Friday Trivia – Our Wedding!

Today, my husband and I are celebrating thirty-three years of marriage. Everyone says it…but where have all those years gone? Today’s trivia is about me and our wedding. I’ve included some pictures of the day. Of course, if you’ve known me for a while, you’ll have the answers. If you’ve read any of my books, or my posts on here, you should be able to answer them. If not, then you will know me better. To make it a bit easier, I will make this one multiple choice. (The answers will be in red.)

  1. What was my maiden name?
    1. Babcock
    2. Johnson
    3. Kelsey
  2. What year were my husband and I married?
    1. 1983
    2. 1980
    3. 1984
  3. Where was the tiny town we were married located?
    1. Vermont
    2. Texas
    3. New York
  4. Where was our wedding reception held?
    1. Our church
    2. My parent’s home
    3. A nearby park
  5. How old was I when I married?
    1. 21
    2. 19
    3. 23
  6. Where did we go for our honeymoon?
    1. The Poconos
    2. The Outer Banks
    3. Schroon Lake
  7. How long was our engagement?
    1. About 5 weeks
    2. About 6 months
    3. 1 year
  8. Was it cold the day of our wedding?
    1. Yes, unseasonably cold
    2. No, unseasonably hot

 

1) Johnson
2) 1984
3) New York
4) My parent’s home
5) 19
6) Schroon Lake
7) About 5 weeks
8) No, unseasonably hot

I’ll fill you in on a couple details. My parent’s home was located in Breakabeen, New York. We married at a small church just down the road from them. This picture is of my father and me before we left the house.

October 20, 1984 - Dad and I before the wedding

This is me arriving at the ceremony with my father.

October 20, 1984 - Arriving at the church

It was unseasonably hot that day for upstate New York…eighty degrees! We were married at 5:30 in the evening, and it was still warm. Of course, the next few days in the Lake George and Schroon Lake areas were back to normal October weather. Cold and rainy! This was taken after the ceremony.

October 20, 1984 - after ceremony - Breakabeen, New York

And of course we have to include a picture of the cake. It was absolutely beautiful, as well as very yummy. It was a white cake with a raspberry filling to match my colors of red and white. The lady that made this cake made many over the years for us and they were always delicious!

October 20, 1984 - reception

I love this picture! It has always been one of my favorites. Please forgive the quality of the photos. Thirty-plus years, and taking them with my phone from our wedding album. Some are a bit shiny and difficult to see. I’ve enjoyed posting this one. It’s given me many reminders of that day…a wonderful day in my life. Here’s a last one of me taken at my parent’s house, before we left for the ceremony.

October 20, 1984 - before the wedding

It is a bit difficult to see, but I like it because it seems to reflect the years to come. A moment frozen in time. Happy Anniversary, George! Thank you for all those years!

 

 

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Confused?

I’m not really a follower. And I would rather not be a leader. But if something needs to be done, and it’s headed to the trash can…then I would rather take charge of it.

I don’t like fads or slang terminology for a certain generation. Although when I was researching my Rubyville series of books, it was extremely interesting and fun to see what slang had been used down through the decades. As far as fashion goes, I love it. I’ve always been interested in what’s in style. But these days there are some pretty weird combinations out there. If it were possible, I would wear feminine, lacy and floral prints most of the time. Do you remember Laura Ashley or Jessica McClintock fashion? I loved it! But to dress in that mode today, all the time, you might as well don the hoop skirts or bustle, you would be viewed as just as strange.

To really be truthful, I would rather that women dressed as they once did back in the 1800’s. My opinion is that women were feminine and pretty, and I think this lasted until the second World War. I realize that our active lifestyle today would not be possible in the clothing from those eras, but there is a sense of sadness for me in that.

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Somewhere along the line, women gained the vote, their rights, the ability to earn an income just like a man…and lost so much more.

Are you confused as to where this is going?

I’m not really a follower, and don’t like to be a leader in most situations. And I believe I was created that way. That does not make me less than a man, or stupid, or not able to take care of myself. At one time, women basically controlled the world from their own little environment of their home, taking care of their family and raising children. They had much information to impart to a child before they left the home environment. Their job was to teach a child to be self-sufficient in the areas of survival. A child learned skills to manage a home, whether it was outside, or inside. The mother had much to say about a child’s political and religious future. Of course the father contributed to this as well, but with young children especially, the mother was the leader.

