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Posts Tagged ‘First love’

Rose On Wood BWIt’s the day after Valentine’s Day and wherever you go you will hear mixed emotions and contrasting expressions of how love was or was not expressed.

A few at work received flowers, a very visible expression of a relationship.  Or is it? I have known women who received flowers at work from a spouse when everyone knew their relationship was in shambles. But, sending flowers was the expectation so he did it.

Fancy dinners out are a topic of conversation today. Candlelight, soft music, expensive menus and muted conversation – those certainly express a deep love and commitment, right? Yes, but not always.

Candy? Cards dripping with mushy phrases? Hugs and kisses? Well of course, that’s what Valentine’s Day is all about. At least that’s what those on the commercial end will tell you.

Today there will also be much disappointment expressed. Someone’s spouse forgot, another was expecting much more than was given, another has no one to share the day with.

We live in a world that pushes us to twist and turn an idea into to something it is not. St. Valentine was a Catholic priest who it is said was imprisoned for ministering to persecuted Christians. This is a far cry from today’s commercialized version of his designated day.

Originally it was a celebration of sacrifice, mercy and reaching out to others. It has become a celebration of romance and a pressure filled time of striving to outdo, out give, overspend and meet or exceed impossible expectations promoted by the florists, card designers and stores.

Let me tell you about my perfect Valentine’s Day. It started with a phone call at work from my husband apologizing for forgetting to put my gift out before I left that morning. He was worried that I would think he had forgotten all together. To tell you the truth, I’d not had the slightest twinge of being forgotten. But his call gave me a great big burst of being remembered. All day I kept thinking about how precious it is that he worries about my feelings.

He did take me out last night. But it wasn’t for a candlelight dinner. No soft music or expensive menu and certainly no dressing up in our finest. You will laugh at this but here’s the story.

First he took me to Goodwill to see if there were any cheap movies we might want to grab. Since we don’t have television, we watch a lot of movies and some of our favorites are ones we’ve already seen and remember enjoying together. Those are the ones we peruse the Goodwill rack for. Not that we always have the same taste, because we don’t. I hold up one and he rolls his eyes. He holds up one and I give it the thumbs down sign. Last night we did find a couple and paid our ninety nine cents apiece, walking out to the car holding hands and carrying our Goodwill bag of entertainment.

 From there we moved on to the local drive-in that makes awesome BLT sandwiches. We slid into a booth like teenagers, listened to the jangle of the video machines under the not so subtle florescent lights, drank from straws and talked.

Looking at him across the table I just kept thinking, this is what 45 years of marriage ends up being – comfortable, no pretense, no pressure to prove our love. There’s not much we haven’t been through and we’re still together –proof enough.

That’s not to say I didn’t enjoy the mushy card and the chocolates he gave me later. It’s not to say I don’t love a romantic, candlelight dinner. It’s certainly not to say I don’t get excited about flowers and jewelry and other girly stuff. I do. But it’s frosting to me, it’s not the cake.

Last night was the cake. Him, me, a BLT and words of love expressed in laughter, hands touching, simple conversation and a Harley shirt staring at me across the table.

Proverbs 15:17
A bowl of vegetables with someone you love is better than steak with someone you hate.

 

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On Sunday, August 5th, I will celebrate my 45th wedding anniversary.  I honestly can’t believe it has been 45 years.  I sometimes still feel like the innocent young girl with love blinded eyes that I was in 1967.  Then again, I more often feel like the very experienced, not quite so love blinded wife that I am today.

I remember things I used to think were so darn cute in our early years.  Those same things drive me nuts today.  Things like the fact that he still can’t make a bed to where it doesn’t look like someone is still in it.  Or how he still sneaks drinks right from the carton.  How he leaves a used knife on top of the butter dish in the refrigerator because he doesn’t want to fill up the sink with a bunch of dirty ones.  And there’s his amazing sense of where we are at any given time when traveling (he never gets lost) which is offset by  his 45 year can’t-find-the-dishwasher disability.

We’ve traveled a lot of miles in our 45 years – through fields of new babies, narrow roads of grief, highways of financial stress, up hills strewn with misunderstanding, down valleys of laughter, around corners of angry words and right through intersections of intense love that met moments of ‘who is this man and what am I doing here?”

We have a son we won’t meet until we get to heaven, two daughters and a son who showed us heaven on earth (as well as a little of the other place when they were teens).  We’ve gained a plethora of gifted grandchildren. 

Our house is the same one we moved into on our wedding day, but it is now a home.  We’ve known a veritable kennel of dogs and cats, had a barn full of horses and mules, grown a variety of crops, mowed billions of blades of grass, pulled, poisoned and put up with every weed known to man.

We have more stuff than we could possibly remember or find if we needed it.  (Our children will hate us when we are gone.) 

We have seen so many changes over the years I can’t possibly name them. 

But by God’s grace, there are so many things that haven’t changed.  He still makes me laugh over the dumbest things.  He still makes my heart beat faster when he kisses me.  I still beam with pride over his work ethic, honesty and ability to do anything he puts his mind to.  His heart is still soft.  His mind is still sharp.  His habits are still annoying.

Today I tried to imagine not being married and I found I don’t have the slightest idea what that was like.  “We” is so much more than “I” ever was. 

Am I saying it’s been 45 years of bliss?  Of course not.  Every journey is a lot of work.  The best ones are those where you had milestones when you didn’t think you’d make it but you did.  You don’t feel like you’ve accomplished a worthwhile task if you don’t have some sore muscles afterward. 

