The Beginning of Our Marriage Restoration Journey

I was looking in Michael's 'sent' email folder today for something that he'd forwarded to me last month and found this letter that I'd given him a couple of weeks before we went to our Marriage Intensive. As it's part of our personal story, we thought it perfect to post for Testimony Tuesday.

Dear Michael,

I'm really glad that we seem to be on a path to restoring our marriage.
I'm glad that you are reading Joel and Kathy's books and that you've been open to their teaching, experience and suggestions as hard as that may be for you at times. I recognize that you want to try to make changes in your life that will positively affect me, you and our marriage and will help you to become that man that God has called you to be.

I think that the Intensive could be a huge turning point for both of us and I want to encourage you to do whatever it takes to pay the fee as soon as possible so that we can go. I think it was a complete blessing from the Lord that I was able to use my miles and I don't think we can afford to lose this opportunity. I hope you feel the same.

I also want to say that I'm glad you were finally open to moving out. I know this was difficult for you (you even mentioned pride, humiliation, etc.) and I recognize your struggle. The thing is, it's not working for me (not with it being just a "clothes out" move). Even though I at first agreed (actually suggested) that you continue to come here to do your work, I don't feel in control of my life knowing that you're still coming here everyday. It doesn't feel like a true separation and though I struggle with being alone and wanting to be taken care of by you (especially during my
pregnancy) I don't feel like I have any space that I can call my own right now to grow and breathe. I know that I've asked you to stay a couple of times and you've immediately said that you don't want to overstay your welcome. I'm glad that you're conscious of that boundary.

It's just that, for me, it's more of a struggle to grow through this and really focus on restoring myself when I see you all the time. It's too easy for me to want to throw everything away and just make love and forget that there are some real issues that need to be dealt with ~ especially by you ~ before we can really and truly come back together. I will go out on a limb here to say that you struggle with the same thing and these two wrongs for us both definitely do not make a right.

NEGATIVE - What I've seen from you since you agreed to move out is (and even since we started talking again):

- putting the fact that you forced me out back on me and trying to make me feel bad about it

- not moving your clothes out until I said something
- wanting to be secretive about who had the tapes

- you still trying to have some control in my life

- you not having to pay any rent on the apartment as I've already done so

- two months of an unpaid mortgage, etc.
- allowing G to have the upper hand in his relationship with you (language, disrespect, boundaries, etc.) which speaks of your relationship with me

POSITIVE - I've also seen you:

- reading Joel & Kathy's books

- making some apologies

- doing some work around the house

- buying gifts

- going on some appointments

- putting gas in my car
- buying groceries

I think that the negative stuff is your arrested development and pride getting in the way. I think that the positive stuff is you really wanting to make an effort.
I think we both need some space. And so I'm asking you to move your office to the apartment for the time being. It just feels too much like I've come home to you on your terms (like every time before) and I need you to come back on mine.

I get the inconvenience of it all and I can already hear the prideful excuses. Still, I'm hoping for the positive effort.

Five days later, Michael sent the following email to J&K:

Dear Joel and Kathy,

Money is very tight right now. I am self employed so no check every Friday. However I do have money coming in, and paying for the intensive is on the top of the list. I have read your first book and now I have started to read your second book. Learning to listen to my wife's heart is what I am working on also owning how I have hurt her. She is still unsure if the changing in me is genuine, although it seems like she is beginning to open up with me. When she poses a request I am learning to listen and act on it right away. Thank you for being so open and for setting me on the right path to love my wife with agape love.


By Acting Like A Man In Love....

...he became a man in love

enough said, n'est pas?


WOW! Our little boy is 3!

Click to play this Smilebox invite
Create your own invite - Powered by Smilebox
Free digital invite created with Smilebox

In just a few days, our son Daniel will turn 3 years old and it's amazing that three years have passed us by in what feels like an instant.

I was 5 months pregnant with Daniel (our only child together) when I filed for divorce and just a couple of months away from having him when we began our marriage restoration. There was a lot that came up for me at that time. When Jeff was alive, I was 5 months pregnant with Evan when we found out that he had terminal cancer. And when he became very sick, he was mostly on the couch and had to depend on those around him for all of his needs.

A week after Daniel was born, my c-section incision opened and I had to be on bed rest (which I did on the couch) for 2 months during which I had to depend on Michael for everything. It just brought up so much for me and put me in a place of completely having to trust him and him completely dying to self and putting me first. Whether we wanted it to look this way or not, we were thrown head first into our restoration .

But, looking back, this was the best way for us - God couldn't have orchestrated it any better. And Daniel's birth was such a blessing! His promise of new life; in our child, in our family and in our marriage!


Amazing Pumpkin Pie!

One of my (Annalea) favorite things about eating live raw foods is eating the desserts! I'm tellin' you what - you won't believe how delicious uncooked sweets can be and once you start making them, you'll want to do it again and again. AND....you could even eat them for breakfast if you wanted to!

