Kim Harms

Life Reconstructed


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Sometimes You’ve Gotta Take Care of Some Crap to Get to Where You Want to Be

Sometimes our house smells like crap. Literally. (Not figuratively-literally. Literally-literally.)

And I love it. (Not the smell, the house.)

It’s been two months since we moved in, and I still have an overwhelming feeling of gratitude every IMG_20170330_103945088time I turn onto my cracked, narrow driveway.  God gave us this house. I mean, we bought it and everything, but there are some things in life that are clearly gifts from God. This house, with all of its quirks, is one of those things.

And it definitely has some quirks.

Like the crap.

Our basement seriously smells like a poop bomb on occasion. One night I plugged in my Scentsy warmer to mask the stink, and I thought I’d done a pretty good job.

 When Carter walked in the house from youth group, I asked him what he smelled.

“Sweet farts,” he said.

Yep. That’s about right. Sweet farts. Is that better than sour farts? I don’t even know…

When that unpleasant smell wafts up the stairs, my first thought is, “Oh gross, here we go again.” And my second thought is. “God gave us this place, so if he wants us to deal with crap, we’ll deal with crap.” (And we are by the way. The plumber is scheduled to come soon 🙂 )

I’ve lived in some nice new houses.

I’ve had granite countertops, hardwood floors, gorgeous 5-panel solid wood doors, cavernous tiled showers, huge mudrooms, stone fireplaces and even a theater room encased in concrete underneath our garage floor (known to us as the zombie apocalypse room.)

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Zombie Apocalypse Room

Those houses were beautiful.

But here’s the deal. Since we never intended to stay in those homes and chose some design elements for the purpose of making them more appealing to a buyer (stainless steel – oh how I strongly dislike you…), sometimes I felt like I was borrowing the house from a future owner. And because I grew up in a century old house in which my dad was always in the middle of a remodeling project, maybe I felt slightly out of place in the new. I think I’ve been longing for this different kind of housing adventure and didn’t even realize it.

So now I live in this 20-year-old house (which I realize is not very old) that needs some Harms TLC. And I love it. Even though – 

  •  Some crazy person painted all the grout. (Seriously. How many hours did that take? What in the world?)17125634_627051914170579_1753522107712536576_n  IMG_20170330_095855850
  • A flower garden exploded on the guest bath walls. (I could only stomache that for about 3 weeks before scraping it all off and painting.)
  • Light switches were installed on the wrong side of the doors.
  • Every single interior door has a keyed lock.
  • The laundry room is accessed through a bathroom. (Kudos to me for living here for two months without dropping a sock in the toilet.)
  • The mudroom is, oh wait, we don’t have one. 😦
  • The kitchen has this crazy big oddly placed island.
  • And the master bath was designed by someone who has never had to pee in the middle of the night.

But this place is still a gift. It’s just a little rough around the edges.

I’m excited to reimagine all the awkward spaces with Corey. I love that I’m married to a guy who gets an idea and then just goes for it.

He can see beyond what is visible and it doesn’t bother him when people give him weird looks or when his brilliant ideas end up acting like second full-time jobs for a season.

He has the end goal in sight from the beginning, and he sacrifices to get to that place. He just does the thing that will get him to where he wants to be. And he doesn’t let the crap stop him. (Though sometimes he lovingly waits patiently while I take my sweet time warming up to his brilliance.)

And I fully expect to see some of that brilliance here at 804 Timberlane…

…after we take care of the crap.


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Talking Breast Cancer and Marriage at Christianity Today Women

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When I started writing my article that went live today at Christianity Today Women, my intentions weren’t to share the story with the world. I was writing for myself. Therapy on paper.

But in the midst of it, the call out came for marriage articles, and I knew (if Corey would give me his blessing) I needed to submit a query.

We are in this marriage thing together, Corey and I.

Last year we met in sickness head on. (Dang you breast cancer.)

As we walked with in sickness, we also met up with for worse.

We fought them both and won. But it wasn’t a cake walk. Thinking of it still makes my heart hurt. And probably always will. It is a hard hard thing to find yourself in a gridlock with the person you love most in the world. But God is good. And he not only got us through it, but made our marriage stronger for it.

I have been learning this year, and have mentioned before, that sometimes the good gifts come through the hard things.

I hope that’s what you see as you read my words at CT Women.

How Breast Cancer Marred My Picture Perfect Marriage


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Making Marriage Beautiful – An Interview with Author Dorothy Greco

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Though I have not yet met Dorothy in person, we have come to know each other in that crazy online fashion that happens these days. She is a fellow Christianity Today Women writer, and as a mom of three boys like me, I feel a certain kinship to her.

In the following interview, Greco speaks of her new book Making Marriage Beautiful. A book that has been ruminating and growing in her mind for 25 years of marriage. I hope you enjoy this little glimpse into the book. (And then head over to amazon to pre-order it!)

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How is your book different from other marriage books out there?

