63,072,000

Today is our wedding anniversary.

63,072,000 seconds

1,051,200 minutes

17,520 hours

731 days

104 weeks

24 months

2 years

I am so blessed to be married to this man who just wants to take care of me.

I will always be grateful for this man who opens doors for me,  pulls out my chair and prepares my first cup of coffee every morning.

I am so happy that this mans works so hard, but still finds ways to make me laugh.

I will never underestimate the value of the man who loves and serves all of our adult children.

I will never take for granted this man who is so passionate about our life together.

He is my friend, my confidante, my joy, my lover, my husband.  I love him more that I did two years ago, more than I thought possible.

Here’s to the rest of our lives together.  Whether it’s for 1 second or 1 Billion seconds, I am so glad we get to spend it together!

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24 Wives, understand and support your husbands in ways that show your support for Christ. The husband provides leadership to his wife the way Christ does to his church, not by domineering but by cherishing. So just as the church submits to Christ as he exercises such leadership, wives should likewise submit to their husbands.

25-28 Husbands, go all out in your love for your wives, exactly as Christ did for the church—a love marked by giving, not getting. Christ’s love makes the church whole. His words evoke her beauty. Everything he does and says is designed to bring the best out of her, dressing her in dazzling white silk, radiant with holiness. And that is how husbands ought to love their wives. They’re really doing themselves a favor—since they’re already “one” in marriage.

29-33 No one abuses his own body, does he? No, he feeds and pampers it. That’s how Christ treats us, the church, since we are part of his body. And this is why a man leaves father and mother and cherishes his wife. No longer two, they become “one flesh.” This is a huge mystery, and I don’t pretend to understand it all. What is clearest to me is the way Christ treats the church. And this provides a good picture of how each husband is to treat his wife, loving himself in loving her, and how each wife is to honor her husband.”

Ephesians 5:24-33 MSG

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Invisible

invisible

Do you ever feel invisible?

Are there times your voice is not heard?  Is it because you do not speak up?  Or are the other voices and sounds drowning you out?

Do you ever want to be, maybe even need to be,  invisible?

When I was newly widowed, there were many times I felt invisible.  I didn’t fit into any group.  I was no longer married, but wasn’t quite single, either.  My friends were still in the married group.  I moved from “part of the group” to “third wheel” status in the blink of an eye.  I didn’t know how to be seen.  Others seemed to look through me, not ever seeing the ME that stood there.  I didn’t know how to be seen, because I didn’t know how to see myself.   I watched as others buzzed around and wondered how I could be so lonely in a such a busy group of people.  I didn’t know how speak up,  it was easier to fade away than to endure the pain of living in the world in which I no longer belonged.

One can be invisible for lots of reasons.  When another’s need to be recognized  is louder and more aggressive than your own, their need pushes all others out-of-the-way.  I feel the shutters begin to close in around me.  My opinion doesn’t matter.  My voice in not important.  Even the facts and information that I know are dismissed and discounted if they are not in agreement.  I am forced to disappear within myself to avoid further conflict.  It is often that very need to avoid conflict that pushes me further onto the sidelines.  When I am helpless to change anything, when  I’m caught on the carousel of life and there’s no way to regain control, I disappear.

There are times when I try to blend into the background.   There are other times when I need desperately to be heard,  to be seen.  But, I’m  invisible.   It’s as if I’m speaking in an unknown language or wearing the cloak of invisibility.  No one is listening.  No one sees me.  Regardless of how hard I try, I cannot break through.  I begin to believe that I’m truly invisible, that I truly do not matter.  And, that is the real problem.  I accept the invisibility.  I stop trying.  I fade away.

We need to be aware of those invisible people that surround us.  The invisible person may be that homeless person that has become a part of the background.  The invisible person may be the senior citizen that tells the same stories over and over and over again.  The invisible person may be the widow that reminds you how fragile life is.  The invisible person may be a friend or family member that refuses to see things your way causing you to rethink your own ideas or decisions. Invisible people surround us.  They work in the deli’s in our offices.  They stand on the street corners.  They are our neighbors, our friends, our family.  We need to put on our “X-ray vision” and find those invisible people.  We need to see them.  Listen to them.  We need to care.