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Sadly today, grandparents and daycare oversee most of the rearing of children. Then it’s passed onto the school system. When a child spends most of their time learning from someone other than a parent, what view on the world are they going to take?

I don’t want to stir up trouble. But I do want you to think. Of course there are bad situations and scenarios concerning almost any topic, and that includes parenting. We’ve all seen children that would probably be better off being raised by a grandparent, or another loving and capable person. But that shouldn’t be the norm.

For me, having children was a huge responsibility, and I took it very seriously. After all, I had carried that child for almost 10 months, (I never seemed to want to give that baby up!) I changed their diapers, fed them every few hours, cuddled them, and took care of them when they were sick. That was my job, and I didn’t want anyone else doing it for me. I knew I had a tremendous influence in that little person’s life, and that’s how God designed it to be.

Again, I’m not trying to bash anyone’s parenting skills. But I do want to encourage you to follow your instincts as a mother, or father. Do what you were designed to do. Don’t allow society to dictate what you should be. Mothering is the most important job out there. Yes, the pay is lousy, the hours are long, and I guarantee you will want to quit many times over. But there is absolutely no other job as important, no other job with as much influence as the one of being a mother. Take it seriously, and lead those children to greatness.

As usual, I’ve probably rambled a bit. But I guess the bottom line is, don’t be afraid to be a woman or a man, and do the job God gave you to do. There is nothing wrong with wearing feminine clothing if you’re a woman, and the same is true if you’re a man wearing masculine clothing. Why do we all have to look the same? Why do we follow what society dictates? And now society is saying we should be gender neutral so as not to offend anyone. ( Yes, this is a bit of a rabbit trail, and for another post another time!) Why do we care? If we raise our children to have respect for life, respect and love for others, the outside doesn’t matter. The soul does. And that’s what we should really care about.

A Trucker’s Life

My husband drove for J.B. Hunt for many years. I was always extremely thankful for his willingness to do this because it allowed me to be at home to raise our five children. I should say four children. By the time our last came along, he was driving locally and he was home at night. Talk about a huge adjustment!

I’ve done a lot of driving in my time. And driving on the interstates with the big trucks has always given me the shivers. The first time I drove across the United States, from upstate New York to Tucson, Arizona, I was still using my learner’s permit. Following my father through all the cities and keeping that moving van in sight became an obsession that summer. It stressed me so much that I lost 10 pounds on the journey in about a week. Not a recommended diet plan! We arrived at our destination, and then made that move back to New York and the Hudson Valley region a couple years later. Not as stressful, but still not fun since we were transporting a couple of horses on that move.

During those trips, I grew to fear those trucks. You would see them in your rear view mirror, sneaking closer and closer until that gigantic grill rode on your bumper. Then they would pass, huge tires spinning at window level, seeming to pull you under that long trailer. If traffic was climbing a hill, you would pass, only to be passed again on the downward section. The journey through mountains becomes exhausting! I would do my level best to make sure I was never  caught between two tractor trailers, and if I needed to pass one, I got around them quickly.

So, when I met my husband, and he was interested in driving and wanted to team drive, well you know my answer. Then I endured several years with him being gone over-the-road. We didn’t have cell phones at the time when he first started driving. I never knew where he was. Or if he was alright. I prayed a lot for his safety and lived for the few days he would be home. We survived those years.

One summer, when our four oldest were still at home, I traveled with my husband for the month of July. The children stayed with my parents in Colorado, and we left with the J.B. Hunt truck from the Kansas City terminal. Then I had a completely different perspective of those big trucks and their drivers. I had always thought the drivers were a bit over-bearing, rude and arrogant as a lot. I believed truck stops to be about the most disgusting place you could go. Traveling with my husband showed me that there were places to stop that weren’t so bad. That some of those truck stops were family-friendly. I met lonely husbands and fathers while doing our laundry, drivers that were missing their families just as much as their families were missing them.

That July was an eye-opener for me. It was a wonderful privilege to spend so many weeks with my husband, most of the time. After all, spending weeks with one person in such a confined place can be a bit frustrating for both parties. I was able to see the traffic from a truck driver’s perspective, and the impression I had of other vehicles sharing that road wasn’t always so great. Drivers of mini-vans, cars, and small trucks can be just as rude, arrogant and thoughtless as what I had always imagined the tractor-trailer driver being. Having a compact car cut in front of several tons of metal can be a bit aggravating to say the least! But drivers of small vehicles do it…often.

