Category Archives: marriage

Family Mission Statement, Rules, Values, Vows, and Verse

We did it.  Finally put this all together (by God’s grace and my husband’s intentionality).

The Draper Family Mission Statement: Every day we will joyfully choose to love and serve God and our neighbors.

The Draper Family Verse:  Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.  Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone.  Forgive as the Lord forgave you.  And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.  Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace.  And be thankful.  Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with the gratitude in your hearts.  And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

– Colossians 3:12-17

The Draper Family House Rules: 

1. Love God
2. Obey Right Away
3. Have a Happy Heart
4. Be Kind
5. Work Hard

The Draper Family Values: To intentionally practice humility, forgiveness, self-control, joy, patience, grace, service, love, and prayer with our family, friends, and the world.

The Draper Parent’s Vows: To treat our children gently, provide consistency, and be trustworthy

The Draper Kids Expectations: To honor and obey daddy and mommy, always being honest



About a month ago, a good friend asked me what I would identify as the greatest area of faithfulness in my life.  What a powerful question.

I first thought of our recent birth experience with Olson – and what a redemptive story that has been for us.  But as I got to contemplating more, I knew that there was another area that God has been so incredibly, miraculously faithful in.

For it to not have come to mind immediately does not diminish the power of God’s faithfulness, but is a testimony to how wholly and wonderfully faithful He is, that my entire life is so encompassed and settled with His faithfulness.

It is providential, miraculous, redemptive, restorative, beautiful, truly amazing and a gift that compares to nothing but the saving grace of Jesus Christ.


This husband for me and father for our children has filled in me a gap that was wider, deeper, and larger than I think I will ever be aware of.  God’s providential plan for our marriage is more amazing than I will ever comprehend.  To say that we’ve been married for 6 years today, is unbelievable in many ways.

1. I cannot believe that we’ve already been married 6 years!  It’s exciting to feel like we’re gaining some ground and experience and longevity to this most precious relationship.

2. On the other hand, I cannot believe we’ve ONLY been married 6 years!  Joel is my best friend; lover of heart, mind, body, and soul; the perfect mate that compliments every part of me.

I can honestly say that if this was our last day to enjoy this wonderful marriage together, that I could live in true thankfulness.  That our life together and marriage has been completely full, satisfying, rewarding, and redemptive.  That God’s faithfulness has been written all over our life together, and that if we were to be parted, I know with complete confidence that God’s faithfulness would continue

(belated) Anniversary getaway in snapshots

2 weeks ago, Joel and I were able to get away for 4 days and 3 nights to celebrate 5 years of marriage (a belated celebration trip!).  We wanted to have some adventures, spend lots of time outside, spend lots of time resting, and most of all, give each other undivided attention.  Mission: Accomplished.  Here’s our stay in Mesick, MI and in Ludington, MI in pictures:

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A family friend’s cabin in the middle of Manistee National Forest

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You can see the canoes we’re about to board in the background – no pictures of this adventure though, I was too nervous to take our camera! 5 year anniversary trip 028

Hiking through Manistee National Forest and crossing a huge, beautiful suspension bridge

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Joel being silly #1: finding a jeweled something-or-other mushroom (of course…)

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Joel being silly #2: Making my belly and me pose behind a tree 🙂

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Joel being silly #3: Trying to climb 2 trees at once…

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SO THANKFUL for our fun and relaxing stay at the cabin! Can’t wait to go back

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Beautiful beach and view of Lake MI from Ludington

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Spending the afternoon soaking in the sun, people-watching, and reading

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Eating out at Jameston Brewing Company (if only I had the nerve to post ALL pictures we took trying to get our heads and the name of the restaurant in the same shot…….this was pretty much as good as it got…)

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Pier and lighthouse on the beach

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 And returning home to be greeted by this lovely Pink family:5 year anniversary trip 072Thanks, Jane and Sarah for making us smile when we returned!

What has been your favorite place to retreat to lately?!



Reasons I love my husband of five years:

5. He’s adventurous

(cut to him in the woods in Northern Michigan later this month searching and hiking and praying to find these…not to mention being married to me and the father of our children would pretty much qualify as an adventure in itself)

4. He has a teachable heart

(He’s been involved in some serious men’s ministry at our faith community the past two years.  It has changed him, our marriage, and our lives.  To learn more, check out Men’s Fraternity HERE…oh, and also he reads all the time – about becoming a better dad, or husband, orphanages in China, and even Jen Hatmaker’s, 7! I even got him addicted to listening to Andy Stanley sermons)

3. He is in love with our kids700_5005-Edit-Edit-Edit

2. He’s my best friend

(I seriously tell him regularly how awesome he is for enduring me this long – I think I could be exhausting and overwhelming to anyone who didn’t love me like he does)

1. He’s crazy about Jesus

(I am the absolute luckiest to have him as a husband. Period.)

Happy 5th Anniversary, Baby!

I love you!

(Hope to get a picture of us celebrating this year – but until this afternoon he’s in Oklahoma for work 😦 Maybe by this weekend!)

