A Musical Marriage

Last Saturday P.A. and I had the opportunity to lead worship together for a marriage conference at another church.  To prepare, we prayed and picked out our songs.  We planned the details of our set list and practiced the songs.  Then, we played worship for the marriage conference.

We have a musical marriage.

We love music.  We love listening to music.  We love dancing to music.  We love talking about new music.  We love playing and making music together, but don’t always have an opportunity to do so.  When we do have an opportunity, we love it!  and we think we sound pretty good together… but our musical marriage didn’t just happen overnight…

Making beautiful music takes time.  

If only our marriage would have been as *musical* all along… some of the music we have made has sounded more like a cheesy pop song, rather than a symphony.  Yes people, if you haven’t figured it out by now, this blog is not just about our gifts and good times with music.  I’m writing about more than music here.  You can see the metaphor, right?  If not, I will spell it out for you:

Sex.  Intimacy.  Making Love.  Makin’ Whoopie.

You name it, call it whatever you want.

I’m going to refer to it as makin’ music.  Insert *blushing* here.

uh-oh…  no worries, though.

This is all for God’s Glory.  After all, He is the creator of makin’ music, right? Last I checked, that was the case. (Gen. 2:25)  God designed and desires for our marriages to reflect Him.  He wants all marriages to be playing from the same chord chart, in the same key, makin’ records of beautiful music.  No matter what your view or personal experience is or has been, God wants to Redeem, Restore and Renew makin’ music for everyone.  He knows satan wants to destroy marriages and makin’ music is a prime target on which to launch the attack.  God wants to take back the lies, the darkness, the trash, the comparisons, the injustice, the abuse ~ everything.  He wants to bring the sin into the LIGHT and make ALL things new.

When P.A. and I became friends and started dating, we were open about everything from the beginning.  And… We anticipated that our wedding night music would be wonderful. Award Worthy. Right? 


We are still learning, growing and figuring out how to make the best music together.  Thankfully, we didn’t scratch makin’ music all together.  After all, the record was and still is only half-written…  And we have our whole lives to practice.  And heck, we have 3 wee babs, so we’re makin’ some music… Right? Yep.  It’s true.  Just like leading worship for the marriage conference, for us to be makin’ the best music, we need to pray, prepare, plan, practice and pick the best times to play music.  Whew. That list sounds like a lot of work.  Yes.  Makin’ beautiful music takes time.  And it’s worth it.

Some days we focus more on the music, some days we are on different pages, and some days we get too busy or tired to make any music at all.

Trusting in God is our foundation.  We trust Him to Conduct the symphony of our lives.  We also trust each other.  We have made musical mistakes.  We know we will mess up again.  But. We. Trust.  It’s been an interesting musical journey.  We have disappointed ourselves and each other. We have blamed ourselves and each other.  We have sinned against God and each other.  We have forgiven.

Our hope and prayer is that wherever you are on your musical journey, you and your mate will allow God to Redeem, Restore and Renew every part of your lives, right down to the music you make. Let Him bring the Darkness into the Light. Replace the Fear with Trust.  And turn the Sorrow into Joy.

…and let your marriages make beautiful music.

Baby Love~Our Love Story

this year we will celebrate 15 years of marital bliss. Wow-zers, 15 years! you must be thinking ~ how old are you??? you guys still look like babies! Well, thank you very much. We still feel like babies, and time flies when you’re married, lemme tell ya.

we were basically babies when we got married.  He 22/Me 20 young years of age… and yes, if you can do the math, or have a calculator handy, we will be turning 37/35 this April/May.  just a heads up for our happy birthday!

I was 18 years old, when I saw Adam for the first time. Working as a CSR (customer service rep. aka – cashier) at Mardel ~ a Christian bookstore in Oklahoma. He strolled into the bookstore in suit ~ totally overdressed and heavily cologned for his interview.  I thought he was mysterious and stared at people a lot.  He was also wearing a leather jacket over his suit, and had a “I’m too cool” walk and look about him, which I thought was funny.  So, the first reaction I had to him was laughter.

I (Adam) was 20 years old, when I saw Leslie for the first time.  I came in to interview at Mardel and saw her at the register.  I thought she was a little snobby, but sweet.  I could tell she was curious about me…  She looked cute in her gray tennis dress, had a beautiful smile, and a laugh that could be heard around Mardel… and the world.  I loved her.

