Tag Archives: marriage

Stacy Leigh Lisi

I know I say this whole song and dance every time, but, Stacy is my mom’s college roommate Cindy’s (lovingly known as Cinne Binne) daughter.  So we have -actually- been friends since the womb.  And she just got married, to a great guy, Andrew Lisi.  So now her name rhymes. :)

Stacy is one of those friends that you can go a whole year without seeing (or even talking to  because of both of your phone phobias), but pick up right where you left off when you see each other again.  Like no time or distance ever separated you.

I have so many fun memories with Stacy it is hard to even count.  When we were 3 & 4 years old we decided it would be a good idea to paint my Grandpa Al’s work van.  It was dark brown so obviously we thought it would be best to use white shoe polish.  And once I even convinced her to get IN the van with me and I pulled the gear shift down and we started rolling down the driveway.

Also that year we made a guest appearance in my dad’s and her mom’s musical show at the retirement home.  We cried and pouted because we wanted the dress up clothes the other one was wearing while singing Ain’t We Sweet, though we were being anything but sweet.

At age 9 & 10 we started going downstate together.  Downstate was one of the coolest Daddy/Daughter activities in the Birkeneder family.  When you turned 10 you got to go with Dad and Grandpa (and any other poor male soul of our relatives that wanted to go once us girls started going) to the Illinois High School Boys’ Basketball Tournaments in Campaign (later Peoria).  Being the eldest in our families, Stacy and I were the first girls to go on this all male weekend.  I think we forever changed “downstate”.  Instead of watching the games, we bought nachos, then ice cream, then hot dogs, then Pepsi, then cotton candy, then threw up all over the taxi.  We would drag Dad & Grandpa Al to the nearby mall to take pictures in the overpriced photo booth while sporting our huge gaudy basketball earrings. We spent all our money from the winning pools (don’t tell our moms or anyone else for that matter that we were underage gamblers) buying stickers from the sticker machine at Pizza Hut (smartly thinking we would sell them for profit when we got home).  And then we fought with each other and cried when one would win a pool and the other wouldn’t. One year we fell madly (seriously, it was obsessive) in love with one of the high school players- Alfredo Jimenez from Maine West.  We even stalked out where he would be after the game to get his autograph while we hysterically sobbed.

When we were 10 & 11 we started spending some of our summers at Camp Timberlee in Wisconsin.  We carefully shopped for matching outfits for every day of the week, including our denim ruffle shorts and side ponytails.  We would always room together and never leave each other sides and make sure everyone in the cabin knew WE were best friends so they wouldn’t infringe upon us.  In the middle of the night we would crawl into our bunks together and worry that we were blind because we couldn’t see anything, and nervously search for a flashlight just to make sure.

When we were in our teens we shared a profound love for all things Hanson and JTT .  We convinced ourselves we were marrying one of them and lovingly agreed upon who got which one (Stacy: Zac and Me: Taylor…Jonathan Taylor Thomas dropped out of the running when Hanson came along).  We decided the best way possible to make this dream a reality would be to form an all girl band ourselves.  So we reigned in our sisters and we became: Purple Daizee.  We co-wrote many one hit wonders and videotaped ourselves singing/dancing to them in the basement so we could send our videos to the Hanson brothers.  Making them fall in love with us, of course.

Stacy and I laugh about all these episodes and more whenever we get together. But there’s a distinct, life altering memory I have with Stacy that I don’t even know if she recalls.

My freshman year in college was rough. We had just moved to Texas and even more life shattering than that to me was that Michael and I broke up.  I started a new life in Texas, a double life.  I was good at playing the part of “good Jenni” when I needed to, but with my new friends I partied.  Hard.  And I got myself stuck in a web of alcohol, drugs, and sex.

At the end of the summer, right before I was going to start my sophomore year, Stacy came to visit.  She was getting ready to start her freshman year at University of Illinois.  While Stacy was there I tried to hide my “bad Jenni” side, though I’m sure she knew.  She met all my friends and was incredibly gracious to them all.  She was relevant, but unchanging and never wavered from who she was in Christ.  She was real.  When I was with Stacy that week, I felt my old self start to emerge…my real self that I had shoved away that year. I remember feeling God awake my soul again.

Stacy’s flight left early one morning before I was awake, but she left me a note on my pillow.  I remember finding it and getting up to read it before it was even light out.  In it she thanked me for spending time with her, told me she was thankful for our friendship, and that she was praying for me and all that God would do through me that year.  I broke down and cried.  I laid on the floor and just cried and cried.

