Howdy Do, from Me to You – Part Two!

Read Part One here


SO, as I was saying last week before I was so rudely interrupted by myself, one of the HUGEST lessons I have learned since I started sharing my writings on the internet is this:

priorities have really got to come first (i.e. husband, kids, church, and home before internet), they must be pursued with DELIGHT lest they become drudgery (and sometimes this requires a magical combination of the Holy Spirit, prayer, and determination), and, accordingly, trust in God must be fostered every step of the way.

There have been so many times when my spirit has just railed out in desperation during this season of my life, and I’ve internally shouted out a prayer ceiling-ward of “God, please give me time to write this book!!!” Or this blog post. Or this desperately important list of things that people need to know about me.

When we have passions within our hearts, whatever those passions may be, it can be difficult to lay them on the altar of self-denial and loving-others-more-than-we-love-ourselves.

And what results is a stringent exercise in holiness, finding the perfect balance between giftings and callings…yes, giftings and callings…because I think there is a difference!…and coming to a steady and even joyful faith that, if God wants us to do something, He’ll give us the time and presence of mind to accomplish it.

Simple as that, really.

So, yes! I believe this wondrous thing, with all of my heart! We can trust God with our “birds of the air” stuff like food, clothes, etc., and we can also trust Him with the fluffy stuff, including our dreams and hobbies. If our Creator has a purpose for those things, He’ll do with them what needs to be done. In other words — and we all already knew this in our heads — He has it ALL under control, and all we need to do is just simmer down and follow Him.

What peace!

And the reason I’m sharing all of these things in the first place is because this newfound resolve has really planted a new heart behind my blog and my writing “career.” (Ha!)

You see, during the earlier years of my blog, when a random post I wrote went surprisingly viral, I immediately struggled with the temptation of turning this creative outlet into a machine, of sorts.

Up until that point, I had only been writing for family, for friends, and for my own pleasure, and I didn’t know how to adjust, overnight, to an audience of people that I didn’t know. There were so many of them! And they wanted to hear more from me!!

I was flattered, I was atwitter, and I had no clue what to do next. So…

I turned to the internet for answers.

(Always a brilliant idea, yes? NO.)

All the research I found said I should write *this many* times a week, and keep my blog posts to *this many* words (riiiiiight), and that, cha-ching!, I could make *this much* money doing all of the above.

It sounded exciting!

And during that time, my life, whether I intended for it to or not, began to take on a manufactured hue, and there were days when even I couldn’t tell if I was writing for God or for more readers, or if I was hosting birthday parties for my kids or for Pinterest followers.

It was tricky. Life is rarely black and white, so I won’t do my past the disservice of saying I was a full-out fame chaser who saw dollar signs everywhere she looked. Temptation is more nuanced than that and, as a believer, I was as genuinely trying to serve my God and my family then as I am now.

But, in the midst of my good intentions, there were heavy pulls in several directions. I had gotten this teensy tiny droplet of fame on my tongue and I felt tug after tug to find more of that flavor, and fast! I couldn’t help but feel an eagerness to see where the road would take me and, most importantly, whether or not it could get me independently wealthy!

But, my dearest dears, I have good news.

Through His Word and His Spirit, God has slowly and graciously brought me through the trickiest part of that trickery.

I understand now that I CAN’T write for readers, because readers come and go. (For reals, I’ve lost about as many “followers” on this journey as I’ve gained!)

I can’t write for fame, because fame is a mirage.

I can’t write for the sake of money, because the love of money is the root of all evil and it will poison everything I say and everything I do.

What is left, then, and what should have been there all along, is to write for God, for His glory, for His fame, for His pleasure.

As a result, I am developing an ever-deepening love for the Spirit of God who leads me daily. So kind, He is. He gives me freedom. He helps me to be genuine. And — even better than “going viral” — He allows me to contribute in small and beautiful ways to the Kingdom of God, which is the sort of gift that leaves the recipient speechless, breathless, the works.

And THAT…finally!…leads me to what I want to tell you most of all, and I hope it will bring you some measure of comfort on this Friday morning: as a rule, I don’t write about anything these days unless my heart is truly passionate to do so, nor do I feel any pressure a’tall to publish so many blog posts per month or keep them to so many words.

And what I really want you to take away from that is the assurance that I’m trying not to use you. To manipulate you. To stir your heartstrings so you will ‘like’ what I’ve written and share my blog with others.

The same is true over at the Facebook page. I tell stories as they happen if I feel like it, I share the pictures that grab my heart, no more, no less. It is exceedingly rare that I will think to myself, “Oh! You’ve haven’t updated to FB in two days! You’d better think of a story!”

And my prayer is that, with this mentality at its heart, this space on the internet will always be a safe place for you to come, for refreshing, for humor, for truth, and for, as much as I can offer during this hectic time of our life, friendship.

(You don’t know HOW HARD it is not to reply to my private messages and comments! I want to, OH, how I want to!).

Call me crazy and self-indulgent, but I just wanted you to know these things today.

The world is FULL of people who are trying to sell you stuff, who are trying to use you to get somewhere higher. And while I can’t promise that I won’t ever do that, I can pinky swear that I am at least trying to refrain from it, with all my heart.

Full disclosure for any newbies, at this point, the only money making part to this blog has been my account at Amazon Associates. If I share a product…which, again, I only do when I feel eager to show you something we are actually enjoying…and you shop for anything at Amazon from the link I share, I will get a tiny commission. It pays less than a paper route, but it makes me happy to add a tiny something to the Gore family fund and to make up for all the time spent behind a computer screen. To everyone who does their Amazon shopping through my links, THANK YOU! (It doesn’t take much to make me giddy, you know. I’m going to go look up how much I’ve made this month so far, hold on, I’ll be back…Okay, I’m back. $10.03, baby!! I’m RICH!!!!!).

Anyhow, other than Amazon Associates, I am very picky about shielding my readers from ads and junk and more “stuff” and nonsense.

Why? Because I genuinely cherish you, and I take my tiny role in making your journey more enjoyable very seriously. Hence this 1400-word blog post about that very thing.

Friends, I can say this with an honest heart: I share my “journal of life and life abundant” not because I want to be famous, not because I want my kids to be famous (please, God, no!), not because I’m trying to build a mansion or buy a Volvo, but because…

gosh darn it, life is BEAUTIFUL.

My God compels me to share that with anyone who fancies a listen.

Thanks for being one of those people.


Howdy Do, from Me to You

Do you ever bump into someone that you recognize and you might even know their name, but you don’t really know HOW you know them or much about them, really…

only that you know them and they know you?

And then you start talking and it becomes too late to ask them what their name is and where you met them and why you keep hugging each other?!

I have been blogging now for many a year, and I have, by the magic of the internet and the grace of God, gathered up a sweet little gaggle of readers.

My audience is in no way huge, mind you — I always remind my ego that I have significantly less Facebook followers than our local pumpkin patch! —  but since I assumed it would be my mom and my church friends and my aunts and Grandmother reading my writing, I am nothing less than amazed by any increase that comes my way and, consequently, very grateful.

Some of you found me through a search engine, some on Pinterest, some through WordPress, some through a friend, but lately, as I’ve had to keep my writing to a shorter format, most of you have found me on Facebook.

(Facebook is my jam, yo.)

And I realized this week that, however or wherever you found “Mrs. Gore’s Diary”, many of you might be reading my daily updates and have absolutely no idea who I am, what I stand for, what I like, what my policies are, and who the little people are in all my pictures.

Let me take away any of the awkwardness for you and introduce myself, from the very beginning.

(pssst! And if you’ve been reading for awhile and have an acquaintance with our life, let this just serve as an update!)

1. Hi. Obviously, my name is Mrs. Gore, and I am the primary writer, party-thrower, picture-taker, and product-sharer behind “Mrs. Gore’s Diary.” I am tall and sturdy and what I would describe as passingly attractive, thanks entirely to modern technology. I have often said that I would have been a very ugly Victorian with my beyond-awful vision, terrible teeth, fussy complexion, and hair as voluminous and frizzy as a horses’s tail. In fact, when I don’t tame my hair, my husband calls me “Hagrid’s Baby.” All that to say, I am so grateful for optometrists and contact lenses, good make-up, dentists (sort of), and dependable hair tools. Because, you know, it’s fun to be able to leave the house and get groceries every once in awhile.

2. Over the last two years, I have been writing a book about marriage and motherhood. In fact, there is a section in that book about WHY I go by the pen name “Mrs. Gore” (because there’s actually more to it than it simply being my last name! Did you know that??). But if I told you now, I’d have to kill you. And we can’t have that, because, a) I don’t want to go to jail and b) it is important that I eventually have more Facebook followers than the pumpkin patch! (Just kidding. The pumpkin patch is truly awesome – it deserves to be well-known and celebrated). Anyhow, I hope to finish this book soon and start sending it out for publication. I would say I’m “doing my best” to hurry up and complete it, but there’s this little thing at our house called “when the kids go to bed, we watch TV every night and eat ice cream.” I suppose I COULD work on my book after the kids’ bedtime, but…nah.

