Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Autumn Stirring

Driving past shades of saffron yellow and tangerine orange trees a gentle cascade of thin dry leaves swirled and danced in the air before they fell to the ground. My heart is invariably and equally stirred by this quiet yet profound scene. Another season is marking its presence while another year is gradually coming to an end.

The morning sun is delayed by the protracted dark and chill. Blankets are pulled more tightly around us before we not quite so bravely rise out of our beds and begin our daily routines. We decide on hot cereal laden with crystalline brown sugar and hot coffee for breakfast. Layers of thick wool, cotton, or acrylic are topped with colorful scarves, hats, and gloves before we head off to work or school. Those who stay home snuggle together while reading books, writing letters, or simply sharing the warmth of family closeness. Intuitively we light deliciously scented candles, plan aromatic spiced meals, and bake up enticing goodies. We foster our senses and feed our bodies in subconscious attempts to fill our souls.

Somehow I become more aware of my inadequacies and deficits. Perhaps it is the slowing down of activity that allows me more time to ponder my deep longings and desires. The contrasts of moods become even more obvious now than before. I always wonder why the Fall season evokes such feelings of comfort and loneliness; a vast spectrum of emotions from discontent to resignation. One moment I am relaxed and at ease but a lingering sense of disquiet and fretfulness simmer within me. I yearn for consolation yet I will permit my thoughts to be consumed with insecurity. The landscape outside reflects the paradox within.

Possibly for this very reason God directs our attention to His blessings and goodness. He knows how likely we are to withdraw ourselves and delve into despair at things left undone and questions unanswered. We are left wanting and God responds to our heart’s cry with assurance and grace. He gives abundantly and we receive with thankfulness.

"You crown the year with Your goodness, and your paths with abundance." (Psalm 65:11)


Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Popcorn and Coffee

This morning I went to pull on my thrift store triumph: a $5 pair of Calvin Klein jeans. Before I washed them, yesterday, I noticed the inside tag which noted that their size was actually 4 sizes smaller than what I usually wear. Sure, they were just a bit snug when I tried them on in the fitting room, but I loved how they hugged my thighs and didn’t flap around too much around my ankles. As I wiggled into them this morning, however, I discovered that they had shrunk down to their proper size. I had a lot more than a muffin top; there’s streusel and cream cheese frosting on this cupcake. So disappointing!

Now, I must be honest here. My first thought was not to return them or anything like that. After all, it wouldn’t be the only clothing item I own that I can’t squeeze into, yet. Rather, my first thought was popcorn and coffee. Not exactly comfort food but actually a weight loss and management strategy that worked once to make me look oh so skinny and hot. Yes, I was a hottie, at one time, and I consider those to be my glory days when guys’ heads would turn and girls’ eyes would shade green. I fancy that many boyfriends were in big trouble with their girlfriends on my account. True or not, I looked great, and I wish I still did.

So, now I’m mentally budgeting popcorn and coffee purchases. It’s a weird diet, and not very nutritious at all. Okay, let’s be real. It’s a terrible thing to do to one’s body. It’s a crash diet, after all, solely focused on losing weight and keeping it off. No exercise or portion control is necessary. No calories to count, either. Just a simple eat enough popcorn to feel full and drink enough coffee to feel awake, kind of idea. Not a very difficult plan to begin and quite easy to continue indefinitely.

The cool thing, now, is that there are literally endless varieties of popcorn available for snacking. Sweet and salty kettle corn with freshly brewed coffee makes a pleasing breakfast, olive oil and basil seasoned popcorn with an Americano is a nice gourmet lunch, and a robust parmesan cheese popcorn for dinner with a chai spiced mocha is quite nearly perfect. Add a bit of dried fruit, nuts, or even chocolate chips and the nutritional value issue is a moot point. Actually, in case you haven’t noticed yet, I really do like popcorn that much to try every possible combination of flavors.

Some of my girlfriends say they enjoy food too much to eat only popcorn and coffee. Believe me, I do too, but a sassy pair of skinny jeans looks a whole lot better on this body than a breakfast of waffles, a lunch of tacos, and a dinner of meatloaf, mashed potatoes, and green beans. You know, I wonder if Lowry’s makes a popcorn seasoning that tastes like cashew chicken.


Monday, October 04, 2010

Dragons Can Be Beaten

“Fairy Tales are more than true; not because they tell us that dragons exist, but because they tell us that dragons can be beaten.” ~ G. K. Chesterton

Tragic beginnings are part of many fairy tales that I can recall from childhood – a beloved father’s death, an abducted child, a violent eviction from one’s home. For me it was an incident that affected me far more deeply and for much longer than I would have ever expected. It was my first introduction to my personal dragon and a moment that would haunt me for decades.

