Remarriage!

Chapter 7 – RX for the BEST marriage. Reblog


The last post I shared some of the things that killed our relationship.  Today I want to share one simple formula and principle which restored our relationship, our marriage and our love life – again from Love Life for Every Married Couple – how to fall in love, stay in love, rekindle your love.  I will guarantee if you incorporate these basic principles into your daily life, you will see other relationships improve as well.  I know this works because it worked for us and I am a HUGE testimony about how this simple phrase can change your life.  Anything good that has happened to me by my own will and chosing to do RIGHT thing (I have made horrible and destructive decisions and thank God I am forgiven) is based upon the Bible.

In Romans 12:2, we are told to

… not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is–His good, pleasing and perfect will.”

I believe this scripture with my whole being and Bill knows that I have allowed it to work to improve our marriage.  However, he will be the first one to tell you, I still have a lot of renewing to do!!!  It is never too early or to late to put this into practice.

As a reminder, I used to do some husband bashing.  I focused on everything bad about Bill.  I stopped looking at his goodness and all the traits I initially “fell in love” with and began to not like him.  I gave up on our relationship, felt it was hopeless and sought the divorce.  I did not previously write that when we divorced, it was three strikes and Bill was out.  There were two other key times when I cried out to Bill there was something wrong in our marriage.

In our seventh year of marriage, called the typical “7 year itch” that I was not happy with the direction of our marriage.  So after lots of heart to hearts and lots of yelling and acting out (we also were not in a church or even really looking to God for direction at this point), Bill decided it was time to have a baby (yes, my biological clock was ticking and I really wanted a child for years.  Bill was holding off until he thought we could “afford” a baby.)  I did love Bill and he loved me and we wanted a child.  But our marriage was on shaky grounds.  I really wanted to be back in church, but Bill was still soured on some bad past experiences.

I looked to God during this time and even prayed “Hannah’s prayer.”  We read about it in 1 Samuel that Hannah was greatly loved by her husband but she was unable to become pregnant.  She became more and more distraught and we find the account in 1 Samuel 1:10-11 “In bitterness of soul Hannah wept much and prayed to the Lord.  And she made a vow, saying, ‘O Lord Almighty, if you will only look upon your servant’s misery and remember me, and not forget your servant but give her a son, then I will give him to the Lord for all the days of his life, and no razor will ever be used on his head.'”

While I did not look this up and fully identify, I remembered that Hannah really wanted a child and prayed this prayer and offered her child back up to the Lord.  And that was what I did.  I did not ask for a son or a daughter, I simply asked God to give us a healthy child.  God gave Hannah Samuel and we know the rest of that story, hopefully!  Well, God gave me Jessica and those who know her know, what a blessing she is to everyone she meets!  She has a heart of gold and helps people everyday in her work.  She helps her friends and her neighbors.  But mostly, she loves her mom!  Oh, and she also loves her dad and her husband (note added: She has since had two boys and she loves them as no other mother could!)….she is amazing and to know her is to know love!

After 10 years of marriage, I “cracked up” again and tried to separate.  We went to counseling for one session.  The marriage counselor said we had to tell her what we wanted her to do.  Did we want her to help us restore and save our marriage or did we want her to help us dissolve the marriage?  I said I didn’t know, I wanted her to tell us what we should do!  Needless to say, we never went back and somehow we muddled through and did all we could to be the best parents possible!  Jessica was such a good child and so easy to raise, she really was the glue we needed at that time.

But as you read in my earlier posts, things came to a head again and I just decided the marriage was over.  I had tried to get Bill on three separate occasions to change as he promised (each time he knew he needed to do something, but honestly, he just didn’t know what he needed to do! ) No one told us there was a marriage manual (the Bible or if you need it spelled out succinctly, Dr. Ed Wheat has done all the hard work and put it in an easy to read book mentioned above), so our marriage fell apart…but our God is faithful!  He not only restored our relationship, He gave us the new and improved version!  We continue to praise Him and thank Him everyday for our miracle!

So what did we learn to make our lives better?  Not bash my husband nor he cut me down.  How I now wish I not only applied this to our marriage, but to other relationships – at least the BE part of the principle.   So under conviction, I am now going to stop bashing ANYONE!!!  Ok, even politicians.  Our Lord knows they need our prayers and love more than anyone, jerks that most of them are…OK, so I am a work in progress….

Before Dr. Wheat gives this principle, he hopes you have accepted all the five ways of loving and he devotes several chapters to each of the different ways a couple should love each other.  He even gets pretty explicit with the sex part, so buy the book as I am not going to post any of that part!

Here is our SECRET!!!  Starting in his Chapter 13, page 237, Prescription for a Superb Marriage, he says this involves a practical course of action for husband and wife (but trust me, it applies to all relationships) that is both uncomplicated and effective.  “You will be able to remember it easily because it is called the B-E-S-T, acronym which represents the four positive elements that will transform any marriage.  These are not steps to be tried one at a time, but four measures to be taken simultaneously and maintained consistently.  If necessary, they can be implemented by either partner alone.  In many cases you will have to make the first move without any promise of cooperation of the other (my note:  if your marriage or relationship is on rocky ground).  So if you want the best marriage possible with the mate you have chosen, then give your partner the BEST!”

So after we learned this principle and allowed God to renew our minds about each other, we no longer cut each other down or bash each other to others.  Think about it, if you know either one of us, have you ever heard us say a negative thing about each other?  Or heard us even jokingly cut one another down?  If one of us started down that road, we simply whispered lovingly, BEST, and the bad words stopped!

I have summarized the principle and keep it handy on my computer to share with anyone as needed.  So not quoting directly from the book, here it is:

1)      Blessing – Perhaps you have never thought of blessing as a practical element to be introduced into marriage.  The principle of blessing is a biblical one, and the Christian is commanded to practice it, most particularly in response to annoyance or provocation.  Learning this important technique of response will carry you through the difficult moments that occur in any marriage and will bring peace to the troubled waters of your relationship.  The practice of blessing puts an end to the volley of sharp words that mars so many love affairs, and that is only the beginning of its benefits for you.

The word “blessing” (eulogia) in the New Testament is based upon two Greek words:  eu meaning “well” and logos, meaning “word.”  The first way of blessing your marriage partner is to speak well of him or her, and to respond with good words even when your partner’s speech becomes harsh, critical, or insulting…..To put this in the most practical terms, you have the power to bless your marriage by the words you speak to your partner.  You can also bless by learning when to be silent.

Three other aspects of blessing are found in Scripture.  You bless by bestowing practical benefits upon, simply by doing kind things for another person….You also bless by showing thankfulness and appreciation….Finally, you bless by calling God’s favor down in prayer.

To sum up:  1)  through your good and loving words spoken to him (her) about him (her); 2)  through your practical behavior, which shows loving kindness toward him (her) in actions large and small; 3)  through conveying your attitude of thankfulness and appreciation; 4)  through your prayer to God on your spouse’s behalf.  Good words, kind actions, thankful appreciation, and intercessory prayer for your spouse.

Ephesians 4:29:  “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.”

2)      Edifying – A biblical term often used in the New Testament, refers to the building up of individuals…in every aspect of your spouse’s personality, cheering him (her) on in every area of life, and increasing his (her) sense of self-worth with the result that his (her) capacity to love and give of himself (herself) would be increased as well….

The New Testament Greek word for “edify” is oikodomeo, a combination of two words:  oikos, meaning a family, home, or house, and demo, meaning to build.  While you are edifying and building each other up, you are also building a home together….We find as we study the New Testament passages that speak of edifying that three golden strands are interwoven:  personal encouragement, inner strengthening, and the establishment of peace and harmony between individuals….

”Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing” (1 Thessalonians 5:11 NIV).  1 Corinthians 8:1 sums up the matter of edifying: “Love builds up” (NIV).

But how do you build up your mate?  A careful study of New Testament principles and the example of the Song of Solomon indicates that husbands and wives each have their own ways of edifying.  In brief, the husband edifies his wife by praising her.  The wife edifies her husband by her loving response to him.

Husbands are commanded in Ephesians 5 to nourish and cherish their wives.  This is at least partially accomplished through the giving of verbal praise and encouragement.  A wife’s sense of her own beauty depends greatly on what her husband thinks of her.  She needs to be nourished emotionally with praise and never diminished by criticism, especially in the areas where she feels most insecure and vulnerable.  She needs to be cherished in public and the test if this is how her husband treats her socially…. Remember, edification builds up, never tears down.  So love gives your partner freedom to grow and develop as a person without fear of failure and fear of hurtful criticism.

Biblically, the wife best edifies her husband by her response to him.  In the full meaning of the language of the Greek New Testament, the wife is told to respect, admire, be in awe of, defer to, revere, adore, esteem, praise and deeply love her husband….God has designed marriage so that a husband is dependent on the affirmation of his wife, the appreciation she shows him for all that he gives her, and her demonstration of respect for his manhood.

Colossians 3:16  “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God.”

3)      Sharing – The more ways you can find to be in relationship with each other, the stronger your love will become.  Sharing should touch all areas of life—your time, activities, interests, concerns, ideas, innermost thoughts, spiritual walk, family objectives, goals, etc.  Sharing demands giving of yourself, listening to your partner, and as you live life together, developing a sensitive awareness of moments that offer possibilities for deepening the love between you.  Yes, this too is a biblical principle as the husband and wife are to become one flesh.

Genesis 2:24 and Ephesians 5:31: “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.”

4)      Touching (non-sexual) – God created us with hundreds of thousands of microscopic nerve endings in our skin designed to sense and benefit from a loving touch.  A tender touch tells us that we are cared for.  It can calm our fears, soothe pain, bring us comfort, or give us the blessed satisfaction of emotional security.  As adults, touching continues to be a primary means of communicating with those we love, whether we are conscious of it or not.  (My note:  I think the more non-sexual touching a woman gets the more of the other the man gets!)

After 36 years of marriage (ok, on and off, as we did divorce but we have been together in one flesh since April 11, 1975) we testify that this prescription will help your marriage be as full and loving as God intended it!  We call this the BEST principle!

35th Anniversary Picture

We are celebrating 46 years years of marriage as I type this, 4/10/2021 – a day early. Needless to say, I am way behind on blogging. And now I really need to decide what to do with this blog since we are no longer traveling (much). But this month, as we celebrate, I am reviewing, updating and re-blogging our Marriage Blog Posts. We are still so passionate about the state of marriages. I plan to download these and put into a “table”book for our old age! So if anyone sees any typos or errors, let me know. It will be much appreciated. To catch up if you want to start at the beginning or see why these posts are still relevant, we now have a “Marriage Blog Posts” link on our header.

Near Pawley's Island on a warm winter day, February 27, 2021. Perhaps we should buy new hats to celebrate our anniversary!

Celebrations, Hiking and Issues


On my mom’s birthday, when she turned 90, she was there for her first grandchild by her only grand daughter. She has four grand children, seven great grand children and her first great-great grandchild is due in a few months.

So much to write about, so little time! Yes, not enough time to keep our blog updated. We just blinked and three months have flown by. Our last post ended with a teaser of the birthdays we celebrated in August while in Fredericksburg, Virginia. We also had two anniversaries to celebrate. And then our oldest grandson started kindergarten and that was a reason to celebrate. And then he learned how to ride his bike without training wheels! And then there were the issues….Where to start? With the best of the best!

We had three celebrations on one date!  Let’s start off with a bang! We had a joint birthday party for my mom and our oldest grandson. She turned 95 and he turned 5. What a gift for her, her only granddaughter to give her a great grandson on her birthday, her 90th as pictured!

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Heart Disease: Metabolic Syndrome


We are a bit behind in our Travel posts. But we have been a bit consumed with our health concerns. Fortunately, it looks like we are on the road to recovery and hope our journey down this road might encourage others to have the best health possible!

Real life....

IMG_0851 April 2017. Bill has lost over 40 pounds and I’ve lost over 20. We didn’t try to do this, just changing our diet caused the weight to literally melt off! Our before picture is below.

Have you ever heard of Metabolic Syndrome? If you are like us, we never did, until December 22, 2016 when Bill was informed he had it. He was still reeling from the fact the week prior, he was told he was at risk for a massive heart attack and/or had heart disease. Like everyone who gets such a scary diagnosis, you never imagine it could happen to you.

In one way, it was a relief! It explained why Bill couldn’t lose a pound when he tried! We are a very active couple, living a lifestyle that demands activity. Or else, we chose this lifestyle because we love activity!

We love the outdoors, either to take…

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Heart Disease


From my personal blog. Our winter travels are officially over, but still have a few more blog posts. This post was what we were coping with all winter as we learned about heart disease and learned a new way of eating and better exercising. We also learned a lot about traveling although it’s been 3 1/2 years! We know one thing, we’re going to keep on keepin’ on!

Real life....

7 (1) Aren’t we the picture of health? Photo taken August 2016 Is it just us, or has anyone else noticed something interesting about pharmaceutical commercials these days? They show a good-looking couple, middle-aged (whatever that is to the viewer) out having fun: bike riding, playing golf, playing with their child or grandchild, walking and holding hands in a romantic setting? (Maybe like this picture?) Then the commercial begins, “See your doctor about taking XYZ drug.” Then in fine print and a VERY low and fast voice, you are warned that this drug could cause paralysis, blindness, heart attack, or some other more serious cause of death? And then as soon as that is over, a law firm advertises: ”If you have ever taken such and such drug and you have cancer, it’s been determined that drug caused the cancer and we will sue for $millions for YOU!” What’s with this?

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Growing Old Together!


I wrote this on my personal blog. But it fits here under our marriage category!
And I always pray when I learn of another couple divorcing. My heart aches for them. We understand. We’ve been through it. And then we had a miraculous reconciliation! That’s our hope and prayer for all concerned!

Real life....

Previously used in Arpita’s Life as guest blogger.

We’ve been members of and active in three churches. In the last church, I was on the visitation team. I loved visiting our shut-ins and people who just needed a friendly visit. Most of those I visited were on the elderly side, generally, 80 and older. I relished the wisdom they shared as we talked. Several of them said things to me that I’ll never forget and some I want to model into my old age!

One very dear man was bordering on depression. He had been such an active and very giving man. Always wanting to help others. He also used to do visitation, but now, he was the one in need. As we talked about his days growing up on a farm, he said he wished he knew he would live to be so old. He would not have played so…

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A tribute to my step-dad


Beautiful couple!

Beautiful couple!

What a blessing Clifford Duncan was to our family. He and my mom married in July 2003. Mom was beginning to lose her vision, but he gave her a new vision: Travel!

My mom and dad were married 54 years when he passed. Cliff and his first wife, Hazel, were married 49 years when she passed. So both knew the joys, tribulations and blessings a long marriage brings. Losing his wife was difficult. Talk about lonesome! He told me he prayed for a wife. And did I ever imagine my mom was praying for a husband? No, but in spite of living near family, she was lonely and with her loss of vision, her life was becoming more lonesome.

So that was the scenario when my middle sister and Cliff’s oldest daughter “fixed” them up after he had recently lost his wife to cancer. He and Hazel traveled extensively in an RV around the country, including to Alaska in a motor home! They started small and owned about every type they make. My parents owned a travel trailer, but they kept it in an RV resort. Mom always wanted to take it on the road, but my dad was a home body….so she finally got on the road with her new husband.

They dreamed of traveling cross-country together.   While Cliff and Hazel traveled extensively, it was mom’s dream. Mom especially wanted to make it to California to see one grandson and his family. He and his wife had four children, but it had been years since she saw them. Did I mention their ages? Mom was a spring chicken at the age of 79 and Cliff was on the older end of 69!  You really couldn’t tell they were 10 years apart in ages. Oh, if mom could see and read this, she’d be mad I’m telling her age (she’s now 92). So shhhhh…..

They began their journey, after selling his home, to be full-time travelers. And at the time, that was the last thing we ever dreamed of doing, ourselves (ha and look at us now). But we did admire them. My middle sister and her husband bought a Class A motor home and traveled with them for a while. And much of the time was spent in Florida so my husband and I would ride our motorcycle to visit them.

Full Time Travelers

They weren’t on the road long when they began to think they needed “roots.” Cliff had heard about a place in Alabama, where you could own your land and have full hook ups for your motor home. I said, gently, at your ages, you may want to live near one of your six children! Mom had 3 and he had 3. Well, since we lived in Florida, I always say we won that lottery! They moved near us. And my middle sister bought a snow bird home there was well. And eventually, Cliff’s oldest daughter and her husband semi-retired and moved there as well. So we had lots of great family times and especially for the holidays.

We kids helped put on a  beautiful and simple wedding. Then we entered the life of a blended family with six adult children.

Wedding Party

I loved Cliff right away because one thing he told me early on was that he reads the Bible every morning and had since 1994. And then he began reading it to my mom every morning. He was a regular church attendee as well. Mom always wanted the continuity of church membership. Cliff became such a wonderful blessing to her, how could I not learn to love him like a dad? And at my age, that was not going to be easy, but we quickly bonded.

Cliff and mom became active in their new church.  It had an outreach ministry to the community with a used clothing store. They worked in it faithfully until it closed.  I can’t begin to say all they did, but they were very active until recently. They even began to bowl with a group of friends from Sunday school. Imagine my nearly blind mom bowling. Yep and she wasn’t too bad.

Their days of traveling in the motor home soon came to an end after mom suffered a serious fall in one of the parks. It was so sad to see them have to slow down, but at their age, it was worrisome to all of us kids to know they were on the road full-time. They really didn’t plan their trips, just started driving, and then used an RV membership to find a place to stay over.

Eventually, Bill became more vocal about wanting a motor home, so Cliff helped him want it even more. They could talk for hours about the dream. We fell into a rhythm, where we mainly were together for the holidays. They did take occasional trips and eventually, their favorite place was Gatlinburg, Tennessee.

We did little things for them around the house that were difficult for them. In particular, I helped maintain Cliff’s computer. He amazed me at how he liked to stay up with everyone via email. We even got him and mom on Facebook to better stay in touch with family. But mom really struggled with it due to her vision loss. Bill considered him a friend.

Cliff was a real patriot. I love seeing the American Flag hanging outside of homes. It seems the only people who fly the flag were in the military. And that was Cliff. He served a tour of duty in the Army.

What was there not to like? He and mom were very loyal to each other. But they never imagined Cliff would pass first. But he did have a number of health issues. He is survived by five siblings, with only two siblings older, and he was the first to pass.  He was just so engaged in life, it was just hard to hear that he was terminally ill. He was diagnosed the end of March. He called each of us kids to let us know. We were in Talbot Island, Florida at the time, getting ready to head to Virginia, to be at our daughters April 1. What should we do? We didn’t think long about it. We turned our rig around and headed south and spent a week with them.  It was tough. He was told he had two months to live, maybe six if he took treatments. He decided to fight it and survived over eight months.

We also managed to visit them over Mother’s Day, then spent a month with them in September. We all thought the end was near, but he seemed to improve and the hospice nurse finally said he could last six more months or even six years. So he had a second chance and he began to get out and walk as well as change his diet to help his body heal from the radiation and chemo. He began to gain weight and felt like eating out again.

Life was good…and then, a few weeks ago, he became miserable with pain. The hospice nurse came and had another nurse come to help him. They ended up sending him to the Emergency Room. He took a turn for the worse….and in about two weeks, he quietly passed from this world into the arms of Jesus. My oldest sister traveled there to help mom as my sister and I were unable to go help. But we were there in prayer. Mom stayed with him in the Good Shepard Hospice House for the 10 days he was there. My oldest sister traveled there to be with her as his local daughter had a prearranged travel obligation arranged with her sister. They were both with him over Thanksgiving. They thought they would see him when they returned. But no, he didn’t make it.

So now to reflect. Just like my dad when he was terminally ill, he never cursed God for the disease. And more important, like Job as told in the Bible. Both accepted their fate. And Cliff kept his faith to the end, saying he didn’t understand it, but he accepted it. He and mom tried their best to be prepared, but there is just no way to really prepare for the loss of a loved one.

We seek our solace in the Bible. We understand life is short. And our bodies are only temporarily here on this earth. We know we will be reunited for eternity.

 LORD, make me to know my end And what is the extent of my days; Let me know how transient I am. Psalm 39:4

So teach us to number our days, That we may present to You a heart of wisdom. Psalm 90:12

For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. Philippians 1:21

An update, sort of….


IMG_9627

2015 ICE, Gaylord Hotel

Phew, what a journey we have been on since we first attempted to leave Myrtle Beach. Since purchasing our 40 foot Class A motorhome this past May, we’ve really tried to travel at a leisurely pace. But things keep coming up to hinder our desire – or to cause us to hasten our journey. While we do completely enjoy our new spacious and luxurious home (but with a minimalist theme), we miss our nibble X-tra Lite 5th wheel that handled speed a little better.

Here is a synopsis of our journey from mid-November to today (December 9, 2015.)

Arrival:  We wrote about our difficulty getting out of Myrtle Beach here to arrive at our current location. We are near our daughter and her family (including our two precious grandsons).  Our total stay will be about six weeks.  While we averted a major disaster (and those of us in the lifestyle know that is always a possibility), the worst part is we arrived here a bit un-rested to begin helping our daughter as she returned to work after three months of maternity leave. The oldest is now two years old and three months and the baby is three months old. At our age (eligible for social security), we don’t have the energy we would prefer to have as we care for these precious boys. We’ve heard being grandparents helps keep a person younger. We are sure hoping for this!  Anyway, we wanted to arrive a day ahead to set up camp and get “acclimated” to our new environment – from the beach to a forest-type campground. And REST from the trip. Since we didn’t have that luxury, we set up “camp” quickly and then headed off to pick up our two-year-old grandson from daycare. Once at home, we packed his overnight bag and he spent the night. He loves our motorhome and we love having him spend the night. Rest is over-rated, right?

Getting in the swing of things: Aside from wanting to be with our daughter and her family for the holidays, our main reason for being here is to take care of our infant grandson while our daughter returns to work. We don’t want the baby in daycare until as long as possible….so we hope to have him ready for daycare by the end of December/early January.  While we wished we could keep him out of it, his parents both work and we just can’t do it at this time. Bill told our daughter before she had children, he would not help her raise them….but he is eating his words a bit….he can’t get enough of them and time will tell what happens down the road….

New adventure:  In the past 10 years, at any of our church congregational events, I was usually seen holding a baby. What a great legacy to be known as a lover of babies! And the greatest privilege was to be asked to help take care of 6-week old infant twins. That really got my juices going to one day be a grandma. And people told me frequently I would be a wonderful grandma. So when our first grandson was to arrive, we did change our lifestyle to see him more (sold everything and began traveling full-time).  Aside from being present at the birth of #1 grandson (and subsequently #2), we also took care of #1 for a month to also keep him out of daycare a little longer after our daughter returned to work. What a time of joy and special bonding that was! But at this same time, Bill was beginning to live his dream of traveling. And I was on board, but I’m very torn….I want it all!!!

So we are now watching #2 grandson as we did with #1. But we are two years older. And sadly, we are now 30 minutes away from their house, rather than the 10 minutes the first time.  So all that to say, the JOY of this new baby is like an adrenaline rush! I am getting up very early to be at my daughter’s house by 6:15. In essence, I put in a 12 hour day, not including the commute. While here at the house, since he does sleep a lot, I help with housework, laundry and shopping. Bill is the chief cook! And then we play and enjoy our grandsons to the fullest.

We love our daughter tremendously, but honestly, we don’t remember all these fun times with her as we are having with our grandsons.  Since we both also worked full time, we just don’t remember much about her early months and years. So how wonderful now as grandparents, we get to experience the awe and wonder as we watch these babies and toddlers go through as they explore life.  We are cherishing our time here, but it is winter and cold….so we will depart the end of December or first of January for warmer climates.

Grandson #2 is helping us etch into our minds the beauty of birth and dependence of precious children on the adults around them.  It is like a new adventure with #2!