3. My husband is a Southern Baptist pastor, a gifted theologian and, more recently, a truth-bringer to the foreign land of Tanzania. If I could finish my long book, I’d love to write a short book about our experience with the global mission field – it was big doin’s, I assure you. I love Mr. Gore. Like, LOVE him. Our church is tiny and wonderful and incredible, and…fun fact!…I have actually been attending there my entire life! And speaking of writing short books and long books, I could pen an encyclopedia about our church’s story, but just trust me that I can’t believe I get to be a part of such a tale, a wretched sinner like me. God is good.

4. The Lord instilled in me, from a very young age, the importance of family and setting down roots. And now when I look at my life, I see that He obviously had a purpose for that! If God allows, my husband and I will be so happy to stay in our church forever, with the people who have heaped love and wisdom and care upon us for many, many years. My parents live ten miles from us, and my husband’s family and all three of my brothers and their families live within two hours of us. All of these people are written — nay, etched — on my heart, and if you stick around for long, you’ll see many of them in the posts I share, in the pictures I take, and in the traditions we practice. I am sort of passionate about spreading the word that the grass isn’t necessarily greener down the road, not when the unifying blood of Christ is available in your own backyard.

5. My husband and I have four children, ages 8, 6, 4 and 2. Boy, girl, girl, boy. We have been called to this mission field of hearth and home, and would love to maybe someday perhaps Lord-willing add at least one more pipsqueak to our line-up. We are pretty big fans of having the pittering and pattering of feet in our midst, even though our house is already the living embodiment of “The Family Circus.” The more madness, the merrier, we say. Well, my husband says. I agree wholeheartedly, when I’m not hiding in my room. Here’s a picture of our whole family, our first photo after Mr. Gore returned from Africa…


6. I am not a perfect woman and, even though I am a professing believer of the Lord Jesus Christ, I struggle with many things, including-but-not-limited-to a weak faith, anxiety, hypochondria, introversion, materialism, idealism, people-pleasing, procrastination and self-loathing. Speaking of self-loathing, I desperately hate my weaknesses, but they do make me long for our forever Kingdom. I used to be terrified of “the end”, whether it came in the form of death or the Second Coming, but I finally understand now (on most days) that I’m not made for this world, and neither are you. And that changes EVERYTHING, does it not?

7. I love, love, love pretty things. White enamel, floral prints, old silver, piles of books, teapots and percolators, ticking stripes and buffalo checks, vintage signage, little pearls and petite gems, birthday candles, roses and peonies and wildflowers, pastoral scenes, church steeples, supple leather, and romantically chipped paint. I have a serious glassware problem, a cardigan addiction, and I have been known to spend entire afternoons in Anthropologie. I have learned in the last decade, though, the difference between enjoying pretty things with an open hand and being ruled by them, and I’m much happier for it.

8. I am a homeschooler. I have a homeschool blog that I update MAYBE once a year, if you’re lucky. It’s important to me.

9. One day I shop at the organic food market. The next day we eat Puffy Cheetoh’s and chicken bits from the gas station. One day I banish all screens from our lives. The next, the kids watch back-t0-back episodes of “Little Bear” while I search for the end of the internet. One week we are on a great schedule wherein the house remains clean, our homeschool boxes are checked off, I write ten chapters of a book, and all of our errands are run. The next we arrive at church shoeless with only a vague idea of whether it is Sunday or Wednesday. I don’t like to think of it as “inconsistent” so much as…moderate. Let’s all just keep it somewhere in the middle, everybody. Excellence is for spelling bee kids.

10. I have many Lucy moments. Like the time I got stuck in the back hatch of our van or the time I met the Pioneer Woman. I enjoy being laughed at, though. I consider it a ministry.

11. Other things I like, in no particular order: Sunday mornings. Coffee. Jane Austen. Classic movies. Doris Day. Bing Crosby. “Seven Brides for Seven Brothers.” Chips and queso. Holidays. History. Country drives. Cold weather. Well-written hymns, old and new. Baby chimps at the zoo (my family has to drag me away). Clean scents. Harry Potter. Humor. Outdoor shopping centers. Aslan. Being waited upon. Being tended to. Having my food prepared for me. Winter coats. Disney Princess karaoke. Sitting at Panera Bread with my laptop and a cup of Hazelnut. “A Christmas Carol.” Kindness. Fat babies. Children’s stories. Cozy blankets. Redemption. Pebble paths. Dark chocolate. Antique shopping. Old quilts. Laying on my back and looking up at the trees. Farm animals. Music, in whatever form I fancy for the day.

12. Strange-but-true factoids: a) The first time I fasted was in college for G.W. to win his second term. I made it three hours. b) I went through a mini depression when Regis Philbin retired. He filled in for Steve Higgins on “The Tonight Show” about a month ago, and I cried like a baby. Seeing him with Jimmy Fallon – the only person who could possibly fill the Regis-sized hole in my heart – was just too much joy for one night. c) I have frequent daydreams about living in a senior retirement village. And I don’t mean in the future, I mean, like, now. Just me and the WWII vets, playing cards and drinking coffee, getting my hair done without having to leave the building, a piano for me and my pals to sing all the old hits…YES, PLEASE.

13. The older I get, the more committed I am to writing. It is my #1 pasttime and hobby. I write every day, in some capacity. Sometimes blog posts, sometimes children’s books, sometimes Facebook statuses, sometimes letters to friends. But the necessary free time for sitting in solitude and writing down your thoughts, I have found, is hard to come by, especially when one homeschools. You see, there are always children here. Always. Which I love. But, yes…children. Everywhere. At all times. Therefore, one of the HUGEST lessons I have learned since I started sharing my writings on the internet is that…

well, I guess I’ll tell you that part tomorrow. I don’t want you to get sick of me just when we’re getting to know each other!


Stay tuned, y’all!

Hope for the Introvert

Hope for the Introvert (Because God is bigger than psychology)

Hi. I’m Mrs. Gore, and I am an introvert.

If I didn’t already know that from a fun little personality quiz my FFA instructor administered to our class when I was in high school, I would certainly know it today from the daily article or quiz I see on Facebook about introverts and what defines an introvert and how introverts deal with the world and 10 things you don’t know about introverts and introvert introvert introvert.

These articles and quizzes always pique my interest because, like everyone else, I like to know more stuff about myself and what makes me tick and what makes me “me”.

It’s the American way, isn’t it, to analyze and re-analyze ourselves? We sort of thrive on psychology, especially when it comes to our own personalities.

But the thing I have noticed about so many of these extroverted introvert articles (get it? Because they’re everywhere?) is that, once the information is presented about all-things-introvert, the article ends, leaving you with basically just another explanation from another person of “this is who I am” and “accept me for who I am” and “this is what you can expect from me” and “this is why I poop out at parties”.

End of story, right? I’ve done my part by explaining who I am and what I like and now it’s up to everyone else to be okay with that.

And what can happen to introverts like me who read a hundred articles about why I am the way I am and why I feel the way I feel in social settings is an acceptance that could, if left unchecked, lead to a laziness and entitlement that could greatly damage the health of my church and stilt my Kingdom potential.

Self-acceptance is a good thing when it allows us to rest contentedly in the way God crafted our personalities and talents, but it also is a state of mind that can easily turn toxic, is it not? John Bloom at Desiring God (and one of my favorite writers in the land!) describes this tricky line much better than I ever could. Read his article here.

And, personally, if I’m being quite honest, when I read articles about introverts, I typically feel this heady solidarity rising in my chest…

yes! I am not alone!…

So THAT’S why I always feel so TIRED after going to a party! Aha!…

NOW I understand why I feel a need to retreat to my room after a day with the littles!

I’m not the only one who is petrified of the telephone?! Thank you, Lord! I feel so normal now!…

and, if I’m not very, very careful, I can take this psychological research and this introverted testimonial and I can withdraw to my comfy place, and instead of feeling any pause over this course of action like I normally would, I now feel justified and empowered.

This sort of attitude could surely be dangerous in any person’s life, but believe me when I say that it can be downright debilitating for a believer.

Now, because this is the internet and every argument is met with counterarguments, let me be quick to assure you that I AM NOT saying it is a bad thing to know who you are and to think about how God made you and to know your limitations and to draw some boundaries about what you are capable of. I am sure that many an introvert like myself has unwisely overextended themselves and crashed into a miserable pile of burn-out because they didn’t take time to nurture their heart.



As Christians, we can never be content to slap a psychological label on our personality when we have the transformative Holy Spirit working in us to deliver us from the most dangerous creature on the planet…


And who knows? Maybe the typical components of being an introvert are not as precious as we’ve made them out to be.

One of the favorite things I have drawn from my husband’s expository preaching through 1 and 2 Corinthians is the message that we have each been gifted by God to accomplish certain tasks in our local body. He has equipped us, introverts, extroverts, ambiverts, and herbivores, to do exactly what He wants done in the communities He has placed us in, and we can take joy and be confident in that.

But here’s the part that really blew me away: we can ALSO, while working with our gifts for the betterment of the church, look to the gifts of others in our body and pursue those gifts, as well.

And that’s yet another reason why it is so important for us to physically meet together and spur each other on to love and good works because – for instance! – while I am not naturally wired to serve, I can see those gifts in my sisters and brothers, and when I do, I am motivated to follow them and do as they do.

They TEACH me how to serve, so that, in the end, what you get is a girl who, though not normally inclined to be a servant, is serving.

