Wife Life Wednesday: Bacon

Wife Life Wednesday_

For the past two months, God’s love has looked a lot like bacon.

Yes, bacon.

That most delicious and smelly-good piece of heaven on earth.

I digress.

Marriage is not always easy. And we (I) do not always make it easy for others to love us unconditionally. Mark, my husband, has had to walk with me through a few years of chronic illness already – though, thankfully, I no longer have to worry about chronic fatigue.

This has been a different kind of year for us – because we’ve never really been a couple in the same country when I’ve been truly well. It’s been a year of adventure for me – trips to Malaysia, Texas, and Fiji PLUS working with our youth group here in New Zealand. It’s been good, and God is in all of the refreshing.

But on the last trip I took – a youth group trip to Fiji – I found myself sick with an unidentified virus. And there was no way to communicate with Mark. Or anyone for that matter.

I hope to tell you more about that trip later on.

Mark met me at the airport when I came home, and I was put in a wheelchair to be taken out to the car. I cried and cried and cried, and for about a month I was not myself. I was just a girl recovering from a virus, healing inside and outside from my week away from Mark.

It's time forI am here to say, on “Wife Life Wednesday”, that God’s love can be found in the little things. God’s love can be found anywhere – from Fiji to Texas to New Zealand and back again. God’s love can be found in marriage – whether in the good times or the bad. I am lucky that in the good times, I can see God’s love in my husband. I know that it not always the case.

Mark brought me breakfast in bed every single morning for almost two straight weeks. He brought or prepared all my meals for me that entire month.

He loved me unconditionally, daily showing me the love of God through his actions.

And every morning for breakfast, he made me bacon.

Yes, bacon.

I hope that today, you are able to count your blessings. To see or remember something good in your life – whether you are married or not.

And maybe… maybe you can cook up some bacon tomorrow morning for breakfast.


Wife Life Wednesday: Sir Ashley Hillary & Her Husband’s Laughter

sir ashley hillary and her husband's laughter

“What do I do? What do I do? I don’t know how… tell me, tell me how to…Mark, how do I….ahhhhhAHHHHHHHHHHH!”

My legs were caught off the ground. The large pack on my back, filled with six books, a laptop, a jacket, and a blanket tried to use the law of gravity to keep me down – but to no avail. I had been scooped up against my will, flying madly toward the peaks in front of me, and I heard someone screaming.

It was me.

“I’m gonna die, I’mgonnadie, I’m gonna dieeeeeeeeeeee!” I heard through my ear-muffs, inside my mind, the faint murmerings of myself predicting my imminent demise. I saw my life flash before me, bright and white and looking an awful lot like snow. Then, I realized that if I were going to die, then my husband might die as well because he was sitting right beside me. It had scooped him up, too!

“WE’RE gonna die diediediediedie! WE’RE gonna dieeeeeeeee!! AHHHHHHHHH!!!” My screams were louder and growing louder. And then the handle came down.

I held onto it for my life. I heard something still screaming, still knowing it was me, and still not being able to control it. I turned my eyeballs slowly to the left.

My husband was there.

He was alive.

And he was laughing at me.

What’s worse than that, is that he was video-taping the last moments of my life. And laughing. Did I mention he was laughing at me???

We were on the ski lift, and it was speeding up, climbing higher, my feet dangling and my legs going sore from the dangling. I was still screaming. A family friend was on my other side. He seemed to still be alive as well. But not laughing as much as Mark.

We had come, for the second year in a row, to Mount Ruapehu with Mark’s dad. Last year it had been stormy and blizzardy so we didn’t use the ski lift. We had to climb up on our own, and I’m sure I almost met my Maker then. As I sat there near death on the ski lift, I couldn’t decide which was worse.

“Stop laughing at meeeeeeee… we’re gonna DIEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!! We’re gonna diiiiiieeeeee…Why are you LAUGHING?!.”

But he just smiled, grinning more widely than before.

I began whimpering now rather than screaming. I was a puppy who had just been swatted for the first time by an annoyed elder cat. But now, we seemed to be okay. I had a bar in front of me. I hadn’t pulled off my husband or the family friend in my panic. We were all alive. We were all alive.

As we came closer to the end of the ski lift journey, another thought hit me. How were we going to get off this thing?!?!?

I posed the question to my husband as we drew closer, screams rising out of the whimperings once more, growing louder and louder and louder, and I was screaming again as the lift drew into the landing space. A nice man held out his hand, but I couldn’t determine what he wanted from us because I was screaming, “How do we get off, how do we get off, we’re gonna die, markmarkmarkmarkmarkmarkmark AHHHHHH!!!” And my husband grabbed my hand and ran off with me into the snow.

I was panting, having survived another near-death experience going 6% up Mount Ruapehu from the parking lot. The weeks leading up to the trip, I had fervently prayed that the ski lift would be working so that we didn’t have to walk up to the cabin in a blizzard like we did last year. You can read that delightful story here, on my old travel blog.

I looked up at my husband, wide-eyed, as though having just experienced a miracle of miracles. He was still laughing at me.

I looked at the other side of me and apologized for screaming in the other guy’s ear, still hearing Mark chuckle on the other side of me.

I punched him. Or swatted him. I may have missed. I was a little out of breath. It was hard to see with so much adrenaline rushing through me. But, at least I tried.

Thus concluded, and also began, another one of the many adventures of Mark & Ashley. How we survive each one, I will never know.

