It’s Been Said . . .

Sometimes a few well phrased words can speak more than paragraphs of prose. I hope you enjoy some of my favorite marriage quotes.

A great marriage is not when the ‘perfect couple’ comes together. It is when an imperfect couple learns to enjoy their differences.  Dave Meurer

My most brilliant achievement was my ability to be able to persuade my wife to marry me.  Winston Churchill

Marriage is like watching the color of leaves in the fall; ever changing and more stunningly beautiful with each passing day.  Fawn Weaver

You know you’re in love when you can’t fall asleep because reality is finally better than your dreams.  Dr. Seuss

Any good marriage is secret territory, a necessary white space on society’s map. What others don’t know about it is what makes it yours.  Stephen King

Marriage is not just spiritual communion; it is also remembering to take out the trash.  Joyce Brothers

A good marriage is one where each partner secretly suspects they got the better deal.  Unknown
To be fully seen by somebody, then, and be loved anyhow — this is a human offering that can border on miraculous.  Elizabeth Gilbert

When you realize you want to spend the rest of your life with somebody, you want the rest of your life to start as soon as possible.  ‘When Harry Met Sally’

All the above quotes are sourced here.

“A happy marriage is the union of two good forgivers.” – Ruth Bell Graham

What quote resonates the most with you? Is there one I missed that you would include in your favorte marriage quotes? Please share.

Just for fun – comment on which of the quotes above you think is the one I identif most with at this phase in my life.  I’ll fill you in next week!

I Left Him

Alone.

For one week.

In his back up wheelchair that is not retrofitted for him to drive his van. So now he is homebound too.

How could I leave him like that? He told me to. I offered to cancel my travel and stay home. He said no.

He knew I needed this time away. I knew he needed me to take him at his word that he would be ok. We both needed to trust God, and our wonderful circle of friends.

And they came through.

I left meals for him, friends also shared some meals.  My sister took care of household needs. Others stepped in to fill the gaps of morning and evening attendant care. A couple offered to drive him to church. Someone else walked uptown with him one night for dinner.

d56a9-img_3763Did we miss each other?  You better believe we did.  It’s healthy for us to remember that we each can make it on our own, even in challenging situations.  But even better is the reminder that we don’t want to make it on our own.  We truly are better together.

 

 

 

What about you?  What is your best tip for travel that does not include the whole family? Any lessons God has taught you in times of being apart?

 

 

 

Thank You Brother

The sermon being preached from the stage was full of truth.  Yet in the back row of the auditorium a very different sermon was reaching deep into my heart.

I find it difficult to go to church alone, and this was one of those days when I had to do just that.  Strike 1 against my emotional fortitude.

Strike 2 came before I left home.  It happened when I asked God to open my heart and mind to worship Him fully.  He reminded me of some confession needed first.  As I sat before Him asking forgiveness the tears began to flow.  I want to repent, yet sometimes I don’t really want to. Help me Lord to live the words I say.

The final strike came while walking through the lobby at church and talking with friends who know me well.  They knew the right questions to ask to get to the point of how I was REALLY doing, not accepting the “I am ok” or “fine thank you, and you?”

By the time I walked into the sanctuary tears were gushing from my eyes.  I purposely sat alone in the back row as I tried to direct my heart and mind to worship. Another friend walked past and shared a  hug before going to find his family.  A few minutes later he was back and took the seat along side of me. I thanked him for being a good “little brother” to me when I needed one most.

If the story ended there it would be enough for me to experience Gods care through my brother in Christ.  But it doesn’t.

Last night I read a Facebook post from the wife of my “little brother friend” which I think put their names in my head as I fell asleep.  I remember a dream in which I was in a different location, walking on a country road to find a church.  This brother passed me in his van, and asked if he could give me a ride as he was also headed to this little church.  Once we got to the building looked like it fit more in the country side of Africa than the US.  My friend encouraged me to wait in the van while he would go in and check out the church.

Being the independent woman I am I did not heed my friend’s words but instead stepped out of the van right into a deep mud puddle.  My friend came out of church to see me literally wallowing in a mud puddle.  He lifted me out of the mud and set me on a rock.mud and rock  As I sat there drying off people with all kinds of disabilities came out of the church to check on me.

I don’t often put a lot of stock in my dreams. I do love how God gave me a foretaste of  today – when I needed to be figuratively lifted out of my emotional mud puddle and set back on the Rock of Jesus Christ.  When I shared my dream and got to the part about all the people with disabilities who were at the church he replied, “then we were at the right church weren’t we?”