I love this!!!!!!!

And that same principle can be applied to any number of good things that God desires for His children to display.

And you know what? At the end of the day, this biblical call to growth and transformation is so much more exciting to me than the latest human research about who I am and how I am always going to be.

I’m just more and more convinced that…

I want to look like Christ, period.

I want to chase after every fruit that the Bible says I should have as one who has been cleansed by the healing blood of Jesus, and if that pursuit sometimes challenges my introverted heart to die to its natural tendencies and forces me to be in large crowds or to talk on the telephone or to have people constantly in my home or to engage in “small talk” with a loving heart or to pray out loud in front of people I don’t know, then so be it.

And piece by piece, someday, my prayer is that I will be known less as a typical introvert and more like another redeemed person who has lost their natural identity in Christ.

That maybe, just MAYBE, I will take an online personality quiz and break the internet because “Jesus” isn’t one of the quiz results.

(Seriously, how awesome would that be?!)

By God’s grace, I am beginning to understand that, if I will simply be faithful to the Word first and foremost — even if it feels draining or scary — by meeting with my brothers and sisters, by being hospitable, and by showing love always, that I can trust my timorous, introverted heart to God and know that He will take care of me and that His Spirit will lead me every step of the way.

God is not cruel or uncaring, and if I truly need quiet time to recharge, He will ensure that I get it, sometimes, even by inspiring me to ASK for it.

And, friends, believe me when I express to you how this call to holiness has helped me so much more than another article on introverts.

The articles patted me on the head and told me I was doing okay.

The Word and the Spirit help me to grow and to CONQUER the things that, if left to my own devices, might become poisonous and idolatrous.

For that reason, even though I am what the psychological realm calls an introvert, I am learning to pursue some amazing things…

to put aside my solitary work and meet together with my brothers and sisters every chance I get…

to enjoy the loud sounds of my extremely spirited husband and children and to thank God for them, trusting that I will have time later to enjoy some quiet…

to go to loud concerts and crowded events with my extroverted mom because she enjoys it and I enjoy watching her have fun…

to leave my safe house and go to the scary “big city” with my church sisters because I know it will be a great time for all of us…

to answer the phone and be brave and kind even when I feel like I’m dying in the process…

in other words, to not put my perceived needs first, but to live for others, and watch, amazed, when there is still miraculously just enough time for me and my introverted tendencies to heal and rest.

And the conclusion is this…

The Christian life is so much more adventurous than any of the psychological boxes our culture loves to put us in.

I’m super happy to have the leanings of an introvert and I truly relish the blessings that come with such a personality. I’ve never been bored in my life, my brain is one of my favorite companions, and I can’t think of anything that sounds more fun than being quarantined (I could read and write and internet for DAYZ)…

but shame on me if I ever allow a man-made title to weaken my potential for God.


I PRAY this was a help to any of my fellow God-fearing introverts. :) And if you’re new here and would like to keep up with Mrs. Gore and family, you can find us on Facebook.

Mrs. Gore Likes…Noble Baby Mama

I will not be compensated for the following endorsement and promotion in any way. I am just a happy shopper and wanted to share! Hope you enjoy! And be sure to read all the way to the bottom to find a fun surprise! And I promise I’ll go easy on the exclamation marks from here on out!!!


It is hard for me not to gush when it comes to the things I really love.

The new Cinderella movie. The Mitford books. My ever-growing cardigan collection.

I start talking about them and I just can’t stop, as if the more words I use, the more you will REALLY understand how much I love whatever it is I’m gushing about.

“They can’t possible understand yet how much I love this. Let me use a few more superlative-laden sentences…”

Such is the curse of the enthusiastic and enamored.

And when it comes to the products that I am highlighting today, I am definitely enthusiastic and I am certainly enamored, and the reasons for both are many.

First of all, I actually know the woman behind this shop. She was a wee little thing in my church not so long ago, and I remember clustering around her with my friends and glorying in the preciousness of her face, her attitude, her everything! She was a doll, and believe it or not, she is somehow even CUTER today.

And so I just can’t comprehend it when the little people that were once in my life are now big people, with big talents and even bigger work ethics. Trisha, the young woman (and mother of two!) behind the Etsy shop Noble Baby Mama, is superbly talented, and has a business savvy beyond her years. I’m proud to know her.

Secondly, I really love to support the work of fellow believers, especially when they use their business to bring glory to God and to help others. Trisha and her husband are devout Christians, hardworking and kind and generous. In fact, Trisha just recently launched a fundraiser to help one of her friends adopt a baby by making and selling a special turban for the cause. I love that!


And lastly, even if I didn’t personally know Trisha, and even if she wasn’t a sister in the Lord, I would just flat-out love the goodies she makes. They’re so cute. They feel great. They are understated and simple. They hold up well. They’re…perfect!

In fact, can I tell you something really true? When I received my first order of Noble Baby Mama hair accessories for my little girls and I held them in my hands and put them in their hair, I was so pleased that I have never felt a need to shop elsewhere. When it comes to hair, this is my STORE, yo, and almost every accessory in our collection has been ordered from Trisha.

So let’s get started with our shopping, why don’t we?

I love, love, LOVE Trisha’s knot bows, available in every color you could want. When Betsie was a baby, I bought MINI pairs of all the important colors for her piggy-tails, and then I keep an assortment of colors (and about six in white!) in a standard size for when the girls need something to just keep their hair out of their face or to adorn a single ponytail.

It is important to pay attention to sizing, but Trisha makes it really clear and easy in her product descriptions of what you’re ordering and what to do if you’d like a custom order.


Now, I was going to doll the girls up and have them model some of Trisha’s bows so you could see them, but I decided, instead, to go digging through my photo collection to find instances of when the girls actually wore them. This is the proof in my pudding, yes? The following bows are all “mini knot bows”, in solid colors or gingham prints.







The girls apparently even favor Trisha’s bows when they’re playing “Booty Shop”.



On top of that, Trisha always has seasonal bows available in the cutest (and again, understated) prints, something new and different for your special occasions. For instance, this set of four mini knot bows that she released for the summer. SO cute!!!


Or these 3-inch bows. Love.


Sometimes Betsie chooses to wear all of Trisha’s printed bows at one time, in what she calls a “bow headband”.


But where Trisha REALLY slays me, I think, is with her FANTASTIC turbans.

These are usually available for mothers AND daughters (yay!), and Betsie, our little hippie, especially loves them, plopping them on her head with any and every outfit.

The girls and I mostly like to wear them as headbands (as in, at the nape of the neck UNDER the hair), but sometimes they wind up on top of our hair, too.

Whatevs. It’s all good. Seriously, these turbans are cute both ways.




Rebekah likes them, too.


And, okay, I love them, too, for those days when I don’t get to wash my hair or just need to get that mop outta my way!

I promise I wasn’t posing for a senior picture here.

Rebekah was secretly photographing me while I watched Gideon shoot a BB gun.


Speaking of daughters who like to take pictures of me…

Trisha offers an especially cute turban that I love the most – a mustard-colored beauty that goes with everything (and one that she JUST added back to the shop!!) –  and this is the only picture I have of it.

Betsie took this on a day she was asking me to make funny faces for her camera.

If you have to be caught making googly faces in a photograph, you might as well have a cute turban on, eh?



the BEST part? When I messaged Trisha that I was wanting to share some photos of her products on my blog, she generously offered a special discount to Mrs. Gore’s Diary readers.

How about some more exclamation marks?


From now until the end of this month (July 2015), you can use the coupon code “mrsgore20” at Trisha’s Etsy shop and receive 20% off your entire order! It’s like we’re shopping together now.

Special heartfelt thanks to Trisha for doing this for us, and for letting my name be in a coupon code for the first time EVER. I’m atwitter, for sure.

And I guess I should stop gushing now so you can go shopping! You can find mini knot bows and 3-inch knot bows and baby headbands and turbans galore by clicking here. Don’t forget your coupon code: mrsgore20.

And be sure to follow Noble Baby Mama on Facebook and Instagram to keep up with future special offers and releases!

Thank you for shopping with me today. <3

God Mend America, God Mend Me

God Mend America, God Mend Me

This past Independence Day was somewhat somber for me, and I know I’m not alone in that.

Huge changes have been taking place in our country, and for the first time in my life, I can really identify with older generations who pine for “the good ol’ days” and who, though lifelong citizens, feel a bit like strangers in their homeland.

It’s disconcerting, to say the least.

Most of you know that I am the wife of a Southern Baptist pastor, one who fundamentally holds to every letter of the Word of God, and so you probably don’t have to think too long and hard to figure out where I stand on many of the controversies that are boiling up in our nation today.

My beliefs are firm, they are rooted in an ancient text, and they’re not, by the grace of the God who caused me to love His precepts in the first place, going to be changing.

I’m still “crazy” enough to believe in absolute truth, and I believe with all of my heart that God has absolutely spoken truth about these issues, long before we ever began to face them.

There is pleasure in this realization, that, even if the entire world changes their mind on a subject, God will hold me fast and keep my feet and my beliefs from slipping, but, if I’m being honest, there is also a goodly amount of fear.

Christianity has always been so comfortable in the America I grew up in, and it didn’t ask too very much of me aside from going to church on Sunday and being nice to the folks who waited on me at the restaurant afterward.