(catch up on our 4th anniversary, 3rd anniversary, and 2nd anniversary)

April’s challenge: marriage

Similar to February’s Clothing Challenge and March’s Food failure Challenge – April was a challenge month for us too

April was all about concentrating on MARRIAGE

We had many goals for this – not all that I will share on here 🙂

But they had to do with connecting intimately in all aspects of our marriage – mentally, spiritually, intellectually, emotionally, sexually, and more

We read this book together throughout the month – which gave us permission to communicate in some areas that get neglected

Plus so many other things – like specifically praying for each other in certain ways, reading scripture together, memorizing scripture…etc…

We also went on weekly dates – something I would seriously consider scheduling forever!

It was SO great to know that each Wednesday I had a few hours alone with Joel to casually enjoy dinner and talk about anything or nothing

PLUS our kids got extra time to hang out with Aunt Roni – everybody wins!


This month taught me that while I don’t know that I could say I love Joel MORE than our kids (it’s equal…and different) I definitely loved him FIRST – and so we have realized that we have to keep our marriage a FIRST priority (underneath our personal relationships and growth in Christ)

With young kids like we have….and may always have…it is so easy to be consumed by them and give them all my attention and energy

This isn’t fair to my husband, our marriage, or even our children!

Watching and realizing how big of a priority our marriage is in our family gives our children security

We want their view of marriage to be real, healthy, vulnerable, and dependable for when they choose that in their own lives

And frankly…I loved Joel so much I was absolutely crazy in every way – I couldn’t wait to be his wife!

I need to daily rediscover and remind myself of that – to continue being crazy for him and excited to be married to him!


For the month of May we are doing a PRAYER CHALLENGE

Rest in the LORD for a minute and reflect on what area in your life you feel Him tugging on your heart

And I’m talking about something HUGE and RADICAL and WEIRD

Like foster care or adoption or missions or inviting your neighbors over for dinner once a week or changing your job for the sake of time with your family or moving to a trailer park to live debt free and and be a missionary in your own town…

Something that probably will make you uncomfortable but is ABSOLUTELY in the center of God’s Will:

“Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself
from being polluted by the world.”

-James 1:27

Plain, simple, univeral definition.


So…what marriage tips do you have to share?!

Will you be joining us on this prayer challenge?


How I survive

Does anyone else feel like they are just surviving?
This last week has definitely felt like that for me
The fact that I make it from 6:30am to 11pm is a miracle some days!

Here are a few reasons why I do survive!

1. I shower every morning – some days this is the only time I am alone, without holding someone, having someone touching me, or feeding someone!

2. I wear Sully in a SnuggyBaby.  This provides me to do a lot hands free – like swinging Mylin, picking produce out of our garden, changing Mylin’s diapers, or chasing her around the dining room table (a current favorite, “Mommy, run run run!”).  A lot of times I wear him because he loves to be upright with his head tilted back staring at my face.  I love this too! But don’t have the luxury to just sit there for the 30 minutes that he enjoys this actvity 🙂

3. I am constantly praying for God to ‘fill in the gaps’ for me – I wake up thinking “Today is the day that I won’t be able to make it/take it anymore”  So I immediately pray for patience and grace – and where I fall short in those, God, please make up the difference!
An excerpt from Forgotten God by Francis Chan explains it this way:

“You are most likely familiar with the ‘fruit passage’ in Galatians 5, which says, ‘But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.  Against such things there is no law’ (v 22-23).  You may even ahve the list memorized.  But look over those traits right now and ask yourself if you possess each to a supernatural degree.  Do you exhibit more kindness and faithfulness than the Mormons you know?  Do you have more self-control than your Muslim friends?  More peac than Buddhists?  More joy than atheists?  If GOD truly lives in you, shouldn’t you expect to be different than everyone else?

What disturbs me most is when we’re not really bothered that God living in  us has not made much of a noticeable difference.  Most churchgoers are content to find a bit of peace rather than a ‘peace of God, which surpasses all understanding’ (Phil. 4:7).  We want just enough peace to survive the week (or perhaps even the day).

Certainly there have been times in my life when just getting through the day was possible only with God’s supernatural help and presence.  You might understand the kind of desperate season I am talking about; most of us have experienced times like this – times when we really do have to ask for peace and sustenance every ten minutes.  But what I am talking about is when we live our lives this way, when every day of our lives we are just barely hanging on, looking no different from the rest of the world.

When we exhibit the peace that surpasses the world’s understanding, that’s when the world notices.  That’s when people say, ‘Your Lord – He is God!'”

4. Joel and I are in constant communication about our feelings, emotions, priorities, and expectations.  Granted, this often happens at like 10:30 at night – or sometimes even at 3am…but we have to make each other a priority even when we’re tired or we’d never have alone time at all!  We make our marriage a priority because that came first, before the sweet kiddos, and that will last long after they are raised and have moved on…we have to nurture this relationship above all other earthly ones.

What do you do to survive the newborn stage?
Don’t get me wrong, I do thoroughly enjoy it as well…but some days it’s all about making it to bedtime 🙂