The young inhabitants of our castle had acquired a fun new toy: a small motorized bicycle. It was a fun and delightful day and this little princess was eager to have a turn. She was inexperienced but her siblings made it look so easy, so simple, that she was sure it would be as natural as anything. When she was granted an attempt she mounted the gently humming vehicle without a care or concern.

She tried to mimic the actions of her older brothers and sisters, producing the same sounds they had, and as she felt the wind on her face she felt excited and breathless. Too breathless. She was holding her breath, unable to breathe. Her family saw a wild eyed broadly grinning child enjoying herself. But that was not the truth. She was so panic-stricken that she couldn’t even see the faces that blurred beside her as she rode. Their voices were drowned out by the sound of the motor and something else more loudly and high than that. She was screaming. They couldn’t hear it but she was screaming deep inside with her hands locked tight on the handles. She doesn’t remember how it happened but in an instant it was over.

“Did you see her?” “She went between the tire-changer and the garage!” “We had to grab the bike and yank her off…” The laughter, words, and comments echoed across the days and weeks, the months and the years. So many years that she couldn’t remember what had even happened. What happened? She could remember the beginning and the end. But, as hard as she tried, she had no recollection of what happened. Only an interminable memory of how she felt, and it was terrifying.

She had met her dragon. It was seductive and charming. Entertaining, in fact, and she truly believed that it wanted to be her friend. It disguised itself as free, confident and capable. But when she took hold of its scaly claw she soon realized how it would make her feel in her deepest self. It intimidated her as it mocked her for failing to be in control. She could hear its hissing accusations of her foolish attempt to try something she had never done. Fear, embarrassment, and shame enveloped her as the dragon’s fiery breath almost completely destroyed her hope of ever being able to succeed in the same way again.

She chose to keep these feelings and the fear to herself. When she tried to face the dragon it would point out more recent mistakes and remind her that she couldn’t do whatever it was she was attempting to accomplish. What was she thinking, anyway? She was too impulsive. How would she even manage to gain any experience? She was disorganized and didn’t manage time very well. Would she even know what to do if she was ever granted the privileges she desired? She was notoriously irresponsible.

Many good hearted people from all around the land came to her aid and tried to help her escape the dragon. They offered their time and experience. She was grateful and made several attempts to leave her fears behind. There were even others who fancied themselves to be the heroes and proudly displayed their expertise, which only caused her to feel weaker and less sure of herself. A few of her own family were willing to give her lessons and help her rebuild her confidence but their own lives still needed their attention so she was disappointed in herself, again. She took too long to learn, she needed too much help, and she should just give up.

Resigning herself to never learning was easy, especially since it kept her dragon quiet and asleep. When she met prince charming he spoke very little about her lack of ability to get around at first but very gently and over time would let her try if she felt safe enough to do so. This stirred the dragon a little but it never woke. Gradually the prince would talk about it and this definitely made the dragon uncomfortable so she would make him talk about other things. One day during a family trip they crashed and she caught sight of another dragon. So did the prince and, to her shock and surprise he fought it with all his might and with great skill and courage the dragon was quickly defeated. As she observed this she knew that he would soon help her defeat her own dragon.

More years passed and more chances were given to the princess to escape the dragon’s prison. She still doesn’t know how it happened but she does remember the prince asking her a question and somehow the question reached the sleeping dragon’s ears. It rose and roared at her to be silent but she felt the scream rise out of the center of her heart, the same scream that held her paralyzed as a child so long ago. She shook as tears washed over her face as she told the prince of her fear and losing confidence and failure. His strong arms held her safe from the dragon’s fiery breath and she saw the dragon weaken. She told the prince more and the dragon stopped roaring. When she had told all she remembered the dragon fell back to sleep, exhausted.

So it was that the princess and the prince worked together. He would patiently instruct and teach while she would humbly listen and learn. In time she would ask to go together where she could improve her skill and confidence. The dragon would stir but do nothing when it saw the couple resolved to defeat him, and it knew its end was near.

One day the prince brought the princess to the battlefield where she would finally meet the dragon alone. In her heart she was still afraid and unsure of herself. She tried to remember all she had been taught and all she had learned. As she fought she received a few cuts and scratches but the dragon was now old and weaker than ever before. Even if she hadn’t succeeded at destroying it now she was determined to defeat it nonetheless. When the battle was over and the victory clutched tightly in her grasp she held the prince close and, from deep in the center of her heart, she screamed. With relief, with joy, and with freedom. And the dragon couldn't hear.