And so, no, I don’t really WANT to be the odd man out.

I don’t want for people to dislike me, or think I am heartless or cruel.

I don’t want to be labeled a backwoods bigot for simply believing the same things that I have always believed, beliefs that most people were okay with until, like, yesterday.

I don’t want to be misrepresented by the world’s more-negative-by-the-minute idea of what Christianity is.

I like people, you see, and even better, I like it when people like me.

Still yet, even though I’m afraid, I sincerely don’t believe that Christians should stay separated from the state of affairs in the country of which they are citizens. In this beautiful democracy, we have a voice and we have a vote, and I want to always use both to stand up for what is true, not just for the good of my own family, but for my fellow man.

Because — and this is important — it’s not as if I’m just regurgitating what some talking religious head told me to say.

I really believe in the guidelines of the Bible, I believe they are the VERY WORDS of the God who made me, I believe they are true and right and helpful and that, if obeyed, will result in the only sort of joyful and fulfilling life that there is to live.

I believe this on faith, yes, but I also believe it because I have experienced it, firsthand. I have tested this life and, I kid you not, it is LEGIT, through and through.

Therefore, as one bearing testimony concerning the validity of God’s Word, it would be the epitome of “unloving” for me to leave my fellow citizens to fall down what I believe is a path of utter destruction.

How could I just shut my eyes and my ears to my culture when I have something so beautiful to offer them?

It would be a sick and cruel thing to do, and I would be the worst and most lowdown sort of human if I claimed the benefits of my religion without spreading the good news of it to others.

Thus, I pray that God will give me the extra courage to speak up and to speak the right words at the right time, and I’m praying the same for all who call him Master and King.

Which is exactly what led me to this blog post today.

We Christians have been doing a lot of talking, for a long time.

Some of this talking has been truly good and great. I am beyond grateful for the intelligent and wise and Spirit-led men and women of God who are representing us all on the frontlines of the culture wars. I’m praying for them and saying “Bravo!” every single step of the way.

But then some of our talking, sometimes, has great big holes in it, and it troubles me deeply.

The Church, more than ever before, is publicly calling on America to “REPENT”, quoting Scripture verses or the words of prominent Christians, and warning our country of God’s looming judgment.

It’s not as if I disagree with these statements, nor would I even be surprised to find that these recent cultural events ARE God’s judgment, allowing those in our nation to go the way they are stubbornly wanting to go. The first chapter of the book of Romans explicitly describes this sort of rebellion, to the letter, which I personally find kind of amazing.

But something’s missing, I think, in our bugle call, and it is simply this: I have been in church my entire life, and I think we have got to be kidding ourselves if we ever assume that all of the problems in America can be attributed to someone else.

Many of us are asking “America” to repent, and OH how I hope she does, but…

er, what about the Church in America?

Can we really say with 100% certainty God has been okay with the way we’ve been doing things?

Do we think He is proud of us?

Have we been representing Him well?

Has He been okay with the fact that we have gone soft on divorce for decades, sweeping it under the rug and allowing it into our midst?

Is He proud of the way we’ve allowed church members to treat one another, with envy and murmuring and speculation and strife?

Is He proud of the fact that many of us who claim to adore Him can only bear to sit in a church that has music that we like and a sermon that is twenty or less minutes long?

Is He proud that we manage to ingest hours and hours and hours of cultural entertainment but can hardly bear to crack open a Bible and read it?

Is He proud of the way we MAYBE give 10% of our income back to Him – and that’s from the most devout among us! – and spend the rest on our closets and our houses and our cars and our kids and our fun and our games and our future comfort and security while the majority of the world lives in indescribable suffering? Is He proud that we are basically pumping 90+% of our income into the culture that we say has turned its back on God?

Is He proud that we take our kids to church on Sunday but raise them as American-dreaming ladder-climbers the rest of the week?

Is He proud of the way we have bullied His pastors, blackmailing them with their paychecks and treating them more like butlers than shepherds?

Is He proud of our church splits and fights and factions, in maybe every single town in the nation?

Is He proud that we play the part of a devout believer but house secret sins in our private life that we never confess to anyone or get help with?

Is He proud that the only time we can really be counted on to pray is when we’re sitting down to a meal?

Is He proud that we are so ashamed of who He really is that we have dressed Him up and softened His words to make Him more palatable to our culture, and really, to ourselves?

Is He proud of the entertainment that we have allowed in our homes and the filth we have endorsed with our viewership?

In other words, do we REALLY and TRULY think that America would be a godly nation if we could only manage to get rid of so-called same-sex marriage and put prayer back in school?!

I don’t have all the answers – oh, my, not even close! – but sometime I just wonder if perhaps WE are the ones who need to repent, first, before we call on America to do so.

Perhaps we, the Church, should be humbling ourselves and seeking God’s face and turning from OUR wicked ways.

Perhaps, before we point out the specks in the eyes of unbelievers across America, we need to remove the logs from our own eyes.

Perhaps, before we post one more public call to America to “turn back to God” on Facebook, we need to write a public status update that apologizes for the thousands of ways we have failed our God, our families, our churches, our communities, our states, our country, our world.

Perhaps, if the people of God would get radically SERIOUS about being the people of God, He would bring a revival to our land like we’ve never seen!

I’m not a prophet or a woman preacher or even a Sunday School teacher, and I’m not trying to talk down to anyone or sound puffed-up or pretentious — and if I sound frustrated, believe me when I say that my frustration largely centers around my own apathy!!! — but I’m pretty sure that America is not going to be impacted by our spiritualized pins on social media.

It will be impacted when we start living like we want everybody else to live – in direct submission to God in all things – and we are never going to do that if we do not humble ourselves, repent of our sins, find out exactly how He wants to live in His Holy Word, and then…


Our real care for America won’t be seen by our Facebook version of a bumper sticker, but will be seen in the way we live at home when we’re stressed, in our churches when we’re sick of people, in our jobs when we have a chance to step on someone to make more money, in our neighborhood when we just want to ignore the people who live next to us, in our marriages when our spouse is just not doing it for us any more, in our parenting when our kids are challenging us on every front, and in the nitty gritty of our everyday, normal, sinful-but-redeemed lives.

Again, I am in no way saying that it is wrong for us to speak up and to share our convictions on social media.

As my husband reminded our church body this week, now is actually a GOOD time to do that. Our nation is being spoon-fed a distorted picture of reality, and we have a good chance to temper that by gently educating our friends and family in the ways of God.

But perhaps our movement needs to start from the ground up.

Let’s purify the bride of Christ, first, starting with ourselves.


Let’s direct our attention outward and shine our FACES off.


Dear friends, I will be spending this week asking God to reveal to me where I have failed Him, my family, my church, my former pastors, my past friends, my unbelieving friends, and my community, and I’m going to seek forgiveness first from Him, and then from those I have wronged.

I PRAY that you’ll join me in a movement of humility and repentance, for the glory of our great God and for the good of our beloved America.


“This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.

My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world. And by this we know that we have come to know him, if we keep his commandments. Whoever says “I know him” but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him, but whoever keeps his word, in him truly the love of God is perfected.

By this we may know that we are in him: whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked.”

1 John 1:5 – 2:6


Mrs. Gore’s Comment Policy: All comments are read, but only those that are gentle, kind, relevant to the subject at hand, and do not lead to further debate in the comments section will be published. If you have questions, please message me privately on Facebook. <3

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I Love Your Face.

There is no doubt that our fourth child, Shepherd, is my main squeeze.

I obviously, like any good mother, love all of my children equally, but that doesn’t mean I love them all “the same.”

I love Gid the Kid because he is my firstborn and he’s quirky and he’s vintage and he’s hilarious and he loves me madly and he is Gideon.

I love Rebekah because she is a normal and brilliant and a songbird and my helper and she keeps me sane and she is Rebekah.

I love Betsie because she is a NUTCASE and she entertains me endlessly and she is tender and generous and oh so gloriously ditzy and she is Betsie.

And I love Shepherd because he is, well, perfect.

Not perfect as in sinless.

Perfect as in the EXACT person that I needed in my life at the exact moment in which he joined us.

He has been by my side for almost two years now, and when I say “by my side”, I mean, literally, by my side.

He sits by me.

He sits with me.

He sits near me.

He sits at my feet.

He sits ON me.

Where I go, he goes, and where he goes, I soon follow because when I’m not with him, I miss him.

So the other day, the three big kids were playing upstairs, and Sheppy came and joined me where I was writing in my room. As usual, he gestured for me to hoist him onto the bed (he’s still not talking much), and I hauled his 30 pounds of girth next to my side.

We played tickle fight and made googly faces at each other and gave each other eskimo kisses and were just hanging out like normal, but when I looked over at my open laptop, I had an idea.

Shep has been making faces at himself in the mirror lately, and I thought it might be fun for him to see himself on my laptop’s camera.

I pulled it up, and the next thing I knew, we were having a face-making PARTY, where my little boy was copying every single thing I did. It was an unexpected, unscripted and hilarious surprise in my day, and…

it sort of made my day!


Happy face…


Mean face…

mean face

Super mean face…


Laughing face…


Now, quick! Hide!


Touch your nose!