God had been working in my heart that whole year, but He used Stacy in a major way to bring His prodigal daughter back.  She was the vessel that saved me from a life of destruction and despair.  I firmly believe God used Stacy to redirect my life.  She was loyal, faithful, loving, and gracious.  She didn’t judge me or correct me, she just loved me and prayed for me.  I will never forget what she did for me that summer.

And actually, if that hadn’t happened, I wouldn’t have gotten back together with Michael that year, married him that next summer, had 3 beautiful boys years later.  So Stace, you’re the reason my family exists. :)

I have a love/hate relationship with the journey we are all on in life.  I love the mystery of God and the excitement of seeking Him and joy in knowing Him.  Obviously life has some rough places, a lot of mine have been self inflicting, but I’m thankful for a God who redeems.  He is faithful, loving, and gracious and waits for me.  Thank you Stacy Leigh Lisi for being such a beautiful living example of Christ.

Why does my husband…

I read this today and I needed it…maybe you will too? I’ve got to get this Personality Plus for Couples book! :)

Why Does My Husband…

20 Sep 2010

Melanie Chitwood

“I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.” Psalm 139:14 (NAS)

Have you ever found yourself puzzled about why your husband does or doesn’t do certain things? Are you ever frustrated with his quirks and preferences?

Why does he have to have the proper tool for his project, when it seems to you he already has ten power tools that could surely serve the purpose? Or why does he not get the kids to bed on time, like you reminded him to do? Doesn’t he know a schedule is important? Perhaps you’ve been on the other end of your husband’s frustration when you want to socialize at the party as late as possible, but he’s ready to leave after an hour.

While a couple’s differences stem from many sources, one of the main sources of our differenc es is our unique personality types. Years ago when I stumbled across a book, Florence Littauer’s Personality Plus for Couples, I felt like a light bulb turned on as it offered insight into my husband. This man who is very different from me.

This book explains that every person tends to fall in one of four personality types: Sanguine, Choleric, Phlegmatic, or Melancholy. Most people have a primary personality type and a secondary personality type, and each type comes with its positive and negative aspects.

The Sanguine personality type, also called the Popular Personality, is outgoing, adventurous, attention-seeking, talkative and social. Possible weaknesses of a Sanguine are they avoid anything that’s not fun, tend to run late, and often do not finish projects.

When you think of the second personality type, the Choleric or Powerful Personality, think of a take-charge leader. Cholerics love challenges, are self-motivated, driven and determined. Their st rong personalities can lend to weaknesses, such as being opinionated, stubborn or insensitive to other’s feelings.

The third personality type, the Melancholy or Perfect Personality, tends to be introspective, creative, analytical and serious. Some of a melancholy’s challenges are that they tend to be perfectionists, get their feelings hurt easily and can be critical of others.

Lastly, there’s the Phlegmatic, the Peaceful Personality. Phlegmatics are laid-back, stable, calm and pleasant. While their peace-seeking personalities are helpful, they can avoid conflict at all costs, be scared to take a risk and may procrastinate.

Just reading this list makes me giggle as I think of a recent “situation” with my husband. As we prepared dinner for a cookout with neighborhood friends, Scott, a Sanguine-Choleric, got frustrated when he couldn’t find the just-right knife for chopping up vegetables. To me, a phlegmatic-melancholy, it didn’t seem like a big deal – any old knife would suit me fine for cutting up food. Later in the night when my more introverted melancholy side was showing, I was thankful for the talkative sanguine qualities of my husband who is great at making guests feel welcome.

Understanding my husband’s personality type helps me to embrace him for the unique way God designed him. When I see how God gave each of us strengths and weaknesses, I see how we complement one another and how we truly are better together than apart.

Dear Lord, there are times when I just don’t understand my husband, why he does or doesn’t do certain things. Help us both to embrace one another’s unique personalities. Lord, we trust that You can cause our differences to work for good in our marriage and in our individual lives. Lord, I want to go beyond just tolerating my husband’s differences; I want to embrace them. I want to trust that our differences will complement each other, making us better together than apart. In Jesus’ Nam e, Amen.

Related Resources:
Visit Melanie’s blog “What Matters Most” where she is sharing more about personality types and marriage today.

What a Husband Needs from His Wife by Melanie Chitwood

Today’s devotion is adapted from Melanie’s book, What a Wife Needs from Her Husband

Personality Plus for Couples by Florence Littauer

Application Steps:
Take time with your spouse to identify each of your personality types.