I gained an appreciation for what my husband did for a living. It wasn’t just about traveling over miles of gorgeous roads, seeing the country-side. It was more about sitting for hours in traffic around big cities. Waiting for your trailer to be unloaded, and your next stop a lot further down the road with little time to get there.  It was about loneliness, and a life that few would choose. I saw my husband’s patience in new ways as he dealt with rude drivers cutting him off, hours of traffic and unloading. Things that made me want to chew my nails and scream out the window. And he did it every day.

Even now, I think of my husband as a gentleman driver. He drove carefully, and with consideration. He didn’t bully other people on the road, or tailgate. I wish all tractor-trailer drivers were the same.

That month was a learning experience for me. I have more memories of this:jam-1699089_1920

Than these kind of hours on the road:

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Stopping each day to take a shower, eat and do laundry when needed always was a challenge if you waited too late, and other drivers were doing the same. Sometimes it was a long walk into the truck stop, dodging those behemoths. truck-602567_1920

Sleeping on a small bed in a metal space with the low hum of diesel engines isn’t my favorite mode of dreaming, but at least there was air-conditioning and heat available.

No, I still don’t want to team drive. Yes, my husband and I could see the country together. But I think I would rather do it on a bicycle, over winding country roads and no mountains. I’ve become a home-body. And I enjoy my husband being at home as well. A trip across the United States doesn’t seem as fun as it once did. A trip to a big city isn’t my cup of tea either. I’m not as adventurous as I once was…and that is just fine with me!

The next time you’re driving an interstate or highway, think of the above. Remember that they are people too, and most have families they are missing. Yes,  there is the freedom of the road, the travel, the experiences, but it is also a trucker’s life.

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The Wife I Want to Be When I Grow Up…

This is a post I wrote a year or so ago. We celebrated Valentine’s Day on the 14th of this month. It made me think of this post, and what our expectations are of days such as Valentine’s Day and our engagement, and the day we wed our prince.

It may start out with Cinderella. A little girl wants to wear the frilly, flowing gown and the sparkly, glass slippers. And, “Oh yeah, I need a Prince to go with that pretty dress!” The husband of her dreams is actually an accessory.

I moved on to the cottage perched daintily in a grassy meadow, pink flowers sprinkled here and there, a rose covered white picket fence guarding the little house. cottage-1234802_1280I would have lots and lots of children skipping through the meadow, laughing and playing together in utter enjoyment of one another’s company. I don’t know where they all slept in that tiny house, but dreams don’t make sense a lot of the time. A husband and father…he was around…somewhere.

As I grew older, I thought more about the kind of husband I actually wanted to be married to. Of course he would have to be handsome and love me immensely. Yes, I would love him and I still wanted the little cottage and a couple of children. They would still frolic in the meadow, loving one another and never arguing. I don’t know why I thought this, I grew up the oldest of four. But again, dreams seldom make sense.

Thankfully, by the time I was old enough to marry I was thinking more about the attributes of a husband. I wanted him to be patient and kind, hard-working and willing to support a family. (Remember, I was down to two children by this time, not a tough job.) I wanted him to love the Lord as I did and live his life for Him. Of course I still hoped he would be handsome and funny and love me forever. I still wanted the rose-covered picket fence and adorable house.

And what kind of wife was I going to be? I knew I could cook and clean and again, I was the oldest of four and had babysat…a lot before I married. I could do all the everyday tasks of general survival and I was and am still pretty good at them. But what kind of wife am I?

Do I lift my husband up in prayer each day? Do I support him in his endeavors as he always has mine? Do I give him a smile even when I don’t wish to, a stroke of his back when I know he’s down? Do I prepare a special meal for him just because he means so much to me and I want to show him I care…even when my day has been lousy? Do I love him and stick with him even when there are times when I want to run from all the responsibilities of being a wife and mother?

Honestly…I can answer ‘no’ to each question above.