Stick out your tongue!


Gimme a kiss!


Now, turn your head this way…


Turn your head that way…


Turn your head the other way…


We’re singing!!!!


Surprised face…


Super surprised face…


I tell you what, I love me some Shepherd.


and I think he loves him some me, too.


<3 <3 <3

The Day I Took a Walk – Our Tenth Anniversary Celebration

If you are just now joining us for this week’s very special anniversary series and have a hankering to hear all the details, you can catch up by reading Part One, Part Two and Part Three.

However, here is a nutshell recap of what I’ve shared this week that will explain the pictures you are about to see…

Following a strong conviction, my husband and I decided to shelve any ideas of celebrating our 10th anniversary in a distant location and to spend the day, instead, at the homeplace, with our children.

With a heart to make much of our marriage and to celebrate what God has wrought in our family, we each took two of our children that morning – the girls with me and the boys with him – and spent the entire day talking to them about marriage and walking them through the details of the wedding we had shared ten years earlier.

The girls accompanied me on a complete bridal experience in the big city, getting my hair put up, getting my make-up applied and then coming home to hide in the very same room where I had awaited my wedding ceremony.

And as afternoon turned to evening, we left that room and walked down the path my daddy led me down on my wedding day, meeting our boys in our fancy clothes in the EXACT same spot on the back porch where their papa and I said “I do”.

As I stated in one of the above previous posts, this was not a vow renewal, really, but “a meditation of vows already made, a proclamation to our little family that Papa and Mama spoke sacred words of promise to each other ten years ago, words of promise that God designed for men and women to flesh out, words of promise that God alone has helped us to keep, and words of promise that we intend to fulfill, by the grace of God, till death do us part.”

And then, of course, we would have a PARTY!


To everyone who has read so faithfully and with such encouraging words all week, I thank you, from the bottom of my heart. You inspire and motivate me every day of my life, and knowing that you all would be on the receiving end of this experience gave me the courage to proceed when I wanted to chicken out.

I also have to give MAJOR CREDIT to Champagne & Blush Photography for capturing this momentous day for me in perfect fashion. I couldn’t possibly be happier with the finished product – I sincerely cannot stop marveling over Becky’s talent! – and I would love it so much if you would go and visit her beautiful website here.



it brings me great pleasure to invite you to join us on the walk we took, as a family, on June 11, 2015, to commemorate the covenantal vows that Mr. Gore and I made on June 11, 2005.

If you’re on board, just say “I do!”


After almost two hours of holing ourselves up in my mama and daddy’s room, the girls and I began to get dressed.

Here is Rebekah in her Boden Christmas dress from two years ago. Still gettin’ our money’s worth, and Betsie hasn’t even started wearing it yet!

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And Betsie chose to wear her precious floral-printed birthday dress that was custom-made for her by my beloved friend, Leslie, at My Dear Poppy. A PERFECT choice, if I do say so myself.

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Because most of my dearest friends are family members, including my mama, I chose not to have “official” bridesmaids on my wedding day and to let everyone have a seat and enjoy the wedding from the front row.

I didn’t know then that, in ten short years, I’d have the perfect girls to fill my bridesmaids role, for life.

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After making purchases online and returning purchases online and then finally making a desperate trip to the mall (NOOOOO!!!!), I found the perfect dress for me.

It was pink and shimmery and ladylike and…

I liked it a whole lot.

I scraped a lot of pennies together for this dress, and so I will be wearing it to every wedding I attend for the next decade or two. Just don’t mention it if you see me in it.

“New dress?” you’ll ask.

And I’ll nod and wink at you.

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The bedroom was full of mementos from our wedding day. First, here are my “engagement shoes”, the Jimmy Choo pumps that my husband surprised me with on the night he proposed.

It was a big deal and I want to tell you ALL about it, but you’ll have to wait until my book is finished and then possibly published.

Give me about eight years, mkay?

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Here are my wedding shoes, a pair of beaded, sparkly flats that were perfect for our outdoor wedding. Heels were not an option, unless, of course, I wanted to sink into the dirt with every step I took.

These shoes were just the ticket.

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This is a little letterpress card that I keep in our bedroom next to our wedding portrait.

“Forever thine” is a true sentiment for me, because I frequently ask God to let me be married to Mr. Gore in heaven, or, at the very least, share a duplex with him.

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This floral handkerchief was one of six different prints that were passed out to the female guests as a wedding favor, and on top of it is the silver tussie mussie that my mama carried down the aisle, featuring, not surprisingly, a rose.

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Obviously, we were in a bridal haven, and it was so much fun to spend time with my daughters and my mama, mulling over my memories and getting dolled up.

I had seriously considered getting my girls’ hair fixed at the salon or by one of my talented friends but, in the end, we settled on sponge rollers and curling irons and pretty hair accessories that we had in our collection.

The metal headband and hair comb that the girls wore came from Anthropologie.

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My darling Betsie.

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And OH how sweet it was to still have my mama here to tie my sash for me.

(p.s. On the television in the background is the series of old movie clips that we played on a big-screen at our wedding reception!)

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By the way, Mama was very proud of the bow she tied.

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As the girls and I continued to primp, Becky ran to the other side of the U-shaped house to get some pictures of the boys in the guest bathroom.

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Gideon was given the very important task of holding onto my wedding bands, put back into the box that held them in 2005.

His vest and hat, if you’re wondering, came from Janie and Jack.

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Ring-bearer or best man?

Maybe both.

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I love that Gid took time to explain what was going on to his baby brother, Shepherd. I might have cried just a little when I got to these pictures.

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My handsome menfolk. I’m so proud and so grateful to have them in my home.

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brace yourselves…

Shep is the cutest thing I’ve ever seen or held in my life, and when you put suspenders on something that cute, be prepared to keel over.

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Mr. Gore’s last task of the day was to set up our wedding music, most of which were selections from my favorite movie, “Seven Brides for Seven Brothers”.

The “June Bride” song was actually the theme for our entire wedding, and it still makes me feel all mushy and gushy when I hear it today.

You can listen to the song and read more marital musings here.

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And here is the spot where it all started, the married life of Mr. and Mrs. Gore.

There were little mason jars of roses hanging all down the fenceline on our wedding day, and garlands of greenery and roses were draping these porch rails.

Thus, at the last minute, I threw a few of our extra roses from Stem’s into some jars to pay homage to our floral arrangements of yesteryear.

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“Ceremony” time!!

When Mr. Gore was a bridegroom, he walked out of this front door with my brother, Jerry, and his mentor, Mat, both of whom were speaking during the service.

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They stepped into the yard, took a right turn, and my beloved waited for me at the bottom of the back porch steps in front of all of our family and friends.

On that day, I did not yet belong to this man.

Today, I have been his for a decade, and I have relished the privilege, with all my heart.

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And the sun was shining through the trees…

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“It’s time!” my mom told us, back in our part of the house, and the girls and I gathered up our flowers and began our walk.

Sometimes I wonder, if there weren’t photographs documenting my wedding day, would I really remember this walk? Would I have a blank spot in my memory from where my nerves took over and the glory of my wedding day blinded my comprehension?


But there are lots of pictures and so I DO remember it, very well.

My daddy was smiling at me in his handsome suit, and I was smiling back.

The grass was greener than it had ever been before.

The breeze was filled with songs and love and, for a rare and beautiful moment, what felt like utter perfection.

Had Eden come down to visit, just to feed us on our pilgrimage?

I think it did. It felt like sin was gone for just a minute, and suffering, and sadness, and brokenness.

It felt like heaven…







With the memories of that day assailing me and the sameness of our surroundings flanking me, I tell you for a FACT that my breath was taken right out of me as I stepped through those doors once more with my daughters by my side.

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And as we rounded the corner and saw them – our men! – a lump rose up in my throat the size of Texas.

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They were whistling and clapping and making a grand fuss over us, and I was glad all over again that I had kept this day simple and small.

Now, it won’t surprise any of our Facebook readers that Betsie got a little lost on our walk – she was VERY excited and just took off like a bullet when we walked out the door – but we’re used to our “oh honey” girl and we lassoed her back to where she needed to be.

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And Rebekah, basking in every aspect of this event, performed like a pro. She’s hiring out for weddings now, so if you need a bridesmaid…

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And, um…

here’s me.

Sing along with me, why don’t you, so I don’t feel embarrassed.

♬ Here comes the wife

married for life 

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My family.

When I said “I do” to Mr. Gore, I was a delusional young woman with big dreams that centered around yours truly.

God has used these five people here to change me, through and through, and to teach me what it means to die to myself.

I would be nowhere without them, and I could care less about the stretchmarks that it took to get me to this point.

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Husbands are a blessing and a gift and a treasure.

Children are a heritage from the Lord.

Let’s shout all of the above from our rooftops, yes?!

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I mentioned my ridiculously idyllic imagination yesterday, and in the months leading up to our anniversary, I grew some big ideas about what the following “ceremony” would be like.

We would read our vows aloud to the children, we’d exchange rings, we’d all cry and gaze at one another in devotion, and then we’d pray as a family, hands clasped in heartfelt pleading.

As it turned out, we just had time to exchange rings, quickly.

Silly me, I had completely forgotten about our less-than-two year old and that he doesn’t know how to gaze OR pray yet.