Thank you God for my brothers and sisters. in Your family.  Thank you for Your Word that was fulfilled just a few short hours after I read it this morning.  “In times of trouble, may the Lord answer your cry. May the name of the God of Jacob keep you safe from all harm.  May he send you help from his sanctuary (italics added) . . . ”  Psalm 29:1-2a NLT

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here, There and (not quite) Everywhere

That title sums up my experiences of the last several weeks.  It went a little like this:

I took some time off the grid.  It was my vacation before my vacation!  I have a feeling that this will become a part of my regular routine.  Refreshing is the best way I can describe that time.  I did not go off grid to get away from the negative talk on social media (though that was an added blessing).  I unplugged so I could be present, engaged . . .  in my life and with the lives of those I am with.  That focus helped me disengage from some negative thinking, allow the past to be the past and prepare myself to move forward.

It also set me up for the time it would be necessary to be off grid due to travel.  In God’s great mercy and grace He provided time for us to get away that was paid for prior to being out of work (and income).

We boarded the Grandeur of the Seas for a 9-night cruise to ports in Charleston SC, Port Canaveral FL (where we enjoyed reconnecting with three friends we haven’t seen in years),

Freeport Grand Bahamas Island, Nassau Bahamas and Coco Cay Bahamas.  Unlike many on the ship, we do not cruise for the excursions (trips one takes after getting of the ship at a given port).  Some look interesting but they typically are quite expensive and not very accessible.  We cruise because it is an amazing vacation for a couple who deals with disability in marriage.  Our hotel travels with us, we don’t have to schlepp luggage, the adaptive equipment is delivered to our room . . . what more could we ask for?  We get to simply relax, sleep in, read, listen to some good music, enjoy the pool and the ocean view.

open-ocean

Our first morning I opened our balcony doors and looked out and said, “this is what I love – to look for miles and see ‘nothing’.”

 

 

cabin

 

Then I turned back to our room and said, “until I turn this way, then I see ‘everything’.”

 

Doing and seeing “nothing” but being with the one who means “everything” to me is a pretty awesome vacation if you ask me.

To Life!

In 1984 then President Reagan wrote an order proclaiming the 22nd of January (or the nearest Sunday to that date) to be Sanctity of Life Sunday.  The particular date was chosen as it corresponds to the anniversary of the Roe v Wade decision.

Typically in Christian circles this day focused on the unborn.  In my earlier years I participated in some of the peaceable demonstrations of advocating for life for every human, whether inside or outside the womb.  In more recent years I have come to see that sanctity (the holiness, sacredness) of life goes far beyond the birth process.

I share the following ideas, not to promote Jerry and me, but to prod your thinking in how you could be a standard bearer of the sanctity of life.

We have shared our home with many who were in need of a place to live, and perhaps more a home and family.  Some stayed with us a short time, others longer term.

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Photo Credit:  Merelize
  • There was a single mom who just gave birth and did not have a safe place she could take the baby.  I spent many hours cuddling and holding that baby.  I prayed over him and sang to him.  I don’t know what became of that mom and child but I pray that as the baby grew the knowledge that he was deeply loved by his Creator  was a seed that grew with abandon in his life.
  • There was a lady recovering from a serious car accident who needed a home without steps.  Insurance was done providing rehab for her, but she could not yet return home.  Often people in this situation fall through the cracks and can become homeless or institutionalized.
  • Jerry used to say he never knew who would be at our house when he came home from work that day.  We cared for a dozen or more children of all ages who either lived in their birth home or foster home.  These kids, and sometimes the parent, needed a break. I can only imagine that some of those parents were encouraged in years gone by to give their child life only to be challenged by raising that child (perhaps with a disability or other diagnosis) and had no where else to turn.  They needed a break and some support.  Being able to welcome that child and give some relief to a parent for a short break is supporting the holiness of life.
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Photo Credit:  Stuart Miles

Maybe you don’t have room in your home for another person or two; there are other ways you can engage in breathing help and hope into another’s life.