How is our new home handling winter?  When we bought our 5th wheel, a sticker by the entrance door said, “Polar Pack.” And we latched on to the statement while the salesman warned us, it didn’t mean it could go much below freezing. And we discovered it didn’t like freezing weather as our pipes froze on us as we fled south last January.  Remember the polar vortex that hit the east coast of the US?  We couldn’t outrun it….

We are happy to report we are very pleased with our new home. While it doesn’t have any type of “polar pack,” it has better insulation. We have been able to keep it toasty warm for our grandsons when they come to stay overnight. That is huge! We also learned a few lessons last winter. For one, we now have an insulated and heated water hose. We also did learn a few other tricks for surviving in freezing temps. I’ll save that for a later post….after we bonafide survive this winter!

What are our fun adventures besides our Monday-Friday routine?  During the week, we also still have our own responsibilities, like processing the mail, balancing the checkbook, seeing doctors for routine stuff us older folks have to deal with, grocery shopping, and for Bill, to keep our vehicles clean and shiny! We are constantly asked if our home is a 2015 or 2016! Everyone is shocked it is a 2010! Yep, Bill keeps it polished! But come the weekend, we do want to have fun with the family.

Here are some links for a sneak preview about the fun we have been having: We started out with our visit to the ICE 2015 Christmas at the Gaylord National Resort;  a day trip to the Shenandoah National Park to hike; a return to Williamsburg, a family tradition; and more!

We are also enjoying our Sunday morning times of corporate worship at Spotswood Baptist Church. We especially love attending church during the Christmas season. It just makes it really Christmas, singing Christmas carols and hymns about the birth of our Lord and Savior! I wrote a blog, here, about this past service.

So that is all the good. Sadly, we also experienced the sad part of life. I remember being told as a child, there are three things you can count on in life: births, death and taxes.

Bill and I have already experienced the death of our dad’s.  I was so blessed to have a dear step-dad, Cliff Duncan when my mom remarried after being alone for five years.  Mom did pretty well, but she began to lose her sight. And then my middle sister and his oldest daughter “fixed” them up. He had recently lost his wife.

Cliff loved traveling in an RV. He and his first wife traveled extensively around the country, including to Alaska in a motorhome! They started small and owned about every type they make. My parents owned a travel trailer, but they kept it at an RV resort. Mom always wanted to take it on the road….so she finally got on the road with her new husband.  My tribute to him..

There is A Time for Everything
There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under the heavens:
a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot, a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,
a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace.

Ecclesiastes 3:3-8

Changing Our Minds, Part 3


  • ChangeIs it possible to change after a crisis? According to one scientific study, not many people do. This research was conducted on 3,700 people (for more research on “change”, visit National Institute for Health.) Actually, I’ve attempted to quote the pastor at the church we attended last week,

Could you change if it was really important? A study of 3,700 people who were diagnosed with high cholesterol determined only one in 10 can….They were told for their health, they need to take one pill a day. By the 3rd month, 1/2 had stopped taking the pill to lower it. Then, a year later, only 1/3 continued to take the life-saving medicine. The reason? The pills reminded them they were sick. So the bottom line was, they didn’t resist the change, they resisted being changed.

We couldn’t believe the sermon this week sounded like what we needed from the sermon the week before, Changing Your Minds. Maybe this is what I (Debbie) need to really make that final change I have been struggling with for over 40 years!

To be very honest, I’ve noticed I’m not the only wife with this “problem.” Bill was happy to hear I really am serious about tackling this with our new lifestyle. Those 400 or so square feet we now live in means we REALLY need to get along. And for the most part, we do, almost all the time. If you’ve read some of our first posts about our marriage (we divorced after 13 years only to experience a miracle and remarry a year later), you’d know we are like most married couples. We started out thinking we are the perfect couple and we will have the best marriage ever. And then eventually, reality hits and again, like most marriages, we began to experience the common issues men and women have. Disagreements.

When we remarried, we vowed we would do it right the second time and we honestly gave ourselves over to the Lord for His guidance. We recently shared as guest bloggers on Aprita’s World, what we feel is about the best advice we can give young marrieds. So you would think we have the perfect marriage now.

Well, we are working on it and as our last post shared, there is hope if we allow the Lord to work in our lives. So the challenge the week after the sermon was to see how it played out. And then we had another “detour” to our vacation in Myrtle Beach. This time, our daughter needed some help. The solution was for us to drive 400 miles one way to pick up our oldest grandson. We actually had tried to get her to come for a week with both grandsons, but we know traveling with a newborn and an active toddler wouldn’t be easy.

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We had a great time with him, but our focus was purely on him and only him! So no time for me to see if I had really changed, but something told me, I hadn’t. As we dealt with him, I couldn’t help but ask, “Lord do I act like a two-year-old toddler when you are trying to get me to do the right thing?” You know what I mean, “I want to do it MY way!” Oh, our patience was tested. We worked as a beautiful team, keeping him safe and helping explore a new world, the beach, and gardens.

Off to church, we went on Sunday, taking him along to enjoy the church nursery. He had a grand time and we got what we needed, the sermon topic was “Principles for Change.” We chuckled as we read the bulletin, God had a message for us again! But the scriptures seemed an odd place to focus on change, or were they?

Mark 2:2-12

The healing of the paralyzed man

This familiar story is about the paralyzed man who had so much faith, he asked his friends to take him to see Jesus. However, he didn’t realize how hard it would be to see him. He was in a crowded building and the only way in was to make a hole in the roof and be lowered into the presence of Jesus. And the friends did exactly that. The result, Jesus knew of the man’s great faith and said,

Verse 5. When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralyzed man, “Son, your sins are forgiven.”

Verses 11-12. “I tell you, get up, take your mat and go home.” He got up, took his mat and walked out in full view of them all. This amazed everyone and they praised God, saying, “We have never seen anything like this!”

The sermon continued. Through the power of God, we can change. We become new creations. Old things become new. Much like this paralyzed man. Didn’t he experience change? Our lives change, too, when we meet Jesus. Bill and I have both changed drastically since we both met Jesus in our younger days. But it is a life long process to get to where we want to be. To really change! We know we have to want to change. But I’ve wanted to change this “quirk” and it’s taken longer than we want. Come on Pastor, help me see what more I need to do!

We have to ask, how do we prepare to change? Much like the paralytic. The first principle is to be surrounded by friends and family with faith. He had four friends he trusted and depended upon! And then as we met the Lord, we first need to allow our hearts to be changed. And that is acknowledging we are sinners and are in need of a savior. Jesus clearly saw the man’s heart and his faith. So his sins were first forgiven and then he was able to walk.

Psalm 103:2-3 Bless the LORD, O my soul, And forget none of His benefits; Who pardons all your iniquities, Who heals all your diseases….

1 John 1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.

We need to ask ourselves, who are my friends? W hat is their faith? Do we realize our faith can be seen, so do we see their faith? Let’s go back to verse 5: When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralyzed man, “Son, your sins are forgiven.” And like these four men, their faith was evident. Let’s look at some Proverbs for wisdom about our friends:

Proverbs 13:20 Walk with the wise and become wise, for a companion of fools suffers harm.

Proverbs 22:24-25 Do not make friends with a hot-tempered person, do not associate with one easily angered, or you may learn their ways and get yourself ensnared.

In other words, if you want to see positive changes, you want to be surrounded by people of faith who are wise! I’m thankful my husband is very wise! And we are blessed with friends and family who are also living for the Lord.

This paralyzed man needed friends to help him. Then he caught their faith as they brought him to Jesus. No one wants to be a bother, but to change, we need to bother others. To confess our sins not only to God but to each other.

The process is to first seek the PARDON or forgiveness. And that was what he did, by approaching he Lord, even if on a mat! Then to accept the POWER of the Lord, “take up your mat.”  And finally, allow Jesus to work from the inside out. First the forgiveness and then he could walk!

So how do I apply this? Today, we had to miss church due to the round trip to return our grandson. Instead, as we rode, we talked and talked….about this matter!

So here are some notes from our discussion. I wish I could have taped it. We do talk about the state of marriage a lot. Because we are surrounded by married people. And we want the best for them…but like us, they need to WANT the BEST for their marriage.

Here are a couple of thoughts from our discussion:

  • Interesting how our culture wants marriage for all. But it is only for the alternative marriages that the media seems to promote. If we want to talk about a covenant marriage as designed by our Creator, if we are a believer in the God of the heavens and earth, then we are seeking to be married as God intended it.
  • When a man talks harshly to wife, he is called an abuser. When wife does it, she’s “just a nag.” Men say they don’t hear their wives when they are nagging them. Have you noticed, you don’t hear jokes about wives tuning out husbands, but wives say it all the time. Oops, I do accuse Bill of not hearing me. So maybe I am a bit of a nag at times. I need to watch my what comes out of my mouth. Instead of saying, “Bill do this or that!” Say, “Bill, would you mind doing this or that?” Geez, is that all I need to do?
  • As we finalized our minimalism – After 40 years together, about all we kept were our family pictures. They define who and what we are. When people divorce, what happens to the pictures? We decided when we divorced, we would give them to our daughter. How do you think she would have enjoyed them? Looking at all the fun times we had? Would she feel joy or sadness? Happiness or heartbreak? We’re so thankful we are continuing to make family memories in our pictures.
  • We don’t teach children how to be married. They pick it up watching parents and world around them such as TV. What kind of marriages are being promoted? All we can do is pray our daughter sees our marriage as different from what is promoted. In fact, we are so happy to say she has told us more than once, she is so grateful she was raised by two parents who love each other, and her. And now that we have grandchildren, this is even more important as we help her as needed.
  • Going deeper, Bill no longer lets me tell him what to do anymore! Now that’s the CHANGE I needed. He’s a grown man, a college graduate, who graduated with honors as he likes to remind me!
    He asked me, “Do you know how it makes me feel when you try to direct me? Is there something wrong with me?” Oh NOOOOO!!!! I’m so blessed I have such an honorable and wise husband. What’s wrong with me that I continue to do this?
  • Fortunately, we have a desire to succeed! We want it all!!! So I just have to ask for forgiveness, once again. This is not the first attempt at this….but this is the last.

My dear husband, please forgive me once again for telling you what to do. I’ve really worked on this and I’m sure I get it now! Friends, will you hold me accountable?

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Aren’t we happy grandparents? With our two month old grandson this weekend.

For more about the Change our Lord wants accomplished in all mankind, visit http://thelordiswithus.com/2015/10/27/the-new-true-self-must-increase-the-outer-man-must-decrease/

Changing our minds, Part 2


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Our site on Saturday. Forgot to take a picture with the blue sky!

Warning: This post contains sensitive matters related to our marriage and spiritual lives.

We arrived in Myrtle Beach on Friday, October 9. The weather was beautiful, as it usually is after a storm. In this case, Hurricane Joquin. We liked our site and got settled in quickly. Then off for a three-mile walk on the beautiful beach. We had a wonderful sunset and visited with neighbors. All and all, a great first day.

Saturday, the rain began. Could this campground handle it? While there had been some flooding with the hurricane, it had dried by the time we arrived. And yes, thankfully it and the area survived another full day of rain. We managed to get in another three-mile walk before it started. We decided with as many campers we saw, we best get to Camping World and see if they would be able to install a new washing machine. YES, as busy as they were, they booked us in on Monday morning at 8:00.  Hooray! For those who’ve followed our journey into buying the motor home, you know this is a BIG deal. (One main reason we wanted the motor home was for the washer and dryer capabilities. “Sharing” them in some campground laundry mat is less than ideal. When we bought it, we were told they both worked. But the washer didn’t….and that is fiasco is documented here.)

We were starting to decompress, so how great we were able to walk six miles in our first two days!  But we didn’t really talk about where we would go to church in the morning, which we normally do the night before. We did like the church services they have at this campground, so I assumed that would be where we would go.

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We woke up early and over breakfast, Bill suggested going to a “real” church. It comes out he was a bit tentative about the campground service. I googled First Baptist Churches (seems the best go to for us of late) and discovered their services were 8:30 or 11:00. If we hurried, we could make it. So we began to hurry. Debbie more so than Bill. You see, I want to do what he preferred. I’m fine where ever, as long as we go. But really, what is “church?” It’s not a building. It’s us!

While our new home has lots of space, it can get a bit tight if we are both in a hurry to go somewhere, like church. And we did have a collision this Sunday! It was really my fault. I was “directing” Bill (and that’s my 40-year-old quirk). He didn’t appreciate it….so long story short, we couldn’t make it to the 8:30 service. So off we went to the 9:00 campground service.

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The “church” service is held in the Rec room, next to the campground store.

What a surprise to see it was packed. The first row was open and we arrived right before 9. Of course, we got the prime seats! Bill is an introvert, so he hates having to walk in front of everyone…We had a welcome song and we really felt comfortable being in a church full of people like us, travelers, campers, and “visitors.”  Then Chevelle Turner led us in “Let’s Just Praise the Lord” and “People Need the Lord.”  Her voice is amazing and these songs were old time favorites. Then let the preaching begin.

I was on the edge of my seat as I knew the Lord has a special word for us since we had our little “collision.” And it wasn’t just bumping into each other. It was grating on each other’s nerves! Isn’t that how Sunday mornings are for everyone? LOL

Sermon title, “Changing Your Mind” and it was so geared towards, me, Debbie. (Maybe Bill will feel the same for himself. He hasn’t said yet!)

The texts were from the book of Romans and italics are mine for emphasis of this blog:

Romans 12:2 Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.

And Romans 8:5-9

Those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on what the flesh desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires.  The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace.  The mind governed by the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so.  Those who are in the realm of the flesh cannot please God.

You, however, are not in the realm of the flesh but are in the realm of the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, they do not belong to Christ.

Ok, so these seem like some pretty scary scriptures, but I knew we were in for a challenge. And we knew this was the message we needed to hear. So true confessions time, again. Very few people know a side to me (only close family) that we affectionately call, “little Larry” after my dad. Dad was a brilliant man, IQ wise, but socially, he struggled. He would fly off the handle over the little things. Needless to say, I tend to get irrational with Bill on rare occasions, but what happened this morning was one of those times. I KNOW I need to change my mind….

The pastor started out by telling us these scriptures mean it is a continuous process and it occurs from the inside out. The mind is described as housing our attitudes, thoughts, feelings, actions. These things are learned as babies are not born prejudice or with bad thoughts. Medical doctors can’t explain this process, but scientists have been intrigued for centuries.

I’m thinking this sermon must be for Bill. I have a great attitude about life, my thoughts and feelings are lined up with scripture….but the action part….OK, so I act up every once in a while. But for my very patient and kind husband, that every once in a while is a real thorn in his side!  Bill, on the other hand, has the actions down pat.  But his family background has ingrained him with a bit of negativity….but he can better explain it. We are both poking at each other during sermon points, as in to say, “that was for you!”

Let me just outline what the sermon was about, which, in essence, is that it’s up to us and our desire to change and be transformed.  But how do we do this?

  1.  We need to harness our desires. As we move from our past sinful life, we will allow the Lord to work in our hearts and minds.  We will want to be more like Jesus. He gave several examples of what that looks like, but the best was how King David expressed how he was longing for God’s presence, praise, joy, fellowship, and expressed confidence in God’s salvation. (Psalm 63).  He was a man after God’s own heart as stated in Acts 13:22 “After removing Saul, he made David their king. God testified concerning him: ‘I have found David son of Jesse, a man after my own heart; he will do everything I want him to do.'”
  2. Deny ourselves (this statement is one reason why Christianity is unpopular – but it really works in our lives AND motor home) and pick up His cross (today, we view the cross as a cherished symbol of atonement, forgiveness, grace, and love) as we learn how to manage our thoughts.  Actually, being married is also a great way to learn to deny ourselves as we seek harmony and learn to put our spouse’s needs ahead of our own! But I digress. He used Elijah as an example.  We all go through trials and testing of our faith as he did.  We learn in 1 Kings 19 that Elijah just had a mountain top experience, but then when word was told to Queen Jezebel, she sought to have him killed. And this is where Elijah’s thinking process is skewed. Why would God abandon him now, after all He enabled Elijah to succeed and do? In essence, it’s not about ourselves as it wasn’t about Elijah.

Ok, I’m pretty satisfied so far and realize I need to do some mind changing things. Remember, I’ve confessed I was the one “directing” this morning. So now, Pastor, tell me HOW do I change my mind?

First, begin by monitoring our thoughts, such as worry, anger, covetous and negative thoughts. (But I’ve mastered these! I never get angry….oops…Guess when I told Bill what to do it wasn’t in the kindest way.) He continued by asking, “Isn’t it a downer to be around people full of these actions?” Remember if you are thinking these things, you are going to ACT on them.  Again, King David is worth quoting here, “Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts.” Psalm 139:23  The Pastor recommends saying this DAILY! How many times have I prayed this? I know I have READ it more than a dozen times since I have read through the Bible at least that many times since 2004.

Second, process life through the eyes of the Lord!  “For the eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to give strong support to those whose heart is blameless toward him….” 2 Chronicles 16:9a  I love seeing the world through my two-year-old grandson’s eyes. They are filled with wonder as he explores this world! Ah, to translate that to seeing the world through the Lord’s eyes!

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Awe and wonder at life at age two!

Two more great scriptures is to bring this together are: “Trust in the LORD forever, for the LORD, the LORD himself, is the Rock eternal. You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast because they trust in you.” Isaiah 26:3 & 4

Finally, he closes the sermon with these great diaries to help us see how “attitudes” can be so easily displayed. I had hoped I could find this on the web, and yes, here is a great closing, from here:

The Dog’s Diary

8:00 am – Dog food! My favorite thing!
9:30 am – A car ride! My favorite thing!
9:40 am – A walk in the park! My favorite thing!
10:30 am – Got rubbed and petted! My favorite thing!
12:00 pm – Milk bones! My favorite thing!
1:00 pm – Played in the yard! My favorite thing!
3:00 pm – Wagged my tail! My favorite thing!
5:00 pm – Dinner! My favorite thing!
7:00 pm – Got to play ball! My favorite thing!
8:00 pm – Wow! Watched TV with the people! My favorite thing!
11:00 pm – Sleeping on the bed! My favorite thing!

The Cat’s Diary

Day 983 of My Captivity

My captors continue to taunt me with bizarre little dangling objects. They dine lavishly on fresh meat while the other inmates and I are fed hash or some sort of dry nuggets. Although I make my contempt for the rations perfectly clear, I nevertheless must eat something in order to keep up my strength.

The only thing that keeps me going is my dream of escape. In an attempt to disgust them, I once again vomit on the carpet. Today I decapitated a mouse and dropped its headless body at their feet. I had hoped this would strike fear into their hearts since it clearly demonstrates my capabilities. However, they merely made condescending comments about what a “good little hunter” I am. Bastards!

There was some sort of assembly of their accomplices tonight. I was placed in solitary confinement for the duration of the event. However, I could hear the noises and smell the food. I overheard that my confinement was due to the power of “allergies.” I must learn what this means, and how to use it to my advantage.

Today I was almost successful in an attempt to assassinate one of my tormentors by weaving around his feet as he was walking. I must try this again tomorrow, but at the top of the stairs.

I am convinced that the other prisoners here are flunkies and snitches. The dog receives special privileges. He is regularly released and seems to be more than willing to return. He is obviously retarded. The bird must be an informant. I observe him communicate with the guards regularly. I am certain that he reports my every move. My captors have arranged protective custody for him in an elevated cell, so he is safe. For now …

I drafted this last Wednesday. Then we got a phone call from our daughter that she needed some help as the two-year-old had an infection the baby could easily catch. So what do we do? We drive the 5 hours to get him. We spent the night and brought him back, but the return trip was seven hours. He needed to stretch his legs and run around! So he’s now been here with us for a week. And we haven’t changed yet, so guess we now need Change Part 3….up next!

Changing our minds!


This post will be a bit different from just traveling. We are back on the road, so a bit about putting our rig in and then out of “storage,” the crazy journey here on a road we never want to drive the motorhome on again, the crazy weather since arriving…and a marriage issue….

On September 16, as we left our daughter’s home in Virginia, we had an unexpected trip down to Florida for a few weeks to help my mom out. Because we needed to get there by a certain date and had planned a month at Myrtle Beach (for the monthly rate discount), it would not have been fortuitous to drive the motorhome 800 miles. Our solution was to drive it nearly 1/2 way, park it in Florence, SC for the three weeks to a month, and then we’d only be a few hours from Myrtle Beach. Aside from the fact Hurricane Joquin belted Florence and along with much of South Carolina, this was the perfect plan.

Thankfully, since we had a relationship with the owners at the campground, they allowed us to use a 30 amp receptacle so we wouldn’t have to disconnect our batteries (Bill was researching this) and then throw out much of our food in the freezer and fridge (we do love our residential fridge) and leave the doors open. We felt at peace leaving our home but sure were unnerved as we watched the weather reports. We did call and they assured us the campground was fine where we were parked.

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I took this snapshot as we drove out of the campground.

Things turned out better than we expected during our time helping my mom. It was a rewarding time for the family. And Bill had time to finally sort through and clean out our 5′ X 10′ storage locker. In the end, we didn’t have anything valuable enough worth paying the rent on. We just were sorry we didn’t have more time when we sold our home. But as they say, it is what it is!

We were ready to pick up our motorhome on October 6, a Tuesday. But then there was that hurricane, and I-95 was shut down for miles, before and after Florence. We waited another day. Not only did the roadways begin to open up, but we had great news for my folks. So we quickly packed up and headed to Kingsland, GA to spend the night. The roads and weather were still a bit iffy, although the campground told us we could come on up.

As it turned out, we did have to take a 60-mile detour, which also cost us 60 minutes. But in the grand scheme of things, it was OK. We since found the right website which would have better prepared us. Here are a few pictures showing the route (and traffic) of our detour.

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Traffic back up for a short time.

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This sign was confusing as we were looking for I-26.

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This sign made more sense to us.

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Finally, our destination, Florence, SC.

We happily reunited with our motorhome. And thankfully, the electric stayed on the entire time, so no rotten food! Everything worked. Since it has been a grueling trip with the detour, we decided to spend the night. We needed fresh vegetables, so off to the store we went. And we were able to scope out the highway for our departure. Southbound I-95 was still closed and that was our preferred route to the beach. Now what to do?

The next morning, try as we might, we depended on our new GPS that lets you set it for an RV. We think it knows Bill doesn’t want to drive in a town with lots of traffic and narrow roads.

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This is what we got!

We were in this type of traffic for nearly an hour. The good news is that although Bill thought he was going to lose his mirrors, he drove beautifully and no white knuckles. Finally, we began to see daylight, we would arrive at the beach this day!

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The entrance to Pirateland and to check in.

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Not an easy campground to maneuver in. That’s Bill turning onto the road to back into our site.

We are finally here, our long-awaited trip to the beach. If you remember, we love the beach and that was really what helped solidify our relationship when we first began to date – if you can call what we did date! We really met, fell in love and got married within a few months!

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Bill won’t pose for a picture, so I just said, “Hey Bill” and snapped this as he turned around!

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This is why we like Myrtle Beach! It’s the beach!

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Now, I’ll happily pose….but I usually have too much paraphernalia. We walked three miles our first time out!

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We sat outside with our neighbors and chatted as the Lord gave us a picture show!

Next up, what do we mean, “Changing our minds?” And what does this have to do with our marriage?

Our latest adventure!


Grandson #2

Don’t we look happy?

Words just can’t explain the JOY of a new born baby, especially when he was delivered before my eyes (Debbie) last night, August 22, 2015. He is his big brother’s twin, born nearly two years apart, born at the same hour, weighing nearly the same as well as the height! What fun we are going to have! And we thank God for his safe delivery, for how excellent his health is and how strong our daughter was to endure so much pain. Fortunately it was only for a few hours.