Wednesday, September 22, 2010

I Am A Real Mom

The world of facebook got me to think about my role as a mother. The postings about, "Copy and repost if you're proud to be a mom" stuff? Well, it made me think about my less stellar moments and how we never talk about them. And why would we? Moms are infallable, tireless, exceptional examples of human greatness, right? Well, I decided to risk exposing some of my flaws in a therapeutic attempt to say, I Am Real! Enjoy!

Seeing my newborn’s happy grin at 2:46 a.m. didn’t always flood my heart with joy.

Sometimes the “sweet smell” of a baby wasn’t all that sweet, it just smelled.

I didn’t always change my baby’s diaper in a timely manner.

The time my baby rolled over, and off the bed, I didn’t scream because I was thrilled at this milestone in development.

I thwarted all my child’s efforts to climb.

When my baby babbled I put on an Academy-worthy performance of pretending I knew exactly what he was saying.

Co-sleeping was all about me getting more rest and had practically nothing at all to do with bonding or making my baby feel more secure.

I think babies shouldn’t learn to walk until they’re 5. They shouldn’t learn to talk until they’re 20, for that matter.

Potty training is best left in the hands of United States Military supervising officers.

Picky toddlers were the inspiration for food fights, by adults.

I have definitely yelled at my kids, sometimes even when they were being truly naughty.

When my kids ask if they can have a treat or watch a movie I will say no just because Mom can say no.

Muddy fingerprints on the wall will never be works of art.

I’m never mean on purpose.

There comes a very important time when a child gets mildly injured that I have to pretend I didn’t just see that happen.

I don’t completely trust my kids.

A good day is when the kids are alive at the end of it.

Crackers = Food = Lunch

It doesn’t make me a bad mother if I avoid hugging the kids when they’re dirty.

Just being honest, my reasons for homeschooling are not all noble. Unsuitable lunches and late starts are among the less noble reasons.

The fact that God loves my kids more than I ever will is proven every day.


Friday, September 03, 2010

House of Craig

We're trying ever so hard to keep track of our kids' wit and wisdoms. It's a good thing, then, that funny is a renewable resource among our children.


MacAulay's Birthday dinner was followed by cake, of which there were six servings. While everyone was enjoying their delights, Murron cast a shadow over the mood with her proclamation, "Soon, we'll only have five at the table because one of us will pass away." We gasped and asked, "Who?" to which she replied, "Elizabeth is getting older.” Elizabeth’s face was white. We told her, “Not PASS away. She’ll MOVE away.”

Kitchen Moment #148: Bill: (accidentally spills food in the refrigerator and on the floor) "Dang it!" Aulay: (bravely mimics Daddy) "Dang it!" (while Bill cleans up Aulay helps and points to the food on the floor and explains) "That's a dang it."

SLAP! Aulay: " 'etend this is the water!" SLAP! Aulay: "I are swimming!" SLAP! Aulay: "See? I in the water." It takes seriously hardcore imagination to perform bellyflops on the kitchen linoleum!

Poor Ulie! With enormous tears streaming down his dirty little cheeks, he lamented, "The fly bited me!" I asked him to show me where the fly was and, as I suspected, it was actually a bee. After removing the stinger, to soothe his injured feelings, I put a hulk bandaid on his finger. Ulie said, "So the bee will get scared, right?!” You bet, kid!

We were playing piano and trombone duets, tonight, when Ulie remarked, "Hey, it's like The Muppet Show!" Bill's thinking, "What am I, Gonzo?" while Glory's flattered to be compared to Rowlf!

I saw Aulay and thought he'd had a nosebleed. Then I noticed that Ulie's nostrils had red tinges too. It didn't take long to sort out what was going on. Aulay displayed his new skill: get Brach's Cinnamon Imperials, stick one into the nostril, blow it out...I can't even make this stuff up!!!

Bill and the boys got haircuts, yesterday. Ulie believes that boys hair doesn't grow so Murron had to explain that, yes, his hair will grow, too. Ulie insists that his hair will always be short while Murron persisted that boys hair gets long too. How will he know if he always gets haircuts?

Aulay to cops of various kinds at a fire department open house: "Is that your gun?" (touching the holster with sticky hands) and an inquisitive: "Do you kill people?" Kudos to the county deputy who told him that he helps people. It's what he tells his own kids.