  • Purchase a gift card, or leave some cash anonymously (you have to know the situation to do this) with the parent who is struggling .  Perhaps you would help  them buy diapers or formula, or maybe your gift would be a few bucks extra to get her hair cut or her nails done.  This reminds Mom she has value and worth as well.
  • Offer free babysitting even once a week so the parent can pursue their minimum wage job and reduce a bit of child care costs.
  • Make yourself available to those who may live from crisis to crisis, or have no other healthy supportive people in their lives.  Over the last couple of months we have twice been told that prior to talking with us their plan was to take their life that night.  That’s pretty powerful.  We didn’t do anything special.  All we did was answer the phone and listen, or open the back door and invite someone in and give them a shoulder to cry on, and a hug to remind them they are not alone.  Life, even when it hurts is holy!
  • Build into the life of someone who may not have a family nearby, or any longer.  This might be someone who is new to your area, or someone who was raised in the foster care system and never adopted, or any other number of reasons.  If may even be someone who lives a lifestyle different than yours.  Get to know them as a person – not with the idea to change their life, but to change yours.  To share your life and the blessings God has given you with someone else.
  • “Expand” your family.  Hold on – I am not suggesting anything too drastic here.  I am thinking of the young single woman who recently called us and asked us to be grandparents to the little one growing in her body.  She wanted her child to have the influence of people like us.  Sadly (for the mom and us) that child is now being held in the Father’s arms in Heaven before we ever got to meet him/her.

Lastly, for those of you who live a life of faith – don’t hide your faith!  We experienced the ultimate  sanctity of life recently when one of those above who was in crisis gave their life to Jesus when we simply asked the question, “Where do you think God is at in all this?”  Can there be any better way to celebrate life, and life eternal, than introducing someone to our Heavenly Father!  As the circle of life goes round last night I was feeling down, this new believer, for the first time, texted me a Scripture verse that had encouraged them, and now it ministered to me.  Isaiah 41:13  “For I am the LORD your God who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you.”

Sanctity of life . . .  not a one day event, or even a nine month journey.  The sacredness of life needs to be celebrated and protected; as the name implies, throughout LIFE.

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Photo Credit:  James R Gray

Behind the Scenes

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Sometimes I feel like this is all I see of God’s picture for my life.

I have a friend “Renee” who has a very real need in her life and the deadline to have this need met is rapidly approaching.  She is anxious about when and how God will answer.  Many of us are praying with her and trying to help her find leads.

At church another friend “Belinda” mentioned a situation she needs to find a resolution to very soon.  As I drove home from church I thought, it may just be possible that the answer to Belinda’s dilemna could also be the answer to Renee’s need.  So I floated the idea by Belinda.  She is interested and agreed to pray about it before we approach Renee.

I wish I could tell Renee right now that there may be an answer on the horizon.  But I can’t; I want to honor Belinda’s request to wait and also don’t want Renee to get excited about something that is so preliminary right now (leads have often not panned out).

All of a sudden it struck me!  This is just a small picture of  God and me.  He rarely tells me what He is up to – even when I beg for an answer because time is growing short.  I tend to think God must have forgotten about me and my situation and begin to  take things into my own hands.  When I finally realize that’s what I am doing and I get myself back to actively waiting for God’s answer it really is a much greater answer than I could have ever dreamed up.

As I pray for both the needs of Renee and Belinda to be met (whether together or separately) I am also grateful that God gave me this opportunity to view things from the other side for a few moments.  I am reminded that even when I think He is silent or has forgotten my need He is still at work in ways I may not yet see (and perhaps never will).  If I wait upon Him I am usually blown away by the way He responds.

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As I wait for His time and plan the details fill in. Surprise (ha!) He had a plan all along.

It’s All About Whose You Are

This past week I celebrated another birthday.  As is typical these days with social media I received scores of greetings via Facebook, texts, instant messages, email and even a few paper cards (which seem to hold more and more value!).  Some of the most interesting wishes came to me from people I do not know.

photo_76510_20160913Jerry wrote a birthday tribute to me on his Facebook page (thanks honey!).  Twenty eight people commented on his post sharing birthday wishes with me.  A number of those people I do not know and to the best of my knowledge have never met.  They shared greetings and blessings with me simply because of their respect and friendship with my amazing husband.

Thinking about that I am both grateful and reminded.

Grateful that I married well and I appreciate the care of Jerry’s friends (though he thinks it has more to do with their amazement that someone married him – not true!)

Reminded that just as I receive the blessings “simply”  by being Jerry’s wife, I also am blessed because of who my heavenly Father  and “big brother” are.

Romans 8:17a New Living Translation

And since we are his children, we are his heirs. In fact, together with Christ we are heirs of God’s glory. . . .