Happy January 14th

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I have an orange envelope with pics of me and the husband, including these that are seen very seldom. Hmm… even then I was driving.

Anniversary Eve (January 13th)

Tomorrow afternoon, we will have been married 46 years.  This has been an eventful year, with retirement for the husband, an interstate move and our house going up for sale, and then a diagnosis of Lewy Body Dementia that the husband was not expecting.

We may have many more anniversaries. But however many there are, we have this one to look forward to. We have an appointment with a lawyer in a nearby city, to discuss estate planning. As long as we are there, it will be nice to stay in a hotel and not to have to make the two-hour drive home.  As long as we are staying for the night, we are going to dinner at a nice steakhouse as a celebration. It is all planned and will be more of a “night away” than we have had for a long time.  It’s just hasn’t been something that we find ourselves doing.

It will be a celebration of another sort as well. Today we got the first real paper offer on our home in Florida.  It’s been over six months on the market and this is the first offer we have had, although there have been lookers. It is the kind of family we had been hoping for, and although we feel we must make a counteroffer, we are hoping to come to an agreement with them. In a little over a month we could possibly be closing the sale. I have been looking forward to this for so long! (at least it seems like a long time).  It would solve several other problems as well if this could come to closing. Prayers appreciated.

The husband has not been feeling well, but he is pretty certain he will feel better tomorrow. Don’t ask me how he knows.  It’s as much a spiritual/emotional matter as it is physical, although it involves physical discipline to keep to the diet that he wants to be on.  I am hoping the restaurant will have at least one good keto meal to choose from so he can enjoy the evening.  I chose a hotel that has no stairs to climb and a nice hot tub to soak in. That should also be a treat, if he has the energy for it.

Things do fall in place at some point. I am glad it is now, or at least seems to be now. I know we could yet be disappointed, but I’m taking care not to find out until after our anniversary. Congratulations to us. We are in it for the long haul.

 

 

 

 

#AtoZChallenge: My Favorite Things D

D for Diamonds

 

“Diamonds are a girl’s best friend.” Leo Rubin

“Diamonds are best plain set.” Rolle

“The diamond has been always esteemed the rarest stone, and the most precious of all: among the ancients it was called the stone of reconciliation.” Lewis Vertoman

“It’s hard to be a diamond in a rhinestone world.” Dolly Parton

“Diamonds are forever.” Ian Fleming

“Diamonds are trumps in the game of hearts.” Robert Elliott Gonzales

“I never hated a man enough to give him diamonds back.” ZsaZsa Gabor

“No pressure, no diamonds.” Thomas Carlyle

“A girl never cares who casts the first stone at her – as long as it’s a diamond.” Evan Esar

“The diamond is the hardest stone – to get.” Evan Esar

“A diamond on a dunghill is a precious diamond still.” American Proverb

“…the hardest known substance yet has the simplest chemical composition, consisting of crystallized carbon, the chemical element that is fundamental to all life.” Marijan Dundek

“Diamonds cut diamonds.” Tamil

“A diamond with a flaw is worth more than a pebble without imperfections.” Chinese Proverb

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I have two diamonds. I can’t really say that either of them are my best friends as they have always been rather impersonal. I do count them among my favorite things. They both happen to be gifts from my husband.

The first one was in an engagement ring, and I guess it was what “pushed me over the edge” into a marriage commitment. It wasn’t particularly large but it was very high quality – no visible imperfections, with dazzling white sparkle. It spoke to me. It said that he who bought it was willing to risk his future by promising to spend it with me.

Over the years, whenever I would take it to the jeweler, I would hear how the prongs had worn down and I was lucky the stone hadn’t fallen out. The setting was rebuilt a couple of times. Later, working as a nurse forced me to put it aside, as the prongs would catch on things and could scratch my patients. As my hands aged I found that the ring no longer fit over my arthritic knuckles. A few years ago, I got lonely for it and made the decision to have it redone in a setting that would not wear down and would not catch on things. The quote about a diamond being best plain set resonates with me. I love its plainness and I wear it all the time.

I also love the quote about diamonds being stones of reconciliation. My diamond reminds me that I have committed to the work of continual reconciliation to the person I married. This is the second most important thing in life to me, and it’s not easy, which is why diamonds have to be hard, I guess.

The second diamond is set in the center of a cross. Crosses were instruments of death and they were cruel, awful symbols. I am often uncomfortable seeing them as jewelry. But the diamond in the center reminds me, again, of a commitment. It is about the love of my creator for me, the only thing that could make a cross beautiful. It symbolizes a complicated, mysterious way of living and looking at the world. It has become the first most important thing to me.

All diamond quotes taken from http://www.notable-quotes.com

Family Wedding Post 3

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The wedding is over. The marriage has just begun.