The wife I want to be when I grow up…is no longer a dream. I can make it my reality, my life. Not through my own strength, but God is there, showing me the way. The wife I want to be is loving and kind. Giving that pat and smile even when I don’t ‘feel’ like it. Being by my husband’s side even when I want to run. There is no honor or beauty in ‘having our own way’ or expressing our ‘rights’.

I am fortunate and blessed. My husband shows me daily how to be loving and kind. He always has been there for me, even when I haven’t deserved it or earned it. No, it’s not a special day for us…not an anniversary of any kind. But it is another day we have to be together and share our lives. God has blessed us abundantly over the past 32 years. And He is still working on me to become the wife I want to be when I grow up.

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I pray the same for you.

Another Anniversary

When I was young, a wedding was a happy celebration for me. It was a day to dress up in a beautiful gown, have flowers overflowing every surface, and you walked down the aisle to your handsome husband-to-be. It was the most tremendous of happenings in a young girl’s life. And I looked forward to my wedding day with great expectation.

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When our first daughter was married almost eight years ago, it wasn’t a happy day for me. Yes, I know that is a rather blunt way to put it, and it seems a bit selfish, but that was the way I felt. I was losing my oldest daughter, and all the attributes she brought to our family circle…and I was depressed. That tiny baby I held at birth, and cherished, was no longer mine, she belonged to someone else.

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As I look at my husband in this picture, I see sadness on his face. And I know he was feeling many of the same emotions I was.

Fast forward a few years to our second daughter’s wedding. No, I wasn’t any more happy about it. I was sad and depressed. Again, a part of our family was once again changing, and it would never be the same. She was leaving us by choice, and that hurt.img_0539

I think the most difficult part of each wedding ceremony for me was watching my husband walk our daughters down the aisle, and then kiss her goodbye. It really symbolizes the ending of one way of life and the beginning of another.

Our third daughter is celebrating her first wedding anniversary today. Her wedding, one year ago was just as hard on the emotions. Even more poignant was the fact that she wore my wedding dress and veil. It was an honor, but flooded my mind with so many memories of my own wedding day. All those years shuffled away under the load of babies, jobs, bills, and responsibilities. Where had they all gone is such a hurry?

When I was young, I never thought of weddings as being a sad day. I pretty much thought people were shedding tears of happiness. I didn’t understand all that was behind those tears…just as our daughters do not understand right now. And that’s how it should be.

Our three daughters, (we have one more to go), have all married wonderful young men. They have lives of their own now. Yes, it’s been very difficult to let go of each one, and I know I’m not successful at it most of the time. Those girls were MY babies not many years ago. I fed them, rocked them, and sang them to sleep at night. I dressed them up in matching clothes, and fixed their hair every morning. I was frustrated with them as teenagers, hoping they would leave home very quickly on many days over the years. But now they are no longer mine as they once were, and in reality, they never were really mine.

I was allowed a very short number of years in their life in my role as their mother. Yes, I’m still ‘Mom’ but not in the same way. It’s hard to let go, and it’s sad. I think I cry each time one of them celebrates another anniversary. But I am happy for them, proud of them, and thankful that they still choose to include me in their lives, sometimes almost on a daily basis. And someday they will understand. I pray that by the time that day arrives, I will have matured enough to hold them, and give comfort. That I will be able to tell them there is happiness in watching their children grow as men and women, husbands and wives, and fathers and mothers.

And that’s just as it should be.

Happy First Anniversary, Mitchel and Alyssa Lynn! You are loved!

We Are What We Think

Chapter One
Late Summer of 2003

Kathy Miller applied the last stroke of mascara and pushed the applicator back into the bottle. She dabbed at a stray fleck of brown beneath her lower lash and stepped away from the mirror to take a critical assessment of her appearance. The same thing she did almost every Sunday morning before leaving for church. The last few years of the routine had become increasingly difficult with the addition of several gray hairs as well as pounds. Her curvaceous figure of twenty years ago was resulting in a lumpy look that she did not find attractive at all. Her ample bust had lost to gravity, keeping the eye away from her once trim and small waist.
She tried to fluff her brown hair, succeeding to make it even frizzier in the late summer heat and humidity of the Hudson Valley. It was desperately in need of a good cut, but she never seemed to find the time to locate a good hair dresser. Several bad ones over the years had made her a little leery of trying anyone new.
She sighed and turned away from the mirror, feeling as though she had just wasted another five minutes of her already hectic morning. She straightened the little jacket of the floral dress she wore. She felt old and tired.