Our #1 grandson was with his paternal granny. Yay, she and her fiancé had a great time with him and the family puppy dog (nine years old but a 9 pound miniature dachshund). It’s great to have family close by to help out.

What was wild was that Bill ran errands while my son-in-law, daughter and I were in the labor and delivery room. And as is his tradition, he ate dinner at the local KFC. Poor guy, he doesn’t enjoy the finer things in life! Anyway, introvert that he was, he had his Sudoku book as his dining partner. Went into the far corner and settled in his world of escapism while he waited for #2 grandson to be born.

So an older man, age 91 and his new 79 year old friend came over to sit NEAR him. And a conversation was struck up. It started talking about the song playing, by Skeeter Davis, “Why.”  Bill was familiar with it and in fact, we knew her from our days in the ministry. Then the topic switched to politics and Bill gave him a great education. Then Bill learned their story.  They just met. He was widowed in April. They both have adult children, grand children and even great grandchildren, but none of their children want to help them out. So they are both alone in the world and found each other. They counted their pennies and hired a taxi for a date out for dinner. The woman admitted she was depressed and really struggling in life. They each barely have enough money to live on and don’t have the where with all to locate help.

When Bill picked me up from the hospital, the first thing he said was how blessed we are to not only have each other, but to have a daughter we know will always look out for us – as we have done for her all these years and now help with our grandsons. So all the JOY we felt was tempered by the situation of two lonely strangers who coincidently sought him out.

He gave them several suggestions and they were so appreciative he was so friendly towards them. It was as if they were still in their own awkward stage of a new relationship. This morning, as we prayed together and for our daughter and her family, we also prayed for this couple. Our hearts ache for them as we have so much joy with our daughter and grandchildren.

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“Is not wisdom found among the aged? Does not long life bring understanding?” Job 12:12

Do we live our faith?


BrickWallThis will be a two part blog as we share a look back into our marriage as we face another huge disappointment in our decision to upgrade to a motor home. Actually, it’s not another, it’s a continuing disappointment that hit a brick wall today.

Everyone we talked to about upgrading to a motor home knows one of the main reasons was to have our own washer and dryer. While we have tried to make the best use of our time while using the campgrounds facilities, it does always crimp our precious time. As we all know, the more fun you are having in life, the faster time flies by, right?

So back to our time at the Tiffin Service Center in Red Bay, Alabama. We thought we made it clear how important it was to have a working washing machine; and, how disappointed we were the previous owner said it worked. We were very green at owning a motor home and repairing/replacing appliances. BUT, in our 40 years of marriage, we do know a thing or two about washers and dryers. We went through so many, we finally bought a set of Maytags. They lasted 15 years before we sold our sticks and bricks home last year.

Today, our new Maytag washing machine was going to be delivered and installed at the campground. We were so excited as we also bought a five year extended warranty at a great sale price (ordered over the 4th of July sales). That gave us the assurance it would last at least five years! We did a lot of research about this purchase, so we thought, and were so happy today arrived.

So back to the marriage aspect, part two of this blog. We used to be very active with young married couples in a marriage ministry in one of our former churches. To be able to do this, we became very transparent in our own marriage and even took a few Bible studies focusing on marriage. One of our favorite authors, marriage counselors and speakers is Gary Smalley. In looking for a link to his works, we found out that his one son, Greg Smalley, has followed in his footsteps.

It was an interesting read as today, we relived a moment that Gary Smalley had with his then young son, Greg. We can’t agree exactly this marriage moment played out, but we agree this is the essence of the story. Gary and his wife bought a brand new Class C motor home. We understand all the excitement that goes with this and the hope of have a great time – soon after the purchase.

When Gary and his young son arrived home, they saw the overhang to the garage smashed in and the motor home seriously damaged.  Gary just sat for a few minutes with his eyes closed while his young son was staring at him. He finally looked at his son and asked why he was starting at him. Greg said, “Well dad, you preach and teach husbands how to treat their wives with respect. I’m just watching to see how you’re going handle this!”  Gary knew he had to dig deep, so he went in and embraced his upset and sobbing wife. He held her tight and told her how much he loved her and he was grateful it was just brick and mortar and that she was ok! Wow, we loved that story when hear it about 25 years ago and we relived it today.

WasherWallToday when we woke up, when we realized the 24″ washing machine would not fit between the 21″ space through our bathroom area to the the washing machine.  And that’s when Bill had to dig deep and embrace Debbie and tell her he loves her….You see, Debbie overruled Bill at the Tiffin Service Center when he said he wanted a new washing machine. Debbie pinched pennies and let the service technician help us save a few $100. And now, we still don’t have a washing machine. But at least the dryer works!

If you’re a husband and would like to know more, here’s a great read:

IfHeonlyKnew

Wives, what do we have for you? Probably Debbie’s favorite book to help her in her relationship with Bill:

PrayingWife

 

Chapter 4 Love Life for EVERY Married Couple!


The secret to our 40 years! We are so thankful we found this Biblical “guide” to help us figure out how to have a vibrant marriage.

Follow the Tumble Lees!

“We have had bumpy roads?” my husband Bill asked after reading one of my blogs.  He looked  serious and a bit hurt!  “Of course, no marriage is perfect!  I want to be honest about our marriage, share the bad and the good!  But mostly how our love helps us over the bumpy roads and gets us back on a smooth road!”

We have been married since 1975 (I know, a long time ago.  Some reading this were not even  born, but yet, some reading this think we are still newly weds compared to their decade’s longer marriages!).  However, we did have a “break in service,” meaning, we divorced for a year!  Miracle of miracles, we were able to reconcile after a very contentious and heart breaking divorce.  We hurt each other deeply but we experienced the cleansing power of forgiveness, bathed in the blood of our Lord and Savior’s death…

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Chapter 9 The Good, the Bad, the Ugly


While we’re not traveling, reminiscing about our marriage as we prepare to celebrate our 40th wedding anniversary. This is a favorite of ours…

Follow the Tumble Lees!

I know I am dating myself, but I loved this movie.  So when I told Bill this was our next topic, he was surprised!  He asked, “Is there bad and ugly in our marriage?”  Men don’t see life the same way us women do, in case anyone reading this does not already know this!  (smile)

Bill never thought there was anything wrong with our first marriage.  I used to say he had his head in the sand.  But did he really?  He never wanted to see the bad or ugly.  And he still doesn’t.  We have learned so much and our second marriage is heavenly – but not perfect!  There is no perfection on this earth – we only get to look forward to it in our afterlife!  (John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish…

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Happy Easter!


We’ve had an incredible two weeks, pretty much off of our adventure travels, more like family travels! What a blessing we made it back to Virginia in time to celebrate Easter with our grandson and his parents! It boils down to the fact, it’s all about family! 

I just caught up with everyone’s Easter on FaceBook-and that’s what dominated my newsfeed: family photos! We didn’t take one…..but my newsfeed also was full of the Good News of our lives!

  

Chapter 17 – The trouble with marriage….


As we approach our 40th anniversary, we are reviewing past posts. This was one of the most viewed. It’s still relevant! It was originally posted in January 2012.

Follow the Tumble Lees!

“Truth is. I love my daughters but right now they are both acting like spoiled brats.  One does not speak to me and the other speaks with venom telling me she never wants to hear from me again.  I just pray that someday they come back to me and let me love them.”  I don’t know the circumstances behind the pain this father is feeling.  It breaks my heart when I see posts like this on Facebook and it reminds me of one of the purposes for my life.

What I do know is that this man’s marriage ended and he is in a relationship with another woman, who also has two daughters.  So the trouble with marriage is that there is trouble! And when children are born into marriages and when the marriages end, the children suffer.  I know when I decided to end our marriage in 1988, I was…

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Ochlockonee River State Park 3/14-17/2015


IMG_3674This is our 5th Florida State Park in three weeks and we have two more to go before we begin heading up north to spend time with our grandson. 

We’re not sure why we didn’t try camping in state parks before. Long time camping friends of ours always camped in State Parks and highly recommended it. Why did it take us so long? Well, we thought we always had to have “full hook-ups” whereas most state parks only have water and electric. We learned through other bloggers you can go anywhere from 3 -5 days in a camper like ours without a sewer hook-up. We’ve now learned we can go 5 days. 

 We have been loving the experience and have selected all these state parks based upon recommendations of other bloggers.  But when we arrived here, Bill asked, “who recommended this place?” Oh, my, we had the hardest time getting to our site (narrow, dirt/sandy road with lots of trees) and then backing into it (trees and sandy site). And then we were swarmed by “No See Ums” (biting midges, biting gnats or sand flies). In addition, the trip here was not that smooth – bad situation at a Flying Jay where a regular car, not towing anything, decided to tie up one of the two RV gas lanes (and it busy was for RVers). We lost about 20 minutes there and we were somewhat in a hurry since we had plans to meet up with friends in Sopchoppy, Florida. We rarely have such plans as we never know what issue we may be confronted with on our journeys.

Sopchoppy River

The river at the Sopchoppy City Park

Once we finally got set up, we ate a quick dinner, then charged down to the Sopchoppy City Park to meet our friends. That took our minds off of what we thought was going to be a bad camping experience. At the park, we were also swarmed by no-see-ums. Our friends assured us their season is short, they don’t like hot weather or breezes. After being bit about 20 times, they seemed to have left the area. Now after staying here 3 days, this place has grown on us and we’ve decided we will return. 

 We did learn a lesson from this state park. From now on, we need to read as many reviews as we can find and learn as much as before show up at a State Campground. It would be helpful to know the campsite layouts, which is not entirely possible on the “Reserve America” site. We’ve e started taking pictures of the actual campground sites for future use and we are loading them into Campendium, a new “RV Parks and unique Camping Locations” website. And we are talking to more people in these campgrounds who tend to know which ones are the best! 

In a recent blog, we said we don’t like to travel on Sundays and we did all we could to avoid it again. So while we traveled here on Saturday, Sunday we had to change our site (from 29 to 27). And we planned to attend church with our friends who live here.  The husband is the Pastor.  After meeting  up with them late Saturday afternoon, we broke the news to them, our ability to attend church depended on whether the people in site 27 had left in time for us to move over. And we had to move by 1:00. When we went to bed, site 27 was still empty. When we woke up, we were happy to see the site was still empty. The Park Ranger told us we could move over Sunday when the lot was vacant! We were up early enough we were able to do it and made it to church on time. And this time, it was more of a drive through site, so no issues….except we were so anxious to move, set up and make sure we could hook up the electric ok that we forgot to make sure we could open our slides without hitting a tree….or in this case, the water hook up. We didn’t discover it until we were already unhitched and the clock was ticking….Well, it all worked out great and if you want to read more about our time with this amazing couple, I blogged about our time with them here, on my (Debbie’s) personal site. 

Back to our long weekend here:  We were here too short of a time.  We took a walk at the downtown Sopchoppy City Park (those pictures on the personal blog site), and then 3.4 miles on Monday around the campground and Ochlockonee State park. Here are these few pictures of one of the prettiest weather days we’ve had in months!

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After tAmericaPasshat walk, we drove about 40 minutes to the Saint Mark’s Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center where Bill could finally buy his “America the Beautiful” lifetime pass (you must be 62, so now you know how old young he is). This has been a dream since he was told about it in May last year when we went to the Shenandoah National Park. What a treat it was! The lady who sold it to him was 91 years old! I had to take a picture. She was a sweet heart…and she reminded us of Bill’s mom, who turns 94 tomorrow!

With this pass for only $10, he can enter “2000 Federal Recreation sites. Each pass covers entrance fees at national parks and national wildlife refuges as well as standard amenity fees at national forests and grasslands, and at lands managed by the Bureau of Land Management and Bureau of Reclamation. A pass covers entrance and standard amenity fees for a driver and all passengers in a personal vehicle at per vehicle fee areas (or up to 4 adults at sites that charge per person). Children age 15 and under are admitted free.”

We then drove around the park and saw how many great trails there are and so many birds! Now we know we must return to this area. So much to see, so little time! Here is our review of the campground, which includes pictures of our campsite.

Next, we’re off to Torreya State Park, then Little Talbot Island in Jacksonville, Florida. And then, heading up to see our precious grandson!

Heading out for a stroller ride around the neighborhood today, as I was writing this blog!

Heading out for a stroller ride around the neighborhood today, as I was writing this blog!

Topsail Hill Preserve State Park Days 3 & 4


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Ok, I have to now be honest. There is one thing we don’t like here…and that is the reservation system. First, it’s hard to get winter reservations over a few days, especially Friday and Saturday night.  We do all we can to avoid traveling on Sundays. That is our sacred day, if you want to call it that. We feel it is important to worship our Lord God Almighty “corporately” (with other like-minded believers) once a week. (Click here to learn more about our reasons.) We do worship Him privately and every day. In fact, we feel closer to Him in this lifestyle because we no longer have all the trappings of our “stuff” and the routines of life. When you live in a “tin box” it seems you need Him more…..we really are living on faith. And we are free to see Him in all His glory as we travel along the beaches, in the mountains, in the history of this great nation, among the beauty of His gardens, in the faces of those we meet, and most importantly in our ability to see family along the way! But about that reservation system, while we could only  get four days which puts us out of here on a Sunday, it really is sort of good as this park never seemed really crammed full of people! 

We just didn’t get to see or do enough here! Next time, we hope to hike on every nature trail, not only walk more on the beach, but hopefully, be able to sit and enjoy the sounds of the waves lapping against the perfectly white sands! So we managed at least a five mile nature hike. We walk for our health and well-being. And we hope it is going to keep us younger and more limber as we begin to fully enjoy our retirement years.

Here is our campsite and immediate area. The tree roots really damaged this streets concrete pads.

So here are some of our remaining pictures:

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Next adventure is Blackwater River State Park, just north of here.

Chapter 28: Starting Adventure Travel


We spent a day at the Six Mile Cypress Slough Preserve in Fort Myers, FL

What do you think of when you hear the term, Adventure Travel?  For us, it is our post retirement dream!

For us and the purpose of this blog, it is where we are now, more or less!  We can finally say we are “really” retired.  Isn’t that a common goal for Americans, to become retired?  I (Debbie) officially retired from a 20 year career in law enforcement in February 2006, but I ended up working part time for a few years and have been a regular volunteer.  Bill said he never wanted to “retire” so his path is a bit different.  His goal or end game was to be self-employed.  His first full time experience as being self-employed was as a Snap on Tool Dealer, from 1986-1988, too short of a time, but those were very profitable years for him.  Sadly, that ended when we divorced in December 1988 (but that story has a happy ending:Chapter 2 So why share about our marriage?)  He formally quit the working world in October 2004.  When he quit, he actually had a dream job with Nationwide Insurance as an automotive claims adjuster.

But in 2000, we began working his way back into self-employment as we began our path into retirement.  That was when we invested in our first piece of rental real estate.  When we moved to Florida in November 2004, he went full board into real estate rentals, peaking at owning six rentals homes, but also caring for our home, his mother’s home and helping my parents out from time to time with their home – all of us in the same town.  Needless to say, caring for real estate in Florida is a year around task, especially in the heat of the summer.  We sold his last piece of rental real estate in August, 2013 – a dream come true as we prepared for the end game.

My “retirement dream” was to be a volunteer and work in the community to help make it a better place for all to live.  But as a workaholic, it was hard to stop working, so I started back to work part time for our Sheriff.  That lasted four years and my time there actually introduced me to our community in a unique way.   I made connections that helped me become a volunteer and allowed me to work with some of the most phenomenal people I’ve ever met – let alone have the privilege of volunteering with!  I was able to do this for several years – and this will be hard to leave as we approach our end game – adventure travel!  I’m hoping with technology, I can still be useful!

Bill’s “retirement” dream was to travel all over the United States and Canada in a Class A motor home (one of those big bus-type rigs that pulls your car and tows your motorcycle, also called a Recreational Vehicle or RV).  Bill dreamed about this for at least three years, searching websites for the “perfect” RV and we went to many RV shows.

So here we are, months since Bill was officially retired, although he said he’d never use that word.   But the other day, he asked me, “We are really retired, aren’t we?”   I had to chuckle!

What has happened – why an end game?  Probably the greatest thing a parent could ever hope for – we became grand parents!  And that has rocked our world in a way we never could have imagined!  See, our problem is that we live nearly 900 miles from that precious grandson!  So how can we marry our dream goals?  Well, we are working on that and so far so good!  We are now saying we are adventure travelers – but swinging by our daughter’s to spend as much time as possible with our grandson.

This is a short blog as I prepare to tell more about our transition into full time retirement!  But first, I always love to see what the Bible says about whatever we are doing.  So here are a few of my favorite scriptures (all from ESV) to read as one thinks about retiring, from http://www.openbible.info/topics/retirement:

Jeremiah 29:11

“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.”

Acts 20:24

“But I do not account my life of any value nor as precious to myself, if only I may finish my course and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God.”

Numbers 8:23-26

“And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, ‘This applies to the Levites: from twenty-five years old and upward they shall come to do duty in the service of the tent of meeting. And from the age of fifty years they shall withdraw from the duty of the service and serve no more. They minister to their brothers in the tent of meeting by keeping guard, but they shall do no service. Thus shall you do to the Levites in assigning their duties.'”

Proverbs 13:22

“A good man leaves an inheritance to his children’s children, but the sinner’s wealth is laid up for the righteous.”

Philippians 1:6

“And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.”

2 Timothy 4:7

“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.”

Proverbs 16:1-3 

“The plans of the heart belong to man, but the answer of the tongue is from the Lord. All the ways of a man are pure in his own eyes, but the Lord weighs the spirit. Commit your work to the Lord, and your plans will be established. The Lord has made everything for its purpose, even the wicked for the day of trouble. Everyone who is arrogant in heart is an abomination to theLord; be assured, he will not go unpunished.”

Psalm 1:1-6 

“Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers. The wicked are not so, but are like chaff that the wind drives away. Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous;…

Until next time…

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Chapter 27 – Clearing the air!


April 11, 1975“Why do men and women try to control each other early in their marriages?”  We know first hand because this happened to us!  When we met, we were traveling and neither really had a place we could call home.  Bill had been living in his dream town, Jacksonville, Florida when he left it and all to join “Christ is the Answer” ministry.  I also gave up all my belongings, dropped out of college in Norfolk, Virginia and also joined the ministry.

Long story short, we met, fell in love, left the ministry and got married.  Our first decision, aside from the wedding date, was where to live.

Bill, of course, wanted to return to Jacksonville.  While initially the idea sounded good to me, we actually visited there before we married, to see his friends and let them know about our wedding.  Bill also visited my home town and I visited his, both staying in our childhood homes and meeting each others parents.

I don’t know why, but I bluntly said I couldn’t live in a state where we had no family.  His response was, “Fine, we will live in Irwin.”  His home town.  He actually happily left Irwin and moved to Jacksonville because he hated the cold weather.  I said it was not so cold in my home town, but he insisted his parents could help us get started in life so off we went after our honeymoon!  It only took him two years to decide to move south and actually more to a beach area (we both love the beach), and not far from my parents.  So why did he insist we move to where he hated the weather?  In later years, he would confess, if he couldn’t have his way, why should I have my way!

We recently began reminiscing, a lot! A friend recently posted this long-lost photo of our wedding day on Facebook.  Our photographer, who had been my boss, offered to take the pictures and make us an album as our wedding gift.  Sadly, he said the pictures must have been lost in the mail as I never received them.  He claimed he mailed them to me.

Coincidently, we also recently attended a “Happy Together 2013 Tour” in Clearwater, FL.  What a great time of memories as we relived our teen years with about 2,000 others over the age of 60.

These two events caused us to reflect back on our dating and early married years.  Good memories flooded over us all weekend and we had a great time.  We are now in the stage of life where we are spending more and more time together.

After learning of some problems with a newly wed couple, we began to talk about our first “battle” of the wills.  We never really fought, only when we were going through the divorce process.  But we did try to win our way by manipulating each other.  The most evident battle was our first decision on where to live.

So our conclusion to this conversation.  Bill said if only I had said to him, “I only have one year of college left.  Why not live in Norfolk (or Virginia Beach) until I finished college.  Then we could decide where to live.”  Had I taken that approach, he may not have responded as immaturely has he did.  I had to think about it and concluded, I was just afraid of living in a new state, not having any family around with a man I only knew for a few months.  I couldn’t think clearly and he certainly was not looking long-term at what was best for our relationship!

We did not search for God’s response to our dilemma as to where to live.  The Bible clearly tells us: Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers they succeed. Proverbs 15:22

We simply never sought Godly counsel.  That is the way of American Culture.  If there is a moral to this story, it is to seek Godly counsel whenever you need to make a major decision!

Thankfully, the Bible also has a wonderful scripture that helps us accept our past mistakes:  Romans 8:28 …”And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.”

For more wisdom on how to make good decisions, visit here:  http://www.whatchristianswanttoknow.com/7-step-biblical-decision-making-process/

Chapter 26 – Thanksgiving in April!


Remarriage! August 19, 1989

We can’t believe we just celebrated our 38th anniversary or that I haven’t written a post in a few months! I’ve written a dozen – in my mind…it seems the Lord spurs me on to write and somehow, life just gets in the way!

So let’s look at the month of April (August is my second favorite) as it is such an important month for us! And no coincidence, our Pastor started a sermon series titled, “Thanksgiving in April!”

I frequently post a status on FaceBook and for the month of April, I told all that this is by far my favorite month – and I am sure it is also Bill’s-although he does love October as we take a motorcycle trip for his birthday every year!

I am thankful for people God puts in my life who model Him for us! So as I think of the word, “thankful” I remember a very dear friend, Ruby Wolfe! She was the most thankful person I ever met! So fitting, she went home to the Lord on Easter Sunday in 2011 – in April! We met her in early 2005 and saw her nearly

She shares her She shares her “Thankful” testimony.

every Sunday and at any special events put on at church. She always looked fabulous and loved to talk about her golf games and how she was still walking two miles every morning (she had bragging rights as she was 92 years old!) Whenever I would ask her how she was, she ALWAYS replied, “I am so thankful!” That was her legacy. And in the end, we learned she had bone cancer – a very painful disease, but yet, she still said she was thankful and didn’t want to complain! Her obituary is worth a read as she was such a special person: Ruby Wolfe. We remember her every Sunday as we see her lovely daughter, Judy with her loving husband and from time to time, her children and grandchildren visit with her!

Our love for the month started on April 11, 1975 when we were married! What a great day it was as we know the Lord brought us together! Bill was from the Pittsburgh area, but had been living in Jacksonville, Florida and I was from the Tidewater area of Virginia. We met in Washington, DC – after we both had joined a traveling ministry called Christ is the Answer! But sadly, we just didn’t fully understand love and marriage and after 13 years, we divorced….but our Lord did not leave us although we had left Him…..He brought us back together and that is the whole purpose of this blog, to share how He works in marriages if you really want to know the truth about love and marriage! It was the first institution God ordained and it is how we procreate and build more families and marriages! But this topic today is not going there!

So the next GREAT April event was the birth of our daughter, Jessica. While we now live states apart, we have only missed celebrating her birthday with her two or maybe three times. We make it a point to get together as we love and cherish her!

And now, the most current April event, we just learned sex of our first grandchild, not due until August 24! Bill wants to be surprised, so we can’t share it with you now! Let’s just say, we pray for the health and well-being of our grandbaby every morning!

So as I close out this blog, I looked back over the last birthday card I sent Ruby. These were the scriptures that fit her: 2 Corinthians 4:17-18 “For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory;

“While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.”

She was always thankful! I pray we will be also! No matter what life hands us….

Chapter 25 – Forgiveness


forgiveness-hug-300x280The topic of forgiveness has been consuming me these past several days.  We still are in awe we were able to forgive each other for the travesty in our own marriage.   We truly count our blessings and cherish each other all the more as we are witnessing so many passing from this life into eternity.  As we were recently reminded, life can end in a flash.  The 34-year-old son of friends was killed as the result of a car wreck.  We can’t fathom the grief or tragedy this family is now enduring.  But we do know there was a lot of love in the family and that it had been reciprocated in kind for years!  This helped our resolve that we want to live our lives to the fullest and not have any un-forgiveness in our hearts.