Okay....I'll sign you up for that!

In fact, this Raw Pumpkin Pie tastes so much like the traditional fare - right down to the crust - that you won't even miss it and if you were to add it to your Thanksgiving table this year, I'll bet it'll end up GONE...GONE...GONE!

I found this recipe on line one day (here's the original) and was intrigued because there's no pumpkin in it! I did fudge around with the recipe a bit to suit my personal taste and because I was out of some of the ingredients but I promise you'll LOVE it!

2 cups raw pecans
1/2 cup pitted dates, soaked
1/8 - 1/4 tsp sea salt (check after 1/8)
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon

Place pecans into food processor and grind until somewhere between coarse and fine. Add remaining ingredients and process until well combined. Pour into a 8-9 inch tart/pie pan with a removable bottom and pat mixture evenly over the bottom (you may go up the sides of your pan if you wish).

1/2 cup raw cashews that have been soaked in water for 4-6 hours (I used 1 cup soaked which is about 3/4 cup dried)
1/2 cup agave nectar
1/4 cup yacon root syrup (I didn't use this because I didn't have it. I understand it has a real molasses flavor. The 1/2 cup of agave makes it plenty sweet though)
1/2 cup virgin coconut oil
1/2 cup carrot juice (I made my own juice so I also threw the pulp into the mix)
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon (I only used 1 tsp)
1 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg (I only used 1 tsp AND added 1/2 tsp of ground cloves)
Vanilla powder to your taste (I just now noticed this. I didn't use it though a little vanilla probably be good though, because of the coconut oil I think it's fine w/o)

Just put everything into your food processor and whirl away until everything is well incorporated. Pour on top of your pecan crust and chill for 2-3 hours before serving.

I think a cashew whipped cream would be divine with this, especially spiked with a bit of fresh orange zest but, alas, I'm without a VitaMix blender (hi Russ!) which is like the god of all blenders so that will have to wait until I find myself in the black. The link above showed the pie with chocolate drizzled over the top which would probably not be too bad as I do enjoy pumpkin bread with little chocolate chips in it. All that to say...experiment! Have fun and play with your food!

I won't tell anyone.

Well....actually, I might.

Okay, about the ingredients in this pie, and because this is Wellness Wednesday, I want to expound a bit on the health benefits of virgin coconut oil which are actually quite varied. Here's a little Youtube video about it along with some tips on ways to use it. Oh, I buy mine at Whole Foods and be sure to try the raw coconut butter.

Oh. My. Goodness!!!!


Marriage Intensive Gave Us Hope and Restoration!

In March of 2007, without hope and with great heartache, I (Annalea) filed for divorce. For three years prior to that we had tried to get help, we'd been separated several times, gone to counseling, read books, gone through workshops. We just got worse and neither of us could figure out why.

Two months later, I found Joel and Kathy Davisson's ministry - God Save My Marriage - and learned that they facilitated Marriage Intensives in their home town of Palm Coast, FL. We went and, well, the rest is history. If you've been following this blog for any length of time, you'll know the outcome and if you're a first time reader, I hope the title of our blog is a give away to what we've experienced (and continue to experience) since we attended.

God had SO MUCH to teach us!

Now, Michael and I facilitate the same Marriage Intensive out here in southern California. In fact, we have one coming up in Anaheim, CA September 16-19 and if you'd like to attend with your spouse, just shoot us an email or give us a call.

They're really amazing and if you're willing and teachable....you'll get a miracle too!

Hope to hear you on our call tonight at 7!


Movie Night!

With so many people cutting back these days (including us), it seems like the first things to go are the frivolities...the wants instead of the needs. Even so, it's super important that one of the things we couples don't give up is date night. And while Michael and I think it's important to actually leave the house we get that there may be times when this isn't feasible; especially if a lack of extra funds is an issue.

However, if you can part with a 5 spot this week, spring for a movie, put the kids to bed and snuggle up on the couch or in bed together (clothes optional - even for the couch) and watch a movie. We've recommended some of our favorites and if you want to add to the list, be sure to leave a comment.