God, investigate my life;
    get all the facts firsthand.
I’m an open book to you;
    even from a distance, you know what I’m thinking.
You know when I leave and when I get back;
    I’m never out of your sight.
You know everything I’m going to say
    before I start the first sentence.
I look behind me and you’re there,
    then up ahead and you’re there, too—
    your reassuring presence, coming and going.
This is too much, too wonderful—
    I can’t take it all in!

 Is there anyplace I can go to avoid your Spirit?
    to be out of your sight?
If I climb to the sky, you’re there!
    If I go underground, you’re there!
If I flew on morning’s wings
    to the far western horizon,
You’d find me in a minute—
    you’re already there waiting!
Then I said to myself, “Oh, he even sees me in the dark!
    At night I’m immersed in the light!”
It’s a fact: darkness isn’t dark to you;
    night and day, darkness and light, they’re all the same to you.

Psalm 139 :1-12  MSG

 

 

Joy (Take 2)

I am in a second marriage.  I was widowed in 2005.  In 2015, I married my dearest friend who had been divorced for a few years.  He was also a good friend to my late husband.  We now have a blended family with five kids:  the oldest is 28 and the youngest is 18.  They’ve know each other through the years as they grew up in church together.

Marriage the 2nd time around is familiar and different all at the same time.

I married Terry in 1987.  We were in our late 20’s.  We thought we knew everything.  We did everything together, even grocery shopping.  Having lived on my own for 5 years, it took a bit of adjustment to have someone there all of the time.  But, we adjusted to life together in our little one bedroom apartment.  We learned to love together.  We learned to disagree with each other.  We learned to give up expectations and live for today.  We learned to parent together.  We grew together in our love of family and our love of God.  And then, he was gone.  I mourned the loss of my best friend, my husband, and my dreams for many years.

I’ve never understood when I hear negative comments about marriage.  I was told once after Terry died,  that I was lucky I didn’t have to put up with a man any longer.  (I definitely didn’t agree!)  I’ve listened to comments about the “poor saps” that were getting married soon and how foolish they were.  I couldn’t comprehend “out-growing” my husband and moving on to greener pastures.  How do you out-grow someone with whom you are growing daily?  Couples that lived very separate lives always mystified me.    Terry and I had our own careers.  And, we were sometimes separated due to traveling for work.  But, I talked to him every night regardless of our locations.  While I might enjoy a day or two of being able to “do my own thing”, I counted the days until we were both home together again.  And, I think he did too.   Anytime Terry and I were in the same room, people knew we were together.  He was my husband and I was his wife. I wanted every person around us to know that.  I was proud to be married to him.   Life wasn’t easy.  We struggled with finances and work options.  There were extended family issues that affected our little family.  In later years, there were health issues to consider.  But, we had committed to God and to each other to see it through until the end.  We were together!

I married Tim in 2015.  Being married in our 50’s is an experience.  We both brought our own baggage into our marriage.  We’ve endured the buying, remodeling and selling of a home,  the buying and remodeling of another home, unemployment and the resulting financial problems, legal issues, the start-up our own business, joining a new church and just learning to be married to each other.  We’ve both had to stop filtering every comment and action through our previous life experiences.  I’m still working on my own insecurities and finding my place in our life together and with our children in this new family model.

There are always challenges in blending families.  Regardless of the age of the children in a blended family there are issues.   Jealousy about who likes who better.  Protectiveness of “my mom” or “my dad”.  While we strive to build new family traditions, there is pain as the old traditions are changed or even replaced.  Each child has different expectations for family life.  There have been tears and complaints, hurt feelings and joy since our marriage.   I expect that to continue as we grow together.