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The above was taken from the first part of chapter one of my book, To Thee I’m Wed. If you are a woman, and have been married for any length of time, and you have children…multiple children… you understand the above. You have lived it while getting dressed for the day or going someplace special. Women can be very critical of themselves…probably their harshest critic.

Why?

I started my marriage full of hope and expectations. I wanted to be the perfect wife and mother, have the perfect house, and I was always going to be thin and attractive. My thoughts at nineteen, almost twenty were that I would never let myself go, as I had seen other women do. Gaining weight and becoming haggard-looking were choices…and I was going to be sure to not let that happen to me!

Now, I’ve spent the past thirty years being overweight. Yes, I’ve dieted and exercised in between having five children. I’ve never been a couch potato…but in my mind, I certainly look like a bag of potatoes! My hair is starting to go gray around the temples and there are many days when I look pretty haggard. And to me…that seems cruel!

It’s cruel because I’ve had the best of intentions. Cruel because life marches on and doesn’t wait for you to get your act together in any area. Cruel…I never wanted to look as I do now!

Yes, it’s difficult to write this. I’m baring my soul and acknowledging things I don’t really want to face, much less put down on my computer. But I know many of you feel the exact same way…we are not alone .

So…is it really about the weight and the gray hair? Probably not. And that is also true for many of us. We try to fix the outward appearance or the items that seem ‘fixable’. But we don’t deal with the real issue at hand.

To Thee I’m Wed deals with the real issue of Kathy’s loneliness in her marriage. Her children are older, her husband has a job he loves, and he is wrapped up in that. Kathy doesn’t really feel needed or wanted. I think many women attack themselves because of those feelings. They don’t know where to go or what to do, and that leaves us very vulnerable. We take comfort in many ways. Sometimes eating, drinking, and spending hours with friends so we don’t have to deal with the insecurities of our home life. And yes, sometimes male companionship enters in when we think our needs are not being met at home.

Of course those are wrong responses…usually…and no, I don’t have the answers. If I did…I wouldn’t be writing this post!

I do know that women need to take more time to be thankful for what they do have…me included. Look around and consider your life. If you are married, be thankful for that husband. If you have children, be thankful for those little blessings in disguise. Because there are many, many days, when the good side of having children can be hard to find! Be thankful for your home, your job, your church and your friends. These are all given to us to help us live this life and have enjoyment. As it says in:

Philippians 4:8 New American Standard Bible (NASB)

Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.

We can all find bad in almost any situation. Believe me…I’m a critical person. If it’s there, I’m going to find it! But that attitude also takes our joy out of life. So concentrate on that verse. Apply it to your life.

Practically…if you are overweight, take steps to lose weight. Actively get involved with changing your appearance and health for the better. Instead of watching TV and snacking, go for a walk. If you’re lonely, think of volunteer work or a job. If you’re overweight and lonely, look into a gym membership. My point being…make a change. Baby steps toward something different and positive, usually result in great strides at some point. Just start!

I’m Not a Procrastinator!

Yes, I am procrastinating! I love to write. I adore getting into that very special little space where the ideas, dialogue, and story is flowing faster than I can type. But some days, I keep putting off the begin time. This is one of those days.

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I’ve accomplished all the ‘tasks’ I set for myself each day before I write. You know the ones. Dishes, laundry, vacuuming, and just general upkeep of a home so you don’t have to shovel out after a couple of weeks.

But I just can’t seem to ‘jump’ in this morning. Maybe it’s because I was interrupted during a really great, pivotal scene last night. (Really…I can’t write when I’m being stared at!) And now I’m afraid to try again because of plans I have later. I don’t want to be side-tracked . If you are a writer, you know how frustrating that can be. After you try to write a scene several times…in my case it just loses some of the ‘oomph’.

Life is rather like that for all of us at times. The best laid plans and that sort of thing. I’m not really a very flexible person. The humor is there, in the fact that I had five children and a husband that drove over the road. Anyone with children understands that your day doesn’t always, (almost never) goes as planned. But we all survived.

That last statement brings me to why I started procrastinating this morning. It was Face Book…again. No, it’s not their fault, but it’s probably the number one time waster for me. I stopped writing last night because our second daughter had given me a challenge to post pictures of my husband and I when we first met, and then a recent one. I posted that last night, and then this morning I had to check it…of course!