This is what I learned the other day:  It is really HARD for us mortals to forgive each other;  however, our LORD forgives us instantaneously, as soon as we ask HIM to forgive us, it is done!  1 John 1:9 says,  If we confess our  sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. It is that simple!

I have been blessed to experience it instantly by a man (Bill) and by our LORD (constantly).  There is nothing so sweet as being forgiven when you are the one who committed the offense!  So for some, this may be a “so what moment?”  For me, how the LORD knit this together in my heart, mind and soul was interesting.

I know the sweetness of forgiveness because I was the one who initiated our divorce, the one who ended our marriage and tore our family apart.  You can read our numerous blogs about how God caught my attention and brought about the reconciliation of our marriage (most recently relived in our Tribute to Larry Hurst).  But yet, this is a new revelation to me!  Here are three circumstances that helped me come to a new truth:

1.  Our church is going through a transition as our Pastor resigned about 8 months ago, so we are in the process of calling a new Pastor.   This is our (Bill and Debbie) first time to go through something like this.  And we have learned there is no way around it, people get hurt when a pastor leaves, no matter the circumstances.  So our congregation needed to hear some healing messages.  We have had a variety of guest pastors preaching the Word each Sunday.  Several preached on the subject of forgiveness (and in fact our Pastoral Candidate taught on this subject in Sunday School as he was candidating).  We know these messages were so important and well received, if nothing else, by us!  So I am sure these great sermons and teachings began to work in my heart and mind to focus on this topic.  I know they are also making Bill think!

2.  Recently, Matthew West came out with the song, Forgiveness, which has an amazing and interesting testimony behind it.  In case you don’t know, it is about how a mother forgave a young man (age 24) who killed one of her daughters (20 years old and her friend) while driving under the influence of alcohol.  I recently heard the full testimony (listen to the clip in the link to Forgiveness and look for the video) of the mother.  As a mother of an only child, a beautiful daughter, my heart was deeply moved by this mother’s story.  In fact, my heart was pierced to the core by this story.  It seems every time I turned on the radio, this song was playing!  Maybe that is why I am also consumed by the topic of Forgiveness!

3.  This year I am again reading the Bible cover to cover on a daily basis, in chronological order (my second time reading it this way,  but in a different version this MyBibleyear).   I just finished the book of Genesis (with a side reading of the book of Job).  I love how I can read the same chapters year after year and each time something new pops out.  This time, it was about forgiveness!  The reading really got to me and it took me a few minutes to connect the dots!  Is this message for me (am I carrying unresolved forgiveness) or is God using me to reach someone?  It was heavy reading and I kept mulling it around….Lord, what do I need to take from this? Where do I need to apply it?

My revelation began as I was re-reading Genesis Chapters 41-45, about the life of Joseph, the son Jacob (Israel) favored.  Remember the story of the “Coat of Many Colors?”  “Now Israel loved Joseph more than all his children, because he was the son of his old age: and he made him a coat of many colors.”  (Genesis 37:3).  Here is a quick recap where Joseph’s life continues, from Genesis 41-45:  His brothers not only hated him because of the coat (and his father’s favor) but a dream Joseph had, they would one day bow down to him.  So his brothers sold him into slavery but told their dad he must have been killed by an animal as they found the coat shredded and full of blood.  He was then falsely accused of assaulting the wife of his owner and subsequently served years in prison.  Finally he is redeemed by his God-given gifts.  He ends up becoming second in command to Pharaoh and is put in charge of all the grain in the land, knowing a great famine is coming.  And when the famine began to affect his father and brothers, they went to buy precious grain from their brother – unbeknownst to them.  Joseph instantly recognized them, but they did not know who he was.  He was able to keep his “secret” from them for a time and put his brothers through some cruel hoops….and then it hit me!  What did it take for Joseph to forgive his brothers?  Think about it.  You suffer for years about what someone has done to you only to see that bad turn into good!  You are now second in command of a great country!  He has not seen his brothers for over 20 years and they come to him for food.  He  knew one day they would bow to him, but he played with them instead of accepting reality!  The way Joseph behaved was more surprising this time I read about him.  Look at his victorious life!  He has risen as high as a man could possibly go in his position, he had great power and authority.  I had to look into the commentaries to see what was going on.  It just didn’t stand out to me.  How could he be so cruel to his brothers?  I learned he needed to test their sincerity!  And then my immediate remembrance!

When Bill and I had our “moment” at the foot of the cross and forgave each other, I couldn’t immediately reconcile!  I had to “test” Bill’s sincerity and made him wait nearly eight months before I would consider remarrying him! And since that day, we have continued to forgive each other for our faults and foibles!  So how wonderful to see this picture, but Ruth Graham Bell posted on Facebook…and below it is my conclusion.

Used by permissionwww.PeaceBeWithU.com

Used by permission
www.PeaceBeWithU.com

I finished Genesis today (Jan 29, 2013).  I kept waiting to read some very well known scriptures.  Since I am in a different version, I thought maybe I missed it!  But alas, here it is near the end of Genesis, I finally read one of my some of my favorite verse in Genesis 50:

 15 When Joseph’s brothers saw that their father was dead, they said, “What if Joseph bears a grudge against us and pays us back in full for all the wrong which we did to him!” 16 So they sent a message to Joseph, saying, “Your father charged before he died, saying, 17 ‘Thus you shall say to Joseph, “Please forgive, I beg you, the transgression of your brothers and their sin, for they did you wrong.”’  And now, please forgive the transgression of the servants of the God of your father.” And Joseph wept when they spoke to him. 18 Then his brothers also came and fell down before him and said, “Behold, we are your servants.” 19 But Joseph said to them, “Do not be afraid, for am I in God’s place? 20 As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good in order to bring about this present result, to preserve many people alive. 21 So therefore, do not be afraid; I will provide for you and your little ones.”  So he comforted them and spoke kindly to them. 

Finally, a human being could show instant forgiveness, as soon as he knew it was according to God’s plan all along!

(For more about the life of Joseph, whom many see the foretelling of Jesus in this story and the redemption of mankind, here is another blog with it in great details.  It is told in three parts, Chapters 25-27:  http://injil.org/TWOR/25.html)

Larry Hurst – Tribute


I am sure this is but one of many, many tributes to the amazing life of Larry Hurst. But I know Larry would not take any credit for helping us in our reconciliation; he would first say it was the work of our Lord and then he would give all the credit to his wonderful wife! And all that is true, but I saw a side of Larry that many may not have seen.

He bragged about being ornery and I used to tell him he was not – at least I never saw that side of him. So what a surprise to read that attribute made it into his obituary!

The first time I heard of the Hurst family was when I was under transfer from Mobile, Alabama to the Philadelphia office of the FBI. I was a newly divorced mom of one daughter, almost 7 years old. The FBI office sent me a welcome kit to help me as I began my house hunting trip, via long distance. The kit had a package about the various counties and suburbs of Philadelphia, with a contact (usually the spouse) name and phone number to call for information about the area. There were at least 20 names on the list. I didn’t have a clue about Philadelphia nor the suburbs, so I just started at the top and called each number – no answer time and time again, until the last name on the list, Cheryl Hurst, wife of SA Larry Hurst, Camden, New Jersey. That really was the last place I was interested in, but this sweet (and I do mean sweet) woman answered the phone and was most happy to brag about her neighborhood (and her husband, and her church, and her children!).

Well, do I need to say more? Of course, I fell in love with this woman and couldn’t wait to meet her husband; I knew he would be a co-worker due to his assignment. So I chose the realtor she recommended (from her church) and there I was, looking to live near the Hurst family and maybe even attend their church! That was one of my priorities! I knew I needed to get into a good fellowship! You see, the main reason I divorced my husband was because our daughter had never been in church and it didn’t look like that was going to change. I had accepted the Lord at a young age and I knew I wanted her to do the same. I thought I had married a Christian man and that would be a priority in our lives. But alas, my husband was frustrated with organized religion and we just slipped away from other believers, a church family and finally from the Lord – thus the divorce!

So I finally walked into my new office after the move and looked up Larry. Wow, he makes such a great first impression! He wanted to learn all about me and he did mention something about being ornery! He was one of the most important people I surmised because he told me about all the work he had done to computerize the office. I had taken to computers, which were relatively new – so this was way back in the olden days! : ) He and I now had a common interest at work as well as I needed his advice as I learned to maneuver around Philadelphia and new cases.

One of the first things he did was invite me to church and then to their summer cottage prayer group. Well, maybe he came on a bit strong as I decided I best get to work and worry about socializing later! I don’t recall how long it was, but he had me in their Wednesday night prayer meeting…and unbeknownst to me, he had already told them ALL about me and they had been to praying our marriage would be reconciled! See, God had already begin to show me that way, I Corinthians 7:10-11:
To the married I give this command (not I, but the Lord): A wife must not separate from her husband. But if she does, she must remain unmarried or else be reconciled to her husband. And a husband must not divorce his wife.

To make a long story short, to me, Larry was not ornery, he was persistent! He was being used by the Lord to exhort me to good works and to reconcile with my husband. Ultimately, it was his wife who helped make a breakthrough. How many of you, his friends, have had a meal in their home? Perhaps in recent years, they slowed down, but when we lived near them, they were known to have someone over for dinner every Sunday after church! How Cheryl did that every week, I don’t know, but it was so amazing to be in their home and be “served!” Within a short period of time, it was with great pleasure I announced to our Cottage Prayer meeting that I was engaged – to my former husband! So being new to the area, the group began to help me plan the wedding and reception.

And the icing on the cake? What to do with our daughter while we went on our first real honeymoon? No problem! Jessica stayed with them and they had one big sleep over for her and no telling with other fun that I never learned about!

Larry and his wife became our role models! We loved that first meal in their home and then began to open our home as we saw they did! Larry loved the Bible and taught me to also read it regularly, and he showed us the value of being a part of an organized church fellowship. He also helped me at work, pointing me to the right resources and to always be a man of integrity!

Bill and I have now been married a total of nearly 38 years, with a year break in service! We have moved twice since Philadelphia and each time, we immediately found a church fellowship to become involved in. We never forget the kindness and love that ornery Larry showered on our family!

It is with great pleasure I have been able to see what wonderful adults and parents Chris and Lisa have become – even–if we have lived hundreds of miles apart, thanks to Facebook! I have enjoyed watching their families grow and I know Larry looks forward to ALL of his family, children, grandchildren and all, to one day join him as we pass from this temporary world and into eternal life with our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ!

Chapter 24 – The lost years


motorcycle shadow

Once we moved to Florida (in 2004), we wanted to ride our motorcycle to Mobile, Alabama. Finally, October 16, 2012, we hopped on the bike and began the trek!  We lived in Mobile for three short years.  I was a new FBI agent and it was my “first office.”   In 1986, we had been married 11 years and hit a rocky period the year before, in our 10th year.  We committed to try to improve our marriage and had high hopes this would be a fresh start for us.  It was a miracle we had such a prime location – remember, we both love the beach!  Living on the gulf coast was a new experience and there was so much to love.

We were in the prime of our lives!  Bill finally was self-employed and was very successful.  I had a dream of a job!  We built a new home and our precious daughter was sweet as can be and was able to make friends easily.  But something went terribly wrong!

If I had to say in a sentence how a long-term marriage could end in divorce, with two people who had much in common, it would be that we both got lost in our own worlds.  I said we grew apart. Bill had no idea what happened!  A friend came over one weekend and commented, “Bill works all the time doesn’t he?”  I brought a co-worker over one day while we were close by to show off our “dream house.”  While I was showing it, all I could think about was how “empty” the house really was. Materially, we had it all. Spiritually, we were bankrupt!

When we went back on our motorcycle, we had a hard time remembering those three years!  We suddenly realized they were our lost years!  And again we could rejoice we were able to reconcile and continue to be grateful our marriage was healed and we are now looking at nearly four decades together!

We did go back and looked at our “dream home.” It once sparkled as Bill is a bit OCD about having a beautiful, lush, green weed free yard, keeping all the hedges trimmed and plants looking nourished. It was sad to see it now is a bit drab – but then it was now 26 years old.

We looked up one dear friend and had a nice reunion. We did a few touristy things downtown and were amazed at the wonderful history we learned about this sweet town. We just didn’t have many other memories of our time here, but somehow, we focused on the happy times we did have.

This is what the LORD says— he who made a way through the sea, a path through the mighty waters, “Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland.” Isaiah 43:16, 18-19

Not the best picture, but we are HAPPY!

Not the best picture, but we are HAPPY! About to take our motorcycle on the ferry over to Gulf Shores from Dauphin Island.

Chapter 23 – Aspen!


The most photographed place in Colorado, The Maroon Bells

We recently traveled to the Colorado Rocky Mountains for a vacation (September 2012).  We spent one day in Aspen, having timed our trip to capture the shimmering gold Aspens during the peak fall season.  Little did we ever expect we would stumble on the most photographed peaks in Colorado!

Just a few of the photographers.

We used TripAdvisor to help us select places to hike and to see. We were warned that while this is the most beautiful sight to see, it is very popular and to expect crowds!  Well, not on the day we went!  While there were a number of people taking similar photographs, we felt we were nearly alone once we began our hike up the Maroon Scenic Trail Hike.  This spot is the trailhead to at least two different hikes.  So after taking several pictures we started off to the left for our easy hike.  There was a much more strenuous hike to the right, but we knew as we were still adjusting to the altitude, it was to the right for us!

One the hike, we were so pleased to enjoy the solitude!  For the most part, we were nearly alone on the hike. That is our preference as I am sure it is with other hikers….

Our quest in life is to live as we believe God intends:

And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”  Philippians 4:7

We are most sensitive to His calling in our marriage, so we are not only sharing our struggles and victories in our marriage with this blog, but we are honestly trying to be a better husband and wife to each other!

So as the peaceful setting is disrupted, almost out of a television sitcom, we hear a woman saying, “I thought you knew which way to go! This is not right! Where are we? I knew I should have taken the lead! I HAVE been here before. This is ridiculous!”  Or something to this effect!  Here we are in this most tranquil setting and this woman is chewing her poor husband out!  We ended up stopping to chat with them for a few minutes and learned they were looking for Crater Lake Trail.  We had looked at it and at this late in the day, 3:00 pm, to try to tackle that hike would not be wise.  It is considerably higher, much more strenuous (although this hike was nearly a walk in the park) and the weather could turn severe without warning!  The woman informed us she was an experienced hiker, hiking many 14ers (mountains over 14,000 elevation)!  Her husband did not look as fit as us, remember, we live in Florida at sea level and the most we hike is over a sand dune! But she insisted they needed to find it! Bill remembered the sign and they went off on their merry way, well, the dog seemed merry anyway!

It was so disturbing to witness her berating her husband, we vowed to say the word “Aspen” IF and whenever one of us steps out of line!  “Better to live on a corner of the roof than share a house with a quarrelsome wife” (or spouse to be politically correct) Proverbs 25:24.  But honestly, Bill has never been the quarrelsome one and we think the Bible knows it well, it seems the wife is usually the one to do the nagging!  So on our way back to hour hotel, fully grasping the beauty of the day, we vowed to never need to say to one another, “Aspen!”  May we continue to live in the peace that passes understanding!

Chapter 22 – 1 John 4:13-16


Wordle: God is Love

Bill and I were like every young married couple.  Madly in love and our marriage was invincible.  But after 13 years, our marriage fell apart and I sought a divorce.  Our daughter was six years old.  It was one of the worst times in our lives!  I became cynical.  What is love, anyway, I asked.

One reason I divorced Bill was because our daughter,  Jessica, had not only NEVER been in church, but I was losing my once strong faith.  You see, we met while we were in a Christian ministry group, called “Christ is the Answer.”  After we left the ministry, we married and then left the church.

So as soon as we divorced, I not only dove into church, but into God’s Word, the Bible.  As I searched for God’s will for Jessica and I, I discovered not only what love means, but what LOVE is!  These scriptures were part of my return not only to the Lord, but to reconciliation to Bill!

That was 23 years ago, on August 19, 2012!  Happy Anniversary Bill!  I am ever so grateful we were able to remarry and live happily ever after!

   1 John 4:13-16 This is how we know that we live in Him and He in us: He has given us of His Spirit. And we  have seen and testify that the Father has sent His Son to be the Savior of the world. If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in them and they in God. And so we know and rely on the love God has for us.  God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them.

Chapter 21 – Kumamatata


Being happily married is possible for a life time, but that does not mean you are happy all the time!  We have shared many secrets of our success, after divorcing and then reconciling.  We have now been married a total of 38 years.   This chapter is about the most important struggle we face and is the most important lesson I can learn…and I have struggled with this for 38 years in fact!

First, a little recap about our greatest secret to success, the BEST principle:  whenever one of us felt the other stepping out of line (said something negative about each other in front of others) the “wronged” person would whisper “BEST” to point out, “that hurt!”  And immediately, the bad behavior would stop!  Wow, it was exhilarating to be able to fix what was wrong and in time, we hope others who are around us, see that we are very careful to protect each other’s feelings and to build up and edify each other!

So you want to know what the biggest issue is we have?   It is our need for Kumamatata, or “no worries”!  A few years ago, we spent a day at Animal Kingdom in Disney World.  We learned about Kumamatata on the Safari and it was reinforced when we watched the Lion King.   WOW – it hit us that we needed Kumamatata in our lives!  We tend to live a pretty regimented lifestyle with more obligations than we care to admit, so we do get a bit tense in certain situations.  Sadly, we have been a very poor witness to others, usually strangers, when we are put on the spot or can’t agree on something.

For about a year after we learned about it, we began to incorporate it like BEST.  If we were in a tense situation, we would just say, Kumamatata and then let it go!  But slowly, we fell off the wagon.   We have had some tense moments, usually when Bill feels he is right about something, I challenge him and we forget our Kumamatata!  It is never pretty, but usually we are alone….

The first time we really embarrassed ourselves in public was when we went on our first “mountain” vacation in the Colorado Rockies.  It was a pretty big travel day there from Florida and we had a full day planned as soon as we arrived.  So everything was going smoothly until we got to the counter at the car rental place.  (If you have seen the Sienfield show, it was a similar experience!)  Needless to say, it turned into a huge confrontation!   So after losing our tempers and making a scene in essence, we found our Kumamatata and left in our rental.  We talked about how bad we were, let it ruin an otherwise easy but long trip…and said we would never do that again!!!   Until the other day!  Once again, on vacation, we went back down that same type of road – but I think we got at the root of the REAL problem!  Oh no, here comes some real transparency….as much as we hate to admit it, we have another problem and I don’t think we have every brought it out in the open!

So here we are, on vacation, which should always be stress free, right?  For the most part, it has been.  We stopped by the grocery store one morning to pick up a few things.  We had a few items, including fruit that had to be weighed.  When we were trying to pick the best checkout line (all were full), even the 10 items or less lines …except the self-serve!  I said let’s go there, because they had a cashier overseeing the check out.  Bill said no, it is never good to take items that need to be weighed into the self-serve.   I insisted, so you know what is going to happen, right?  It turned into a disaster!   We lost our patience with each other and with the poor cashier, who seemed helpless to help us!  We asked for the manager and then somehow, figured out what we needed and got out of there.   And so embarrassed and mad at ourselves we forgot our Kumamatata!

We had to get at the root of the problem!  So I flashed back to well-known verses, the most important for ME is verse 33:   Ephesians, Chapter 5, verses 25-33:

25 “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her 26 to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, 27 and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless.28 In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies.   He who loves his wife loves himself. 29 After all, no one ever hated their own body, but they feed and care for their body, just as Christ does the church— 30 for we are members of his body. 31 “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.”  32 This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church.  33 However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.”

I knew immediately the problem was that Bill did not feel I respected him!  There is no doubt Bill loves me, but I have struggled with being respectful!  He is so concerned that if I am about to walk in front of an out of control truck and he says “run,” I’ll stop and say, “Why?”  It is that simple.  I seem to question his authority.  Did it really matter that I pushed for the self-serve?  I wanted to hurry to our next destination, but as Bill pointed out, my haste caused us to waste at least 10 minutes!!!

So this blog is my public confession to Bill:  Please forgive me for constantly challenging you and not respecting you as you deserve!  Thank you for loving me as much or really more than yourself!   You always put me first, think of the little things for me and have been the best husband I could ever have imagined I would have!  This is my promise to you, FINALLY, I get it!!!

Kumamatata!

Chapter 20 – Why be married?


During Vacation Bible School, I had a conversation with a friend about marriage.  We talked in general and due to time constraints, ended with “Why be married?”

Seeing successful marriages is our passion.  Our hearts break every time we hear about another marriage about to break up.  If only we could put all of our lessons learned and our recipe for success in a pill.  We are very open about our marriage and the fact that we divorced after 13 years of marriage, only to be reconciled miraculously, and remarried one year after our initial separation (and now married 37 years).  Our purpose in this blog is to help encourage couples and to enhance marriages.  We are so grateful we were able to reconcile and thank God every day as we go through life’s challenges together.

Every couple’s relationship is unique and ours is no exception.  I love working with people (I am the social one), from babies to the elderly.  But if we had an expertise, it is in marriages because we not only have succeeded in our marriage we have also failed.  We learned from our mistakes and came up with a recipe for success (see Chapter 7 – RX for the BEST marriage) which we try and share frequently and often.  It is our blueprint for the success we now enjoy in our marriage.

Nearly every young girl dreams of one day being married.  I remember conversations as a teenager about my future husband, about how many children I wanted, what kind of wedding I would have, how many bridesmaids.  Bill, on the other hand, said he and his friends never talked about these things!  But yet, he is the one who says he loves being married and the reason is to be with his wife.  We love being together as much as possible!  We had much in common when we first came together and we have had to work at keeping things in common.  It takes a yielding and a desire for oneness.

We had talked about having our own business before we were married so we could be together all the time.  But that was a fantasy….until I retired at the age of 52. We finally had the opportunity to work together.  It lasted 1 1/2 years!  I loved physical labor, so I tried to hang with him while we began to invest in real estate.  As it turned out, I sort of got in his way and it was easier for him to work alone.  I was his gofer, but that became too unrewarding and I soon went back to work part-time.  So we are apart anywhere from 4 to 6 hours a day.  We also rarely travel alone.  He says, “why be married” if we are going to travel apart.  During my career, we were apart a lot and that was hard on us.

I say all that to say, we go through phases of life.  Before you are married, you want to be together all the time.  After you are married, you get into a routine.  Unless you are in business together, you go your separate ways during the day.  And then the strength of your marriage depends on how you spend your time together after work and on weekends.  And then we all live for the freedom of retirement, right?  And that is when you once again can be together all the time, like before you were married.  How many of us think about how that will work?  We planned for that day and just assumed we would enjoy our time together.  It is then, if not sooner, you find out the strength of your marriage.  Do you still have anything in common?  We knew this would be important and we worked hard at keeping our commonalities strong.  We know because when we divorced, we had grown apart!  So we try and do everything possible together!

So why be married?  Here is our list:  It starts off with our prescription for a GREAT marriage, the BEST principle – to be a Blessing, to Edify each other, to Share life with and to have that warm Touch.   God tells us in His Word, in Genesis 2:18:

Then the LORD God said, ‘It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.”

We know and understand each other’s aches and pains.  We have each other’s back! But as Bill likes to explain, it is the intimacy of marriage that is the most important component to keep us living “happily ever after.”  He explains what makes our relationship so special is that we have things that we only do with each and this is the glue that keeps us growing together.

Hiking in the Smokies as we celebrated 37 years together!

