Tag Archives: love


Today is my husband’s 40th birthday and he has had very few requests. He wants to eat dinner at church tonight because we haven’t most of the semester and it’s something we really love doing. He wants to have birthday cake with the small group that meets at our house on Thursday evening and he wants to use our AMC gift cards to see some sort of a movie on Saturday.

40 is a milestone, and when I hit 40 next year I intend to mark it in a big way, but for Jonathan there are more important things on his mind, like an ethics paper and a Christ and Salvation paper, and group projects and internship requirements. . . and on and on. Really, a few quiet pleasures are a bigger deal to him right now than a big blowout that would just feel like another obligation.

Unfortunately, last night our mackerdoodle threw up all night, and this morning the cheesedoodle did his best to emulate her – at speech therapy, because throwing up in public is so much better than throwing up in bed. Ick. This rules out dinner plans and really puts a crimp in the over all festive nature of a birthday.

So on his 40th birthday, with papers due and meetings to attend and plans changed or canceled, my husband is snuggled up on the couch, a queasy kid under each arm (and a towel on his lap, just in case) watching The Incredibles. This is one of the many things I love about this man. It doesn’t take much to be content with life when you get to eat your favorite food with your favorite people and then do it all over again in three days. It is the mark of a wonderful husband and father to find joy in a birthday that features someone else’s vomit and canned chicken noodle soup.

Happy Birthday, my love.


The Way to a Woman’s Heart.

For the first twelve years of our marriage, Jonathan and I did almost everything together. Sure we sometimes had separate jobs, and I didn’t usually join him when he went hunting (mostly because I had a bad habit of startling enormous bucks through unexpected and unnecessary use of the Primos Doe Bleat); but for the most part we were together so often that people referred to us as one person named JonathanandCoralie. This also extended into hospitality. We would plan the meal together, often shop together, cook together and clean up the house together. He had his responsibilities and I had mine, but we faced it down together.

All of that began to shift when the mackerdoodle arrived, but it really changed completely when the cheesedoodle was born and I became a full time, stay at homemaker while Jonathan worked 60+ hours at two Chick-fil-As waiting to come to seminary. That was when I learned to love cooking, when I began to discover the joys (and frustrations) of managing a household and when my home became my career instead of a tool for the purpose of shelter and meeting people.

Those habits, once developed (even as poorly as I have) are hard to shake. Three plus years later and I am once again entering the work force, but now, when the task list comes up and Jonathan steps in to help, my response has defaulted to, “Oh. Just let me do that.”  The problem is, I can’t do it all, and I shouldn’t expect myself to do so.

Today I came home from grocery shopping to find my husband mopping my kitchen floor. On his hands and knees just to see if that got things cleaner than my steam mop. If there is anything more appealing than that, I would like to know it; and I feel the need to point out here that he is taken.

I realized today that the Lord gave us a firm foundation of being in life and marriage together; three kids and a brief sojourn through seminary doesn’t make that less true, it makes it more important. This afternoon my husband found out that the way to my heart may just be through a little warm soapy water and elbow grease; and I was reminded of the days, not that long ago – and a lifetime ago – when my husband and I did almost everything together.

How the Transience of Seminary Has Caused Me to Appreciate Two Friends Even More

So it is that time of year again, in which my neighbors graduate, pack their belongings into large trucks of innumerable brands, and move on. This year I will lose Suzanne and Mary Beth and that idea just puts a little sad seed in my heart. They’ve known me for two years. Mary Beth was the first seminary person to find me and friend me on facebook, Suzanne and her family were the first members of this remarkable neighborhood to strike up a “passing” conversation that ended up being 20 minutes long. Mary Beth and I are in a small group at church together. Her oldest daughter LOVES my kids and the feeling is mutual. Suzanne and I have had conversations about everything from crocheting to organic farming to the implications of the regulative principle. I will deeply miss both of them.

On Saturday I was introduced to a new family who will be moving in to our neighborhood. He is doing summer Greek. They have three children close in age to my children. They seem like really nice people. On Saturday, I thought “I don’t have the energy to get to know you and just say goodbye in two years.” I was kind, and I chatted and I asked questions, but I put a fence on my heart with a one way latch on my side. I just don’t have the heart to keep doing this.

Then I went inside and the Lord spoke to me using facebook.