Have fun!
(disclaimer. some of these have a bit of nudity, like Troy, and some violence and/or cursing. you may want to use an online movie review site such as pluggedin.com to check first)

Girl With A Pearl Earring
Double Jeopardy
Roman Holiday
Bottle Shock
North by Northwest
Pride and Prejudice
Swing Vote
What Dreams May Come
Lars And The Real Girl
Babbette's Feast (foreign)
The Wedding Planner
Shop Girl
The Blind Side
Ushpizin (foreign)
Star Trek
Bride and Prejudice
The Wedding Singer
The Nativity Story
How To Lose Friends And Alienate People
My Man Godfrey
The Holiday
Mrs. Miniver
Facing The Giants
Sliding Doors
Napoleon Dynamite
Ocean's Eleven
Monsoon Wedding
National Treasure
The Illusionist
The Lady In The Water
State Of Play


Wellness Wednesday

If you listen to our ministry calls on Tuesday nights and it happens to be late in the evening, you just might find us talking about food instead of marriage. I seriously have no idea how it started...it was several months ago and, admittedly, I (Annalea) am an avid "foodie", it was towards the end of a call and those of us still on began talking about eating live raw foods. This went on for a couple of months and then we seemed to take a bit of a hiatus from it but somehow this evening the conversation was resurrected.

With some good-natured prompting, I was moved to tentatively start a section of our marriage blog that would feature recipes, tips and other blogs related to incorporating more raw (I mean 'live') foods into our lives/diets.

So, Wellness Wednesday was born (name is still up in the air...suggestions?) and, really, I think the wellness part fits with the theme of a restored ~ well ~ marriage. Too much of a stretch? That's okay, we're still in the testing stage. Kinda like trying out a new recipe. Okay...Okay...

Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. 1 Cor. 10:31

The benefits of a living foods (raw) diet are amazingly endless. Just type 'raw food diet' into your favorite search engine and you'll be amazed at how many sites there are devoted to the subject.

Really. Open up another window and do it.

Then come back.

Did you do it?

No? Okay. Just promise to do it after you read this. And while you're at it (especially if you're a foodie like me), take a look at these sites; they're some of my favorites:

Raw On $10 A Day (or less!)

Sweetly Raw

Raw Radiance

In The Raw

Raw Epicurean


That should hold you for now. I don't want to give you too many and then be held responsible for all of the work you don't get done because you spent two hours looking at a bunch of recipes for uncooked food.

I know. It's crazy. Crazy GOOD!

For now, on this maiden voyage, I'll show you some pics of a juice I made to get you inspired. Oh, in case you might be wondering, I have a Champion juicer. I've had it for 10 years and I love it! Powerful and uber easy to clean unlike the Jack La Lane juicer which my loving husband brought into the marriage and which we have a continued dispute over - which one is the best?

I'll give you a hint. Mine is.

The beauty of fresh juice is that it's all good for you ~ amazing actually ~ and you can throw in whatever sounds good. This one was a mixture of carrots, apples, beets, celery and oranges. Here are my other favorites:

Pink grapefruit and apple

Green lemonade (about 8 romaine leaves, 1/2 cucumber, 2-3 stalks of celery, 2 apples, 1/2 a peeled lemon, 1-inch piece of fresh ginger)

Carrot, apple, parsley


These are all delicious and you're body will thank you for treating it so nicely.

Yes it will!

Have fun and experiment. Always use organic when you can. You don't have to peel cucumbers, or ginger or apples when you juice them. Probably other things too. You'll figure it out as you go.

You know what else? I'm pretty sure that Adam and Eve didn't cook anything when they were in Eden.

I'm just sayin'.


I Still Remember...

I found this picture of us last night. It's from our wedding day. I was looking at it and thinking about what a beautiful day it was and how much heartache we experienced in spite of it; in spite of ourselves. It was a sad thought. And then I was driving back from Starbucks this morning (yep, I'm fan) and this song came on the radio and it completely took me back to all of those sleepless nights and heartache-filled conversations. You know the ones. You know (or remember) the feelings.

It was a loss.

I know. Why go there when it's SO much better now? I don't know. Chalk it up to my mood, the song, cloud cover, the "picture perfect memories scatted all around the floor..." Losses can still be mourned, especially ~ I think ~ when the redemption is so sweet.



His 10% is Her 90%

There's a place in the heart of every wife that needs to be fulfilled in a very specific way and that wife will look to her husband to touch that place, cherish it, validate it and help it to flourish. It's her 90%. When he doesn't, everything else that he does for her, while appreciated, becomes her 10% ~ secondary to this need within her.

Now, I know that we (as believers) can and should look to Christ to fulfill all of our needs; and He will. I also know that in a Christian marriage, God calls a husband to represent Christ to his wife by loving her unconditionally and laying his life down for her, just as Christ did for the church. The thing is, many of these same men will do just enough to look like a good, godly, Christian man/husband and only give what they want to or what they're comfortable giving and expect their wife to be okay with that. And the crazy thing is that he knows (that he knows, that he knows) what her 90% is but won't give it to her. Chalk it up to pride, ego...whatever.

Today we give some insight into this dynamic and an example of what it looks like lived out.

We sure do hope you'll join us this evening on our weekly marriage ministry call (dial in information is in the sidebar to your right) and if you have any comments or questions, be sure to leave them at the end of this post or send us an email yourmarriagerestored@gmail.com

Remember, if we can do it...You Can Do It Too!