Friday, September 24, 2010

A Decision to Love

Dan and I will celebrate our 30th anniversary on Monday. Last year I wrote about how we met, which is a pretty cute story, if I do say so myself. You can read that story here.

Occasionally people will ask how I've been able to stay with one person for so many years. There really is no secret formula, it's all about decisions. When Dan and I were engaged we had to go through various preparation classes before we could get married. One of those was called "Evenings for the Engaged". I have no idea if they still do this, but I think it's a great idea. We met one night a week for six weeks at the home of a married couple from our church. They took us through what life as a married couple is all about. They talked about the reality of living day to day with a person as opposed to the fairytale. Like the fact that sometimes you have to do things for the other person that aren't so pleasant. Like when your spouse falls and breaks both ankles and can't get up and down off the toilet by themselves. Yes, this actually happened to us. I broke both my ankles at the same time and Dan had to help me do all sorts of things I'm sure he would rather not have done. That is true love.

The one thing that made the biggest impression on us was when they told us that there would be times when you would have to make a decision to love the other person. It sounded kind of crazy to two people so in love that they couldn't see past themselves. To us, that decision had been made and we were happy with how in love we were. But as always, the more experienced couple was correct. There are days when, honestly, you just don't like each other. Someone does something that irritates the other and all those lovey dovey feelings fly right out the window. But, if you stop and make a conscious decision to love the other person, it makes a world of difference. Maybe not right then, but in the long run. There have been many, many times during the last 30 years when one of us has said to the other, "I'm making a decision to love you right now". It really makes you stop and think about what you are doing that might be irritating the person you love most in the world. As with anything in life, it's all about the decisions you make and marriage is no different. I made a decision 30 years ago to love, honor and cherish until death do us part. It's been the best decision I've ever made.

Quote for the Week:

A successful marriage requires falling in love many times, always with the same person.
~Mignon McLaughlin~

Friday, September 17, 2010

Being Thankful Anyway

It has been a pretty frustrating week, actually the last couple of months have been frustrating. Topped off by the fact that my internet is not working again, so here I sit typing this blog on my Droid because I really don't want to mess up my blogging streak. Anyway, my mother always told me to count my blessings instead of feeling sorry for myself, and because my mother was a smart woman, I'm going to listen to her. Here are some of my blessing and the reasons why I am thankful anyway....

1. My family. A great husband who puts up with me even when he doesn't feel like it. Three great kids I couldn't live without. Everyone is relatively healthy and happy and they all have jobs..

2. I have a job, a house and food to eat.

3. I have a very large extended family to lean on. I appreciate every one of them.

4. I live in a country where I can practice my faith without persecution, speak my mind, and vote.

5. I'm most thankful that I was raised by two parents who cared what kind of adult I would turn out be. They gave me my faith, my moral integrity and they were the best example of what a marriage should be. Oh yeah, and they taught me to count my blessings.

Hope you all have a wonderful weekend!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

A Mom Remembers...

This day will always be hard for me. I always felt really safe in America. It was a place where no one could touch us and everyone loved us. Nine years ago that all changed. I remember feeling so angry. Because after that day my children would never live in the safety of the America I grew up in. We all lost innocence that day. A couple of weeks later I sat down and wrote a letter to my children who were 16, 15, and 12 at the time. I thought I would share that letter with you today. It's sentiments are as true today as they were then.

October 5, 2001

To my children,

I want you to know how incredibly proud I am of all of you, each in your own way:

Sarah, for wisdom and maturity beyond your years. For your ability to handle yourself with grace and the incredible strength of your convictions. Please hold strong to these things, they will serve you well in the future.

Stephen, for your compassionate, caring and loving personality. The first with a hug or pat on the back and encouraging words, these are the things that will make you a truly strong man. If you treat your future wife the way you treat your mother you will have a long and happy marriage.

Beth, for your love and passion for life and animals, and your incredible sense of humor. You have taught us all a lesson on how not to waste a single second. Do not lose these qualities as you get older, they will make you a strong adult.

These are only the main reasons you make me proud. There are many more, but these are the things I treasure most about each of you. I tell at least one person a day how much I love my kids and how proud I am of them. I know that some of them are sick of hearing about you all, but I don't care. Never a day goes by that I don't know how truly blessed I am to have you three for my children. I hope that how your Dad and I have tried to raise you has something to do with the way you are, but some of these things are born in you, and I recognize that God worked overtime on all of you. My point in all of this is to ask you all to stay true to who you are and never let someone else make up your mind for you. Never go along to be part of the crowd. One of the best gifts you can give yourself is to be your own person. Always know that Dad and I are here if you need a shoulder to cry on or an ear to listen. Having said all that, there was another point to this letter:

All mothers hope for a peaceful world for their kids. As of three weeks ago, those hopes are no longer possible in the short term. I know that all of you must be having feelings of being anxious and fearful about the future. Especially since all you hear on the news is talk of war. What I want you to know is this: When all is said and done, each of us will be OK. I've said to you many times that you need to be ready everyday, because it could be your last. You need to think and pray about this because it will give you peace. I am not fearful of war or terrorist attacks. I put my faith in God to take care of me and if He sees fit to call me home, I know I'm ready. One of the ways you can best accomplish being ready is to stay true to who you are. Remember the things I mentioned about each of you in this letter. These are the things that make you strong, hold on to them. Treat all people with respect and dignity, be truthful and practice your faith and when it's time we'll all be together in heaven too. This is our ultimate goal here on earth anyway. It's not how many possessions or how much money we accumulate or any of the worldly things. God put us here so we could make a choice. Live your life like you choose heaven and you will be there with Him in the end.

I love you all,


Thanks for letting me share this with you.

Never forget.

Quote for Today:

Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.
~Benjamin Franklin (1706 - 1790)~

Friday, September 10, 2010

Mom? Who's she?

Fall is finally in the air (well, in the mornings at least). Football season is starting, kids are going back to school. I drove by a high school the other day and saw the marching band practicing, it made me sad. Of all the things my kids did, I miss the marching band the most. It got me to thinking about how much I miss having all those "things" to do. When it was going on I thought I couldn't wait until my time was my own. But, if I'm being honest, I really miss it all. There are times when I don't even feel like a mom anymore.

For most of my life being a mom has defined who I am. And that was just fine with me. In fact, it was perfect. Being a mom is all I ever really wanted to be. I've always considered being a parent my number one priority. It's the job I always wanted and the only job I've ever truly loved. But how do you parent when you're kids are adults? You can give advice, and hope they listen but you can't be sure if they're even hearing you, or if they even care what you have to say. And should you even be giving advice in the first place? The last thing I ever want to be is the interfering parent.

Life is interesting, just about the time you think you have something figured out, it throws you a curve ball and you have to readjust your swing. So now I'm trying to relearn the whole mom thing from scratch. I'm not sure I like this new roll, but since I don't have a choice, I'm going to figure it out the best I can. Wish me luck!

This week you get two quotes because they were both so good I couldn't choose. Hope everyone has a great weekend!

Quotes for the Week:

The art of mothering is to teach the art of living to children.
~Elain Heffner, O Magazine, May 2003~

A mother is not a person to lean on but a person to make leaning unnecessary.
~Dorothy C. Fisher (1879 - 1958)~

Friday, September 3, 2010

Oh Library...How I Love Thee, Let Me Count The Ways

I have loved reading for so long, I can't remember a time when I didn't read. If I'm not reading something, I feel lost. Always have. When I was young my father signed me up for a book club. Every three months I would receive three books in the mail. I had them read in a week. I read whatever I could get my hands on. Newspapers, cereal boxes, packaged foods, recipes, it didn't matter, if there were words, I would read.

In third grade I was introduced to the library at school. It's location was a teeny, tiny room sandwiched between two classrooms. The fact that I found it small in third grade is an indication of how minuscule it must have been. I imagine it was originally a storage room for the classrooms that bookended it. Inside this tiny room I found magic. I never imagined one room could take me so many places. I started out by reading the entire set of Biographies of Great Americans (this is where my love of American history began) and moved on to books about China, Africa and Australia. I discovered Charles Dickens, Margaret Mitchell, Laura Ingalls Wilder and a host of others who took me places I'd never dreamed of. By the time I graduated eighth grade I had read every book in that little library. Some I didn't understand (and still don't, if I'm being truthful....O, Henry?) but most I loved and read more than once.

One of the happiest times of my life was when I introduced my young children to the public library. They had an excellent summer reading program of which we took full advantage. We spent lots of time in that library, listening to stories being read, picking out books to take home and soaking up the cool air (that's important here in desert land!). Through my children I discovered new authors like Maurice Sendak, Chris Van Allsburg, Shel Silverstein and a host of others who delighted not only my children but me as well. While not all my children became as avid a reader as I, I know the time spent in the library fostered an appreciation of the written word and how powerful it is.

I love everything about libraries. The smell, the quiet, the solitude, and yes the cool air. I have found so many wonderful stories I would never have known about had it not been for just wondering through the library, looking at books. I know the library has enriched my life and the lives of my children. I cannot picture my life without it. And to think it's free! So, why do I write this today? September is library card sign up month. (They have a month for everything now, don't they?) So, if you don't have a library card, go sign up for one. If you have one, take a friend who doesn't have one and sign them up. Discover the wonders that await you at your public library. (And no, no one paid me to write this, I'm just a nerd like that.)

Hope everyone has a wonderful and safe Labor Day weekend.

Quote for the Week:

I have always imagined that Paradise will be a kind of library.
~Jorge Luis Borges (1899 - 1986)~