for us this year, I want to say a whole-hearted THANK YOU. Trust me when I say that Mr. Right and I logged many, many hours on our knees in 2011. Please don’t stop on year two!

I’m THAT girl

I never liked that girl. You know her – the girl who hasn’t pumped her own gas in years because her husband does it for her? The girl who never has to worry about changing her oil, or buying air filters, or managing her finances? The one who never has to brave a car repair shop on her own while the hood of her car is smoking?
I always envied her a little. I coped by judging her and assuming that I was far superior because I was forced to learn how to do those things for myself. I didn’t need a man to do those things because I was a fabulous, independent woman who put on her big girl panties and learned how to take care of herself.
And then I became that girl.
In the past three months of marriage, I haven’t pumped my own gas, because my husband does that for me every Saturday morning. And he washes my car. He mows my lawn (and let me tell you, he’s a dreamboat of a lawn boy). He lifts heavy things for me. He takes out the trash. He fixes thing when I break them, and he even drove me to work during February’s ice storm… five times.
I am that girl, and I love it. I love it more because I was forced to do those things on my own for so long, so having someone else do them for me is the greatest treat. May I never forget what a gift he is. May I never forget how special those gestures are, or how wonderful my husband is for choosing to do them. May I never take it for granted or forget to thank him. May I never think that he owes me anything.
May I never stop trying to one-up him on all his great gestures. Every time he fills my gas tank, all I want to do is go wash more of his laundry. It’s this horribly wonderful cycle. May it never stop.
What about you? What little gesture does your husband do that just thrills you?