Chapter 19 – At the foot of the cross…


I love to share our testimony and will do so at any opportunity!  I recently shared this part of our testimony with a friend and realized, it is such a beautiful testimony, perhaps I should blog about it.  Actually, I like to believe that the Lord gave me the idea, afterall, He gave us the testimony!

If anyone else has ever been at the foot of the cross, then you know how powerful and yet humbling it is to find yourself there.  If you have never been there, please join me as I share about our experience.

There are very few divorces that end amicably.  Most are very acrimonious and ours was no exception.  I wanted ours to be a “friendly” divorce – I was the one who asked for it.  Bill was stunned, he had no idea our marriage was in such bad shape!  Well, the signs were there, but he was too busy earning a living to realize he had lost me.

We had been to a professional counselor years before, but made no real progress.  That put a band-aid on the relationship, over a festering wound.  After 13 years of marriage, I went to a pastorfor counseling before I filed for divorce.  I felt I had no choice but to end our marriage.  I had told Bill two other times we had a problem and that we needed to be in a church. I felt like I was spiritually dying – I actually was! But since I wanted a spiritual life, I thought it was it hypocritical to seek a divorce “just so I could go to church?”  Well, no, the pastor said, if I was so unhappy in my marriage, it sounded like a divorce was OK.  You see, in his opinion, he said God wants His children to be happy!  I should have asked where it said this in the Bible-it was wrong headed theology! In my case, I really did not have grounds for a divorce other than I was unhappy, but this particular pastor, who saw me as a potential member, blessed my request. So off I ran to a lawyer, feeling God’s blessing. And then I began to attend church regularly, taking our six-year-old daughter, who had never been in church up to this point!

If you have experienced divorce, you know it hurts so badly as the Bible says, “… they are no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate.” (Matthew 19:6)  Your spirit is literally tearing in two.  As you are divorcing, one is pulling away, while the other is clinging on for life.   In order to fend off the one clinging, you say and do many hurtful things. (I plan to blog about those couples who are blessed at a second marriage with a different person.)

To make a long story short, after our divorce, on a Sunday evening, I had arranged for Bill’s “new” pastor (interesting, he started going to church once I filed the divorce papers) to meet with us after the church service.   Bill had seen me enter the church.  He sat and fumed, wondering why I was in “his church.”  As soon as the service was over, the Pastor went up to Bill while I ran towards them.  Bill asked what was going on.  I informed him that the Pastor agreed to meet with us.  You see, Bill had really scared me with his anger.  He was never an angry or mean person!  Bill had to be polite in church, so he offered to buy his Pastor dinner since he said he had not eaten.

We agreed to meet at our our formerly favorite restaurant.   The Pastor ordered dinner, but we just ordered drinks, neither hungry.  The Pastor then asked what was going on.  Well, that was like stirring up a hornets nest!  We began to attack each other, threw horrible barbs at each other.  The poor pastor, sat there helplessly, but managed to at least eat his dinner.  He tried to interject a few times but we just talked over him!  Finally, I noticed the lights dimmed, the restaurant was closing!  We were so oblivious, we had not noticed we were the only customers left!  The pastor politely said he did not think there was anything he could do for us.  Bill paid the bill and we all walked out into the parking lot.

I remember it there was a full moon.  Bill lit up a cigarette (another one of my beefs, I detested the smoke) and the pastor began to shuffle off to his car.  I asked if he could at least pray for us.  So he said sure, finally, I am sure he thought,  he could do something meaningful!  I don’t recall what he prayed, but we all bowed our heads and accepted God’s grace.

Bill had not moved out of our house since we had a guest room.  (I was under transfer to another state, so while we broke up housekeeping, it was easier for him to stay there.)  He arrived home before I did and paid the babysitter.  I went to check on Jessica, but instead, literally bumped into Bill in the hallway.  I can’t explain it, but somehow, we just stood there for a moment….and then we felt the power of the Holy Spirit.  Or maybe I should say, I felt the power of the Holy Spirit since I am speaking!  We suddenly began to ask each other for forgiveness!  I remember one of us said, after all, Jesus had forgiven us….and then I could imagine the image of us standing at the foot of the Cross!  Our reconciliation began!

To read what happened next, please return to Chapter 3, “OK, we forgave each other, now what?”

Love

Chapter 18 What? You don’t feel loved????


LoveWe all struggle, don’t we?  Even the best marriages hit bumps in the road and did we ever last week!

We are actually opposites, but they say, opposites attract right?  We KNOW God meant us for each other.  Where he is weak, I am strong and where he is strong I am very weak!

There is no doubt we love each other, right? Everyone can see it, comments on it and we (I) confess it often.  So what happened?  Unexpectedly, last week, we both verbalized we didn’t “feel” loved by the other!  How does that happen?

We are Christians, we have Jesus as the center of our relationship.  Everything should be good, right?  Wrong!  In fact, “Christians” divorce at the same rate as those who don’t know the Lord!  WOW!  That is why I have this passion to share about our marriage…and this blog!  Divorce is not only NOT an option, we took the advice of Gary Smalley, don’t even use the D word in your household!

We have read nearly every Christian book on marriage (there is an excellent chapter in one, Unrealistic Expectations and Unmet Needs, but I can’t find it to post.)  We have even taken a number of marriage courses as well as facilitated “Family Life Today” Homebuilders series for several years (a highlight in our lives for sure).

We have read and applied the principles in our favorite book of all time (next to the Bible) Love Life for Every Married CoupleWe not only attended the “5 Love Languages” seminar by Gary Chapman, but we bought the book and training materials.  It really opened our eyes to help us better communicate.  While we all practice and need all five languages of love, we all have a PRIMARY language!

At the 5 Love Languages Seminar, Bill’s primary language, we learned, are “acts of service” and my language is “words of affirmation.”  So as I reflected back, I could see clearly that Bill primarily shows me his love and is how he shows Christ’s love to others!  After the course, I made a concerted effort to primarily show Bill his language of love by having a servant’s heart with him.

Sadly, Bill did not seem to grasp my language of love.  For some reason,  he is just not wired to say or RECEIVE “words of affirmation.”  I think there is something in his childhood that has made him a bit “jaded” towards words of affirmation!  We need to work on this, but then, I think God is at work there!!!

Anyway, last week Bill said he wondered if I “really” loved him!  WOW!  I know I speak his language often, and I even use my language of words of affirmation to let him know.  So I have learned, he not only does not speak that language, he does not seem to hear it either!  But being a woman, I figured out he ALSO needs to see my “acts of service.”  So while I am constantly telling him I love him, I am also looking for ways to show him my “acts of service.”

It seems when I do shine the best to “serve” him was the one time he was seriously burned in an accident at work or when he was deathly ill.  OK, so that was only three times in 36 years, and granted, he was so injured or sick, as well as being on a lot of drugs, he seemed to forget some of the details!  However, he did know I was at his side, praying and seeking ways to make him more comfortable.  So how could he feel I don’t love him?  PLUS, I SAY it all the time!!!  I keep forgetting, he does not translate my language into his own language.  However, he says he shows me his love in HIGH VOLUME!  Ok, I hear you loud and clear!  I KNOW he loves me unconditionally and with every breath he breathes….

So the other day when we were having this serious issue, I asked Bill if he remembered what my language of love was…and he said no!  WHAT???  He never did like my language as he did not speak it nor understand it!  We do have a joke (a bad joke, BTW) from our early married days: he told me when we married he loved me and if it changes, he will let me know!  I sort of laughed at it, then one night last week, I lost it….”he doesn’t really love me” I declared to myself.

But how could I feel that way as he serves me and serves some more!  He is our chief cook (and I am the bottle washer); he does all the heavy lifting around the house.  He maintains the house!  He washes and waxes my car regularly….how else can he show me his love?  He thinks he does it all!  And YES, he does it all….but still, I still just need a few words of affirmation.

So last week, we had a period where we did not talk for nearly 24 hours!  We did learn soon after our re-marriage, “Be angry, and yet do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger…”  (Ephesians 4:26).   We made a pact, we would never again go to bed angry, we would resolve our issues…..I guess that worked better when we were younger!  It is harder to stay awake to clear the air at our age, so we violated this important scripture!  Oh, and did I pay for it and will pay for it.

I had an early class to attend the next morning.  My first time out the door before 8:00 am.  So I was not used to driving while children are going to school.  I just breezed by the school (not seeing the signage), speeding just a little bit as I was running late….opps, you don’t do that in our town.  I got caught!  OUCH!  A little bit might as well be a LOT!

Anyway, when I got home later that day, Bill said we had to clear the air.  We tried but did not make much progress.  Seemed we had something that kept us from resolving things.  I finally said, I guess we need to make an appointment to finish clearing the air.  So the appointed time came, but so did more interference.

I just prayed and prayed for God to give us a time of undivided attention and for me to find the RIGHT time to really talk. Finally, on Saturday, we had six hours to really TALK it through. We drove in our car to Ft. Lauderdale (three-hour trip one way), instead of the usual motorcycle ride, our traditional Saturday fun day.

Ah, how refreshing our conversation was!  I gained new insight, well, I knew it, but he painted me a new picture.  You see, he is a mellow man, he likes things steady, no high emotions, no low emotions, just steady as you go.  And I do love this about him.  It was one thing that attracted me to him.

Me on the other hand, remember, opposites?  I have high highs and I have low lows.  I love life and am passionate about everything I do!  I am usually high, but last week, was very low….but now I am trying to mellow out….

We returned from our day trip and ended the evening at Wings of Faith Worship Center!  We attended a praise, worship and prayer vigil for our county, praying with believers from numerous denominations and backgrounds, all uniting to pray for the families, churches, schools, businesses and government!  What a way to end the day…and week!

Are you wondering what our “issue” was?  On Monday, I had a “coaching” session with a very dear friend.   She is coaching me as I go through the “Identity and Destiny” course, Seven Steps to a Purpose Filled Life.  I was so excited about a huge break through for me!  I couldn’t wait to share it with Bill – but my coach encouraged me to wait for the right time to share it.  So I waited for nearly 24 hours and then couldn’t wait another minute. I decided to tell him while eating lunch, not realizing he was anxious to get back to finishing a job (he was working on the brakes on my car).  Needless to say, he just did not receive it very well….and that set off a chain reaction.  I guess I really needed to blog about my breakthrough and not “bother” him!  Maybe next blog will be about my break through! (UPDATE: I never did write that blog so now it is lost and so is my break through. BUT I have a new appreciation for Bill.)

We are looking forward to our 37th wedding anniversary this April (even if on and off since we did divorce for nearly a year)!  But through God’s miraculous healing power, our marriage was restored and came back stronger than ever.  Like a good pruning to a bush, our relationship “filled out” better than ever!

So here is a quick refresher course on the 5 Languages of Love (in quote marks from the website).  And while we are at it, since God is the author of Love and is indeed Love itself (“God is love” according to 1 John 4:8), perhaps we should think about those five languages and apply them to God, to show HIM how much we love HIM, and then maybe our love will become more apparent to each other, so let’s not only look at how these apply to our spouse, but to our Lord:

  • “Words of Affirmation ” (Let every thing that has breath praise the LORD. Praise you the LORD. Psalm 150:6)  We go to church and verbalize our love of our Lord by singing praises to Him, by reading His Word back to Him!  Words are so important!

“Actions don’t always speak louder than words. If this is your love language, unsolicited compliments mean the world to you. Hearing the words, “I love you,” are important—hearing the reasons behind that love sends your spirits skyward.”

  • “Quality Time”  (Matthew 4:4, “It is written: ‘Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’)  God wants time with us, in His Word, not just in church.

“In the vernacular of Quality Time, nothing says, “I love you,” like full, undivided attention. Being there for this type of person is critical, but really being there—with the TV off, fork and knife down, and all chores and tasks on standby—makes your significant other feel truly special and loved. Distractions, postponed dates, or the failure to listen can be especially hurtful.”

  • “Receiving Gifts”  (2 Corinthians 9:7 Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.)  We do return to God every week a portion of what He has given us.

“Don’t mistake this love language for materialism; the receiver of gifts thrives on the love, thoughtfulness, and effort behind the gift. If you speak this language, the perfect gift or gesture shows that you are known, you are cared for, and you are prized above whatever was sacrificed to bring the gift to you. A missed birthday, anniversary, or a hasty, thoughtless gift would be disastrous—so would the absence of everyday gestures.”

  • “Acts of Service” (James 1:27 Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.)  God wants us to show HIS love to others through our actions.

“Can vacuuming the floors really be an expression of love? Absolutely! Anything you do to ease the burden of responsibilities weighing on an ‘Acts of Service’ person will speak volumes. The words he or she most want to hear: ‘Let me do that for you.’ Laziness, broken commitments, and making more work for them tell speakers of this language their feelings don’t matter.

  • “Physical Touch” (Romans 16:16 Greet one another with a holy kiss. )

“This language isn’t all about the bedroom. A person whose primary language is Physical Touch is, not surprisingly, very touchy. Hugs, pats on the back, holding hands, and thoughtful touches on the arm, shoulder, or face—they can all be ways to show excitement, concern, care, and love. Physical presence and accessibility are crucial, while neglect or abuse can be unforgivable and destructive.”

The GOOD NEWS! We got over it and are back to ourselves, a bit closer to each other after “clearing the air” and learning more about each other and our needs!
For this, we give God the Glory!

“You, Lord, are forgiving and good, abounding in love to all who call to you.”  Psalm 86:5

Chapter 17 – The trouble with marriage….


“Truth is. I love my daughters but right now they are both acting like spoiled brats.  One does not speak to me and the other speaks with venom telling me she never wants to hear from me again.  I just pray that someday they come back to me and let me love them.”  I don’t know the circumstances behind the pain this father is feeling.  It breaks my heart when I see posts like this on Facebook and it reminds me of one of the purposes for my life.

What I do know is that this man’s marriage ended and he is in a relationship with another woman, who also has two children.  So the trouble with marriage is that there is trouble! And when children are born into marriages and when the marriages end, the children suffer.  I know when I decided to end our marriage in 1988, I was going to “protect” our daughter from the ill effects of the divorce.  I justified it was better for me to be happy than for her to have both her mom and dad to wake up to each morning and to tuck her into bed at night. (wrong headed thinking, maybe even selfish.)

So what are we to do when marriages fall apart?  When trust is broken?  When the love is lost?  Or in my case, when my love turned to hate?

Coincidently (if you believe in coincidences), as soon as I saw that post on Facebook, I had a message from an old friend asking how we were able to fix our marriage.  That took me back to our marriage manual:  Love Life for Every Married Couple Marriage is really simple.  It is a tender garden that needs to be watered, fertilized, weeded and cared for every day.  We get caught up in the minutiae of life.  Life gets in our way.  We begin to take each other for granted.  We don’t really know what marriage is!  (Want to learn?  Read this link.)

My friend and I had a long talk today and I had to relive how we were able to “fix” our marriage.   I had recommended the Love Life book a year or so ago when things were not going very well.  But somehow, that book was never purchased, nor read.  But now the marriage is in a crisis and urgent help was needed.  So I pulled out the book and began to review chapter 15, “How to save your marriage alone.”  I re-read it as I began to scan it into a word document to send it to my friend.  It was a long slow process, but I finally was able to send about 8 pages from the book.  Everything I said was reinforced in the book.

So just a few tips:

1)   We lived our lives as a married couple with and without our Lord in the center of our marriage.  It is 100% better when Jesus is in the center of our relationship.

2)  We apply the BEST principle in all we do:  Be a blessing to each other – putting each others needs above the other;  Edify – or speak well to and about each other;  Share – our feelings, needs and desires with each other; Touch – this is especially for men – to touch each other frequently in non-sexual ways without the result all men want/need – that leads to the good stuff!  (Fully explained in Chapter 6, Prescription for the BEST Marriage)

3)  We surround ourselves with others who believe the way we do – first and foremost in their lives – faith and subsequently, they put marriages in the forefront of their lives.

4)  We set aside time each day to pray together and each week, to worship and praise God with other believers.

5)  We KNOW that all we have are gifts from God, that we are to be good stewards of what we have and we never take our “stuff” for granted.  Each week, we give a portion back to the Lord in the form of tithes to support our local church and each month, we share another portion to the Lord’s work to support others.  While the Bible suggests 10%, we believe God needs to direct each person to give as He leads them.

So what are we to do?  And what if there are no children in the marriage?  What if one spouse dies young?  Yes, there are many variables – but what is for certain, life is precious and none of us are guaranteed tomorrow.  We can’t take anything for granted and especially our marriages!  Trust me, it is so beneficial to grow old with the spouse of our youth “Let thy fountain be blessed: and rejoice with the wife of thy youth.” Proverbs 5:18

But the real KEY is the blessing of forgiveness:  “…all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God…” Romans 3:23.  None of us are perfect!  We all make mistakes, we all need forgiveness!   “If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness….”  1 John 1:8-9

And the GOOD news, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life…. John 3:16

“Therefore, my friends, I want you to know that through Jesus the forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you….”  Acts 13:38

PLEASE think about this and prevent the future hurt and heartache divorce causes all concerned!  We thank God every morning we were able to forgive each other and were able to start fresh and learned how to fall in love (again), stay in love and rekindle our love every day!

Chapter 16 – Christmas Gifts Dilemma!


Some how, sometime ago, we became like Grinch – we don’t exchange Christmas gifts! Or else, I am just such a terrible shopper that trying to buy Christmas presents takes all my joy away! Actually, speaking for myself, I LOVE CHRISTmas! But we give few if any gifts and I wrestle with this every year, but even more this year and since Thanksgiving.  I love to give gifts that I know will make the receiver leap for JOY! It is so special to see someone REALLY happy. So with that as my frame of reference, maybe we can figure out why we don’t give presents, or many presents anymore.  Or am I just turned off by commercialism – but then who isn’t?  But do we still get caught up in it?

The Tuesday before Christmas, I met with two dear friends (Brenda and Diana), Brenda for lunch and Diana joined us later for the dessert feast – but it was really a feast around our Lord!  When Diana walked in, she had a gift bag and to myself I said “oh no!”   Oh, no, I don’t have a gift in return!  Diana has been my inspiration this year as she battled breast cancer – so she really deserves a special gift!  She has given me more spiritual gifts in eight months than I could imagine in a lifetime!  But she tucked it away and we went on to feast about our Lord’s goodness, the miracles we are seeing in our lives (and need in our lives) and how we see a great movement of spiritual renewal in our county and even beyond (we were still “high” from the Big Event featuring Chad Varga and NewWorldSon).

Diana knows all the struggles I have and have had.  A current one is my quest for pure JOY in my life.  Now, if you know me, I do seem to have a lot of joy, almost always a smile on my face!  I love the Lord and He fills me daily with HIS joy and peace….but where I am lacking is in my ability to “have fun” which translates into complete joy!  (I am pretty seriously minded.  Maybe that was why I was a law enforcement officer!)

I have joy, but my struggles keep me from being totally FULL of JOY!  The joy only God can give that permeates your soul and rolls off onto those around you!  I just reconnected with a summer friend from 42 years ago on Face book!  I read her bio and loved it…it was her essence I remembered!  She had that special JOY when I met her, her bio stating: “People may or may not remember what you said or what you did but they always remember the way you made them feel.”  That is what I am seeking!

So when it is about time to leave, Diana brings out the gift bag, it was HUGE, that said JOY!  She said she had a bag of joy for me!!! A beautiful poem she wrote, Judah our Lion King (a stuffed toy), and a bag of hugs and kisses!  So much meaning to each and so much joy to each!  Oh, how it touched me and that is what I want to give with every gift, for it to be exactly what the person needs!  As I left, praising God for these two special women in my life, God seemed to whisper to me, “Diana really listened to your heart.  That was how she knew what to give you!”  OK, guilty!  I am so busy with business; I don’t take time to listen!  Please, LORD, talk loudly to me so I can’t miss a word!

That Sunday, our Pastor was out recuperating from surgery (nothing real serious) so one of our Elders agreed to “preach” and preach he did!  The sermon is what this blog is all about! MY STRUGGLE!!!

We were asked if we knew what we wanted for Christmas? Most adults take a lot of time to think before they reply, but children always seem quick to give an answer. The same with birthday gifts. Children always have a quick answer. So what is Christmas anyway? It is the celebration of the birth of our Lord and Savior! So it is really a birthday celebration, right? Why do we want to please others with gifts? Do we ever take time to ask our Lord, “What do you want for your birthday, Lord?”

We really don’t have to ask Him, because He has told us in both the Old and the New Testaments! How pleased I was when he said the first scripture is found in Micah – which is where my favorite scripture is located: Micah 6:8 “He has shown you, O man, what is good; And what does the LORD require of you? But to do justly, To love mercy, And to walk humbly with your God?”  I had to learn this scripture the hard way and committed to memorizing it and praying for it to become a part of my being!

In the New Testament, Jesus tells us to “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.”  (Mark 12:30-31)

I had hoped he had written the sermon out so I could just insert it.  Of course, give him the credit – but he had it outlined in his mind, had the scriptures written down, but then more or less winged it as he so eloquently does every time he gives a speech (according to his wife!).

So instead, God gave me a new story this morning to write about!  I want to be where HE wants me, to do what HE wants me to do, to be a willing listener, to spread HIS joy to all I meet!

While trying to write this blog, we are traveling, 850 miles with my husband’s 90 year old mom.  I am in the back seat, using my Smartphone and after reading my Bible on it (Biblegateway reading plans, reading the Bible in a year), chatting it up on Face Book, playing Words with Friends (mainly with my daughter) when a new friend and author, Bill Myers posted on Face Book about his latest book, Supernatural Love, available on Kindle and Nook, for only $2.99.

My husband suggested I stop buying books after we downsized and I retired.  Reasonable, I can use the library!  But for only $2.99 and to help support this fantastic author!  So I figured out how to download Nook on my Smartphone, bought the e-book and then read it in less than an hour!  Easy read and you can’t stop once you start!  It is the true story of a woman whose son was murdered and the supernatural love she was given for the man who killed him!  (Bill describes it …”as a true and pretty powerful story about God’s love and His call for us to forgive.”)

So this morning, staying at a random hotel (that is another story how we stayed at this particular hotel) at 6:00 am, I went to the lobby to get some coffee and check out the breakfast.  So it is just me and the night clerk.  Being the joyful person I am, I wished her a Merry Christmas and asked if she had to work the holiday.  She said no, but that today is a sad day for her.  Her only son, Antonio, was born on this day and would have been 24, but he was murdered 3 years ago!

I don’t believe in coincidences!  I just praise you, Lord, for giving me some words of comfort after reading Supernatural Love yesterday!  Needless to say, she and I had a wonderful and uplifting talk.  She thanked me for letting her talk, she said it really helped her to be able to share!

I don’t want to be remembered for the gifts I give (how do you top the greatest gift of all: 

For God so loved the world that He GAVE His only begotten son…” John 3:26) but that “People may or may not remember what I said or what I did but they always remember the way I made them feel.”

So I pray that I make people feel the presence of God in our midst whenever we are together.  And that is the gift I want to give all my loved ones and friends!  The gift of God’s JOY!

Chapter 15 – Life in God’s Waiting Room!


If you heard you were going to be living in God’s waiting room, what would you think?  For me, it had a charming connotation.  For Bill, rather negative thoughts!  He had heard this about Florida, but I never did (that I recall).  The first time I heard the phrase, it was in a City Confidential TV show about our new soon to be home town!

We moved here exactly seven years ago!  Wow, how time flies!  In our 36 1/2 years together (and as we like to joke, “on and off”), we lived in Virginia, Alabama, New Jersey, back to Virginia and now in Florida.  Until we moved to Florida, we probably knew only about 15 people who died, including both of our dads and my dear brother-in-law Steve.  I do recall the year 1999 was a particularly sad year.  I attended 10 funerals, which included my dad and Steve.  The other funerals were mainly parents of friends and the other’s were relatives of co-workers.  Now I do know, as you get older, you will know more people who die, but what has happened to us has to be some record!  I know we are not that old!