(Leslie again).  Yes, Adam still swears he loved me from the first moment he saw me.  I do know it happened soon after, but love at first sight?  c’mon.  I think he’s just a romantic 😉

Our manager at Mardel, “Tall Paul” (the nickname my friend/co-worker Stephanie and I affectionately gave him, b/c his name was Paul… and he was tall) was so impressed with Adam… and his suit… and his cologne… he hired him on the spot.  little did i know, that hire would change my life… forever.

Within the next week, Adam was managing the music department at Mardel, overseeing the sales of cassette tapes and cd’s (which were the hot new thing), and my friend Stephanie-the other employee of the music department. The 3 of us became a hilarious trio, entertaining the customers, our co-workers and each other, while becoming really good friends along the way.  Adam and Stephanie always made up reasons to come and visit me at the register in between the lines of customers I faithfully served and sold Christian “stuff” to.  And I always found reasons to visit the music department, chat with my friend Steph, and check out Adam, the hot and funny “new guy”.  all this time, my heart was on hold because I was falling for this guy who already had a girlfriend.  ouch.

I had no desire to get in the middle of a relationship, but… it happened.  from the moment we met, we spent a lot of time together as friends (remember the post last week “Marriage as Mates”).  our friendship was our foundation, no doubt.  we laughed together, talked for hours, and just loved hanging out together.  we spent a lot of time with our families too in those first few months of friendship… in fact, they saw our future of falling in love, before we admitted it was happening.  but eventually, it happened…

we started dating a few months later, in April of 1996.  Adam came to one of my choir concerts at the University of Oklahoma.  My family, Steph, and other friends were there too.  Later that night, Steph and I went back to my dorm room and their was a red rose on my door.  I looked at her with the question in my eyes, she shook her head “yes”, and I knew.  I started crying, freaking out with giddy girly excitement, and listened to all of the details from Steph about how Adam has really been in love with me all along, since he had already told her.  then, I called him… thanked him for the rose and we talked for 4 hours.  

Our dating story began ~ we dated for 8 months and were engaged on New Years Eve, 1996.  We spent that whole day together.  It began with breakfast, a scavenger hunt of the memories we shared on campus and at Mardel, and then lunch.  Then he took me to “Opening Night” a big NYE celebration in downtown Oklahoma City.  We went to dinner and then to see the musical “Sound of Music”.  About half way thru, I saw our parents and siblings in the auditorium (and after wondering for a moment why they were stalking us, I got the feeling something was going to happen). Then Adam whisked me away to another part of the celebration.  We went to listen to a concert by Edgar Cruz, an uber talented guitar player. In the middle of the concert, Edgar stopped playing, handed Adam the mic and he proposed to me… in front of 300 people.  After getting over my initial shock and the whirlwind of the evening, I said Yes.   

The evening didn’t end there.  We were then whisked away by golf cart to be interviewed by Fox news.  They did a short story on our engagement, and the way Adam worked it into the Edgar Cruz concert. We were now famous. 

Eight months later, on August 9th, 1997 we were married.

And that is when the work began.  It’s a lot of “work” to plan an engagement like Adam’s proposal, and a lot of “work” to plan a wedding with all of the intricate details. But the real work was just beginning. We have a love story that sometimes feels too good to be true.  But it is true.

It’s not easy, but it’s worth it.  
It’s not always pretty, sometimes it’s ugly.  
It’s not filled with rose petals and champagne, but it is filled with lots of coffee and lots of laughter.  
It’s the biggest investment we’ve ever made, and it’s worth it.  

Marriage as Mates


My Grandparents recently celebrated their 65th wedding Anniversary this past December…

That’s 780 months of marriage… Or 23,725 days!!! Wow-zers!!!

And the thing is – they really love each other.  Still… 65 years later.   They Love.

They chose each other.