Ulie doesn't understand Bill's facial hair. "Why did you go to the bear and get it off and put it on you?" Ulie asked his daddy, perplexed. "Why did you do that?"

Family Room Moment #204: (While watching Bee Movie) Murron: "Does she have a husband?" Elizabeth: "No." Murron: "Then why does she live in a house?"

Ulie: "A penny!" Aulay: "Where da penny?" Ulie: "Right here." Aulay: "Yay, Bruddah!"

Momma got told! While helping Ulie settle at bedtime he decided on a small snack. When I expressed my disgust at his choice of tasty tidbits he informed me, "Mom, I'm a kid. I eat nasty snot." Curtailing this gross habit is going to be tougher than I thought...

Within the first 6 hours of Glory's parents' visit: Aulay: "Murron, why are YOU sitting on My Gwampa's wap?" Murron: "Aulay, they're MY Grandpa and Grandma too!" Ulie: (en route to look at Grandpa and Grandma's picture) "Let me see if you look like Grandpa and Grandma" (looks back and forth between photo and Grandparents) "Yup! It's you."

(regarding the role of cosmetology who work with morticians) Elizabeth: It seems that there’s more dead people than living people who want a makeover.

While driving through rural Lopez Island Aulay: “I’m mad now!” Mom: “Why?” Aulay: “Because the animals are pooping”

Ulie: "Superman...and Spiderman...and Larry Boy!"

Murron has said some hilarious stuff, lately. In talking about kids who aren't buckled in car seats, she quipped, "It's like riding in a cabbage." "What?" "You know, horses pull them." We laughed and said she meant carriage. Looking for a snack, she asked, "Can I have a graham crapper? *giggles* I mean, graham crammer *laughing* I can't say it! *pauses* Can I have a graham cramper?" :-D Explaining that matter is everywhere: "Even if you're in a room with nobody in it, you're touching something...even if you're outside, or jumping in the air, or naked jumping out of an airplane!"

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Chain Reaction

“You inspire me.”

The lady at Curves marched with renewed vigor on the recovery pad. I had mentioned that I had run part of the way from our house to the center. It’s really not that far but it’s impressive enough for someone who has never jogged before. It felt good to have my efforts recognized and it has helped me stay motivated to do it.

I owe much of my persistence to Bill, who has been running for seven months. A high school friend was the initial impetus to get him started. They had the shared joy of running a 10K together, an experience that refueled Bill’s passion for running. He runs an average of 5 miles at a time, but has run as many as 10 miles. He is aiming to run a half-marathon in June and wants to complete a marathon by the end of this year. It’s exciting to see his progress and to support him as he pushes himself farther and harder.

There have been times when he has felt discouraged, sometimes to the point of not wanting to do it. I’m sure it’s not easy to maintain the interest or desire it takes to press on. More than a few times he has even come into the house, sweaty and tired, shaking his head when I ask if he’s glad he did it. In that moment he’s just glad he got it out of the way.

Bill has been an encouragement for others we know, too, It has been wonderful to see others take their health more seriously, not to the point of obsession or imposing their regimen upon others, though. Inspiring people to better themselves in any discipline should be empowering and positive in motive.

Hebrews 10:23-25 states how we are to inspire each other on a spiritual level, for the glory of God:

23 Let us hold tightly without wavering to the hope we affirm, for God can be trusted to keep his promise. 24 Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works. 25 And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near.

Hearing someone tell me how I’ve inspired them has been very encouraging, especially for those times when I just don’t have the motivation to put on my shoes and get out there. Knowing that others are watching my example, such as my husband and kids, keeps me accountable and reminds me that I am not alone in my pursuits. Children are natural imitators so, whether good or bad, I set the tone for what they say and do. With this in mind I ought to be careful and not lose hope when I don’t see immediate results. Rather I must be even more fervent and diligent and rise to the challenge that is set before me. There most likely is someone who needs to see and be moved.


Tuesday, March 02, 2010

A Change In The Weather

It smells like Spring, now. With slightly warmer days and longer evenings the air has a fresh sweetness that coaxes any Winter weary slumberer out from hibernation. Birds have returned to chatter melodically about the best nesting materials and fine earthy dining spots. And lawn mowers drone steadily in the afternoons.

In many ways last year seemed like an extended Winter. Personal struggles, health concerns, and tragic losses blew into our lives, the unexpected blizzards leaving us chilled and drifted over. Our faith has been tested in ways we never anticipated and our hope was frequently challenged. Yet the unfailing love of God kept us safe and sheltered throughout the long cold season.