So, I will share the pictures with you all. That statement about survival also pertains to these pictures. My husband and I have survived. We started out as children, young and full of exuberance, and half our size. The first one was taken right after our wedding rehearsal on October 19, 1984. The second one was taken last fall, October 4, 2015. We haven’t changed a bit, have we? 😉

The third one is just a bonus shot for all of you. It was taken on October 19, 1984.

October 19, 1984 day before wedding.

We were raking my parents yard. Cleaning it up a bit before our reception at their home the next day. My parents had just purchased the property in upstate New York, the Catskill Mountain area. It was a mess when they moved in, as you can see from the roof of the pump house. But it was beautiful when they moved fifteen years later! My husband and I were commenting on how it looked like we were on a set. Then our youngest daughter asked who the man was.

This last one was of us in September 1984, just after we were engaged. We were taking pictures for the newspaper to announce our engagement.

September 1984 engagement picture for newspaper

So many memories…and that’s how I got off-track in my writing last night…and now this morning! I know you all never do that! Have a great Thursday…and now…back to that scene!

 

Happy Anniversary, Mom and Dad!

My parents have been married fifty-two years today. I always remember their anniversary years because they were married one year when I was born. That may not sound like much…but as I grow older, that’s pretty important to me!

M&M anniversary

What makes a couple commit to fifty-two years of marriage? Let’s set aside the number of years and make it seventy-five, thirty or maybe five. Usually by the time you’ve been married even five years, you know that person fairly well. As the years add up, that knowledge grows…and you still make a commitment to share your life with that person.

This is NOT a post to judge others that don’t make it to many, many years of marriage. Each person has to evaluate their own life and decide what roads they need to take. This post is more about thoughts on why couples DO stay married. And it is different for every marriage.

My book, To Thee I’m Wed, (available on Amazon for $9.99, :)) deals with this topic. Many couples would have decided to go their separate ways under the circumstances that Jason and Kathy Miller faced. But they remained in their marriage. It doesn’t make them better people, just the decision they made.

If you’ve been married more than one year, you know marriage is NOT a ‘bed of roses’, a ‘walk in the park’, or ‘easy peasey’ as we used to say as children. You have days and months that go well and you really love that person you made a commitment to…that may go on for even a year or so. Then…you have hours, days, months and hopefully not too many years when you really don’t feel much love and sometimes don’t even like that person. But you stay committed.

In this day and age, when you don’t want to stay with a phone plan for more than a few months before a better offer comes along, marriage has taken a hit. Years ago, you were married young and you stuck it out. That was your spouse until one of you left this earth. Not so much anymore.

That’s what sparked my interest even more on why a couple decide to stay together in this era when there is always a better phone plan. Because let’s face it, that other person has their less-than-perfect attributes. Sometimes the ‘lovey-dovey’ feelings don’t look past the mud on the floor or the bucket-load of dirty laundry. Think about what makes you stay committed. Are you in it for the ‘long-haul’ or is Verizon calling?

Happy Anniversary!

Happy Anniversary, to my dear husband! Yes, it’s been 31 years today.October 20, 1984; George & Deborah Dykeman with Grandma McMillen & Auntie This picture shows my new husband and me after the wedding with my maternal grandmother and her sister, my great-aunt. Both have gone on to be with the Lord now. My grandmother was not able to make it to the wedding because of health issues, so we went upstairs to her room and had this picture taken. Both of these dear women are greatly missed in my life.

October 20, 1984 dawned bright and beautiful in upstate New York. The leaves were  hanging in there and some color was still visible. That day reached a high of 80 degrees, which is rather unusual for that area in the Catskill mountains. I had wanted a candlelight ceremony which was gorgeous and very special, but it also meant I had to wait the ENTIRE day to see my soon-to-be husband. I cautioned my three daughters on that very thing when they were planning their weddings. (Must have been the reason we had two early morning weddings!)