I do need to add a caveat here and take a time out.  My husband and I were privileged to play hosts to nationally syndicated author, film maker and really, a comedian or at least a humorist, staying with us for four nights.  Have you heard of Bill Myers (www.billmyers.com)?   He more or less set the tone that started me down this road!  He was in Florida for a week, talking to students in Ft. Lauderdale, Orlando as well as our little ol’ sleepy, rural town.

In addition to wonderful conversations over breakfast, I heard him speak five different times:  at a youth rally Saturday night (about the dark side of the supernatural);  a mixture, but mostly older people Sunday night (about Christianity and the arts – particularly about film producing, movies and TV); and two different talks to students from 1st grade to 12th grade at a small private Christian school (his “Just Say Yes” to God – testimony and he taught a creative writing class); and then finally address another mixed group, geared to youth Monday night (his favorite talk about the Glory of God).  He impressed everyone, entertained us, educated us and just helped us know our Lord God in a more intimate way.  It was in a talk to the elementary students, where he somehow talked about a national survey of “old people.”  You know, really old people, people in nursing homes.  He was trying to encourage the youth to reach their full potential, and I hope he did, but he sobered me up!  He went on to say, these old people were asked, “If you could live your life over, knowing what you know now, how would you live?”  The number one answer was to not live so carefully, wishing they had taken more risks.  (For those who know, for three years I was focused on how to prevent youth from using drugs and alcohol – because they do engage in a lot of risky behaviors-so I was freaking out a bit.)  But the second response was that they all wished they had done more things that enhanced the Kingdom of God or that had eternal consequences.  Now this was what I was hoping to hear!  I have been thinking a lot about this these past few months as I have been helping to coordinate a huge upcoming youth rally with Chad Varga as well as the past two weeks, helped coordinate the youth rally at our church with Bill Myers.  Refreshing to think about making a difference in the lives of youth – differences that have eternal consequences!

So back to God’s waiting room!  I just realized, since we have lived here, I’ve attended nearly 20 funerals, but missed another 10, which were either held out-of-state, we were out-of-town, or there was no service (sadly one dear friend would not allow one to take place).  So in 7 years, 36 people have died that I had a relationship with (or with their family member) just here in Florida.   So maybe there is something to the fact Florida is known as God’s Waiting Room.

Well, this sounds like a morbid post today, but it is a fact of life!  So I guess you can say, I may be unwittingly becoming an expert in end of life matters.  As Christians, we do rejoice in the Blessed Assurance, not only will we be reunited with our dearly departed family and friends, but we will also be with our Heavenly Father for eternity!   We rejoice in the death process as it is a fact of life – we will all one day die: “And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment…”  (Hebrews 9:27)  For those who have given their lives to Jesus, we all know the scripture, John 3:16, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”  The good news is that as far as I know, all 36 made it into the Kingdom.  All had at one time or another, publically professed their belief in Jesus.   However, not all exited this world in good relationship with family members.  In fact, a few had many unresolved family issues and that is what I am most concerned with.  And the one who would not allow a funeral or memorial service had the most unresolved family issues.  (Did I mention my husband has an aversion to funerals?  If he shows up, and he did to about 4 of these, it is nothing short of a miracle!)

Years ago, when Billy Graham was in his late 80’s (he was born in 1918) or so, he confirmed what he knew where the Bible said, “Life is but a vapor.”  (He uses the Kings James translation of the Bible.)  I thought, well, ya, he is old so to him, I can see that!  But for me, I was still too young to think like that….even though the Bible warns us!  I have read and studied the book of James many, many times.  I think that book was written for me, in fact, because there is so much in it that seems directed at me!  But in all the times I read and studied it, this one particular scripture, James 4:14 in the New International Version did not hit me like it does today:  “Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow.  What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.”  Mist translated is also vapor!  Life is too short to have unresolved family issues!  Life is meant to be lived to the fullest!  And life is meant to consider the afterlife!

We have to be careful and not say to live however you want, but to know there are consequences in everything we do.  I think that is part of physics, which is beyond my intellect.   But what is within my intellect is what happens to people at the end of their lives.  If their death is not sudden, and all but one of the 36 were, they had time to prepare for their deaths.  They all wanted to be surrounded by their loved ones.  And for most, they were!  But for one person, with the many unresolved family issues, she only had her two daughters with her and a few close friends.  She had been estranged from her daughters for years.  And subsequently, she was estranged from their husbands, their children and grandchildren.  She wanted nothing more than to be with family but they could not resolve their issues until the very end.  fortunately, there was some reconciliation.  But there were lost years of family celebrations, weddings, birthdays, holidays.  Lost years of hugs, tears, laughter.

I guess what I loved most about Bill Myers visit was his favorite talk, about the Glory of God.  And that is what I want to end with!  No matter how we live our lives, we all will exit this world and for us Christians, we know that to be absent in the body is to be present with Jesus!

2 Corinthians 5:7-9 “For we walk by faith, not by sight.  We are confident, yes, well pleased rather to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord. Therefore we make it our aim, whether present or absent, to be well pleasing to Him.”

Chapter 14 – Garden of the Gods and Pikes Peak


(I missed up my last post so badly, here it is again, with corrections and new pictures!)

Nearly every visitor to Colorado Springs also visits the Garden of the Gods.  I remember visiting it many times as a young child living in the Springs .  I also remember the name seemed sacrilegious!   My dad never let us misuse the name of the Lord.  I recall once saying OMG (not the initials) and my dad having a stern talk with me!  So I would say, “Oh My GOSH” from then on.  As a mature adult, I now understand more clearly,  Philippians 2:9-11 “Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth,  and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”

Our niece Rachel moved to the Springs two years ago and I began to see family members trekking to the Gardens.  (I’ll admit, I was jealous and yearned to visit!)  Childhood memories crept back as  I questioned the name.  My dad satisfied me by saying the Indians named it and it was OK.  Well, what a surprise when I was finally able to visit it again, after a 50 year absence!

Rachel’s husband, Fernando took the picture of us with three-month old Baby Hadassah and Rachel at the visitor’s center.  What a view they designed for photo ops and what a surprise to learn Rachel and family had never come to the actual visitor’s center!  Bill and I love to learn as much about a location as we can when we are tourists.  So we watched the 20 minute high-definition movie about the creation of the gardens, from a geological perspective, the entire family history behind the actual gardens becoming a tourist attraction.  It is fascinating!

While I enjoyed the movie, what I learned was shocking to me, about the name that haunted me as a young child:   “The name of the park dates back to August 1859 when two surveyors helping to set up nearby Colorado City were exploring the nearby areas.  Upon discovering the site, one of the surveyors, M. S. Beach, suggested that it would be a ‘capital place for a beer garden.’  His companion, the young Rufus Cable, awestruck by the impressive rock formations, exclaimed, ‘Beer Garden! Why it is a fit place for the gods to assemble.  We will call it the Garden of the Gods.’  The beer garden never materialized, but the name stuck.”  So much for sacrilege!  I don’t think dad wanted me to know the truth!

The view is so beautiful, I just have to include it and reminisce how in awe we were with the mountains and scenery!  Colorado is a BEAUTIFUL state and we can’t wait to go back for about a month or so!  You can’t see enough in a week and how we felt we were in God’s country and enjoyed His creation:

1 Chronicles 16:31 “Let the heavens rejoice, let the earth be glad; let them say among the nations, ‘The LORD reigns!’”

I have so many other beautiful pictures, but I can’t figure out how to add them as a gallery, which this blog site says I can do.  I’ll keep working on it.  Anyway, we saw an elk and big horn sheep.  I did not get the best pictures of them, but did get some snapshots.  We also saw rock climbers climbing steep and high!  Those pictures also did not adequately capture the essence of the moment for us – FEAR!  Wow, brave people!  All this to say, you have to go there in person and enjoy a FULL day there!  The park is FREE as a promise from the man who ended up buying the gardens and willed it on to his family.

After the park visit, we went out to eat at a wonderful and local favorite Italian restaurant, Biaggios.  I forgot to get pictures!  Then off to see Rachel’s home….oh dear, I forgot to take pictures there, too!  Then off to our hotel that we thought would be shadowed by Pikes Peak.  Everything in Colorado Springs is shadowed by it in some way or another.  But again, no pictures of it!

Saturday, September 17 we picked Rachel and Hadassah up as Fernando had to work.  We had hoped to do some more hiking the day before, but ran out of time.  So before we took a train ride up to the top of Pikes Peak, we took a hike at their favorite new park.

After a wonderful time enjoying more of God’s creation, we went to the Pikes Peak Cog Train Station.  I don’t remember ever going to the top as a child, but I  remember seeing it from where we lived.  We were always in the shadow of the Peak!  We were told it would be 30 degrees colder at the top.  Snow was just beginning to accumulate once again on the top, so we knew it would be under 32 degrees.  We brought all the warm weather gear we could!  We were ready!


We had the best seat on the train, last seats so we had the view of the mountain as we climbed and descended. They ran a few trains at a time, so here is a view how the trains pass each other. It was an educational and entertaining ride up and back. I held Hadassah on the way down and let Bill be in charge of the camera….needless to say, we don’t have any pictures of the descent!

The snow began slowly and by the time we were on top, it was snowing pretty hard, windy and very cold. But worth every chill we felt!

I learned another important tidbit about America the Beautiful!  It was inspired and written after an English Professor visited the top of Pikes Peak.  But she did not visit when it was snowing!  There was a beautiful memorial to honor Katherine Lee Bates  (August 12, 1859 – March 28, 1929) for writing the lyrics.  She was teaching for the summer at the Colorado College and took the trip to the top of the mountain by a prairie wagon.  She wrote in her journal how exhausted she was once they reached the top, but when she saw the view, she was filled with joy!  And this beautiful anthem was born  (keep reading after to see how our vacation ended!):

America the Beautiful

 by Katharine Lee Bates
O beautiful for spacious skies,
For amber waves of grain,
For purple mountain majesties
Above the fruited plain!
America! America!
God shed his grace on thee
And crown thy good with brotherhood
From sea to shining sea!

O beautiful for pilgrim feet
Whose stern impassioned stress
A thoroughfare of freedom beat
Across the wilderness!
America! America!
God mend thine every flaw,
Confirm thy soul in self-control,
Thy liberty in law!

O beautiful for heroes proved
In liberating strife.
Who more than self their country loved
And mercy more than life!
America! America!
May God thy gold refine
Till all success be nobleness
And every gain divine!

O beautiful for patriot dream
That sees beyond the years
Thine alabaster cities gleam
Undimmed by human tears!
America! America!
God shed his grace on thee
And crown thy good with brotherhood
From sea to shining sea!

O beautiful for halcyon skies,
For amber waves of grain,
For purple mountain majesties
Above the enameled plain!
America! America!
God shed his grace on thee
Till souls wax fair as earth and air
And music-hearted sea!

O beautiful for pilgrims feet,
Whose stem impassioned stress
A thoroughfare for freedom beat
Across the wilderness!
America! America!
God shed his grace on thee
Till paths be wrought through
wilds of thought
By pilgrim foot and knee!

O beautiful for glory-tale
Of liberating strife
When once and twice,
for man’s avail
Men lavished precious life!
America! America!
God shed his grace on thee
Till selfish gain no longer stain
The banner of the free!

O beautiful for patriot dream
That sees beyond the years
Thine alabaster cities gleam
Undimmed by human tears!
America! America!
God shed his grace on thee
Till nobler men keep once again
Thy whiter jubilee!

After our descent, we dropped Rachel and Hadassah off at home, where they were greeted by Fernando – how he wished he had taken the day off! We had plans for us all to meet our nephew in Castle Rock. We had just enough time to take a drive through our old neighborhood. While most of the neighborhood was still in tact and a very nice part of the Springs, it looked like our house was gone. Memories of my childhood flooded through my memory in a refreshing way! I am so glad I had so many happy childhood memories I could share with Bill.

We finished our vacation with a fun dinner with Matt, Rachel, Fernando and a still very happy baby Hadassah.  It was so sad to see the vacation end, but we vowed we will return!

Chapter 13 – Colorado Vacation Part 2


We had no idea what we were in for when we made our reservations at Beaver Creek, Colorado.  We are bargain shoppers, believing we should be good stewards with what God has given us.  “And if you are untrustworthy about worldly wealth, who will trust you with the true riches of heaven?”  Luke 16:15.  I know by many standards, we are wealthy, but we only have any wealth because we began to live by God’s standards in our 14th year together.  We have both always worked, Bill doing “side jobs” for most of his life to supplement our income.  We should have been “rolling in dough” but in fact, we lived pay check to pay check until after our remarriage.  We just didn’t understand the theory of reciprocity:  The more you give the more you receive!  What really solidified it for us was Proverbs 22:7 “The rich rule over the poor and the borrower is slave to the lender.”  We did not want to be borrowers and slaves! And finally, “No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to one and despise the other.  You cannot serve God and wealth.” (Matthew 6:24)

We just heard a great teaching by Pastor Andy Stanley.  To simplify it, he showed how he has taught his children to divide any financial gifts into thirds, putting the money in jars:  1/3 to give, 1/3 to save and 1/3 to spend.  He was surprised to see how his children’s spending jar stabilized as their giving and saving grew!  And that has been how it is with us.  The more we give, the more we save, the more we have!

All this to say, we bargained shopped for this vacation!  Bill has subscribed to TravelZoo.com, where we find many bargains!  We had two free tickets to fly on Jet Blue (that is another story) and I have been wanting to go to Colorado.  Bill saw a bargain at Beaver Creek.  I asked some relatives about Beaver Creek and none had been there, but heard it was nice…so that was all we needed.  Upon arrival, we found out that is a very elite ski resort!  We can’t imagine what it would be like during the ski season, since we don’t like the cold (or snow), the off-season was perfect for us!

Reminiscing, if we had to pick a year to be the best year of our lives, where we consistently were blessed with goodness, it would be 2003 – 2004.  What made it so special was that we decided to start hiking.  We were only about an hour away from the Shenandoah National Park where the Appalachian Trail meanders through hills and valleys!   We were both on great shape and life was sweet!  Soon after, we moved to Florida and our hiking stopped.  We wanted to recapture that with our vacation and we did!

Sunday, September 11, 2011:  We arrived at our resort around 2:00 pm.  The ride there took our breath away, but upon arrival, we continued to be in awe of the majesty of God’s creation!  The sky is so blue in Colorado, unlike our blue Florida sky’s, a deeper blue!  Check in is at 4, but our room was ready! We couldn’t wait to unload our car, change clothes and go for a walk.  We needed to acclimate to the mile high or so elevation above sea level.  So a nice stroll around Beaver Creek was in order, plus drinking lots of water!

One view of Beaver Creek from our room 

The mountains took me back to wonderful childhood memories of living in Colorado Springs from about age 3 to 9. Bill loved the mountains we had in Virginia, but they were nothing to what we were experiencing here. We couldn’t wait to go hiking!  But first, we had to get acclimated.   So we strolled downtown and found Beaver Creek, the creek runs right through the town! It was so refreshing!

This is the Beaver Creek!

Tram

Overlooking Glenwood Springs

Once at the top of the tram, we had time for lunch before the cave tour. This was the view we had.  I wish I had a 3D camera!

Cave Cross 

So my favorite picture inside, as you can imagine, was of an illuminated cross! My picture was not the best, but it was so cool to hear the cave guide point it out to us! Ah, as Louie Giglio shows us, our God is Indescribable and He is everywhere, from the end of the universe, the Hubble Cross, to Laminin, the rebar of the human body! Bill was given a job as we went from room to room, to close the door as we all entered the different rooms! There were about 15 of us, including one young child. He did amazingly well!  A highlight was when the tour guide had us turn off all of our own lights/cell phones and then she turned out the interior lighting. It was pitch black. I thought the child would cry, but his dad had him prepared! Here is a picture of us as we exited one part of the caves onto the side of the mountain!

Cave Ledge

Also on the side of the mountain is a ride, a huge swing that goes 55 mph! No thanks, we passed and were just happy to stand on the ledge!

Next was to go to the hot springs lodge and enjoy the huge swimming pool from the natural springs! What a joy to relive a childhood memory!

Bath house
Hot springs pool

I didn’t remember the swimming lanes. But I certainly used them on this day! The water temperature is always 105. That works best when it is cool or even cold outside. In fact, I remember being here with snow on the ground! It was about 85 degrees but the air was still cool, a bit of a breeze. So as I finish out, speaking of breezes, two neighbors came over for coffee and tea yesterday. We sat out on our lanai (or patio for northerners) and enjoyed a nice breeze rustling in the trees. Eileen said it reminded her of a scripture, Psalm 96:12: “…let all the trees of the forest sing for joy.”

Chapter 12 – Our Colorado vacation


We have lived a charmed and blessed life.  That does not mean we have  not had much pain and suffering, but that we have survived it all to enjoy another day!  We are approaching our twilight years.  Our past has given us much time and perspective to look back on our lives as well as to look forward to how we can make the most of what time we have left on this earth.  But I am reminded of Proverbs 16:9 “In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps.”

As we began our trip, Bill read about a man who was conflicted on attending the funeral of his ex-mother-in-law.  The man wanted to attend and thought it was the right thing to do even though there were many obstacles.  His new fiance, who is asking for the advice, asked if flowers and a card would be enough.  The response was that if the man thinks he should show up, as the newly beloved, she should make it as easy as she can for him to do what he thinks is the right thing.  Bill liked the answer which included, “help him achieve what he values rather than telling him what to value.”

If you love your spouse, you will help them do what they feel is right and then you will support them in their decisions even if you disagree.  And our postscript – if it turns out to be a bad decision, love them, please don’t say, “I knew it was the wrong decision.”  This is part of our BEST Principal (see Chapter 7 – RX for the BEST marriage).  But even better is to pray as a couple about what is right and what WE should do!  We do like to do things as a couple, what is best for our relationship, for our health, our safety?

This is where we are in our lives.  It has been a journey trying to figure out how to live happily ever after, let alone in these tough economic times!  How do we fully support each other in our hopes and dreams?  We started out young, dumb, naive but in love!  But we had so many problems early on (wanting our own way or neglecting to ask each other our opinion) so it was hard to support each other.  Sadly, like so many, we did not really know or understand what love is.  (see Chapter 5, “Just what is love anyway?”)  We have now figured it out and are doing all we can to support each other!

Bill wants to travel to places he has never seen (that is just about anywhere) and I want to combine our travel to visit family (we have family all over this country that we need to see)!  Bill likes a slow pace, easy-going, no hassles, no schedules, no obligations.  I love life in the fast lane, so much to do in so little time and I am an organization freak!  Give me a schedule and I flourish!

Do you see any possible conflicts?  But after over 36 years together, we have learned to dance in the kitchen (he is the cook and I am the cleaner upper) and in our travels.  Caveat – I can’t keep tune to the beat of any music, so I am not talking ballroom dancing!  I just figured out how to pace myself to him, while keeping myself otherwise occupied or rather, out of his way as he whips up our dinner in 15 minutes or less!

This past week in Colorado was only our second really exciting trip in the past six years – since I retired from my first career.  One of our best was to celebrate our 35th with our daughter and new son-in-law on a cruise.  In fact, as we look back, we have not taken many week-long vacations!  We’ve actually only had about 5 one week vacations in all that time.  We got into a habit of long weekends, three or four days.  Why?  Because we are workaholics and just did not feel we could “afford” to take more time off!

So on September 10, 2011, off to Denver we flew!  A week in the mountains – what could be more exciting?  And the bonus, we have a nephew in Denver and a niece, her 3 month old baby and husband in Colorado Springs.  More exciting is that I lived in Colorado Springs for six years, from ages 3 to 9 (or thereabouts).  Ah, the wonderful childhood memories I was able to relive!  Bill was not sure about some of the things I wanted to do, but he supported me.  So we danced together to make this a fabulous vacation!

Hadassah!If you know me, you know I love babies!  Upon arriving in Denver, we meet our niece, Rachel, her husband Fernando and three-month old Hadassah for lunch!  I snatched Hadassah from Fernando and began loving on her!  She is so beautiful and easy to love!  I held her as much as possible and only had to give her quickly to her mom when she was hungry!

Haddassah, Rachel and HannahSo to make things even more special, we were joined by Hannah, Rachel’s cousin.   Hannah, a college student, is a gifted dancer!  She is using her talents to grow closer to the Lord in a dance troupe of like-minded students.  We missed her first performance by a few hours, but she sent us a link to watch it!  We are all so proud of her!

After we ate, we ventured downtown without Hannah.  I don’t remember Denver being such a beautiful and clean city!  And I even forgot it was the Capitol – I think the elevation got to me!  We walked around a Memorial Park to Veterans and then strolled downtown.

Bill is musical and performed a sweet melody for me!  Then off we went to our hotel and had a great night sleep to prepare us for our journey to Beaver Creek, a very nice resort in the Rockies.  We had no idea how exciting the drive would be to our destination!  When we lived in Virginia, we enjoyed Shenandoah National Park, taking day hikes on the Appalachian trails.

We are trying to stop and smell the roses.  On our journey there, I discovered I needed more gum to help my ears acclimate to the mountains.   So the first exit we see is to Buffalo Bill’s grave and a museum on Lookout Mountain.  Bill was hesitant to stop there, saying they did not advertise a store….How many times have we been to a museum and they did not have a store?  So he reluctantly took the exit and we had one of our most exciting times of the week!

Exit to Lookout Mountain. House on a hill. Water Carves Canyons.

The view up to the top of the mountain was breathtaking, as was almost all of the Rockies and the blue sky!  It was a long, winding steep road up to the top.  Amazingly, we saw hundreds of bike riders on the way up and down!  That is what these people do for fun!

Anyway, at the top, we took time out to learn about the legendary Buffalo Bill (a scout, showman and visionary), saw the grave site he picked out (because he said you could see four states from the view) and visited the informative museum.  It was well worth the diversion from our trip to the resort.  And we were able to buy me some gum to help my ears in the elevation!

Later that day, we arrived in one of the most beautiful resorts we could imagine, Beaver Creek, nestled in Avon and just down the road from Vail.

Stay tuned for the next blog with more pictures and details about our fabulous vacation, which included me reliving some of my favorite childhood memories!

Chapter 11 – September 11, 2011


I recently shared with a two close friends that my next blog was going to be about a disease Bill and I both suffer from and how we are searching for a cure – Workaholism.  But today is our first day of a week-long vacation – first long one since we cruised with our daughter and new son-in-law.

As we begin our day, missing our church family, we have the History Channel on, which is totally reliving the day, all the footage, and now, we are listening to the story of the Miracle of Stairwell B, (I think there were 14 in there) inside the South tower.  No one survived in the north tower.  One statement stood out by a 33-year-old firefighter as he faced death  (he was one of the 14 survivors):  “All I have ever done is work and now I am going to die.”

Do I need to say more?

Today, in solemn honor and respect for these survivors, for the survivors on the streets, for all the rescue operations, for the NYFD, NYPD, FBI, all the first responders, and even for the rest of the country who watched – we were all witnesses, I just want to close with my favorite scripture.

In my times of deepest distress, these words give me the comfort I need:  2 Corinthians 1:3-4  “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.”

Chapter 9 The Good, the Bad, the Ugly


I know I am dating myself, but I loved this Clint Eastwood movie.  So when I told Bill this was our next topic, he was surprised!  He asked, “Is there bad and ugly in our marriage?”  Men don’t see life the same way us women do, in case anyone reading this does not already know this!  (smile)

Bill never thought there was anything wrong with our first marriage.  I used to say he had his head in the sand.  But did he really?  He never wanted to see the bad or ugly. And he still doesn’t. We have learned so much and our second marriage is heavenly – but not perfect! There is no perfection on this earth – we only get to look forward to it in our afterlife!  

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” John 3:16           

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“Being married to you is like riding a bull!”