Mark probably knows, though. He just laughs. He must know something that I don’t. 🙂

Wife Life Wednesday: 21 Ways My Husband Loves Me


21 waysI really, really enjoy writing “Wife Life Wednesdays”! It’s like my own special way of appreciating my spouse. This week, I finally got nominated for that “Love Your Spouse Challenge” that’s been going around Facebook… so I’ve spent a lot of time looking through photos and thinking extra hard about my husband and how lucky I am to be his wife.

I am sick quite often – Which, in our first year of marriage, hasn’t made things too easy. Mark works hard and also has to take care of me. This invisible illness thing sucks, and I know it must be hard for him as well because he has to do more than he should have to do. But, he never complains.

Thus, today, I thought it would be a good idea to write down a very few of the many, many ways that my husband shows me that he loves me. In effect, the reasons that he is wonderful.

If you’re married, I invite you to make your own list! It’s a way to appreciate your husband whether you feel like he’s doing anything nice for you or not. In most cases, I’d say there’s always something to be thankful for!

21 Ways My Husband Loves Me


1)      He makes me coffee.

2)      When I’m sick, he orders me Pad Thai. And then goes to get it for me.

3)      He shoves medicine down my throat.

4)      He tells me I don’t have to work.

5)      When I’m stressed, he helps me calm down.

6)      When I’m cold, he either builds a fire or turns the heater on.

7)      He makes sure I eat. And he reminds me not to eat sugar.

8)      He works hard – studying to be a nurse, finding odd jobs to pay bills, and dealing with finances.

9)      When I cry, he wants to know what’s wrong. And then he listens.

10)   He tells me that I’m creative.

11)   In the middle of the night, he makes sure I’m tucked in and warm (even if he’s half asleep).

12)   He understands that I need to go out with friends.

13)   My husband teases me… in a good way.

14)   He catches hedgehogs in the garden so I can hold them.

15)   He picks up the slack when I’m not well.

16)   When I’m sick he takes me to the doctor. He even calls to make the appointments.

17)   He does things like the laundry, the cleaning, and the cooking!

18)   He is the rock of our family. He is my rock.

19)   He is patient and kind with me.

20)   He prays with me almost every day.

21)   He reminds me that he needs me.

Your turn! Write your own list and share it with your husband. Better yet, find a way to tell him “thank you” twenty-one days in a row for all the things on your list. He’ll love it, and you’ll love the little smile he gets on his face when you appreciate him. 😉

Reality of Fairy Tales

What does a fairy tale really look like?

I’m sitting here in a sun-drenched bach, looking out the window at green mountains and valleys – out into the ocean and the beach down the hill, out to boats resting in the harbour for the winter. The water is so blue, I could easily mistake it for sky, so the boats look like little seagulls flying far away. The song of native birds rings out in the air – beautiful hymns that the tui sings with the angels and happy, joyful tunes from the fantails as they flit and float through the trees. The deep, intimate ballads of the wind and the sea makes it easy to feel that I am one with this place – that nature doesn’t mind sharing itself with me.

Untitled design (2)When Mark & I were married eight months ago, I felt a sort of happiness that I’d not felt before. It was similar to the calm I feel right now, sitting here. That everything was alright in the world – that I was one with another person. He and I are the same.

We have only been married for those mere eight months, but I have a different view of a fairy tale than I had before we got married. I mean, I knew that marriage was hard, and I was not soooo naïve that I thought we were going to live the rest of our lives in a magical castle and ride together on horseback every afternoon of our lives. I knew that I probably wouldn’t be wearing a crown or that fluffy pink dress every day for the rest of my life. Fairy tales have a use, but they look a bit different when they aren’t animated and people aren’t singing and dancing like a flash mob wherever you go.

Having said that, marriage is better than I imagined. You know how the prince and the princess ride away in their carriage after the wedding and you don’t really know what happens in “happily ever after”? In this “honeymoon stage” of my marriage, I feel like the movie should start with the wedding. Yeah, I’m lonely sometimes (even though I have Mark) and I get sad and homesick, but there is another person with me. I am his and he is mine. Where he goes, I go. Where he stays, I stay.

This goes for friendships, too. Mark is my best friend, but I have other best friends as well. I have a best friend in Holliday, a couple in Oklahoma, another in Dallas, and luckily, one in New Zealand. They bring me peace and comfort. And I think that a committed friendship is like marriage in a lot of ways. My best friends are my friends for life and we don’t give up on each other in the hard times. We get closer.

So, sitting here in the Coromandel, gazing out the windows into the sunshine, listening to the wind and waves soothe our souls, I reflect on peace and I reflect on my friendship and on my marriage. I am grateful for the friendships my husband has – that we can be here with his friends, and that he is out there now spearing fish with his friend’s spear gun, wearing another friend’s weight belt.

I am thankful that our friend found a octopus yesterday. I never dreamt of ever seeing one in real life.the octopus

I am thankful for the starfish and the kina we found.

I am thankful for the quartz and jasper at the top of the ocean.

I am thankful my husband let me bring home seashells and random rocks.

I am thankful that he found a perfect paua shell for me to keep.

I am thankful for the sunset’s colours pouring out over the Coromandel cliffs and valleys.

I am thankful for these little things.

Mark has finished his studies for nursing, and took his final test last week – the state exam. He has been offered a job where we wanted to be, and so many others won’t get jobs or interviews this time around. We have a roof over our heads, and a fireplace for the winter.

I am thankful for all these big things.

I get to experience a fairy tale – walking barefoot on the sand with my lover, my husband, my best friend – sharing my life with him, laughing when he laughs and crying when he is sad. I am thankful for this life in the good and the bad. And I want to remember to do that for the rest of my life. My happiness doesn’t depend on my husband or my friendships. But they do enhance my life.

This fairy tale – this life we have – is ongoing, and I’m glad it doesn’t end with a wedding.