Against All Odds

July 15,1988


Michael and I will be married 29 years tomorrow; the kids in the picture above (my hair looks like a bad hair piece) had no idea what they were getting into! Michael was 23 and I was 21 we were clueless! We were babies, Michael had hair and I had not one mole on my very young face. We have done life together and I don’t mean all of the rosy you complete me garbage that you see in the movies and on tv. We had to grow up fast, we came into our marriage with two young children (blended families are HARD). We had several miscarriages, we loss parents, (Mike’s mom 18 years ago and my dad 10 years ago), we have cared for aging parents, we have raised/raising children, Michael had a very serious health scare some years back. I have realized that the hard places, the Lord we don’t know what to do situations; this is when marriages can thrive or crumble! If we didn’t have the hard places our marriage would have no substance, when we are faced with any challenges we resolve to lean into one another and most importantly the Lord. We have a small network of friends that we share life with who hold us accountable who we can really share our hearts with and they can do the same with us. I love looking back on the difficulties that we have overcome it is a reminder that we are in this together no matter what comes our way!  The challenges, the hard stuff makes the good times so much sweeter!

We have shared so many sweet times over the years, getting to know the Lord together, raising our children, having Aaron after 5 miscarriages, and enjoying our grandchildren! I know it sounds cliche but we are really best friends. Do we get on each other’s nerves, do we always like each other? Yes, we do and no we don’t always like each other. As I have shared my childhood trauma over the past few months through this blog; Michael has been right by my side praying and encouraging me along the way. We now know each other so well, only time and life can do that and we are still learning!

We are started off our Anniversary Celebration last night (Michael surprised me)  we went to Praise a concert that was just what I needed; side by side praising the Lord!

Circa 1990




Nationals Game with dear friends (not pictured) the lady next to me was part of the reason I was laughing so hard. She was toasted!


Happy Anniversary Michael; 29 down forever to go! I love you with all my heart! Thank you for loving me well!




  1. Kendra
    July 14, 2017 / 12:32 pm

    Congratulations on 29 years of marriage Karen and Michael! You all are a beautiful, God fearing couple who have demonstrated great love towards each other despite life’s obstacles. I strive to have that many years under my belt!

    • Karen's Essentials
      July 17, 2017 / 6:36 am

      Hi Kendra,
      Thanks so much for your encouragement only by God’s grace!

  2. Your lifetime friend
    July 14, 2017 / 2:20 pm

    Tears of joy reading this and realizing how much I love y’all! I have also been married to y’all for 29 years, Lord help (LOL)! SO, where is Michael taking us for our 30th anniversary???? I need to be treated with excellence after this long marriage, whew! We in this thang TOGETHER!

    • Karen's Essentials
      July 17, 2017 / 6:38 am

      Hey LaShawn! You have been there with us from the beginning your love and support means the world! Love you!

  3. Joyce Riley
    July 14, 2017 / 5:59 pm

    Such an inspiration! Congratulations to you two! Marriage is beautiful thing!

    • Karen's Essentials
      July 17, 2017 / 6:39 am

      Thank you Joyce!

  4. Danita
    July 15, 2017 / 12:31 am

    Love the pics (especially the one at the game) and love you both! It has been both a joy and a blessing to share in a few our your 29 years. Your marriage is a testament to grace and growth in God. I pray your next 29+ are even greater than your past and that we continue to laugh and love through them with you crazy kids

    • Karen's Essentials
      July 17, 2017 / 6:41 am

      Hi Danita!

      Aww thanks for your encouragement! It has been awesome doing life with another couple over the last 20 plus years! You guys have been there what a blessing that we have been able to lean on one another after all these years. I wanted to post the picture with the four of us at that game but didn’t ask you guys first lol! We always have a blast hanging out with you guys! Thanks for doing life with us!

  5. Karolyn
    July 15, 2017 / 7:52 am

    Congratulations on your 29 years of marriage!! What a great example you both have been to us. Thank you for always being so transparent, loving and humorous. May God continue to bless, lead and guide you both.
    Happy Anniversary Karen and Michael

    • Karen's Essentials
      July 17, 2017 / 6:42 am

      Hi Karolyn!

      Thanks so much I appreciate you!

  6. CurleyKai
    July 15, 2017 / 5:03 pm

    Happy Anniversary to you both and God bless you with many many more!!

    • Karen's Essentials
      August 16, 2017 / 2:02 pm

      Thanks Kai!

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