I love my husband so much! He is so funny! My next post was going to be called, “the good, the bad, the ugly.” But life this morning was just too amazing so a preview of the good, the bad and the ugly, so I have to share a quick blog.

I remember the first Marriage Bible study we took was under Rev. Paige Young and his wife Sibby at Ferry Farm Baptist Church.  They became our role models! Anyway one block was on learning to describe your marriage through illustrations (Jesus taught by parables because our human brains can’t grasp how deep and wide His love and creation is). Bill said I was like a bulldozer!!! Can you imagine how I felt? He quickly added, “in a good way!” He then went on to compliment me on how I get things done! Phew, I was worried for a few minutes.

So fast forward to todays wild bull ride. I had a flight scheduled to be with our daughter for three days. We live in Florida and she lives in Virginia. We cherish our precious time together. I checked in on-line last night (8/15/2011) and was about to walk out the door to drive myself to the Orlando airport at 9:15 am. My flight departed at 1:00 pm and I would arrive in Richmond at 3:00 pm. My sister was going to drive up from Tidewater to meet us, shop a bit, go to dinner, then we were going to attend a special meeting with Jessica. She was going to share some major accomplishments in her life! Wow, what mom wouldn’t want to be there?

My husband is not into much computing (or flying, btw). He does enjoy on-line Sudoko and does some research for things like vacations, cheap tools, or as the president of our Deacons this term, looking for parts to change our nursery cribs from drop down fronts, which were just made illegal, to stop the drop. He has a junk email account and only goes in it periodically.

As I was scurrying around to leave, he was relaxing (or as he may admit, staying out of my way) he checked his account. He saw it and thought it was junk, then took a second look: “Debbie, your flight was cancelled and you are now booked to fly tomorrow!” I said, “don’t joke with me.” (Why on earth would this important news go to his account that he hardly uses???)

Admittedly he hates it when we are apart. I looked at it and called the airline. Yep it was true! So instead of being a bulldozer, I became a wild bull! For the next hour he witnessed my highs and lows as I tried to get another flight!

I posted a prayer request on Facebook while on hold. I needed a miracle and I needed to be CALM. Ok, I got my miracle but I was hardly calm! I can’t begin to write all the scenarios, but I said I would pay any price to get there on time! Bill was praying I cancel the whole trip or at least not spend money we did not have budgeted. 💸

And I was given a miracle.  Bill ended up driving me there so I could make my 1:38 flight time! I’ll just be in 40 minutes later, but was still able to have dinner and attend the meeting! No time to shop. Miraculously, the flight was discounted for all my hassles (I had to get a supervisor after it looked impossible to get me there.)

So I am praising God for yet another miracle in my life! Thank you my Heavenly Father for your mercy and good gifts!

I added to my prayer request for all to please pray for Bill’s safe trip home. He had a doctor appointment this afternoon. It is about a 5 hour round trip for him!

PS – I checked on the blog on August 22, 2011.  How funny it was now our most read blog posts!  And many wanted to know, how did the trip go?  First, Bill made it safely to the doctor’s office and it all was good for him (just to check on a spot).  My flight was the smoothest ever!  I made it with only minutes to spare, and because the plane arrived a bit late!  I arrived at the gate at 1:13 and the doors were to close at 1:15. They had not started to board. Thank you LORD for your mercy!  My sister, daughter and I had a wonderful evening together! Jessica and I seem to compete on who takes the most time time get out the door – so on the way to the airport Thursday, once again, we are played beat the clock!  AGAIN, only minutes to spare!  As we are fighting through traffic to get there on time, she said, “Don’t worry mom, I WILL get you there on time!”  LOL!  We did, again, with only a few minutes wait time until I boarded the plane!  Now, both flights were out of small airports, otherwise, I never would have made it! Ft. Lauderdale and Richmond, VA airports – my two favorites.

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April 11, 2021 – We have had this blog since 2011. It started out as a way to hopefully help other marriages not fail or suffer as ours did. In 2013, our focus changed as we became grandparents. We began to blog about our travels with a few updates on the health of our relationship. Many thought we were crazy to live in 400 square feet, only have one automobile and just be together 24/7/365. And here we are, today celebrating our marriage 46 years ago. We did hit some VERY bumpy roads. But we are SO GRATEFUL we are still together. Now we are wondering what should we do with this website? I’m downloading these marriage “journals” to convert into a “table book” to take into our old age – to have something to laugh about as our memories wane!  If you see any errors or want clarification, just comment or reach out to me. I think my email is listed.

Chapter 7 – RX for the BEST marriage


The last post I shared some of the things that killed our relationship.  Today I want to share one simple formula and principle which restored our relationship, our marriage and our love life – again from Love Life for Every Married Couple – how to fall in love, stay in love, rekindle your love.  I will guarantee if you incorporate these basic principles into your daily life, you will see other relationships improve as well.  I know this works because it worked for us and I am a HUGE testimony about how this simple phrase can change your life.  Anything good that has happened to me by my own will and chosing to do RIGHT thing (I have made horrible and destructive decisions and thank God I am forgiven) is based upon the Bible.

In Romans 12:2, we are told to

… not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is–His good, pleasing and perfect will.”

I believe this scripture with my whole being and Bill knows that I have allowed it to work to improve our marriage.  However, he will be the first one to tell you, I still have a lot of renewing to do!!!  It is never too early or to late to put this into practice.

As a reminder, I used to do some husband bashing.  I focused on everything bad about Bill.  I stopped looking at his goodness and all the traits I initially “fell in love” with and began to not like him.  I gave up on our relationship, felt it was hopeless and sought the divorce.  I did not previously write that when we divorced, it was three strikes and Bill was out.  There were two other key times when I cried out to Bill there was something wrong in our marriage.

In our seventh year of marriage, called the typical “7 year itch” that I was not happy with the direction of our marriage.  So after lots of heart to hearts and lots of yelling and acting out (we also were not in a church or even really looking to God for direction at this point), Bill decided it was time to have a baby (yes, my biological clock was ticking and I really wanted a child for years.  Bill was holding off until he thought we could “afford” a baby.)  I did love Bill and he loved me and we wanted a child.  But our marriage was on shaky grounds.  I really wanted to be back in church, but Bill was still soured on some bad past experiences.

I looked to God during this time and even prayed “Hannah’s prayer.”  We read about it in 1 Samuel that Hannah was greatly loved by her husband but she was unable to become pregnant.  She became more and more distraught and we find the account in 1 Samuel 1:10-11 “In bitterness of soul Hannah wept much and prayed to the Lord.  And she made a vow, saying, ‘O Lord Almighty, if you will only look upon your servant’s misery and remember me, and not forget your servant but give her a son, then I will give him to the Lord for all the days of his life, and no razor will ever be used on his head.'”

While I did not look this up and fully identify, I remembered that Hannah really wanted a child and prayed this prayer and offered her child back up to the Lord.  And that was what I did.  I did not ask for a son or a daughter, I simply asked God to give us a healthy child.  God gave Hannah Samuel and we know the rest of that story, hopefully!  Well, God gave me Jessica and those who know her know, what a blessing she is to everyone she meets!  She has a heart of gold and helps people everyday in her work.  She helps her friends and her neighbors.  But mostly, she loves her mom!  Oh, and she also loves her dad and her husband (note added: She has since had two boys and she loves them as no other mother could!)….she is amazing and to know her is to know love!

After 10 years of marriage, I “cracked up” again and tried to separate.  We went to counseling for one session.  The marriage counselor said we had to tell her what we wanted her to do.  Did we want her to help us restore and save our marriage or did we want her to help us dissolve the marriage?  I said I didn’t know, I wanted her to tell us what we should do!  Needless to say, we never went back and somehow we muddled through and did all we could to be the best parents possible!  Jessica was such a good child and so easy to raise, she really was the glue we needed at that time.

But as you read in my earlier posts, things came to a head again and I just decided the marriage was over.  I had tried to get Bill on three separate occasions to change as he promised (each time he knew he needed to do something, but honestly, he just didn’t know what he needed to do! ) No one told us there was a marriage manual (the Bible or if you need it spelled out succinctly, Dr. Ed Wheat has done all the hard work and put it in an easy to read book mentioned above), so our marriage fell apart…but our God is faithful!  He not only restored our relationship, He gave us the new and improved version!  We continue to praise Him and thank Him everyday for our miracle!

So what did we learn to make our lives better?  Not bash my husband nor he cut me down.  How I now wish I not only applied this to our marriage, but to other relationships – at least the BE part of the principle.   So under conviction, I am now going to stop bashing ANYONE!!!  Ok, even politicians.  Our Lord knows they need our prayers and love more than anyone, jerks that most of them are…OK, so I am a work in progress….

Before Dr. Wheat gives this principle, he hopes you have accepted all the five ways of loving and he devotes several chapters to each of the different ways a couple should love each other.  He even gets pretty explicit with the sex part, so buy the book as I am not going to post any of that part!

Here is our SECRET!!!  Starting in his Chapter 13, page 237, Prescription for a Superb Marriage, he says this involves a practical course of action for husband and wife (but trust me, it applies to all relationships) that is both uncomplicated and effective.  “You will be able to remember it easily because it is called the B-E-S-T, acronym which represents the four positive elements that will transform any marriage.  These are not steps to be tried one at a time, but four measures to be taken simultaneously and maintained consistently.  If necessary, they can be implemented by either partner alone.  In many cases you will have to make the first move without any promise of cooperation of the other (my note:  if your marriage or relationship is on rocky ground).  So if you want the best marriage possible with the mate you have chosen, then give your partner the BEST!”

So after we learned this principle and allowed God to renew our minds about each other, we no longer cut each other down or bash each other to others.  Think about it, if you know either one of us, have you ever heard us say a negative thing about each other?  Or heard us even jokingly cut one another down?  If one of us started down that road, we simply whispered lovingly, BEST, and the bad words stopped!

I have summarized the principle and keep it handy on my computer to share with anyone as needed.  So not quoting directly from the book, here it is:

1)      Blessing – Perhaps you have never thought of blessing as a practical element to be introduced into marriage.  The principle of blessing is a biblical one, and the Christian is commanded to practice it, most particularly in response to annoyance or provocation.  Learning this important technique of response will carry you through the difficult moments that occur in any marriage and will bring peace to the troubled waters of your relationship.  The practice of blessing puts an end to the volley of sharp words that mars so many love affairs, and that is only the beginning of its benefits for you.

The word “blessing” (eulogia) in the New Testament is based upon two Greek words:  eu meaning “well” and logos, meaning “word.”  The first way of blessing your marriage partner is to speak well of him or her, and to respond with good words even when your partner’s speech becomes harsh, critical, or insulting…..To put this in the most practical terms, you have the power to bless your marriage by the words you speak to your partner.  You can also bless by learning when to be silent.

Three other aspects of blessing are found in Scripture.  You bless by bestowing practical benefits upon, simply by doing kind things for another person….You also bless by showing thankfulness and appreciation….Finally, you bless by calling God’s favor down in prayer.

To sum up:  1)  through your good and loving words spoken to him (her) about him (her); 2)  through your practical behavior, which shows loving kindness toward him (her) in actions large and small; 3)  through conveying your attitude of thankfulness and appreciation; 4)  through your prayer to God on your spouse’s behalf.  Good words, kind actions, thankful appreciation, and intercessory prayer for your spouse.

Ephesians 4:29:  “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.”

2)      Edifying – A biblical term often used in the New Testament, refers to the building up of individuals…in every aspect of your spouse’s personality, cheering him (her) on in every area of life, and increasing his (her) sense of self-worth with the result that his (her) capacity to love and give of himself (herself) would be increased as well….

The New Testament Greek word for “edify” is oikodomeo, a combination of two words:  oikos, meaning a family, home, or house, and demo, meaning to build.  While you are edifying and building each other up, you are also building a home together….We find as we study the New Testament passages that speak of edifying that three golden strands are interwoven:  personal encouragement, inner strengthening, and the establishment of peace and harmony between individuals….

”Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing” (1 Thessalonians 5:11 NIV).  1 Corinthians 8:1 sums up the matter of edifying: “Love builds up” (NIV).

But how do you build up your mate?  A careful study of New Testament principles and the example of the Song of Solomon indicates that husbands and wives each have their own ways of edifying.  In brief, the husband edifies his wife by praising her.  The wife edifies her husband by her loving response to him.

Husbands are commanded in Ephesians 5 to nourish and cherish their wives.  This is at least partially accomplished through the giving of verbal praise and encouragement.  A wife’s sense of her own beauty depends greatly on what her husband thinks of her.  She needs to be nourished emotionally with praise and never diminished by criticism, especially in the areas where she feels most insecure and vulnerable.  She needs to be cherished in public and the test if this is how her husband treats her socially…. Remember, edification builds up, never tears down.  So love gives your partner freedom to grow and develop as a person without fear of failure and fear of hurtful criticism.

Biblically, the wife best edifies her husband by her response to him.  In the full meaning of the language of the Greek New Testament, the wife is told to respect, admire, be in awe of, defer to, revere, adore, esteem, praise and deeply love her husband….God has designed marriage so that a husband is dependent on the affirmation of his wife, the appreciation she shows him for all that he gives her, and her demonstration of respect for his manhood.

Colossians 3:16  “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God.”

3)      Sharing – The more ways you can find to be in relationship with each other, the stronger your love will become.  Sharing should touch all areas of life—your time, activities, interests, concerns, ideas, innermost thoughts, spiritual walk, family objectives, goals, etc.  Sharing demands giving of yourself, listening to your partner, and as you live life together, developing a sensitive awareness of moments that offer possibilities for deepening the love between you.  Yes, this too is a biblical principle as the husband and wife are to become one flesh.

Genesis 2:24 and Ephesians 5:31: “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.”

4)      Touching (non-sexual) – God created us with hundreds of thousands of microscopic nerve endings in our skin designed to sense and benefit from a loving touch.  A tender touch tells us that we are cared for.  It can calm our fears, soothe pain, bring us comfort, or give us the blessed satisfaction of emotional security.  As adults, touching continues to be a primary means of communicating with those we love, whether we are conscious of it or not.  (My note:  I think the more non-sexual touching a woman gets the more of the other the man gets!)

After 36 years of marriage (ok, on and off, as we did divorce but we have been together in one flesh since April 11, 1975) we testify that this prescription will help your marriage be as full and loving as God intended it!  We call this the BEST principle!

35th Anniversary Picture

What destroys marriages – or at least destroyed ours?


DestructionMost couples start off madly “in love” where they only see the good in each other, right?  I know we did.  I don’t think anyone becomes a couple with the idea they will break up one day.  I know we professed our undying love for each other and I know we vowed to love one another until death do us part.  So what happened?  Why did we divorce?  We don’t think we are the exception to the rule.  We think what happened to us, happens to so many others.  A general once said, “The only way to win a war is to prevent a war.”  And that is true in marriages:  the only way to not divorce (or break up) is to prevent a divorce!  Again, I highly recommend Dr. Ed Wheat’s book, Love Life for Every Married Couple how to fall in love, stay in love, rekindle your love to EVERY couple, married or not, to every person who wants to marry and to those anyone in the middle of breaking up!  We were sorry we did not read it before we were married, but it had not yet been written!

So what went wrong?  At the time, I used the excuse, “we grew apart.”  What does that mean and how does it happen?  For one, it means that you let your marriage die, you let other people and things take the place of your spouse.  For me, I know my job became a huge distraction and barrier in our marriage.  I know that was where a lot of that “growing apart” started.

I know another area that harmed our relationship was my female colleagues and I would get together over lunch and “male bash” our spouses!  What is with that?  Why tear down your mate to others?  What did we hope to accomplish?  Make life better for everyone?  Well, I guess when they say, “misery loves company” it applies to spousal bashing.  I do know men do it as much if not more than women when they get together!  Or is it about equal?  The man I am married to today is the same man I used to bash, tear down, and think poorly of – but NO MORE! OK, common sense says, if you say you don’t like something long enough, you are going to not like that something.  I know this is true because I began to dislike my husband!  I saw every fault, every weakness, every undesirable trait real or imagined!  So no wonder we grew apart!  I was going the wrong way!

Money problems are also a huge issue in marriages, but somehow, that did not initially drive a wedge between us.  Why?  Bill just totally trusted me with the money!  So how could we fight?  That is until he saw the check book one time and I had some numbers in red.  “What’s that mean?” he asked.  “Oh, don’t worry, my paycheck will be deposited tomorrow and all these checks will be covered!”  I had been a bank teller while in college and learned about the three-day “float.”  That was back in the old days – money is now moved electronically and I don’t recommend taking any chances.  Bill decided he could not trust me after that so he began to keep his own stash of money (he was running a cash business at the time).  So do you think this could put a wedge between us?  The lack of trust is a sure-fire way to douse your romantic embers!

However, we were blessed financially in that we both had the ability to earn a descent living.  So combined, we should have been rolling in dough, as they used to say (this blog is making me feel old as I seem to only recall the old sayings!)  But Bill discovered we were virtually living pay check to pay check!  Did you know there are more scriptures in the Bible about money than any other one topic?  So that tells me that talking about money is very important!  While we were not really driven to earn money for the sake of earning it, we just wanted to live comfortably.  We never felt we were guilty of 

For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.” 1 Timothy 6:10

But we hoarded our money!  We just tried to hold onto it and felt we could not really spare to give any way.  I don’t think we were perceived as being selfish, we just did not make it a habit to share what we thought we did not have!  We never knew about the theory of reciprocity which again has roots in the Bible. 

 Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” Luke 6:38

When we remarried, we became members of a church – the first time as a couple.  We still recall the very first Sunday School lesson that really convicted us and helps us to become faithful to whatever church we felt God planted us in!  Pastor Gentner was teaching us on what type of Christians were we, “grasshoppers” or…oh no, I can’t remember anything else!  But we knew we did not want to be grasshoppers and we settled into a wonderful Bible teaching and preaching church (Laurel Hill Bible Church in New Jersey).  When we moved to Virginia, we felt led to Ferry Farm Baptist Church and in our last move, New Covenant Presbyterian Church, PCA in Florida.  The next thing we learned was the importance and value of tithing!  There are so many scriptures about tithing that come from the Old Testament and talk about old terminology, I don’t want to quote anything at this point (feel free to add some scriptures in the comment section) but suffice it to say, we felt from what we learned in the New Testament, that the Lord should lead you to give what you can.  When we divorced, we had lost our wealth and started from scratch.  Bill also decided to go to college and not work while he would also take care of Jessica rather than have her in day care.  We had to learn to budget and we counted every penny!  We decided we would just start with the 10% and took it off the top, then lived on whatever was left over.  As time went on, we felt led to give to others, beside our church, in addition to that 10%.  Eventually, I began to use Quicken to manage our finances and saw I could make a pie chart of how we spent our money and I loved to see our tithing and charitable giving part grow bigger each year.  Can you guess what happened?  The more we gave the more we seemed to have!  I just love it!

“The grass is always greener on the other side” was a saying we grew up hearing.  Is it ever said anymore?  I think it is holds true.  The Bible warns us to not covet….you know, your neighbor’s house, wife (or spouse) or anything your neighbor owns (The 10th Commandment as located in Exodus 10:17 and Deuteronomy 5:21).  Why?  It makes us not like what we have and want what we see!   I want to reinforce that what the Bible teaches us about every day living, finances and also teaching us about relationships!  There are such simple concepts, like the Golden Rule (is that still taught?) which is contained specifically in two scriptures in the New Testament (Matthew 7:12 and Luke 6:31) but also is found in Old Testament scripture Leviticus 19:18.  The bottom line is that longing for what others have only makes you NOT want what you have!

In one marriage class we took, they talked about how couples sweep things under the carpet, such as your resentments and/or unresolved issues.  Bill hates confrontations and never wanted to fight – so we just swept things under the carpet!  For those who know us, we moved a lot – now you may know why!  There was too much dirt we had to move!  (LOL)  What a shock when we finally turned to the Bible to set our marriage straight (and that was after we read Dr. Wheat’s book – which squarely puts all love life into Biblical context) and discovered –

In your anger do not sin”: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry….” Ephesians 4:26

What happens when you take your anger or resentments to bed with you?  That was our revelation – when you go to bed angry, how is your love life?  Talk about growing apart?

Bill’s favorite scriptures and really the thing that set our love life back on track, in addition to all of the above, were – 

Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure…” Hebrews 13:4

AND

The husband should fulfill his marital duty to his wife, and likewise the wife to her husband.” 1 Corinthians 7:3 

Enough said….

Chapter 5 Just what is love anyway?


My heart is breaking.  I woke up early to news that another couple is splitting up.  It hurts so much to break up – I know!  And to prevent that from happening, I pray every person who is in a relationship, wants to be in a relationship, or is healing from a broken relationship will read my blogs, and especially this one…it is the key to marital bliss, to a love affair that marriages are meant to be, to a divine love and something I had to find.  Married or not, if you are living with each other without the “paper” you are in essence “married” and our experiences could be beneficial.

In my last blog post, I introduced the topic of marital love.  The word “love” has so many connotations in our culture.  After our divorce, I felt so miserable, how did we lose the love we once had?  What was love anyway?  How do you stay in love?  I loved being married, but my marriage lost its love.

Being a trained investigator by profession and training, I was going to figure this love thing out! I love to do research, so I found the perfect source, being a Christian, it was in the Bible!  And the supplemental book I used, which comes straight from the Bible, was a book written by Ed Wheat, M.D. and Gloria Oakes Perkins. I am going to quote directly from several pages in Chapter 5 that clearly explains love, or rather, the five facets of love!

You see, marital love is not just a simple act or emotion.  It is a range of actions and a range of emotions.  The GREAT news is that you will experience what I call “divine” love (and I now have it in my life) when all these are in place (and trust me, it is not hard to allow these all to flourish in your relationship – buy the book if you need help in restoring your love).  As Dr. Wheat started the book out and states later, after these quotes, marriage was designed to be a love affair!

Directly from “Love Life for Every Married Couple – How to fall in love, stay in love, rekindle your love”:  Chapter Five: Ways of Loving, picking up on page 63 through 68:

You cannot pick and choose the kind of love you prefer and discard the others.  Each builds on the other. Each has its own special, significant place, as you will find when you begin putting all these loves into practice in your marriage.  But if they are quite distinctive, they are also interrelated so that the physical, emotional, and spiritual processes overlap  and reinforce each other in the act of loving.

The first facet of love we will consider is suggested by a Greek word the Bible never calls love. However, it describes a very important aspect of the love affair between a husband and wife. This word is epithumia, a strong desire of any kind – sometimes good, sometimes bad. It means to set the heart on; to long for, rightfully or otherwise; or it can mean to covet. When used in the Bible in a negative way, it is translated lust. When used in a positive way, it is translated desire, and this is the meaning we refer to. In marriage, husband and wife should have a strong physical desire for each other that expresses itself in pleasurable sexual lovemaking.

Sex is not the most important aspect of your relationship, but it is a definite indicator of the health of your marriage.  If tension exists in other areas of your life, it will usually show up in your sex life. On the other hand, if you have no sexual closeness, your total relationship may be affected as a result. Sometimes your sexual responders are turned off because of various pressures of problems.  This is not uncommon and can, in almost every case, be remedied.  Even while you are trying to work out other problem areas of your relationship, you can learn physical  communication together and experience mutual pleasure in your sexual life, so that restoring and building sexual desire becomes and important part of the whole experience of falling in love with your mate….The facet of love known as physical desire should never be ignored in a marriage.

The next aspect of love to be discussed comes from a familiar Greek word that does not appear in the New Testament, although its Hebrew counterpart is used in the Old Testament. I (Dr. Ed Wheat) am speaking of eros, the love that, more than any other kind carries with it the idea of romance. We might think of eros as totally fleshly because of our English word “erotic,” but this is not the case.  Eros is not always sensual, but it includes the idea of yearning to unite with and the desire to possess the beloved. Eros is romantic, passionate, and sentimental. It is often the starting point for marriage, being the kind of love that lovers fall into and write songs and poetry about.  It has been called rapture … exquisite  pleasure … strong, sweet and terrifying because it is so all-absorbing.  (My noteIs this why many do not want to commit to marriage?)