I remember I didn’t sleep much the night before and stayed up late washing my clothes to take with me and ironing them. The next day I couldn’t eat much and spent my time doing my nails, putting Nair on my face for that pesky, peach fuzz. That resulted in big, red splotches of color between my brows and on my upper lip. So of course I cautioned my daughters to not do that as well! It’s amazing what foundation can do! I had a flawless complexion by 5:30, the time of the ceremony. But…

My grandmother was staying with us, my mother caring for her in our home at the time. In the process of helping her in the bathroom, the toilet tank was broken. My grandmother’s room was above the living room. The reception was to be at the house. My mother had placed dishes of mints artistically around the room. You guessed it, the water, several gallons of it leaked through the ceiling and into the living room. Those mints were really pretty floating in their little dishes. So, my father, father of the bride, made a trip to town to purchase a toilet tank and spent the afternoon repairing the damage done.

Yes, we made it to the wedding on time, rinsed mints and all. (Yes, my father actually suggested this to my mother. But they were thrown out.) The sun was starting its descent, the last rays glowing brilliantly when the two doors were opened and my father and I walked into that little, white church in that New England town. There stood my future husband, tall and handsome at the front of the church. Thus began our years together.

I know celebrating 31 years is about ALL the years you have shared as a couple. I do remember and rejoice in those years as well. But my mind always goes back to that day in October, how young we were, how thin we were, how full of expectation and happiness for our future together. And that’s the way it should be. I love to think back on that day, all those emotions and relive them again. I pray I am able to do that until I am gone from this world. I keep our wedding pictures placed around our house…to remember where we started. To share that day with our children and now grandchildren…those people that God knew would share our lives someday but we were unaware of at the time.

Happy Anniversary, dear husband. Thank you for sharing the past 31 years with me, not always by my side, but in my soul and part of me. I look forward to many more. And you know what? It really does just keep getting better and better!

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The wife I want to be when I grow up…

CinderellaIt may start out with Cinderella. A little girl wants to wear the frilly, flowing gown and the sparkly, glass slippers. And, “Oh yeah, I need a Prince to go with that pretty dress!” The husband of her dreams is actually an accessory.

Summer SceneI moved on to the cottage perched daintily in a grassy meadow, pink flowers sprinkled here and there, a rose covered white picket fence guarding the little house. I would have lots and lots of children skipping through the meadow, laughing and playing together in utter enjoyment of one another’s company. I don’t know where they all slept in that tiny house, but dreams don’t make sense a lot of the time. A husband and father…he was around…somewhere.

As I grew older, I thought more about the kind of husband I actually wanted to be married to. Of course he would have to be handsome and love me immensely. Yes, I would love him and I still wanted the little cottage and a couple of children. They would still frolic in the meadow, loving one another and never arguing. I don’t know why I thought this, I grew up the oldest of four. But again, dreams seldom make sense.

Thankfully, by the time I was old enough to marry I was thinking more about the attributes of a husband. I wanted him to be patient and kind, hard-working and willing to support a family. (Remember, I was down to two children by this time, not a tough job.) I wanted him to love the Lord as I did and live his life for Him. Of course I still hoped he would be handsome and funny and love me forever. I still wanted the rose covered picket fence and adorable house.

And what kind of wife was I going to be? I knew I could cook and clean and again, I was the oldest of four and had babysat…A LOT before I married. I could do all the everyday tasks of general survival and I was and am still pretty good at them. But what kind of wife am I?

Do I lift my husband up in prayer each day? Do I support him in his endeavors as he always has mine? Do I give him a smile even when I don’t wish to, a stroke of his back when I know he’s down? Do I prepare a special meal for him just because he means so much to me and I want to show him I care…even when my day has been lousy? Do I love him and stick with him even when there are times when I want to run from all the responsibilities of being a wife and mother?

Honestly…I can answer ‘no’ to each question above.

The wife I want to be when I grow up…is no longer a dream. I can make it my reality, my life. Not through my own strength, but God is there, showing me the way. The wife I want to be is loving and kind. Giving that pat and smile even when I don’t ‘feel’ like it. Being by my husband’s side even when I want to run. There is no honor or beauty in ‘having our own way’ or expressing our ‘rights’.

I am fortunate and blessed. My husband shows me daily how to be loving and kind. He always has been there for me, even when I haven’t deserved it or earned it. No, it’s not a special day for us…not an anniversary of any kind. But it is another day we have to be together and share our lives. God has blessed us abundantly over the past 30 years. And He is still working on me to become the wife I want to be when I grow up.

I pray the same for you.