It’s over and I am the first one back to the quiet house. The others are still at the wedding site helping put things back together. It was definitely an interactive wedding.  My nephew, who hosted the event in his beautiful back yard, went above and beyond the call of family duty. He even had his hired workers over to help string up the lights. His patio and pool area was transformed with a serving area, a bar, numerous tables and the seating area for the ceremony. The pool, waterfalls and palms were gorgeously tropical and the weather was near perfect (maybe a little warm, but definitely could have been worse.).

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They are haning lights for later – the whole crew pitched in.
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Simplicity, this is it.
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The lights, the water, the festive occasion…

 

I’m trying to think of the traditional elements of this wedding. It’s a bit difficult because many of them were dispensed with.  It was a simple ceremony.  There was no music to worry about, no singing, no parades of girls in poufy gowns, no children wandering off to find mommy, or running away with the rings.  The groom escorted his parents in, kissed them and seated them.  The bride, escorted by her parents, did the same. The bride’s father gave a short message. The couple read their promises out loud to each other and exchanged rings. They were pronounced husband and wife and kissed.  We all waited for them to go happily down the aisle but that didn’t happen. They stayed by themselves in front of the audience and acknowledged and thanked everyone for coming. The groom prayed for God’s blessing on the crowd. To be honest, I thought it was a nice departure from the long receiving line where you have to hug and kiss people you don’t know very well and… I just am in favor of getting rid of lines of all kinds, whenever possible. Good job.

This part of the ceremony did finally end when the bride grabbed the groom’s hand and took off with a loud “Let’s party!” That was a bit untraditional as well, but then, that’s my niece. She’s not afraid to be herself.

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“Let’s party!”

And party we did. I am so NOT a party person. I go to occasions like this for love of family, not love of party. But I do like to see other people having a good time. George the chef had done a bang up job with the food, which took the spotlight next.  It was hot, so the bar was busy serving up nice icy cold drinks, and the music started.  People began to get their food and take it to the traditional sit down tables, or the untraditional stand up tables.

Then it began to be apparent that the one part of the planning no one had focused on was clean-up. The bar began to run out of clean glasses. Plates began to clutter tables and counters. But be aware that in every crowd there will be a few people who are clean-up ninjas, and they can’t resist the challenge.  I am one. I love nothing better than to stay inside where there is AC going strong and scrape dirty plates.  I get to see lots of people as they drop off their stuff. I get to be useful and oddly, I really do like washing dishes. It’s like making a difference in the world, one dirty plate at a time.

And when I was done I got to sit down with a cup of coffee and one of the bestest ever cupcakes. I will never recommend traditional wedding cake to anyone again. Really, cupcakes are a great idea and they can be unusual, fancy and delicious.

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The cupcake table was a big hit. The bridal couple got to cut their small tiered cake as usual, but everyone else got to choose from an assortment of ridiculously GOOD personal cakes. How cool is that!?

As I said, I am back at the quiet house, and it is still quiet. I love quiet. There were also a lot of really dirty pans left over from George’s labors. I washed them and cleaned up. I love cleaning up. Two nice things that I like, to finish up a very nice family wedding. I’m just sayin’ – it was good and I think we all had fun.

Anniversary Thoughts

January 14, 2016, 43 years since I married the husband.  What have I learned in all this time?

There are always new things to discover in a relationship, new ways to look at old things.  

It is better to work on familiar problems with a person you know and trust, than to start over from zero with someone you don’t know.

The husband and I are both persons before God first, then we are a couple.   

Praying for my husband gives me a whole new reason to be interested in his growth.

Praying with my husband, before God, is the safest way to be vulnerable.

Letting the culture tell me what to expect from marriage is a big mistake. Every couple I’ve known is unique.

If I have to have things done my way, just do them and be glad.

If I want help I must be willing to let him help in his way and be glad.

We were not brought together because of the things we have in common but because of our complementary differences.

Bad feelings change over time.

Good feelings change over time.

Being in trouble together brings us closer, thankfully.

Nothing makes it easier to forgive than needing to be forgiven, but don’t keep score.

It is okay to take care of myself and avoid the martyr complex.  I am more fun when I’m having fun.

Asking kindly for things works really well. 

I say I have learned these things, but actually, I’m still working on many of them and seeing progress.  God has given me marriage and family as a school.  There are “treasures” of learning as a result of keeping covenant over time – I am humbled and blessed to be in a safe and loving relationship that allows me to learn and grow spiritually.  Thank you, Dennis, for being a faithful man who has never held me back, never “lorded” it over me, never intentionally been unkind.  I would marry you all over again.