Something I ALWAYS do when I get on facebook is check which pictures Jawan has uploaded. Saturday I was not disappointed. There were some pictures from our Georgia church (where Jawan’s husband, Mitch, is our Georgia pastor) and I only recognized about 1/3 of the faces. You see, our town is a military town, and our church attracts military families. Families come to Westminster for a season, rarely for a lifetime, and Mitch and Jawan love on every one of them. I have never once seen Mitch or Jawan place a guard on their heart when meeting a new person. I have, repeatedly, seen them weep as now cherished families move on to a new geography. On our first Sunday at Westminster, the congregation said goodbye to a family who had been deep and heart felt friends for several years. That same Sunday, they made our little family of three feel welcomed like we were the first visitors in years.

Mary Beth and Suzanne loved on me here, knowing that we would only be neighbors for two years, but they also knew that this sort of annual upheaval was a short season in their lives. Mitch and Jawan have taken the ebb and flow of their unique church as their life time calling. If they can do that, I can welcome our new neighbors this summer. And if we get new neighbors in December, I can welcome them. I can take the fences down and love them well, for whatever time I have, because that is what the gospel at work in Mitch and Jawan have taught me.

So Much Good

Jonathan had exams earlier this week (got A’s by the way!) so he changed his schedule to work on Friday and Saturday. Friday morning I woke up to the smell of bacon. Jonathan got up with the children, cooked breakfast, made coffee and let me sleep, all before going in for a 12 hour work shift! My husband rocks!

In the early afternoon FedEx pulled up in front of my house with a package from one of our friends in Georgia. (I honestly believe that one of Donna’s spiritual gifts is choosing perfect gifts.) Along with the pictured monogrammed bunny for the snickerdoodle (her first stuffed animal) there was this for the other two doodles:

The Cheesedoodle wore his for FOUR hours!

plus some super cute matching outfits for all three doodles.

For supper yesterday evening one of my neighbors brought me sushi! Seriously. She brought smoked salmon rolls and tuna rolls, a tube of prepared wasabi to go with it and homemade cookies. I had my fill, the children had their fill, and there was enough leftover for Jonathan to eat his fill when he got home from work at midnight.

Just as the snickerdoodle was just settling into an evening meal, I got a text from Jonathan. One of the employees at the restaurant had used his keys for some task, and then tucked the keys in his pocket, and left at the end of the shift. Jonathan was at the store with the van, but without any keys with which to drive said van. Not one, but two of the guys here in my neighborhood instantly, and cheerfully, offered to take Jonathan our spare key at 10:00 pm. Obviously only one needed to go, and he had left by the time the second called to say, “I’m putting on my shoes right now.”

This morning, a different neighbor, who has a 4 or 5 week old baby and is moving in two weeks, took the time to bring us cinnamon rolls and watermelon for breakfast because our supper meal calendar was full.

This is just a snapshot view into my life. I am so blessed to be so loved and cared for by so many (and diverse) people.

Things I Love Part Four: My Parents and a Heritage of Faith

This is the last post in my series.  Some would think that I would finish up with a post about my kids, and I do love them.  Anyone who reads my blog knows I love my kids.  They get a lot of attention and will continue to be a focus of the blog, because I blog life, and my kids are my life right now.  Instead I want to focus on some people that I have honored less than my husband in blog posts, but who deserve to be highly praised:  my parents and my parents-in-law.

My parents became Christians the year I was born, because a baby like I was drives a set of parents either to substance abuse or to their knees.  You think I’m kidding.  I’m not.  What began as a trial for my parents was a blessing for me, because I have never known my parents without the power of Christ at work in their lives.  Together my dad and mom laid a foundation of biblical instruction and faithful life example that was one of the key tools the Lord used in drawing me to himself, and has continued to use as I grow in my faith.

Both of my parents have been teachers and leaders within the church for as long as I can remember.  They taught me most of what I know about Christian hospitality by hosting missionaries and visiting preachers and traveling musicians on a regular basis throughout my childhood.  Because of my parents and their commitment to exposing me to the things of the Lord as much as possible, I attended a Christian school for 10 years, and then a Christian college.  When we were traveling anywhere over a weekend, we still found a church to attend together as a family and our family always had a regularly scheduled time in the word on the weekdays.  Every morning before we walked to school, my mother prayed for me and my sister, and I remember innumerable times during the awkward middle school years coming home in tears to have my mother hold me, and pray for me.

Jonathan, too, was raised in a Christian home and was exposed to the church and the gospel from his earliest memories.  Not only his parents, but also both sets of his grandparents were actively involved in the church and passed the importance of that on to him.  It was his parents who suggested that he attend a small Christian college in Langley BC, the same college at which I was enrolled.  I praise the Lord for that daily.