I adore being married to Tim.  At the same time, there are times that I still mourn for Terry and the things I miss sharing with him: our son, Zac’s wedding, the birth of Zac’s son, Gracie’s graduation from college and the purchase of her first home,  etc.  I also walk into unknown territory as a step-mom:  Where do I fit?  How involved is too involved?

The joys far out-weigh the trials.  Maybe because I’ve endured the loss of a husband, I truly treasure my time with Tim.  My views haven’t really changed.  I still believe marriage is for a life-time.  I still believe that we are to “become one” in every way. There is no “out-growing” each other.    I still believe in unconditional love.  I believe I have been incredibly blessed to find such a deep and abiding love the 2nd time around.  I still get butterflies when I hear his voice.  I still count the days, the hours and the minutes when we are separated.  To walk into a room holding my husband’s hand, is still one of the greatest thrills for me.  I can find the happiness we all say we want, because of the joy and peace that I have in my marriage today.

I am so glad I was given a chance at joy the second time around.

Five Minute Friday – Grateful

Featured Five Minute Friday:
Here’s the deal. Five Minute Friday. You go find the little prompt at the wonderful Lisa-Jo’s blog, set the time and write for five minutes, and then just stop. Where you are, no edits, just publish raw words.

1. Write for 5 minutes flat – no editing, no over thinking, no backtracking.
2. Link back here and invite others to join in.
3. And then absolutely, no ifs, ands or buts about it, you need to visit the person who linked up before you & encourage them in their comments. Seriously. That is, like, the rule. And the fun. And the heart of this community..

OK, are you ready? Please give us your best five minutes on the word:::

Grateful
GO

Some mornings, I look around and wonder if it’s really worth all of the hassle and effort. It would just be easier to stay in bed and hide from the world. I listen to that inner voice that keeps telling me that I’m not good enough or that I’m failing in some way. But, I’m reminded of the truth in Psalm 16:11 “You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.” And, I remember.

I remember that no matter how sad I may feel at time, God is there to lift me up. He provides friends and encouragement. I don’t need to spend time thinking about what was or what will never be. God has my life planned. He has “eternal pleasures” for me.

I remember the gifts He has already given to me: a good (if too short) marriage, true and faithful friends that listen and encourage, beautiful kids that have joined with me to overcome the grief that death brings, a supportive and loving family. How can I doubt?

When life doesn’t go quite as planned (or even reasonable close for that matter), I am still grateful. Not always for the events in life, but definitely for the experiences, the learnings and the love.

I am grateful.

Memories

My mind floats back to days when life just seemed simpler:
Playing chase or hide-and-seek with the neighbors.
Hours of pretending the cellar door was a mountain that had to be conquered and then rolling down the gentle hill to start over again.
Taking turns being the “mother duck” and letting the real ducks follow us all over the yard.
Sitting in the back seat with my brother and cousin while our mothers would look for birds and being told to “Be quiet”. A lot.
Staying up late and then rushing to turn the TV off before the National Anthem was played and the test screen signaled the end of another day.
Climbing the antenna tower that held the TV antenna that provided all three television stations.
Trying to crawl under the house, only to chicken out because is was dark and spooky and just thinking about it made it hard to breath.
Walking along the creek and gathering cattails and wild flowers or running through the deep gully’s that were cut into the red dirt.
Gathering eggs in the evening with my grandmother or watching her scoop the cream off the top of the bucket of milk that Grandpa brought in after milking the cows.
Watching Grandpa “saucer” his coffee in the morning while eating hot biscuits with fresh churned butter.
Going to the lumber yard with Daddy to get a new jump ropes: one long enough to use with friends at school and one just long enough to jump alone.
Learning to jump rope and hula-hoop and climb the monkey bars and play kick-ball and twirl a baton with my friends at school.
Complaining about the pins when I had to try on new clothes my Mom was making for me.
Taking my sister to the swimming pool in the front basket on my bicycle.
The excitement of a birthday party.
Sitting on Granny’s front porch eating watermelon or Easter eggs or home-made ice cream.
Hours spent selecting and then playing with paper dolls cut out of the Sears, Montgomery Ward and Penney’s catalogues with my aunt.
Taking a cold drink on a hot day to my dad while he plowed the wheat fields and then getting to ride the tractor with him.
Early morning swimming lessons with Mr. Erwin in the COLD water of the City Pool.