So glad you asked this question! Making Marriage Beautiful is truly unlike many other marriage books. First, it’s written by a woman to both men and women. This is almost unheard of. Adding Christopher’s words and the eight other husbands  ensures that men are well represented. Second, the book contains very vulnerable, real-life stories. Most authors who write about marriage tend not to be as honest as Christopher and I chose to be. I think readers will easily engage and trust me because I’m choosing to trust them. Finally, I refuse to depend upon cliches or formulas. There’s no chapter titled, Ten Steps to a Perfect Marriage! Marriage and transformation is a process and my goal in writing this book is to help men and women navigate that process well. For the long haul.

Why did you write this book?

Everyone who says “I do!” wants a great marriage. I truly believe that this book will help husbands and wives achieve that goal. There’s no such thing as too much support or encouragement when you’re married. We all know, creating and sustaining a great marriage requires time, intentionality, and sacrifice. After doing more than twenty years of pastoral care and being married for twenty-five years, it was obvious to me that married couples are hungry for help, hope, and wisdom. I addressed these needs as I wrote Making Marriage Beautiful.

To clarify: I did not write this book because we have a perfect marriage or because I am a marriage expert. I wrote the book because my husband and I needed it. Due to some circumstances beyond our control, life got very difficult four years ago. As we struggled to love each other, I started thinking about what differentiates a joyful, dynamic marriage from a frustrating, unhappy one. Ideas started flowing and I broached the topic with Christopher. It would have been awesome to write the book together but he works two jobs and is finishing his graduate degree so that was not going to happen. Instead, I brought his voice in for most chapters.

Who do you hope will read it? Who is the target audience?

Making Marriage Beautiful will speak to couples who have been married three weeks or thirty years. It was written with your average husband and wife who long to create and sustain a truly healthy, joyful marriage. Maybe they’re stuck, maybe they’re doing OK, and maybe they’re actually doing really well but want to be proactive. I’m confident that if newlyweds put the spiritual disciplines that I discuss into practice, they will create a solid foundation. This was not written specifically for couples who are in a full-blown crises though I do think they would benefit from it.

Because diversity is super important to me, I interviewed eight couples to make sure that our voices were not the only ones that readers would hear. This means diversity of age, race, and economics.

Finally, I don’t think you have to be a person of faith to enjoy or find encouragement from Making Marriage Beautiful but it is unabashedly written from a faith perspective.

Is this a book meant to be read by individuals? Couples? Small groups? Are there discussion questions or is there an available study guide?

I think the best case scenario would be for a wife and husband to read this together, slowly, and really go deep. Reading it out loud together and then taking the time to answer the questions at the end of each chapter would be terrific. That said, if only one of you is interested in reading it, you would still benefit and be encouraged.

At the end of each chapter, there are four or five questions. These are not simplistic or extraneous. If you spend time on them, they will bring further insight and clarity. I’ve worked as a journalist for more than thirty years and have been running long-term healing and discipleship groups for twenty. That means I know how to ask good questions!

The book would work great in the context of a small group with other married couples. There will be guidelines on my website for running small groups.

What qualifies you to write this book?

Twenty-five years of being married to the same man. Twenty-five years of growing together. Twenty-five years of learning how to love. Seriously. Additionally, I have worked15350491_1058767397567136_3445306772015741586_n as a journalist for more than thirty years. I know how to listen to people and make sense of events. Together, Christopher and I have been running long-term healing and discipleship groups in church setting for more than twenty-years. Christopher is almost done getting his graduate degree in marriage and family therapy. We understand people. We understand the struggles inherent to humanity and marriage in particular. And as you read the book, you’ll discover that we’re willing to be incredibly honest about our own struggles. I think our honesty helps folks to trust us which makes for a better read.

What’s the difference between a happy marriage and a joyful marriage?

Chapter 9 is devoted to this topic. I see happy as dependent upon circumstances and more prone to wild fluctuations. Joy runs deep. It’s transcendent because it’s a gift from God. Being joyful does not mean that we are in denial or refuse to grieve. In fact, as one of the couples noted, joy and grief are the same muscle. Happiness is often a high priority for many Americans. I think God calls us to go deeper. And we’ll be better people when we do.

How can readers best connect with you: your blog, Facebook, Twitter?

I can be reached through the contact form on my website: dorothygreco.com. I’m also on Twitter: @dorothygreco and I have a professional FB page: Words & Images by Dorothy Greco.

 


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BOY MOM MONDAY – Proverbs 21:9 – Marriage

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Proverbs 21:9 Better to live on a corner of the roof than share a house with a quarrelsome wife.

When my husband’s little sister asked him to read scripture at her wedding, she gave him free reign to choose whatever passage he wanted and opened the door for his crazy shenanigans.

Corey stood solemnly in front of the wedding guests and read Proverbs 21:19. “Better to live on a corner of the roof than share a house with a quarrelsome wife.”

After the laughter subsided, he flipped to the New Testament and read a much more appropriate wedding passage.

It’s easy to laugh at verses like Proverbs 21:9, but there is an important truth in that short sentence. So often couples get caught up in the wedding planning and the fantasy of happily ever after, and they fail to look at the hard parts of their relationship before they are married. But those hard parts of a dating relationship don’t magically disappear when the “I dos” are spoken.