When I speak to my friends and I hear their stories I so often praise the Lord for parents and in-laws who are still married, still in love with one another, and who love the Lord.  What a blessing it is to be able to tell my daughter when she asks that her Grandma and Grandpa and her Nana and Papa love the Lord and want to serve Him.  When we are training our children in the things of the God and the knowledge of His word, we are not doing so in a vacuum.  We are able to point to their heritage and to the covenant promises of God and show them that God is faithful not only to our little family, but to those who have come before us.

Mom and Dad, and Mom and Dad Cowan, thank you for loving us, and showing us the word and training us in righteousness.  Thank you for loving our kids and being standing stones of God’s faithfulness in their lives.  Thank you for laying a foundation of faith we are able to leave to the next generation.  Please forgive me for not saying it earlier, and more often.

Things I Love Part Three: My Husband

This is part three in my week long series seeking to honor the things I esteem.

Last Friday I had the privilege of hearing a woman of God speak to a group of us women.  In that talk she made a great point of how excellent her husband is and I was struck that too often when we get together as women we tend to idolize our children and mock our husbands.  This should not be the case, and I was convicted that I do not honor my husband here on the blog nearly enough.

Here is my struggle: how do I publicly acknowledge and esteem a man who hates to be the center of attention?

I think I can say this: the first time I met Jonathan Cowan, I was running, tears in my eyes, away from a silly boy I thought I loved who had broken my heart. I literally ran into Jonathan’s arms, and I’ve been running into his arms ever since.  We’ve had our moments. I mean, put two sinful people in a marriage and there’s bound to be conflict.  When both of those people have artistic temperaments it takes things up a notch.  While we may have fought over how to cut a round cake (yes really), or the state of the house, or other trivial matters, when the storms came we’ve clung to each other, and he’s led me in clinging to the Lord.

In all the years of infertility and every month that we felt that loss of omission, he still loved me.  He never once told me that I was broken.  He never reminded me that if he had married someone else he could have had a full quiver before then.  He opened his arms, and let me run into them.

I will never forget, even when I am old and gray and can’t remember how to cook soup, I will never forget lying on my bed in our little apartment in Georgia sobbing over the loss of our first child after so many years of prayer.  Jonathan curled up behind me, and held me and read me Job 1, which ends:

And he said, “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return. The LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD.” In all this Job did not sin or charge God with wrong.

Then he went into our spare room/study/art room for several hours, and wrestled with God, and came out with this:

I still get choked up when I look at it.

There is so much I could write about my Jonathan, but anything more would make him uncomfortable.  If I said he was a great man of God, he would say he was a horrible sinner, who faces his sin every day.  If I said he was a caring and loving father, he would say he was too often impatient, or selfish.  So I won’t say those things (*wink*) I’ll just say that I love him more every day, and the longer we’re married, the more I see the gospel at work transforming him.  I need to say it more often.

Things I Love Part One: The Gospel

Last week all of my favorite artsy fartsy blogs were heart and lace and chocolate themed in honor of today which always brings out my cynicism a little.  Frankly I would rather have my husband bring me a flower or a treat or a small note of love and appreciation on a completely random day instead of a day in which it is culturally mandated. ( Plus, the history of the day?  eeew.)

All weekend, however, I was challenged with how I honor the things I esteem.  No one set out to challenge me, but I guess the Lord thought I needed to learn it this weekend.  So all week I’m going to post about the things I love, but not because of some goat sacrifice to Remus.

Things I Love Part One:  The Gospel

God is the sovereign, omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent creator of the universe and if He was only those things He would deserve our worship and our fear, but it is the gospel that garners our affections.  It is an act so large and powerful that it actually rended the Trinity – something I acknowledge but can’t even begin to comprehend.

Here it is.  All of creation being completely and utterly corrupted by sin, and all of humanity being in open rebellion against the all powerful ruler of the universe, they are rightly, and justly, sentenced to death.  Then, in an inexplicable act, God himself steps into the midst of the insurrection and for some of the very traitors trying to establish themselves as kings and  queens of the Universe, he took their punishment on himself.  This was no legal slight-of-hand.  He did not issue an edict of pardon.  Instead he became their treason, suffering millions of eternities in hell on their (our) behalf.  But He didn’t stop there.  He did not leave his subjects in a neutral spiritual position.  When He became our sin, he made us His righteousness.  We stand in a place of honor because he became our disgrace.

What do I love?  Why do I love?  How am I able to love?  It’s all about Christ and the gospel.  There isn’t anything more than that.