I am certain that it was this subtle shift in the air that compelled me to drag out decades worth of accumulated clutter and begin sorting and tossing. As boxes were emptied and bins were refilled with photos and other keepsakes it became apparent that this ambitious project would not be easily or quickly accomplished. I couldn't hurry this through no matter how ruthless I tried to be just like the seeds can't rush their own germination and growth past layers of dirt and mulch. And this is inevitably messy work, the passage of time having resulted in dust and deterioration. Each box released a musty scent that wafted through the room. I even found a small stone pot of perfume crystals that I bought at the U of S. The deep amber fragrance continues to float through our room amidst the odor of yellowing papers and attic dust.

Spring is coming. Despite the months of sedentary existence the earth is still alive and well. As it wakes it perfumes the atmosphere surrounding us with sweet hope, heady delight, and lingering peace. And I inhale deeply with gratitude and relief that my Lord, again, has renewed my heart.


Monday, February 22, 2010

Don't be afraid

The family and I were at the beach at Waldport, Oregon, this weekend. With the blue sky, relatively calm ocean waves and very little wind, we wondered if this really was the latter part of February or May. This is not winter in the Northwest to be sure.

Before we left for home on Sunday, we walked on the beach one last time. The kids ran and played and we drank in the sounds and smells of the beach before we had to head home. I had the kids close their eyes to listen to the waves. I told them to take a deep breath and smell the saltiness of the air. I asked them to remember these moments. When they are in their beds at night waiting for sleep to come, they could remember these times on the beach and retreat back to them.

The Oregon coast is one of our favorite places. We get the spectrum of emotion when visiting. We see the ocean at its angriest in early winter. In the summer, the ocean sometimes pitches a fit but it mostly behaves like a toddler frolicking, kicking around and having a good time. The ocean this weekend was a little flirtacious, teasing us but really meaning no harm.

But in a brief display of might, the teasing ocean yesterday wasn't anything one would want to mess with. It was with that background that I read a little from Mark 6: 48-51:

48He saw the disciples straining at the oars, because the wind was against them. About the fourth watch of the night he went out to them, walking on the lake. He was about to pass by them, 49but when they saw him walking on the lake, they thought he was a ghost. They cried out, 50because they all saw him and were terrified. "Immediately he spoke to them and said, 'Take courage! It is I. Don't be afraid.' 51Then he climbed into the boat with them, and the wind died down."

While reading, I asked Murron, our seven-year-old to imagine being on a boat in the waves, being afraid, and then seeing a ghost, and being more afraid, but then realizing it was Jesus, who said to not be afraid. Watching the waves, it wasn't hard imagining what I would do in that situation.

But when God says not to be afraid, He means it. If He made the winds and the seas, then there really shouldn't be anything to fear. It's a constant lesson. But to actually obey the Lord and not fear when things appear to be out of control would be a great thing. Until then, or at least while trying, I'm still begging the Lord to get in the boat with me. I don't want to be out in the storm alone.


Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Accept His Love, Respond With Love

There was nothing fair about it, I can tell you that straight off! All of my 14 siblings had been married at least once already and not even once had I come close to wearing an engagement ring. Their advice to just stop looking and God would make it happen didn’t even work. Somehow I had become so very pleasing to date that any idea of a lifelong commitment was unnecessary. I made an excellent girlfriend but not a prospective wife.

So when I finally had my fill of relationships that were going nowhere I was already 30 years old. Having come from a family where practically everyone had married in their early twenties I might as well have been a retired schoolteacher enjoying my pension in a little cabin on Turtle Lake, Saskatchewan. I was also the mother of an extremely active and artistic girl. Mine wasn’t the only pregnancy out of wedlock in my family but mine was the only one that couldn't be smoothed over by a brief engagement and timely wedding ceremony. While the shame of it all no longer paralyzed my heart I had given up believing that any man - single, divorced, or widowed - would be anywhere near taken with the idea of becoming instant dad-in-a-box complete with directions and ready in five minutes.

It was May when I finally dragged my Bible and a box of Kleenex into my living room and began the ugly task of pouring it all out to God. I would have rather been sitting in a dentist’s chair getting a root canal on a back molar than sitting on that couch with all my emotions and nerves exposed like that. It was terrible and I winced at every truth that God spoke into my heart that day. I knew I wanted to serve Him without any reservation. I wanted my heart to belong to Him alone. I wanted to be His bride and live a life of purity and wholeness. I wanted to do all of that whether I was single or married, and I spoke plainly when I said I would accept either option. But I knew that opening my heart to the man God wanted me to marry would be harder later than it would be right then. I wanted to be sure that God and I understood each other on that account because I meant every word.