They didn’t just stick it out for the “sake of the kids”… their 4 children are fully grown with their own kids (like ME!) and grandkids (like the wee Babs).  It’s safe to say that they have been empty-nesters for a while now.  They didn’t just stay married for the hell of it, or because marriage is the “cool” thing to do.  Or because it was easy and like a sunshine fairytale everyday the past 23,725 days…
Nope.  They chose humility, selflessness, teach-ability, willingness, trust, respect, hard work, dedication, commitment and they chose to grow… together.
They met when they were 5 years old, my Grandpa would ride his horse thru wind, snow and rain to visit his one true love, they married at age 19 and now they drive a Lexus with a license plate that says “HAD2BU”. They began their journey as best friends… and still are.
One of the foundations of a Marriage must be Friendship.  Marriage as Mates.
I am so grateful that P.A. is my B.F.F., my Bestie, my Mate!  We kicked it off that way.  We met working together at a Christian bookstore ~ Mardel.  The first time I saw P.A. I laughed at him.  I made fun of his outfit (because he was totally overdressed for his interview) and teased him about his cologne (because it was waaaayyyy too strong).  He was cool with all of this.  We loved laughing together, and could laugh at ourselves – *bonus*!  We loved hanging out together and talking for hours, and on our lunch breaks, after work, on the phone, any chance we could get.  And it hasn’t changed… much.   Now we have to usually talk over the needs of the wee Babs, or save all of our conversation up until the evening time.  But we talk.  We go crazy if we haven’t talked enough.  A friendship breeds on conversation.  True, deep, authentic conversation.  We love being mates who talk.
And we laugh.  Still we laugh at each other and at ourselves.  We laugh thru the difficult times of pain, hurt, sorrows and screaming wee Babs. We laugh at life when it is hilarious and those times when it’s not so hilarious.  We love being mates who laugh.
P.A. and I are blessed to have (almost) 15 years of marriage under our belts.  Our hobbies and interests (not Pinterests) are also similar.  Since we met, we have truly enjoyed each others company.  We have traveled throughout the US, Europe, and India.  We dream of traveling more.  We love dreaming together.  We love being together.  We both enjoy being outdoors, staying active, keeping fit, eating healthy, reading, drinking coffee, watching the same goofy PBS documentaries, cooking shows, and movies.  And most of all, at the center of our friendship, is our friendship with Jesus.  He’s the foundation of our friendship foundation.
Here we are in 1996 – back in the diz-ay – when our friendship first began.
Is everyday is a sunshine fairytale?  Do we agree on everything?  Do we laugh every second of the day?  No.  But sometimes we do think, this is too good to be true.  Because it is.  There is nothing better than being married to my mate.  Even when it is difficult.  There are so many people, places and things that can divide a marriage.  I believe if a marriage begins with two mates, there is a stronger foundation at the core of that marriage.  Like my Grandparents, my parents and P.A.’s parents, we have chosen humility, selflessness, teach-ability, willingness, trust, respect, hard work, dedication and commitment.

We have chosen to grow… together.

and Blog… together.
I am grateful that on in August of 2012 we will celebrate 15 years of marriage.  And I am hopeful that in August of 2062, we will celebrate 65 years!
I love being married to my mate.
Are you Mates in your Marriage?  I hope and pray so.
Noted. By Les Babs (Part 1 of 4 Marriage/Relationship Records)

supersame, superficial, superblah

I hate football, actually let me restate that, I hate watching football on TV, in fact ( and I know, as a man,  I am a freak of nature here ), I actually don’t enjoy any sports on TV. Ok, so if I’m gonna be honest with you, I have watched some English premiere league soccer games ( the real deal,”football” in my opinion ), But even that has been few and far between and in the company of other dudes in a pub of some sort with the game on some big screen blaring and the sound of Flogging Molly in the background( is this the obligatory band  to be played at all Irish pubs?- what about the “other” band – you know- U2! ), and fan’s screaming Irish sounding expletive’s at the screen, and Guinness ( of course ). It’s not that I don’t like sports, I actually like them a lot. And I like them enough to think  that in order to enjoy them, you need to get of your duff and actually play them yourself.  But, to each his own….
The truth is, guys like to get together to “watch” sports because all guys know it’s really a disguise. A disguised, Sherlock Holmes, cloak and dagger, stealthy attempt of  building a friendship with other dudes. So instead of a guy saying to another guy, “you want to get together and talk sometime”, which to 99% of guys would be way-weirded out if they were asked that and would probably cause some kind of adverse reaction such as, ” I am going to avoid THAT GUY” for the rest of my life! No instead, guy’s say,

“so, uh, you uh, want to like, um, hang out sometime and uh, watch sports and stuff?”

That is guy-speak for :

” you want to try to awkwardly connect sometime and have some kind of activity going on in the background, so we can choose to either focus on that, so we don’t have to focus on talking about some deep stuff of or God forbid our dang “feelings” ?