Make a list of ten things about your spouse’s unique personality that you’re thankful for. Be specific! For example, “I’m thankful that Scott is a strong leader.” Even more specific would be, “I’m thankful that Scott is a strong leader to our two sons, teaching them a strong work ethic by his example.”

How do you and your husband complement one another?
How do you frustrate one another?

What can you do to embrace the way you complement one another, as opposed to letting frustrations with your differences lead to conflict?

In what ways are you and your husband “better together”?

Power Verses:
Genesis 1:17, “So God created human beings in his own image. In the image of God he created them…” (NAS)

Ecclesiastes 4:1, “Two are better than one…” (NAS)

© 2010 by Melanie Chitwood. All rights reserved.



My dad is turning 50 this week (today actually!) and my mom and our good friends Dr. Chuck and Linda Lu set out on a mission to surprise him big time!  Long story short, they tricked him into boarding a plane to Jacksonville Beach, Florida that was filled with Christina and Elli: Surprise #1.  Our good friend Laura met them at the airport in Florida: Surprise #2.  Michael and I flew in earlier that morning and walked into the place he was having dinner in Florida: Surprise #3.  Also at dinner that evening came other good friends of the family that live in Jacksonville: Surprise #4!  The whole weekend was filled with surprises of lodging on the beach,  fun and fancy meals,  and a special Valentine’s Spa Day!  I missed my two sweet little boys, but it was very relaxing getaway with my dear husband and cherished surprise for my special Dad!

(The first half of the photos are mine, but then the second (and better!) half were taken by our friend Amber (the cute blond with long hair :) ) who is an aspiring photographer!)

Slideshow:  http://www.phanfare.com/group/2068218

Album: JAX Beach, Florida

Song: I’m Yours by Jason Mraz

Like a real life fairy tale

On Saturday nights twice a month I lead a small group of 4th and 5th graders at our church.  So, I am gone for a few hours in the evening leaving Michael and the boys to do life without me.  

When I got home this week I really didn't know what to expect.  Michael is an amazing dad, so that usually means the house will be a disaster after all the fun he and the boys have together.  BUT, this week I came home to…

A chicken turning in the rotisserie oven (which just happened to "bing!" as I walked in the door, so it was hot and ready to eat), homemade cheesy mashed potatoes,  spotless counter tops complete with a dishwasher full of clean dishes, two happy little boys that had been bathed/fed/put in their pajamas after they played outside with Daddy and made a bonfire together, and a clean load of laundry.  

What?!  I was stunned and completely thankful for this wonderful husband of mine!  I love you, Michael. 

Husbands and fathers everywhere, take note!  These "little" things will make your wife's night…will make your wife's year!

A whirlwind of everything ‘boy’

As I folded laundry today I felt rather contemplative. I looked at each piece I was folding- the baby onesies, the older boy t- shirts, the disgustingly covered in mud jeans from working for the city water department, and the shirts twenty sizes bigger than before bearing children….and I really tried to take it all in.  I feel like I hurry through day to day life so often, that I miss what is happening right now.  I've been like that a lot of my life, I'm always looking towards the next step – preparing for what is to come.  As I folded Elliott's little onesies, I tried to grasp that just around the corner these same onesies are going to go in the 'Size 12 Month' bin and get put away in storage.  Trevor's t- shirts will soon enough be the same size as Daddy's t- shirts, and Michael will probably be wearing a button down dress shirt and dress pants (which means ironing!!!!) in the next two years.  Even in something as simple as doing laundry, or just another relentless task in running a home, God used it to show me a glimpse of Himself. 

God has blessed me with so much, yet I continue to ask for more and more blessing…how often do I stop and look at what I do have, how I have been blessed?  Do I truly realize that I have two happy and healthy little bundles of energy running around learning to love life and know God? Or a humble husband that will do anything to provide for our family, even if it means crawling around in the city's murkiest parts? 

I love when God gives me moments like these, the laundry-like moments, where I can stop-breathe-and take it all in.  I want my life to be like that.  Not just here and there moments of thankfulness.  But I want to get down on the floor, enjoy my children at each age and stage.  I want to run into my husband's arms when he gets home from a day of hard work and tell him how great I think he is and how I could not do anything that I do without him.  I want to truly live each moment of life like it is my last- to show my Lord how thankful I am for the life He has given me.

Our Lord teaches, "Whoever compels you to go one mile, go with him two" (Mathhew 5:41).  Let's face it: We have to be mothers; we have to do the duties.  That's the first mile of our job assignment from God.  So…why not go the extra mile and make everything you do special?  Why not turn the mundane into a celebration?

(Woman after God's Own Heart by Elizabeth George)