Eros has a problem, however.  It needs help because it is changeable and cannot last a lifetime all by itself.  Eros wants to promise that the relationship will last forever, but Eros cannot keep that promise alone.

At this point, we need to draw a line between foolish temporary infatuations and the true romantic love to be found in a God-designed marriage. Infatuation has been defined as an emotional and fleshly response to false impressions or mere externals of another that have been overvalued or lusted after.  By contrast, genuine falling in love is a spiritual, mental, emotional, and physical response to the actual character and total being of another who embodies attributes long sought and admired.

Eros love, when enjoyed in the lasting context of Christian marriage, offers wonderful emotions and personal rewards that are the gift and creation of God Himself.  This kind of love is wholly emotional and cannot be summoned at will, but it appears as a sure response when all the other loves of marriage are set in motion. You will experience eros love in a rich, mature, particularly joyous form when you have mastered the art of loving. More than any other kind of love, eros transforms a mundane black and white existence into glorious living Technicolor. It is a delightful part of the love-life designed for marriage.

The third love of marriage, characterized by the Greek word, storge, could be described as a comfortable old-shoe relationship comprised of natural affection.  It meets the need we all have to belong, to be part of a close-knit relationship. The New Testament commands us in Romans 10:12 which tells us to ‘Be kindly affectionate to one another….’  It can also be considered a soothing and healing. Emotional refuge.  The marriage lacking this is like a house without a roof, where rain can pour in.  (My note:  I love growing older with Bill for aging is not fun!  And I am sensing as we get older, we really appreciate this love as our bodies begin  to fail and we are not spring chickens anymore! Just saying….)

The fourth love of marriage is described by the Greek verb phileo, which often appears in the New Testament.  We will be using the verb form as a noun in this discussion because it is the more familiar term for readers.  Phileo cherishes and has tender affection for the beloved, but always expects a response.  It is a love of relationship – comradeship, sharing, communication, friendship.  While eros makes lovers, phileo makes dear friends who enjoy closeness and companionship. They share each other’s thoughts, feelings, attitudes, plans, and dreams-the most intimate things they would share with no one else.  They also share time and interests. A marriage without phileo will be unsatisfactory even if there is plenty of passion in the bedroom. A marriage with phileo is sure to be interesting and rewarding….

Moving from the physical to the spiritual in considering the five ways of loving, I have saved the best for last:  agape, the totally unselfish love that has the capacity to give and keep on giving without expecting in return. Agape values and serves in contrast to phileo, which cherishes and enjoys.  The New Testament often speaks of agape, for it was this love that prompted Christ to come to earth as a man on our behalf. God loves all mankind with an agape love. In addition, He has phileo love for those who are in relationship with Him through  Jesus Christ.

Agape love is of particular significance to those who are right now trying to save their marriage and to restore the love you lost. Of all the loves, agape is the one you can bring into your marriage immediately, because it is exercised as a choice of your will and has no dependence on feelings.  It is a love of action, not emotion.  It focuses on what you do and say rather than how you feel.

C.S. Lewis showed the difference between agape and the natural loves by using the picture of a garden. He described the natural loves as a garden that would soon run to weeds if left alone. This is inevitable because of  self-centeredness, willfulness, and the other sins resulting from the Fall. Agape love acts as the rakes, hoes, shears, plant food, and weed  killer employed by a skilled gardener to keep the garden thriving, orderly and  beautiful. When God planted the garden of our nature and caused the flowering, and fruiting loves to grow there, He set our will to tend them, to watch over them and care for them as a wise gardener should. This operation of the will is agape love–a knowledgeable and skillful love always concerned with doing what is best for the beloved.

A marriage possessing agape love can survive anything!  It is agape that keeps a marriage going when the natural loves falter and die….”

I hate to stop writing this and I hope I have wetted your appetite for more from this book!  It under $12.00 from either this Christian Book website or Amazon. It is a real bargain for the returns it promises. I am not being paid to say any of this. My motive for promoting this book? I found the cure for cancer so to speak, cancer in loveless marriages. Why not promote the cure that I received for a mere few bucks?

Every marriage would benefit from a refresher course on how to keep your love alive and flourishing! We love what we now have; and, our first 13 years were lacking several of these facets. We thank God, we had enough left that we could once again fall in love, had our love rekindled and now we are staying in love!

So they are no longer two, but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let no man separate.” Matthew 19:6

 

Chapter 4 Love Life for EVERY Married Couple!


“We’ve had bumpy roads?” my husband Bill asked after reading one of my recent blog posts.  He looked  serious and a bit hurt!  “Of course, no marriage is perfect! I want to be honest about our marriage, share the good, the bad and the ugly!  But mostly how our love helps us over the bumpy roads and gets us back on a smooth road!”

We have been married since 1975 – I know, a long time ago. Some reading this were not even  born. Wow, it was last century! However, we had a “break in service,” meaning, we divorced for a year! Miracle of miracles, we were able to reconcile after a very contentious and heart breaking divorce. We hurt each other deeply but we experienced the cleansing power of forgiveness, bathed in the blood of our Lord and Savior’s death on the cross. We literally felt we were standing at the foot of the cross when we forgave each other.  In just a few minutes, we went from absolute hatred to forgiveness and feeling love towards each other! But alas, it took me (Debbie) seven months to agree to re-marry. God had a lot of work to do in my heart.

Today, I want to write more about love! After our divorce, I set out to find God’s perfect will for my daughter and me. I honestly believed it was Bill’s fault we were so far from God and that is what broke up our relationship.  I will blog later how God not only saved me for eternity, but He saved my physical life from an early demise. Suffice it to say, I had every reason to follow our Lord and live a life pleasing to Him.  But I did not. I fell into awful sin and made some bad choices. In His grace, He protected me and today, I can’t fall away from Him! I am hanging on tightly, needing to hear His voice every day (daily Bible reading), and needing to worship (I listen to praise and worship music as much as I can) Him every day! While I am not perfect, I pray that I am now living a life pleasing to Him!

As soon as I read 1 Corinthians 7:10-11, I KNEW I had to reconcile with Bill.

To the the married I give this command (not I, but the Lord): A wife must not separate from her husband.  But if she does, she must remain unmarried or else be reconciled to her husband. And a husband much not divorce his wife.”

But first, I needed to find out love was all about! I was an investigator by nature and in my profession. I soon discovered God is love (1 John 4:8 “Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love). I didn’t love Bill anymore, so I asked God to love him through me – and did He ever! So what does that look like? I knew my love was growing, but what was it (love)? Because of my profession, I like to see, feel and touch something to know what it is!

And what I was reading in this wonderful book pictured, gave me what I needed.  It is straight from the author of marriage, our God and creator, from His Word to us. I’ll print some excerpts, remembering when we first read the book as we began to reconcile.

I remember clearly when we read Chapter 5 (Love Life for EVERY Married Couple: How to fall in love, stay in love, rekindle your love by Ed Wheat, MD and Gloria Perkins). He was so excited that he was learning all about marriage. He especially liked this chapter and while we were reconciling, we read it together and it became our marriage manual.

In the “Acknowledgement” section of the book, Dr. Wheat acknowledged the role Gloria Perkins played in writing the book.  He said, “She and her husband Dan enjoy a love-filled Christian marriage that teaches by experience how enriching the emotion of love can be, and it is their desire as well as ours, to help others find a life of love.” It is also our desire….So continuing with the excerpts:

Excerpting sections, starting at page 61:  “The English word love has to be one of the most unusual words in our language.  It’s supposedly packed with meaning, yet it seems inadequate when you really want to say something.  So much so that Edgar Allan Poe wrote, ‘We loved with a love that was more than love.’  The word is overworked.  Some dictionaries list as many as twenty-five meanings for love, and we’re apt to use them all in our everyday conversation.

“Just having one word for everything leads to confusion and absurd comparisons.  For example, we love our lifelong sweetheart.  But we also love fried chicken or quiche lorraine, this comparing our marriage partner of thirty years to a French cheese pie.  We love our parents and our children.  But we also love books or football or skiing vacations, apparently putting Mom and  Dad on par with a weekend at Vail, or little Johnny in a competition with the Dallas Cowboys.  We love freedom, surely a thing more precious than the shining machine in the driveway.  But we love that new car; we also love our pet cat and a certain record album (this book was written in 1980, before the DVD) we bought last week.  Not only do we love Jesus Christ, King of Kings and Lord of Lords, but we ‘just love Robert Redford’ – or Bob Hope.  It all adds up to careless talk and sometimes, fuzzy thought….”

Page 62  …“in writing a book about love in marriage, we can call upon the precise language of the  Greek New Testament for help. One expert pointed out, “Greek is a very subtle language, full of delicately modifying words, capable of the finest distinctions of meaning.” The Greeks of the New Testament era had at least five words that we can use to distinguish and describe the various  aspects of love in marriage.

“As I (Dr. Wheat) gives you these five Greek words and their meaning in marriage, remember that this is not a language exercise, but a practical explanation of what love-life in marriage should be when love is finding its full expression in the relationship.”

Continuing on page 63 “By the way, there can be no such thing as window shopping here. You cannot pick and choose the kind of love you prefer and discard the others. Each builds on the other. Each has its own special, significant place, as you will find when you begin putting all these loves into practice in your marriage. But if they are quite distinctive, they are also interrelated so that the physical, emotional, and spiritual processes over-lap and reinforce each other in the act of loving.”

Dr. Wheat was an OB-GYN doctor and a Christian. He began to notice a pattern in his practice and he shared the greatest aspect of life – a couple bringing a child into this world. He saw the absolute joy in his patients faces as they gave birth, only to recall times of these patients sharing how confused they were about their marriages. After the babies where born, he also learned how many women struggled to remain married. He had other couples confide in him, even seasoned missionaries and couples who normally would not tell a person of the lack of love in their marriage. He realized God gave him more than a medical practice. He had to find  a way to help these couples! The result was that his practice evolved into marriage counseling and after years, this book was born! And we are so glad it was!  I will share what those five,  interrelated aspects are, how they bring together the physical, emotional processes together and how they over-lap.

And how each reinforces each other in the act of loving!  These were the first steps in our marriage becoming one of love-filled Christian marriage. Up next are the FIVE aspects of love to make a complete marriage, to rekindle a love lost, or to fire up a new love! 

I also want to share Bill’s ultimate secret to marriage (at least at this stage in his life as it will evolve over time)He wraps it all up in one word:  CHOICE! We choose to love, we choose to stay married, we choose to get along….it really is our choice. Just like our God, He wants us to choose to love Him!  That is all Bill really wants (or wanted) from me.  But poor guy, he was married to a professional investigator!  I would never make a choice without all the FACTS!!!  The next blog post, the facts about the FIVE WAYS OF LOVING!!!

As we say in law enforcement, “Just the facts ma’am.  That’s all we want.”

Chapter 3 OK, we forgave each other, now what?


July 2011

But my question was now that Bill and I forgave each other, for all the pain, hurt and wrong doing in our marriage that caused us to divorce, what do we do next?  For Bill, it was a no brainer, “Let’s re-marry!”  Whoa, not so fast!!!  We forgave each other and now could be “friends” but I was confused about love. You see, I had confessed that I no longer loved Bill! Yep, the love was gone. I no longer trusted him! He had promised to be a Godly man, a man who put God first and that was gone (nor was I the Godly woman Bill thought he married). He had not and now, sure, he SAID he was, but I needed to see it. I needed proof and it was going to take time. I just believed that God had allowed us to divorce, and in fact, a Pastor had condoned it (as I look back, it was not Biblical counsel) and gave his blessing for us to divorce.  Yes, there are righteous reasons to divorce.  I thought mine was a righteous reason – but even those marriages can be healed.

Marriage was out of the question for me. I just needed to once again love and the next time I married, it would be for true and everlasting love!!!  So my quest began! In the meantime, I was under transfer out of Mobile, Alabama to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. So thankfully, that was going to buy me some time to figure out what to do!  Bill decided to return to Virginia Beach and start a new business.

I dove into God’s Word and also into a book recommended by Linda Lees, my sister-in-lawLove Life for EVERY Married Couple: How to fall in love, stay in love, rekindle your love by Ed Wheat, MD and Gloria Perkins.  (This is the Biblical marriage manual and is the BEST book ever written for marriages, taken straight from the Bible!  In my next post, I will share the five types of love needed in every marriage!)  Linda pleaded with us to read it before our divorce was final.  Bill did and he tried to get me to read it.  But I was not ready, until we finally lived apart.

I only wanted to read the Bible. I was starving for a closer relationship with God. In fact, I craved knowing more about Him! I wanted His perfect will for my life! I asked Him into my heart at age 9 and remembered that day as clear as yesterday. I knew God was real and knew that He loved me. I just needed to know how to love Him! And if that happened, then I knew I could find true love once again! I thought Bill was my true love, but I was the failure. Love never fails, right?

So in a nutshell, after reading and studying the Holy Bible, I found the answer!!!  Wow, it was a simple concept….not much too it….I finally discovered what love was! I had the answer, the keys to the kingdom! Why doesn’t everyone know this? Why does it seem so evasive? Why am I just figuring this out, now? Do you know? What do you think love is? If you don’t know, are you ready?

Drum rollllll!  Here it is, so simple, but yet so hard for me to figure out:

“Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.” 1 John 4:8 

GOD IS LOVE!  WOW, I walked around in a daze for days!  What a revalation!

So then God and I began to argue for months! I still didn’t love Bill….so what am I to do? Bill began to “court” me and became the best dad ever for Jessica!  Yes, even though we now lived states apart, Bill became very involved in our lives in a new way. How could I not love him? He drove up every Friday and picked Jessica up from day care, went grocery shopping, cleaned the house and prepared dinner for when I got home from work! What is not to love? We began to pray together, we went to church together, but guess what? I still did not have any feelings of love for him! I knew he was a wonderful man and a GREAT father….but something was missing.

What did I do? I knew God wanted me to love him again. So I simply said, “God I can’t love him. Please love him through me.” And with that, after a time of healing and the restoration of trust, Bill finally popped the question in July. “Would you marry me?” YES!  No hesitation.

So the planning began.  We were new to a church fellowship.  But unknown to me, a fellow FBI Agent (Larry Hurst) who knew what was going on, shared with his Prayer Group about us and they began praying for our marriage to be restored. So imagine their joy when I showed them my engagement ring!  They offered to help us with our marriage ceremony and even the reception to follow!

What a blessing! So we also knew we needed an awesome honeymoon, because, let me tell you, when you give God the power to love someone through you, He really pours it on! Larry and his wonderful wife, Cheryl, offered to keep Jessica for the week while we went off to Jamaica!

Ah, God is so good! Thank you Lord for this great gift of healing. Thank you for helping us to learn what love is, for helping is to fall in love, stay in love and rekindle our love!

At the time of this blog post, we are in our 36th 1/2 year of marriage – even if on and off! Our first 13 years were pretty good, we were great friends if nothing else, but these last 22 years (upcoming second anniversary is August 19) have been divine!  Not without a rough bump in the road, but divine no less.

Chapter 2 So why share about our marriage?


Hebrews 13:8

“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever!” Hebrews 13:8


Bill and I are very open to sharing about our divorce and remarriage.  We believe it is a gift God gave us!  While Bill never looks for ways to share, he prefers for the Lord bring him people who may need to hear our story.  But I feel a sense of urgency to share our story (stories?).

When a couple divorces or the unmarried couple breaks up, it is devastating. The pain is intense and the trust is lost.  It seems hopeless and few ever fully recover or are restored without a lot of help.

God designed marriage and He hates divorce (Malachi 2:16).  But He knows and understands divorce happens, as much as any other devastating act, such as murder or even lying (Proverbs 6:16-18).  God hates these as well and in our perfect world, one day, there will be no more pain, no more tears, lies, divorces or murders (Revelation 21:4).  But until then, He extends His comfort, His perfect love and His grace to us!

Perhaps my favorite scriptures are from 2 Corinthians 1:3-5  “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.  For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ.”

God has brought me so much comfort in the restoration of our relationship, I can’t help but want to reach out to others, to comfort them, and to share how God healed us, always in hope that He will be allowed to help them heal.  More importantly, I love being in a marriage ordained by God!

We don’t like to share the very dirty, nitty gritty issues that broke us up, but we will in private as the Lord leads us.  But suffice it to say, we grew to despise each other, hurt each other every way possible and both felt we were in the right and the other was in the wrong!

We had our child to think about, so in desperation, when things were out of control, I called Wayne Graves, Bill’s new pastor (our divorce drove him back into church). He agreed to meet with us.  The date and time? After the New Years Day evening service, that night.  So I slipped into Bill’s church and we caught a glimpse of each other, clear across the room, him up front, and me sneaking in the back!  Needless to say, neither of us heard the service.

As soon as it was over, I ran over to Bill and pulled him up to Pastor Wayne.  I told Bill we had a “date” with him, so Bill asked if he had eaten.  He had not, so we took him to our “formerly” favorite restaurant.  We all placed our orders and then the pastor asked us how he could help.  We then began to ignore him and let it all out – how much we hated each other, how hurt we were, how rotten things were.  I remember one time looking at the poor pastor, being ignored as we spewed venom at each other, but at least he was getting a very nice meal!  Finally, he got our attention and said he did not think there was anything he could do for us.  He then shared a personal story, a testimony about his own family that had been torn apart by alcohol.  We then noticed the lights were dimming and it seemed we were the only ones left in the restaurant.  The chef, owner, and waitress all stood in the corner, waiting for us to leave!

We paid the bill, a bit embarrassed, and went out into the parking lot.  It was very dark, but one street light was shining down upon us.  Bill lit up a cigarette and started towards his car as did the pastor.  I pleaded with them to not leave and asked if the pastor could at least say a prayer for us.  He did, but it was short and sweet!  He wanted to get home to his family I am sure!  Then we all went our separate ways – except that Bill and I still shared our home!  He would not move out in spite of our divorce!  It was a large enough house, I felt, and it was best for Jessica.  I was under transfer orders, so we would be moving soon anyway….

Bill beat me home and paid the babysitter.  He was coming back into the living area when I arrived.  We more or less bumped into each other in the hallway.  We will never forget the next few minutes!  We began to feel the presence of the Lord as we looked at each other and then we both apologized – at the same time!  We both took FULL responsibility for the breakup!  And then we said we HAD to forgive each other because Jesus forgave us for ALL our sins!  We were standing at the foot of the Cross!

This moment was the beginning of the healing!  But it took me eight months for Bill to earn my trust back and I had to read these scriptures:  1 Corinthians 7:10-11 “To the married I give this command (not I, but the Lord): A wife must not separate from her husband.  But if she does, she must remain unmarried or else be reconciled to her husband. And a husband must not divorce his wife. ”  (This is a GREAT place to read about marriage:  1 Corinthians 7:1-15)Remarriage!

This verse was how our Lord spoke directly to me and what an adventure He took me on as He prepared me for a wonderful re-marriage. Somehow, we now could live happily ever after! OK, there had been rocky roads, but those roads will be topics for further blogs!  How did we learn to handle our conflicts, issues, and concerns?  Stay tuned!

PS  I had Bill read this before I published it.  His comment?  “We have had rocky roads?”  LOL!  I guess those rocky roads were so long ago, now re-married 23 years, that they have smoothed out a bit!  Anyway, a good marriage takes work…

Chapter 1 We love the beach and how we met….


Our relationship started like most others – love at first sight!  We were both serving in a Christian street witnessing ministry, called Christ is the Answer (CITA). CITA started out of the “Jesus People” movement. We traveled in a caravan, had a huge tent for revivals, married couples had RVs and us singles were separated into two tents, one for the men and one for the women. We had all the facilities we needed, trucks converted into a kitchen, showers, laundry room, an office and a classroom for the children. Interesting, when we met, we were really full-time travelers then!

We were not supposed to really check out the opposite sex, but we did (human nature). Bill remembered the first time he saw me. I was sitting on a little hill of rubble in Anacostia Park, Washington, DC. I was contemplating life as I had just been proposed to by a man I had never seen, until he walked up to me and pronounced that God had selected me to marry him! I told him God had not told me so it must not be true!

The first conversation Bill and I had was in the laundry room. I was doing laundry and he needed a jacket repaired, just a few stitches. I was happy to accommodate him. We didn’t really see each other again for a few months. And by then, I knew he was the one….and being an extreme introvert, Bill was interested but….I had to make the first move and it went well (from my view point. He needs to tell his side of the story).

We do like to try and follow the rules, so we had to go to our Elder and announce our intentions. Long story short, I was then put on a list to be sent over seas and we were to have a year long “separation” to make sure it was the real thing. We disagreed and we ended up leaving this ministry. My mom drove from Hampton, Virginia to Weldon, Illinois to take me home. Bill came along and ended up driving. We stopped in Ohio to see my oldest sister and that’s when Bill proposed. Then we drove onto to Pennsylvania to meet Bill’s parents and drop him off. We’d start the wedding plans long distance as I went on home with mom.

We figured we would just go along with our parents legacies.  Both Bill’s parents and mine also met, “fell in love” then married within months. Bill’s parents made it to  nearly 50 years before his dad passed and my folks were just days shy of their 55th anniversary when my dad passed.  But like most young people, we decided our marriage, our love, was different!  We were REALLY in love and we were going to do it different from our parents….afterall, they did not appear to have that same really vibrant love we had.  Or did we and we just didn’t recognize it?

One thing we learned about each other early on was that we both loved the BEACH!  Bill had been living in Jacksonville, Florida so I knew he was a Floridian at heart. I did not live far from the beach in Hampton, Virginia and eventually, we moved to Virginia Beach – where our daughter was born.

But first, we had our first battle of the wills! I just didn’t feel I could move to Jacksonville where neither of us had any family. We did visit there after our engagement for me to meet his friends. I just didn’t feel it was the place for us to start life together. Why not in my home town, which wasn’t far from the beach? My normally very KIND husband had his first mean moment – “If she won’t live where I want to live, then I  won’t go where she wants. I’ll take her to my hometown of Irwin, Pennsylvania.” Bill was out of his mind – he hated the cold weather. But it worked out. We got off to a good start in life and I bonded with his parents and other relatives.

You can read the final conclusion on how our marriage evolved. In January, 2019, we settled down at a beach, Myrtle BEACH! You can read details here.

We have two anniversaries.  We were married the first time, April 11, 1975 and the second time, August 19, 1989.  From appearances, it looked like we were a match made in heaven.  Bill’s buddies commented how lucky he was to have a wife like me – not high maintenance.  And my friends envied how my husband helped so much around the house and seemed to be so “possessive” of me (not in a smothering way – or was it?)

So what happened in August 1988?  I felt smothered, stifled and decided that Bill was not the father our daughter needed, nor the man I thought I married.  We separated and our divorce was final on December 13, 1988.

We meet in CITA, a Christian street witnessing ministry in June 1974.  I knew I had to marry a man of faith, a man who did not drink, smoke, curse and wanted him to be faithful.  That was all I asked for and for a time, that was the man he was.  For whatever reason, he began to drink, smoke and curse!  We fell away from church.  I hung onto my faith, but stopped going as well.  I decided I might as well smoke (it only lasted a few days) and drink with him (I did until the divorce).

The best part of our story is now God healed our relationship, helped us to forgive each other and then restored our marriage!

Time to go to the beach.  We took a 2 1/2 mile walk on it this morning, then I swam some laps while Bill fixed breakfast and we talked about the potential of this blog.  I wanted to help get it started! We always felt we should help others in their marriages since we had our issues, and then had our miracle! We hope we can help others in some way….

Stay tuned as I share some more….and expecially look for our BEST principle…the key to our happiness as a married couple!