Love, the wife.

ourwedding
Once upon a time, a long time ago…

 

Forty-Two

I remember the night I first saw this ring... back when it still fit.
I remember the night I first saw this ring… back when it still fit.

It’s the number of consecutive years that the husband and I have been married as of this coming Wednesday.  We’ve been thinking about it a lot this year, and by that I mean I’ve been thinking about it and when I’ve brought the subject up the husband doesn’t run away.  He’s actually listened and conversed on the subject.  I think we are both in agreement that we need to be more deliberate, purposeful, in our way of commemorating the decision we made those long years ago.

It is not an easy thing to do – this commemorating stuff.  We both come from plain, work oriented backgrounds, families that didn’t put a lot of stock in celebrating.  We had some imaginative ideas the first few years but after the demands of child rearing and careers interfered we didn’t try as hard.  I can’t say that there is one main thing that both the husband and I like to do together either (I don’t count eating) and that always added to the dilemma.  I like planning and surprises, which are both like words in a foreign language to the husband. He likes…. I don’t know what he likes.  When he makes suggestions, I seriously wonder if he knows what he likes anymore.  So why do we bother?

Because it really has been kind of an amazing thing – this partnership of two so disparate personalities.  Not a day goes by anymore that I don’t see somewhere evidence of pain, suffering and inconvenience from failed relationships and broken covenants. But here we are, still together, with no desire for it to be otherwise.  I feel sad that in the coming years marriages of forty, fifty, sixty or more years are going to be a rare occurrence.  Our forty two years haven’t all been a 10 on the happiness scale but that was more due to life circumstances other than marriage, and probably would have been much lower had we been going it alone.

I guess what we are really wanting to acknowledge to ourselves and to others is that covenant love is so vastly different from what our society calls love.  It’s a decision, a promise, a grounding, a secure, known place where two people can know they belong, no matter what.  It’s meant to mirror the love covenant that God wants to have with the people he created.

People laugh at me for calling Dennis “the husband” but there’s more to that label than you might think. He’s not just “a husband”, he’s the husband meant for me.  I’ve had times when I honestly couldn’t think of why God brought us together BUT even then I was sure that he had.  I’m still sure (and I’m still trying to find out why God brought us together…) The beautiful thing is that we really do love each other based on something outside ourselves, outside our feelings, apart from our circumstances and we’ve seen the blessing that has been.

I have somewhat romantic, idealistic female children and I think they sometimes see the husband and I as having this lack luster, boring existence.  They might even wonder if we love each other, which is not good in this day of “the best thing you can do for your children is to love their mother/father” mantra.  That is perhaps one of the most important reasons I want to make it a special year.  I want my girls to know that we do care deeply for each other, and for them, for our family.  We might not have planned the cruise of a lifetime, or renewed our vows in a big ceremony, bought each other expensive gifts or spent the week’s food budget on a night out at a restaurant.  We might actually watch TV till 8pm, take our dose of NyQuil and try to go to sleep without coughing ourselves to death – it’s been that kind of a week.  But we love each other, and we know it… once again, just sayin’

The Desoto Date

 

A wonderful place to spend some together time.
A wonderful place to spend some together time.

 

 

We were challenged to go on a date every week for six weeks. The time is up now and we tried to remember if we had done that, done anything that was memorable, gone anywhere we could actually name. We came up with a few things.

But I decided we’d better do something quickly to add to the list. We went to a beautiful park we’d never visited before. It qualifies as a date because I walked slow and waited for the husband every time I got ahead of him. We read the historical information together. I took a picture of the husband. We connected with nature and each other.

Here are pictures of Desoto Park. It may have been the place where Hernando Desoto landed and started his trek to claim the New World for Spain. There used to be a local festival honoring him and his conquests – lots of men would dress up in conquistador armor and ride a float made to look like a sailing ship in a very noisy parade. Plastic beads and fake spanish coins would fill the air. I digress. Unfortunately the local native americans had a different version of that history and took offense at the festival being all about Desoto. Now it is simply called the Heritage Festival.

I love this park for its walking trail along the mouth of the Manatee River. Pets are allowed, boats pull up on shore while owners lounge in the water, there’s lots of shade over the path when it enters the mangroves. And if you have never seen a gumbo limbo tree, you will see one here – a very old and beautiful one. That does make it a date, doesn’t it?

I was only a little bit ahead of him...
I was only a little bit ahead of him…
lots of access to the river and intercoastal waterway
lots of access to the river and intercoastal waterway
the path follows the beach at low tide
the path follows the beach at low tide
lots of history to view (read)
lots of history to view (read)
bridges take the trail through the mangroves
bridges take the trail through the mangroves
variety of plant and animal life
variety of plant and animal life
a small white heron
a small white heron
and the gumbo limbo tree
and the gumbo limbo tree