By then Elizabeth was in 2nd grade and ballet and I was in my third year of University studies, working at a daycare, and very actively involved in my church. I was a worship leader, pianist, vocalist, and soloist. My typical week consisted of Monday night music practice, Tuesday afternoon ballet and Young Adults evening worship and Bible study, Wednesday night Kid’s Club, Thursday evening ballet, and Sunday morning and evening services. My time was occupied enough that I couldn’t think about being single or hate being alone.

One day while I was at the University of Saskatchewan computer lab finding lyrics and chords for worship songs I found a Christian chat site where I could dialog with other worship leaders and musicians. Most of the time the conversation formed around issues such as music style or dress codes. Not once during this time did I think I would meet anyone who would consider me on a romantic level.

There was one man, however, who intrigued me above anyone else I chatted with. He was my age and he was a reporter at a newspaper in North Carolina. The first thing that interested me about him was his appreciation for the music of Keith Green, 2nd Chapter of Acts, and Phil Keaggy. As our first conversation progressed I was increasingly aware that I was developing a connection with this man that lived 2000 miles from me. This was so unexpected that I can remember feeling anxious about how anything like this could even be of God. We talked about exchanging e-mail addresses then I asked the question that had been burning a hole in my thoughts:

“Are you for real?”

And there was a moment of stillness on the monitor screen before his answer came back:

“Yes, I am for real.”

God, how can I know? How can I trust his word? How can I verify anything he’s told me about himself?

The questions came pouring out like all those painful emotions I had poured out to God only a month earlier. I wanted to be safe. I needed to be sure. I had to feel protected while this man entered the fortress of my mind and stood before the heavily guarded gates of my heart.

As we began e-mailing each other, and later talking on the phone I became very good at tossing out selective bits of information about my life. Not only did I avoid sharing any private or personal details but I also concealed my deeper thoughts and kept vigil over my feelings. We could flirt with our words, banter wittily, and even drop casual remarks about the possible what ifs. But I would remain distant and detached because I was not going to fall in love, this time. I had experienced my own great fall in love and all the king’s horses trampled me underfoot and all the king’s men had only left me bruised and broken. Now that I was put back together I would stay clear on the other side of the wall.

Two weeks after our first phone conversation I felt that I was done with my cautious waving at the window and decided that I was going to bid my farewell to Bill. I picked out a nice looking greeting card and carefully wrote that “I think God just wants us to be friends.” I hadn’t really asked Him if He did or not but it sounded like something He might have said. What I didn’t know is that God had been having frequent conversations with Bill and that he had been told something completely different than what I had written in my card.

I was finishing up an afternoon at work when a delivery man showed up with a bouquet of three roses for me from Bill. The room was quiet and all the kids disappeared into the faded white walls and crayon drawings. I studied the roses carefully and it wasn’t long before I read the message he had written on their slender stems, their green leaves, and their dewy petals.

Roses are the most treasured of flowers and I will treasure you. Life will have thorns that we must be careful of. Our love began as friendship so let the yellow rose be a reminder of this as we journey together. Our love is deeply passionate like this red rose so know that I will move heaven and earth to be with you and stay by your side. Above all let the white rose assure you that our love is pure as it was given to us by God and will continue to flow through us as we abide in Him.

I’m not sure how I carried that bouquet home with me. By the time I walked through the door and dropped my belongings on the couch where I had poured out my heart two months earlier, I fell to my knees and begged God to tell me what to do.



Accept his love.

Just accept his love?


Respond how?

Respond with love.

It sounded so simple yet my mind could not understand nor could my heart believe what it had just heard. I stayed in that spot motionless for several minutes before I knew what that meant. I got up, found the card I had ready to send, carefully salvaged the stamp from the envelope, and destroyed the rest.

Accept and respond became my mantra during the seven months of our courtship and taught me more about marriage than anything else in my life. Perhaps that had been my problem all along but even that didn’t matter anymore. I had fallen in love and I had landed in a safe place. When we eloped February 4, 2002 I knew that and I was happy to give my heart over to this man who had made me his wife.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Our New Year Greeting and Newsletter

It's finally finished and ready to print! Well, ready for YOU to print, that is. :-) Just click on the photos and copy/paste into a Word document, adjust the size and, you've got our 2010 New Year's Greeting. Enjoy!

Our Photo Greeting

Our Newsletter