But do you know what?

This was enough.

As Mr. Gore reminded me, we talked to our children about marriage all day, we had dedicated our day and all the details to God, and now it was time to rest and enjoy, wherever the evening (and our circus of a family) led us.

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Funny sidenote: we had a LOT more trouble getting those little rings on each other’s fingers on our 10th anniversary than we did on our wedding day.

Oh, well. That just means we’ve enjoyed a jolly and bountiful decade, don’t you agree?

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And then, because my husband was both bridegroom and minister, he demanded that I kiss him.

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Kissing still makes me happy, even though I’m 33.

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But a word of caution to all you young ones out there. Kissing is the BEST…


but it tends to multiply.

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which is the only kind of math that I like. ;)

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Ladies and gentlemen of the internet…

it is my TRUE honor and pleasure to present to you…

Mr. and Mrs. Gore!!!


till death do us part

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Sweet story, when I was preparing for my wedding day, I had gathered up clips from my favorite movie weddings to use as inspiration.

The candles hanging in the trees came from “Anne of Green Gables”.

The hymn singing came from June Allyson’s “Little Women”.

However, the one detail I was never able to mimic was a scene from the American Girl “Samantha” movie where, after Uncle Gard and Cordelia kiss as man and wife, Samantha pulls on a sash that releases hundreds of rose petals from a contraption above them, surrounding them in a shower of, well, flowers.

I did NOT plan this next picture, but when Gideon told us to kiss ONE more time because he had a surprise for us in his hands, Becky had her camera ready.

Sigh. My falling rose petals.

My life is now complete.

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After the ceremony, we took some family pictures in the various pastures surrounding the house.

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And then, just like on our wedding day, we strolled down the path that led to our reception by the creek.

Ten years ago, my daddy and his friends built an open-air wooden pavilion for the wedding, and we decided we’d end our anniversary party by going there to enjoy some cake together.

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Ten years ago…



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What God has joined together, let no man put asunder, and the next picture displays one of the most important reasons why.

Friends, let us fight for our marriages for the glory of God, and for our children.

They deserve to see us dying to ourselves and choosing to love one another, for life.

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Denying myself and living for this crew of people has brought me more happiness than I have ever known, and I mean that from the bottom of my heart.

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During our “ceremony”, my mom, without whom ANY of my blog or fun parties or peace of mind would exist, ran down to the pavilion to set out all the supplies we had gathered.

She did a beautiful job, and it was a feast for my eyes.

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This strawberry cake, from Queenie’s Cafe in Tulsa, was the most beautiful and delicious wedding cake, and we order one almost every anniversary.

The Fred and Ginger figurines were our “cake-toppers” and they dance all their days away on the dresser in our bedroom.

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Now that I’m a grown-up, I can cut cake. This is what all that “dying to myself” has resulted in.

I used to make someone else cut my cake for me.

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Before digging in, we showed the kids how we had crossed arms in the tradition of newlyweds and drank some much-needed ice water on our wedding day.

Whether it is 2005 or 2015, the same is true: Oklahoma is HOT.


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then we fed each other cake…


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and then we partied, relaxing as a family and enjoying the sweetest fruits of creation:




strawberry cake.

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Before we headed back to the house, Becky, a TRUE honorer of details, took some more photographs for us.

These are the earrings that I wore on my wedding day, and I hope my daughters will enjoy them when they marry.

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This blue ribbon holding my bouquet of roses together was used on so many of our wedding details, including the mason jars, the invitations, and the choir songbooks.

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And I don’t know if Becky planned this or not, but I couldn’t believe it when I saw this picture.

Here’s my daddy on the day of my wedding in 2005, shuttling guests around the farm in his Kawasaki Mule…


and here he is in 2015, stopping by after fishing to steal a piece of cake!

That’s a pretty trusty Mule, ain’t it?!

And the vehicle’s not so bad either!

(thank you, thank you very much – my mom really got a kick out of that joke.)

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As my mama began packing up our party, we sat down for just a few more family pictures…

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and then we called it a night and returned to the house, the same house we slowly walked to after being the last guests to leave our own wedding ten years ago.

But this time…

we RAN.

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Cinderella reportedly said “One shoe can change your life.”

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I, after ten years of wedded bliss, am much inclined to agree.

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Thank you, again, for joining our family for this very special occasion! My greatest prayer is that God would have used our celebration to draw your hearts back home.

Marriage and family have become disposable in our world and it is time, Christians, that we claim them back for the glory of God, for the health of His Church, and for the spread of the Kingdom.

Marriage belongs to God. May we treat it right, cover it in prayer, and maybe, just maybe, throw it a great big party every once in awhile.


And now I invite you to share! Join me in spreading the word that marriage is worth fighting for and that being a wife can be even sweeter than being a bride. Pick a pin, any pin! 

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The Day I Took a Walk – Part Three

New to this week’s anniversary series? Read Part One and Part Two


The morning of our anniversary dawned as beautifully as our wedding day did ten years ago, but this time, of course, there were children in my bed.

Funny how that works.

Having already delivered all of the necessary supplies to my parent’s house two nights before, the girls and I were free to wake up leisurely and get our day started before being picked up by my mama for our fun bridal-esque day on the town.

Mom and I giggled a bit to recall our identical drive a decade past, leaving my capable sister-in-law, Amy, in charge of all of the wedding chaos back at the house while we enjoyed our last day together sharing the same home and last name. (Thanks again, Amy – you were awesome! I will owe you FOREVER!)

As my mama’s baby and only girl following three sons, the two of us had really savored every possible second of the entire bridal experience, and while I would maybe do a few things differently in retrospect (i.e. save my parents some money by toning things down a notch), we were feeling absolutely on top of the world that day.

And so it was fun to see a similar glee on my daughter’s faces as we loaded up into my mom’s SUV. I’m sure you know this already, but one of the crowning joys of life is having girls in your life to do girly stuff with.

And can I just say that I was so proud of Betsie for being brave enough to wear her sponge rollers all over Tulsa, although I am sure she soon realized that it was a wise choice, as every woman we passed stopped in her tracks to fawn over the cuteness and nostalgia that her ‘do evoked.

Maybe I’ll try to wear sponge rollers to Tulsa someday. Do you think people will think I’m cute?

Yeah, okay, maybe I won’t.

So our first stop was to the donut shop to get donut holes because donuts are important, whether it is your anniversary or not.

Next, we drove to the flower shop to pick out our flowers. We didn’t actually get our wedding flowers from Stem’s in 2005, but we did have roses at our wedding and Stem’s has roses, so there you go. Plus it was in the same shopping center we would be in all day.

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Did you know that The Pioneer Woman has shopped here before? I could feel her lingering presence. That’s why I’m really smiling in this picture, not because it is my anniversary and I’m about to get my hair did.

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Stem’s always has a gorgeous selection of flowers. It was hard to leave without buying the whole room!

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Next, because we were a little bit early for my first appointment, we stopped in at Pottery Barn Kids to waste some money…er, time.

I wonder, sometimes, if Pottery Barn Kids recognizes our family as the people who come and play with toys but never buy anything?

I hope not.

We make up for it at Christmastime.

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And then it was time for my hair appointment at Ihloff Salon and Day Spa, the magical place where I spent many hours in the months leading up to my wedding getting groomed and scrubbed and polished, and where I had my hair done for bridal portraits and our wedding.

I touched on this already in Part Two of this series, but it felt so strange to be having an updo as an old washed-up woman in her thirties.

At least, that’s how we allow ourselves to think sometimes, isn’t it?

Which leads me to the second part of the lesson I told you about yesterday.

If I’m being quite transparent, and I thank you for allowing me to do so, I would have to confess that this was not an ideal time in my mind to be focusing an entire day and photo shoot around myself.

Shepherd’s pregnancy – and my ruthless craving for hamburgers that accompanied that pregnancy, I am sure – was hard on my body, and almost two years later, I have yet to return to my favorite weight range and the size of clothing that I feel most comfortable with.

It doesn’t help much, of course, that Sheppy is a devoted cuddlebug who hypnotizes me with his preciousness at least five times a day. While Betsie had me on my feet every second of her awake-time trying to keep her alive, therefore causing the pounds to just fall off of me, Sheppy is more like, “Hey, Mom, you want to sit here on the couch with me and let everything that we just ate turn into fat?”

It’s cute.

And I always say “Why, yes, Sheppy, I DO.”

And I say all that not to fish for compliments and not to give the impression that I am unhappy with the way I look – on most days, I feel perfectly fine and passably attractive for a mom of four kids in her early thirties.

But a photo shoot?! Where I’m the star? And where there isn’t a baby on my hip, camouflaging my midsection, at all times?


Therefore, this surprisingly painful practice of forging ahead and being the “woman of the hour” was good for me, not only to battle the self-consciousness that can so easily hold dominion over a woman’s spirit – even a woman who holds to all the right theologies! – but to display to my daughters that this earthly shell of mine isn’t something that I will shrink under.

We have bigger fish to fry, do we not?

And do you know what?

I totally went for it. And, please, feel free to go ahead and applaud for me because I didn’t even wear a SHAWL. Sleeveless, baby, for maybe the first time in public in I don’t even KNOW when.

Okay, it was a cap sleeve, but now you’re just being picky.