Because, at least that way our attention can be diverted by a punt, a kick, or a pitch when the dude goes way to serious on us or challenges us to actually talk about more than the mundane – Right?
The harder than a halfback truth is: We were created for far more than deeper than  football-focused  relationships… Enter the WOMAN,
You remember Adam right, not this blogger Adam, but Adam, the first man. Adam, the one God created out of the earth and breathed life into Him. Adam, the one who walked and talked with God himself. And as we see in the Blog of all Blogs ( The Bible ) in Genesis chp. 2… Adam can also be known as the crocodile hunter, horse whisperer, and lion tamer all-in-one ( beat that Jack Hanna!).Adam was Active, hanging out in the great safari called Eden, walking with God himself, yet even then, God knew something was missing for the Man of all Men- Adam was missing this really, really complicated, totally different, intricately created; Someone. So different to Him, yet a part of Him at the same time. An “other” ( Shameless LOST reference ) called Woman.
NO Activity; no walking in the plains of the savannah with a tiger, or swimming in the sea with a shark, or wrestling with a bear could fulfill a core longing that God put in Adam- the longing for a Woman.
And before I go on, let me set the record straight for all of you reading this thinking, ya we know what Adam had a, “longing for alright”, it was some nookie ( sex in layman’s terms ). Now that is definitely a part of it, but not ALL of it, So keep posted over the next couple weeks, because don’t you worry- we’re gonna go there too.
What God acknowledged, what God recognized, what God instilled in Adam as He does in all of us, is the desire for a,” deeper than sports on tv congeniality” in our relationships. In our relationships with other guys, but even more so- in our relationships with the significant woman in your life ( Yes, your wife! ) .
God’s desire for you, His no joke, flat-out desire for you as a man is to have some real “at your core” conversation with the woman in your life. To turn off all the activities that distract you from her. To settle every exterior voice or activity vying for your attention and give all of that attention to her. To let that voice, you know the one, the one you so often silence, the one within you that is hungry.Hungry within you as a man for some real-life conversation to roll off of your tongue and release some of those thoughts that she has been CREATED to listen to. Those thoughts that have been tied up for so damn long . You can do this– just open yourself up to her a bit- and I will bet the farm on this- I bet you that when you take a step of true friendship, past congeniality with her, beyond just what’s normal, supersame, superficial, or the superblah you will  be able to quote and paraphrase a small Irish band that once sang a  line that should’ve gone a lil’ something like this;
“I think I’ve found what I’m looking for”.

Noted. By Adam  (Part 1 of 4 in Marriage/Relationship Records)

The Musical History of Oklahoma

Last week, I was running on Oklahoma soil blacktop, and I was reminded of my glory days in High School.  No, not my glory days of running track or cross country, but of singing – in vocal music.  Those were the days… During our Thanksgiving visit with my family, I was able to have breakfast with three of my good friends from High School.  These girls were my vocal music cohorts. We spent a lot of time together in music, performing, competing and harmonizing.  Imagine “Glee”, but not really.  The best part about our reunion over coffee and Panera bagels was when we broke out into song with a four-part harmony.  Nope.  That didn’t really happen, although it could have… The best part was just being.  Being with old friends who knew me when and still know me now.  We don’t sing together anymore, and we don’t see each other very often, but time picks up where we left off.  I am thankful.
Side note for my musical cohorts: Ok, seriously this picture is way. too. old.  Girls, we need an updated photo pronto.  My next visit, a new picture should be first on our agenda… Now on with the story.
As the wind came sweeping down the plains during my run, I was also reminded of my vocal glory days in college.  I attended the University of Oklahoma and was in the musical “Oklahoma” – very appropriate. It was during the first week of this vocal music experience that I decided I hated performing. However, I had to fulfill my six week, 12 hour a day contract of stage building, set up, costume design and performing.  Six weeks later, it was over.  I was free.  I said good-bye to the set, the stage and those musical peeps, knowing I would probably never see them again.  I was thankful. Although we were working closely together for those six weeks, there was never depth to our musical friendship.  They did not know me.
There is something amazing about being with people who know you.  There is something about knowing what you are made to do in this life.  It is a gift.  I knew I was made for something more.  My musical gifts were just that – Gifts!  I knew I had to start giving back the gift I had been given; back to God who gave it to me.  So in those college glory days began my journey as a Worshipper.  A Worshipper who has a gift to lead others into God’s presence.  This is something I am known for now.  I am thankful.

Noted. By Les Babs