After 45 years I’ve figured out that what hasn’t changed so far probably ain’t gonna.  I’ve discovered new things can still happen in an old marriage.  There’s still some of that fresh faced young boy in the man and some of that blushing young girl in the woman. God has blessed us mightily, buoyed us up in some tough times, given some great golden moments, helped us laugh at ourselves and sort the major from the minor.

In retrospect, even the bad has been good in the long run.  Looking ahead I’m just thankful that we are still looking ahead together.

 “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.” Eph 5:31

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On Friday we leave for an 8 day motorcycle trip and as I prepare I am once again faced with the impossible task of condensing 8 days worth of clothes, makeup and hair tools into the teeny weeny luggage compartment of a Harley Ultra Classic touring bike.  Big bike – little storage by my standards.

I start by putting the bag that fits inside the luggage compartment of the bike on the couch and patting the sides to puff them out so it looks bigger.  I do this several days ahead of time.  I carefully fold into a neat pile four pair of jeans, two turtlenecks in case of cold, six tanks in case of warm, two long sleeve shirts for layering, a sweatshirt, underwear, socks, sandals, tennis shoes, curling iron, hairdryer, makeup, sun screen, assorted hair accessories, book, journal, e reader and nightgown.

I stand back to look and notice the tower of items I’ve placed next to the bag looks like the stepsister’s size 10 foot next to Cinderella’s size 5 slipper.  Not good.

I begin subtracting by pulling out an undergarment.  The stack does not shrink noticeably.  Darn!  I begin to negotiate with myself.  “I can wear a pair of jeans three days instead of two can’t I? “ Out comes one pair.  “It’s June – bound to be warm, right?” Out comes the turtlenecks.  “Who needs tennis shoes?  We’ll be riding not walking.”  Nix the tennis shoes.  “Book or e reader? ”  “Air dry the hair?”

I check the weather reports for areas we will be visiting.  Out come three tanks, back in go the turtlenecks.  I pull out, put in, fold tighter, sigh and start over.  I am an unlimited-luggage-for-the-cruise type girl in a black leather biker world.  I have enough clothes in my closets to make sure I don’t repeat an outfit in any 30 day period.  But I love a guy who sees changing from a black T-shirt with the HD logo to a white T-shirt with the same as a major wardrobe overhaul.  Needless to say he doesn’t understand the packing challenge.

The funny thing is, once we’re on the road I don’t find it quite so difficult to wear the same thing two days in a row or even (gasp) three if necessary.  I’m not so caught up in how I look as I am in the scenery around me.  And, I’m too busy enjoying uninterrupted time with my husband to think about impressing others.

The craziness of multiple projects, plans and people coming at me in a constant deluge disappears the minute I crawl on the bike behind him and we set off on yet another roaring adventure.  This is pure togetherness – so close we are constantly touching, our direction perfectly matched, sharing thoughts and impressions as we sail down the highway. I can almost feel his heartbeat when I wrap my arms around him and our bodies sway in perfect harmony to the movement of the bike. 

We need this trip.  Life has been like a speeding train lately.  It will ramp up again when we return.  But for the next 8 days it will be just us, our timing, our choices, our quiet talks, our laughter, our frayed bond healing.

“Scarcely had I passed them when I found the one my heart loves.  I held him and would not let him go ….”  Song of Songs 3:4

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This was truly Weird Weather week in Yakima.  Sunday and Monday we had 90 degree temperatures – in April!  On Wednesday we had genuine should-I-build-an-ark rainstorms – in Yakima (basically a desert climate).  Don’t you just love Spring with all of it’s surprises?

Actually – I do.  There’s something about spring that speaks to my heart about freshness and promise, hope and new life.

The trees have been standing barren and bleak for months but all of sudden in spring they perk up, life starts coursing through their branches and tiny buds appear impatient to unfold in lush leaves.

The hills have been snow covered and sleepy but at the first hint of spring sunshine they drink up the snow melt and start growing a green crew cut.

And the tulips – oh the tulips.  They are inspirational.  They hide inside those dried up bulbs underground until God whispers “It’s time.”  At the sound of His voice they are so excited they fight their way to the surface through earth still partially frozen.  They strain and push to break through and they don’t stop there.  It’s like they can’t get close enough to God soon enough.  Those sturdy stalks will grow inches in a day, stretching straight up until their little heads burst into glorious bloom, wide open faces smiling right at their Creator.

Can anyone look at a bed of tulips and not feel joy? 

Tulips remind me of that first love spoken about in Revelations chapter 2.  Do you remember it?  The early stages of your relationship with Jesus when you were so enraptured by Him you couldn’t stop talking about it, singing about it, rejoicing in it?  You were like the tulip shaking with impatience to get closer to Him.  You soaked up His living water until you were so filled you had to start growing.  You pushed through every bit of what was trying to hold you back, keep you underground,  and you just kept stretching upward to get closer and closer to God. 

Have you lost that newness?  Have you become complacent?     Because I can tell you this – what God has done, what God’s Word says, what God has planned – is as new and fresh today as it was on the day of creation.  God in all of His glory, the God who has existed since before time began, the God who watches over us every minute of every day – has not one time become complacent in His duties. 

The Bible tells us His mercies are new every morning,  His compassions never fail, His love is never ending,.   I invite you today to stretch as tall as you can, lift your face to God and be like a tulip – eager and anxious for more Him. 

Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning;    great is your faithfulness.  Lam 3:22-23 

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