And the moral of this section of my anniversary series is as follows…

most husbands don’t want perfect-looking wives, they just want confident wives who aren’t so obsessed with their bodies that they keep them under lock and key both in and out of the bedroom.

On this day and on this anniversary weekend, I chose to be confident for my man, and believe you me, he was a fan. ;) ;) ;)

Moving on, before we get to the fun of our outing, there is one last secret that I’d like to pass along, a secret that applies to all family gatherings, especially when children are involved, and it this: though beautiful and touching in theory, this momentous day of ours was no more perfect than any other day outside of the gates of Eden.

Let me explain.

I was telling my friend, Kodi, that I am the queen of dreaming up these idyllic scenarios about the special moments I will share with my family.

In my imagination, there is always laughter and frolicking and I’m never sweating or feeling like I could wring someone’s neck.

And, in my projections for this day, in particular, my impressionable daughters would most assuredly be sitting on the edge of their seats, watching their beloved mother being transformed into a vision of timeless beauty. Their eyes would sparkle as they would watch my hair being pinned up, and they would meditate on how happy they are to have landed in my nest.


Fake, boooooooored smiles.

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Five minutes into my updo, Rebekah chirped, “How long do we have to be here? Can we go back to Pottery Barn Kids?”

Betsie, who was hanging like a monkey from the neighboring stylist’s chair, dropped to the floor and nodded her head in agreement.

And I realized again, in that moment, that my children are humans – especially on holidays! – and that I should just sit back and enjoy my day in a realistic manner. No pressure on anyone, just love and humor, and this attitude would most certainly serve me well the entire day, and really, my entire life.

I hope you’ll remember this at your next Easter Egg hunt when everyone is crying, your kids have changed into sweatpants without your permission, your hair is wind-blown and stuck to your lipgloss and your underarms have leaked sweat onto your blouse for all the world to see.

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My mom, ever the astute helper, soon whisked the girls off for about an hour, leaving me and my stylist, Whitney, to chat and relax…

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and they returned just in time to see the last pin being slipped into my fifty pounds of hair. (I sincerely felt sorry for this sweet lady who had to figure out how to arrange that mess!)

Before leaving, she put on the finishing touch, the crystal brooch that was pinned in my hair ten years earlier, and then we moved down the street to my make-up session at Saks Fifth Avenue, which was, you guessed it, exactly where I went on my wedding day.

The girls felt a little perkier about this portion of our day – they love make-up! – and Debra at the Trish McEvoy counter was so accommodating to our little party.

How nice it felt to sit at my leisure and have a professional gussy me up. The only problem was, this make-up application felt SO good and relaxing, I just wanted to go night-night when it was all over.

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And now I’d like to display to you for just a second what it is like to sit with Betsie during church…

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Oh! And have I mentioned yet that girls are fun?!

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Before we left for the day, Rebekah and Betsie got to join in the pampering, and they were giddy with excitement.

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I share my lipgloss with them faithfully, but this was another level, entirely.

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On our way out of Utica Square, we picked up the cake at Queenie’s Cafe — the same strawberry cake that was featured on the dessert table at our wedding — the flowers that had been put back for us at Stem’s, and supper for all of us to eat after the celebration.

And then?

We were off!

While the drive to Tulsa had been almost identical to the one I took on my wedding day – heart full of excitement to luxuriate in a bridal transformation – the drive home was much different.

There were no nerves this time.

No fears or doubts.

No somberness about the life I was leaving behind.

Only praise and gratitude from mulling over how good God has been, pure excitement about spending the evening with my favorite people, and, honestly, relief that this entire shenanigan was almost successfully concluded!

Turning onto my parent’s country road from the highway, we stopped and pointed out to the girls where, ten years earlier, their Papa had been standing in the bar-ditch with my brother, Pete, propping up an antique door that told wedding guests where to turn.

As mom and I had slowed down to greet them that late afternoon, Mr. Gore had turned his back to me so he wouldn’t see me before the wedding, and I felt like I was going to burst. I’d had butterflies galore in that moment, and I had them again, just thinking about my bridegroom who has stood by my side for a beautiful decade.

When we finally pulled up into the driveway, Rebekah, Betise and I scurried to my mom and dad’s room through the back door while Mama went through the front door to deliver strict orders to the boys not to come back there.

It was a full-out GIRLS ONLY moment, and the next hour or so was spent thumbing through our wedding album, watching our wedding ceremony on DVD (Rebekah could not BELIEVE how “adorable” her papa was!) and watching the collection of old movie clips that had played on a big projector screen at our wedding reception.

And then, just like on my wedding day, the evening swung into full gear, Becky arrived with all of her camera equipment, we began to get dressed in our fancy clothes, and then, well…

then we took a walk.


I vow to you that you’ll see EVERY BIT of that walk, tomorrow!

The Day I Took a Walk – Part Two

Read Part One here


As the day of our 10th anniversary drew closer, the details of the special celebration we’d decided upon began to take shape, bit by bit.

I bought a dress.

I gathered up some prospective outfits for the Mister and our four small children.

I made a couple of appointments.

And as everything fell slowly into place, I began to feel that this day that had been capturing my dreams really might have been Spirit-led. This plan was burning inside of me and the very thought of it frequently brought tears to my eyes.

However, there was still one major component lacking, and it was pretty imperative, as far as I was concerned. Forgive me, please, if I bumble in the paragraphs to come, for I’m afraid that I don’t even have the words for this part…

As you might remember, our default photographer of all special family occasions, Benjamin Grey Photography, moved to Kentucky last year.

I was devastated, not just to see two of my favorite people on the planet leave our hometown, but also to lose some of my most dependable and enthusiastic blog cohorts. Teamwork is an important factor in creative endeavors, and I had grown so accustomed to having someone just down the street who could help me get the pictures out of my head and into reality.

Thus, when it came to hiring someone to capture our special day for us, I didn’t even know where to start. My taste runs high but my budget runs short, and homemade granola, blog exposure and maybe a Benjamin Franklin or less had always been enough to satisfy our very talented photography buddies.

Pardon me, but how was I even supposed to approach someone new with those terms about joining the Mrs. Gore’s Diary team without sounding like a beggar or a lunatic?

Especially because the “Mrs. Gore’s Diary team” isn’t even a real thing, unless, of course, you travel through the delusional and/or egotistical regions of my own brain.

To say I was stumped was an understatement.

Finally, just grasping for straws one day, I contacted a young woman on Facebook who grew up in my church.

She lives quite far from us, but she is a beyond talented wedding photographer who seemed to be in a creative network, of sorts, and I thought she might have some connections in the Tulsa area and could at least make a recommendation for us to begin a conversation with someone…anyone! I was growing less picky by the minute!

Thus – and I’m getting to the good part, I promise – you can only imagine my delight and shock when she, right off the bat, volunteered for the job.


I couldn’t believe it, and I still can’t, really.

Praise the Lord for his sovereignty and kindness, she would actually be in a neighboring town on THE night of our anniversary, and the two of us proceeded with excited and giggly plans from there.

Now, I could try most vehemently not to gush about this girl’s talent and generosity, but it would be of no use.

Becky, of Champagne and Blush Photography, was on board from the very beginning of our correspondence, she caught the exhaustive vision of what I wanted this day to be, and she completely captured every single thing on camera (which I’ll be sharing with you so soon!) that I could possibly have dreamed of: the history of our wedding day ten years ago, my parent’s homeplace where I grew up and got married, our crazy-but-beautiful life with four children, and, basically, every single detail that would deeply minister to my heart as I looked back on this tangible portrait of what God has wrought in the life of a woman who, a decade ago, had no inkling of what lay ahead for her.

In other words, Becky captured the “then” of our life together and she captured the “now”, and that’s exactly what I was hoping for on the evening of our 10th anniversary, a “marrying”, if you will, of our wedding day to our present life as mother and father.

Obviously, there had been no Gideon in 2005. No Rebekah. No Betsie. No Shepherd.

The people who, for the most part, completely make up our world today were years from even being formed! It might have just been the two of us a decade ago, but today we are six, and since they are basically our best friends and constant companions, neither Mr. Gore nor myself could even begin to think of commemorating this day without our children. We are a family, and if one of us celebrates, by golly, we ALL celebrate.

And so here, finally, is the outline of our grand plan.

On the morning of our anniversary, Mr. Gore would take the boys for the day, and the girls and I would go with my mom through a full repeat of all the things that I did on my wedding day.

I and the girls would not lay eyes on the boys all day long.

I would get my hair swept up into something fancy at a salon.

I would get my make-up professionally applied.

We would drive home from Tulsa and hide in my parent’s bedroom where I hid on the day of my wedding.

And then, as afternoon turned to evening, we would exit the french doors that my daddy and I stepped through on June 11, 2005, to begin that momentous walk that changed my life in ways I never saw coming.

With my little girls beside me, I would revisit that exact path — out the little gate to the pasture, down the fenceline, through the big gate that enters the yard, and down the grass-covered aisle that was flanked by white folding chairs — but this time, rather than being met by a waiting crowd of guests, a choir, a minister, and most importantly, my fiance, it would simply be our boys, my husband and my sons, standing on the exact spot on the porch where I said “I do” to Mr. Gore and became his wife.