Though our culture tells us otherwise, marriage is not something to be taken lightly. The fairytale doesn’t exist, but the vow is real and serious. And spending an entire lifetime with someone whom you are not compatible is a tough pill to swallow.

My hope for my boys is that they will not be drawn into a relationship with the wrong person or for the wrong reasons. Before they promise “til death do us part,” I pray they will work through areas of disagreement and understand the gravity of a wedding vow.

A lifetime marriage commitment is a beautiful thing, but many lives are broken when marriage promises are taken too lightly.

Dear Lord, I pray that you will give my boys the wisdom to choose well as they grow and begin to begin to date. I pray they will listen to what you desire for them above and beyond their emotions and physical attraction. Amen.


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The Funny Thing About My Inspire a Fire Posts

Inspire a Fire June

I’m beginning to think my posts at Inspire a Fire are working against me. 😉

Last month I wrote about our moving lifestyle. How it works well for us, and how I have learned to enjoy it.

But about a week after it posted, it hit me that we are about to do this thing again, and that we don’t know where we are going next. And though I’m ready for it, it didn’t stop me from having about a 24-hour period of some serious anxiety. I’m a planner. And planning for the unknown is a bit tricky.

This month my post is about marriage and choosing love when you are not feeling it. In it I mentioned that Corey and I have learned to argue better since breast cancer because we don’t want to waste our time letting things simmer when we should be dealing with them and moving on.

A few days before it posted, we had an argument.

Next month I think I’ll write something about beach front property in Hawaii and hope for the best.

Here’s a link to my June post:

Have A More Meaningful Marriage by Choosing Love Every Morning


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Breast Cancer Husband

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In the past two weeks Corey has had to help me do a lot of things that I didn’t figure I’d need assistance with until I was in my 80s.  You know, like sitting on a toilet.

To give you a glimpse of recent days in our home, the following is an incomplete list of normal everyday things breast cancer has made it necessary for Corey to help me with.

  1. Walking.
  2. Sitting down.
  3. Repositioning myself in my chair.
  4. Standing up.
  5. Eating.
  6. Scratching my itchy nose when my hands couldn’t reach that far. (When I was coming out of anesthesia this was torture!)
  7. Brushing my teeth.
  8. Combing my hair.
  9. Washing my hair.
  10.  Going to the bathroom.
  11. Getting dressed.
  12. Applying chapstick.

I’ll refrain from listing the gross my-wife-just-had-major-surgery stuff he’s had to deal with. Suffice it to say, some of the things he’s done for me make me a little lightheaded to think about.

I am steadily improving and just a few days ago mastered the art of moving from a seated position to a standing position unaided.  It is amazingly challenging to function without the use of ones chest muscles, but my legs are learning to make up for the lack of strength in my upper body.

Corey is usually just a text away (as my screenshot above shows) ready to take care of my every need, no matter how small or weird.

And at the end of the day, we sit side by side in our loveseat recliner and watch episodes of M*A*S*H* while I wait for my pain meds to kick in. During that time, I hold his hand and wonder how he can love me so much. All the hard parts of my life fade. And all the stuff I used to cling to gets lost in this all-encompassing sacrificial love.   All is well with the world in those minutes.

Cancer still sucks. Recovering from a double mastectomy will not make the highlight reel of my life. But as much as I have loved Corey over the past 18 years, I love him even more since cancer came.  Without the detour my life took this winter, I would still be a happily married woman who enjoys Netflix with her husband, but with cancer I am a happily married woman who has a deep and tangible understanding of selfless love.

It’s not been easy. It’s not been fun. But in a very real way, it has been good.

Ephesians 5:25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.


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Boy Mom Monday – Proverbs 5:18 MARRIAGE

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Proverbs 5:18

Rejoice in the wife of your youth.

 

The girl interest level at my house is pretty low right now, but I know my boys will sooner or later realize that the females of the species aren’t so bad. And though two of my three are adamant about retaining their bachelorhood until death, I know it is likely that someday a sweet girl will take their breath away and eventually their heart.

In this world where sex outside of marriage is aggressively promoted as right and good, where the negative effects of it are ignored, where divorce is almost expected and where the purpose of marriage is in question, I fear for my sons.

My heart aches when I think of the possibility of them making avoidable mistakes that will bring them hurt and regret, and will quite possibly alter the course of their entire lives.

But I happen to know the God who created marriage and sex. And I also happen to know that he loves my children even more than I do. I will place my kids at his feet every single day asking (and I’m not beyond begging) that each one will one day find that right girl. And that he will save himself for her. And that she will be the wife of his youth. The wife of his middle age. The wife of his old age.

And that he will rejoice in her always.

Prayer: Lord, protect my sons from the lies this world tell him about love, marriage and commitment. Show them the beauty of marriage as you created it. I pray you will place in them a longing for the love you desire for them to have. Amen.

Some Further Reading about Purity and Marriage:

Sexual Purity is Not the Goal

Love of A Lifetime