I was always so eager to be older and to be an adult. Adulthood has its good points, but it also comes with LOTS of responsibilities. Enjoy today. You will never get it back.

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Five minute Friday – Encouragement

1. Write for 5 minutes flat – no editing, no over thinking, no backtracking.
2. Link back here and invite others to join in.
3. And then absolutely, no ifs, ands or buts about it, you need to visit the person who linked up before you & encourage them in their comments. Seriously. That is, like, the rule. And the fun. And the heart of this community..

OK, are you ready? Please give us your best five minutes on:::

Encouragement

My son is an athlete. Actually, a very good athlete. He was recruited to play football and to wrestle after high school. I watched him mature as an athlete and was amazed at how different coaches got different results from him. One coach was sure he had to break every kid down before he could build the athlete he wanted. The other coach saw the need to encourage my son and tell him how good he was and what he was capable of accomplishing. Coach O’Connell knew that the secret of success is encouragement. And my son won lots of medals because of him.

When I was in high school, my band director treated everyone of his band students as if they were state qualifiers. He spent as much time with the clarinet player with no rythmn as he did with the State bound flute player. There were students in his program that had never heard words of encouragement from any one. Mr. Streit was an encourager. And he produced an all state band from that little Texas town.

I have tried to incorporate those ideals of encouragement as I raised my own children and as I work with children and adults in my ministry areas. It’s so important to find the parts of our lives that God wants to use. When we think we are not good enough, God reminds us that He loved us enough to send His own son for ME. I need only to look up to see the encouragement of God’s love.

Gifts

I’m at an interesting place in my life. My kids are (mostly) grown so Christmas at our house is different, now. It doesn’t seem that many years ago that I scoured the store aisles for the elusive White Power Ranger or the perfect Cabbage patch doll. We would make a late night trip to Wal-greens to get those last few things to put in the stockings and stay up late to assemble and wrap gifts long after the children are asleep. Those times are in my past. I still look for that perfect Christmas gift for each of my kids, but some of the excitement is gone.

Now, my kids are asking ME what I want for Christmas. And, I have a hard time coming up with any ideas. I’d rather give gifts and see the smiles and enjoyment that get “stuff” for myself. Don’t get me wrong, I like gifts. I prefer gifts from the heart that truly mean something to both parties. When Terry and I were first married, there wasn’t much money to spend on each other for Christmas. So, we agreed to spend only $25 each on stocking stuffers. We had so much fun that year trying to be creative and maybe a bit practical, that we continued the tradition in the following years. My grown children still get stuff in their stockings. My daughter has told me on more than one occasion that her Christmas stocking is the best part of Christmas.

I’ve accepted over the years that it’s not the biggest or most expensive gift that matters. The gifts that mean the most are those that speak the recipients love language. The one thing Terry gave me that I will always remember was ear plugs. Now most people wouldn’t be excited about foam ear plugs. But, Terry snored. Snored LOUDLY. That package of ear plugs meant he was really paying attention to me. He listened and understood when I spoke. He was speaking my primary love language of Quality Time with his gift. He also touched on my close 2nd love language: Words of Affirmation. When I opened the ear plugs he told me that I was important to him.

I am a gift giver. And I don’t always get the right gifts for others. But my prayer for 2014 is this: I will be more attuned to the love languages of those that I care about and I will meet their needs this year. That I will demonstrate it’s not all about the gifts. It’s about caring and sharing and loving the people with which God surrounds me.

Do you know your Love Language?

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