This was not a vow renewal, really.

It was a meditation of vows already made, a proclamation to our little family that Papa and Mama spoke sacred words of promise to each other ten years ago, words of promise that God designed for men and women to flesh out, words of promise that God alone has helped us to keep, and words of promise that we intend to fulfill, by the grace of God, till death do us part.

And, oh my goodness, what a surreal experience this turned out to be, from start to finish, and I do believe I could write up an essay comparing the mentality of brides versus that of wives and mothers.

It’s funny, the crystal earrings I had worn on my wedding day and pulled out of hiding had not changed a bit.

The yard had not changed, except, of course, for the playset my parents set up for the grandkids.

The music we played on our ipod was identical, note for note, to the music we enjoyed during our ceremony and reception.

But I, the blushing bride of yesteryear, have CHANGED, and I’m not just talking physically!

For starters, I was so very tired by the time this event arrived.

Granted, there had been a pretty important Cinderella birthday party for our daughters only six days before this anniversary celebration, but still. Where did all of that energy come from when I was a soon-to-be newlywed?! How was I able to plan an event – that included a full supper, mind you! – for 400 guests in the middle of nowhere at the age of 23, yet barely manage to pull off a simple dessert party for our six family members in that same location a mere ten years later?

There had, indeed, been a lot of shopping to do, including my dress. There were clothes to gather up and iron for all four kids and my husband. There was wedding day memorabilia to dig out of storage and transport to my mom and dad’s house. There were hair and make-up appointments to schedule, after extensive research with all of my peeps on the Mrs. Gore’s Diary team. There were photography details to discuss with Becky. There was music to purchase and download. There was a cake to order and pick up. There was an outdoor pavilion to clean and decorate.

Not to mention, of course, a thorough scrubbing of my own house, where my husband and I would stay, alone, for two nights after leaving the kids with my parents.

I kid you not, by the time our anniversary finally arrived, I was almost too pooped to party!

But, even more noticeable than the exhaustion I was feeling in my body were the surprising changes that have occurred in my attitude after ten years of being a wife and eight years of being a mother.

When I was a bride, I felt pretty much entitled to all that was being done for me. This was my wedding, after all, and while I was no bridezilla, I didn’t shrink from a sliver of the attention or the pampering that was consistently coming my way throughout my entire season of betrothal.

Therefore, it truly took me off guard, about halfway through the planning stage for this anniversary celebration, to find that I am just no longer fully comfortable with splurging on myself, an art that I formerly excelled in!

The expense of this simple celebration made me positively squirm, I tell you, especially when it came to my own dress and appointments.

“This is such a waste of money…” I thought to myself as I made the call to schedule my updo. “And for what? To only be seen by a handful of people, most of whom are under the age of 9? To just go home after we eat cake and call it a night? WHY did I decide to do this??

Frankly, I was embarrassed. I had made all of these appointments and I had spent all this money and I had done all this work and I had hired a photographer, and it just all seemed so goofy and indulgent and unnecessary for a minute.

But then do you know what I did, and I sometimes wonder if this, too, was inspired by the Spirit?

I considered my prom nights as a junior and senior in high school, and therein found a new and confident resolve: if a girl can spend hundreds of dollars and take all sorts of pains to look amazing and special for a guy or a group of friends that she, for the most part, will only see on Facebook in the years to come, why on earth should she not do the same for her beloved and faithful husband, the person with whom she intends to spend a lifetime?

She should, by jing!

And she should do so with giddiness and gladness.

Which leads me to the biggest lesson I learned through this entire anniversary experience, a lesson I knew before, but whose resolve has been more deeply etched onto my heart than EVER before…

Marriage is worth fighting for.

It is worth our time.

It is worth our exhaustion.

It is worth our discomfort.

It is worth our money.

It is worth pampering and spoiling and getting fixed up for.

It is worth everything we can give it.

And this night of celebrating and luxuriating, though definitely out of the ordinary for Mr. and Mrs. Gore, was a cradling of our vows that I will never, ever forget…

and never, no, NEVER regret.


Thank you for joining us for this anniversary series! Stay tuned for more, tomorrow!

The Day I Took a Walk

On June 11, 2005, I took a walk.

My daddy’s arm was intertwined with mine and, as we passed by the long rows of white chairs holding our lifelong family members and friends in the backyard of our country home, my white satin gown was dragging the ground behind me, and I thought that I must be the happiest girl in the world.

Mr. Gore met me at the end of that early evening stroll, and he took my hand and he made me a promise.

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Ten years have passed since that beautiful day in June and, as the months were drawing nearer to the day of our anniversary, my husband and I began to discuss how we might celebrate. Our anniversary, bringing up the rear in a string of family birthdays, always seems to take the back burner, and the last time we actually appropriately celebrated our special day had been about five years and counting.

We wanted to do things right this time.

There were talks of returning to the seminary in Louisville, KY, where we spent our first years as man and wife.

There were dreams — okay, maybe just on my part — of taking a road trip through Texas’s Hill Country during bluebonnet season.

We even volleyed about the idea of traveling to Colorado with the kids, a state we’ve wanted to introduce them to for years.

But none of the ideas we came up with, fabulous as they sounded, seemed to match up with the weightiness I was feeling in my heart concerning this important milestone we were about to celebrate.

My heart was deeply stirred, drenched in sentimentality, and I couldn’t shake the persistent yearning to partake in an anniversary celebration that would satisfy all of the thoughts and emotions that were welling up within me concerning my husband, our life together, and the ten years we have traveled through as man and wife.

Fast forward to last week, the week after our anniversary, when a friend at church asked me how I had come up with the idea for the celebration we ended up settling on.

I was speechless for a minute, but finally, I responded with the only answer that seemed truthful.

“I think it was actually the Holy Spirit,” I laughed.

And I really mean that.


Marriage is under attack on a worldwide level.

And I’m not talking about the political agenda of the democratic party, or the recent Supreme Court decision.

I’m talking about within the Church.

Every day, it seems, there is news of another divorce amongst professing believers, another scandalous affair, another set of vows crumbling under the weight of our culture’s wooing. It breaks my heart.

And, believe me, it’s not as if I think I am better.

I’m terrified, actually, and when I hear these stories, I am driven to my knees, not because I’m sad on a purely sympathetic level, but because I’m scared.

That could be me, you know.

That could be Mr. Gore.

That could be us.

Because, if I’ve learned one thing in the last ten years about the union of marriage, it is that a lifelong agreement between two sinners is in most desperate need of a divine Helper.

I didn’t understand marriage when I first got married, no, not at all.

When we first said our “I do’s” I, like so many brides, was dizzy under the fog of romance and fairy tales and happily-ever-afters. Yes, I tried to agree somewhere in my brain with all the Christian platitudes that we were proclaiming about marriage being a picture of Christ and the Church and so on and so forth and whatever else the preacher said that day, but…

secretly, I knew we were going to “make it” in this business of marriage because we were in LOVE! Mr. Gore was my Prince Charming and I was his dream wife. We were PERFECT for each other!

However, as the pixie dust fell slowly to the ground in the wake of years and babies and surgeries and budgets, my love underwent a steady transformation, morphing into something a little less fluffy and naive and more realistic and grounded.

But here’s the good part, and the part that I am most passionate to proclaim to anyone reading today…

it has been a love no less beautiful.

In fact, I truly believe the love I have for my husband today is even more beautiful than it was the day I became a bride, and I am sure that many wives of Christian husbands who are eager to love them in grace and truth, would agree.

I love my husband now not simply because he makes my heart flitter around like a thousand butterflies, but because God helps me to love him.

I die for him not just because he fills up my mind and my heart on a 24-hour a day basis, but because God enables me to lay down my life for his sake, even, incredibly, when I don’t want to.

And would you believe that these sorts of binding matrimonial chains are incredibly freeing?

In fact, I daresay they taketh my breath away!

The world is an expert in downplaying the beauty of marital love. They make it look ugly and fat and boring and like something that is only worth celebrating on day one.

The bridal industry is booming, while years and sometimes only months down the road, marriages are unraveling like the Berber carpet on our stairs. In other words, everyone wants to be a bride, but few people want to be a wife.

We need help.

Love that is easy and without blemish is sweet to look at. I’d be lying if I said the moony eyes of a young couple in love didn’t soften my heart and lead me to all kinds of goose-bumpy nostalgia.

But love that has learned to endure, love that has found triumph and joy after seasons of busyness, of coldness, of exhaustion, of stress…

it is a city on a hill.

Because that sort of love, while admittedly more gritty than the newlywed version, points back to a loving Savior who makes the broken whole, who can enable men and women to die to themselves daily, and who can cause the naturally faithless to cling to one another in an oath that causes them to soar.

The glory of it all makes me desperate.

I want my kids to witness this truthful and biblical beauty of marriage, on a daily basis. The after-the-happily-ever-after. The romance of “true love”, but mixed with a little bit of life and proof.

And do you know what? I want the Church and the world to see it, too.

Thus, it soon became clear that I didn’t want to go to Texas or Colorado or Kentucky for our 10-year anniversary.

I wanted to take a walk, and I wanted my kids to be there with me.


I am beyond excited to share this anniversary series with you! Please stay tuned for Part Two, coming up tomorrow!