Marriage – It’s a Matter of Perspective

IMG_3400First comes a wedding – then comes a marriage!

They are two entirely different worlds!

Marriage is the easiest hardest relationship you’ll ever enter. It’s the most rewarding exhausting experience of your life. It captures the best and worst of your memories.

Fortunately, my hubby and I aren’t often in the same bad place at the same time, but it does happen from time to time. We see life from different perspectives.

Generally, I see the cup half full and he sees it half empty. I need the bed made every morning to feel a sense of order to my day. He figures we’re getting back in tonight, why make it. I like to put everything away, he likes it all out in the open so he knows where it is. When I take a shower, I hang the bathmat back on the hook, even if he’s getting in right after me. (That sounds OCD to me, even as I read it.)

We even look at trimming the garden from two different perspectives. A cute little pair of clippers works for me. Clip – clip – clip and all offending branches or vines are gone. When he trims bushes, Vroom – Vroom – Vroom and out comes the power equipment. In the blink of an eye that bush is reduced to a stump with roots. It looks like it was taken to the barber for an old fashioned flat top haircut.

However, we both sleep in our bed, we both eventually find what we’re looking for, we both shower, and we both don’t know a thing about gardening! But together we get the jobs done.

It’s all a matter of perspective.

When differences arise – and they always do – even after 48 years, we try to see the bigger picture. We try, not always successfully, to not win the battle and lose the war. There are always going to be differences, you came from two different worlds, with different families, budgets, traditions, and cultures.

Try to keep God’s perspectives – “Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself.” Phil. 2:3

Forty-Eight Years

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In 1967 a loaf of bread cost $.22, a gallon of gas $.28, a car $2,420, a stamp $.05, a house $24,600, and minimum wage was $1.40 an hour. “Bonnie and Clyde” was at the movies and “Spider Man” was on TV. The first heart transplant took place at a hospital.

My heart transplant took place at St. Peter’s Lutheran Church in Middletown, PA. I gave it to this man I’ve lived with and loved for the last forty-eight years.

We’ve had ups and downs, plenty of money and not any, no children and children in abundance, a huge home and a tiny apartment, sickness and health, and still after all of this he loves me and I love him.

It’s been a whirlwind and the time – the time has just flown past! We’ve been blessed with an incredible family and friends. I’m thankful every day for their input into our lives. God has guided us from the very beginning, even when we didn’t give Him credit for doing the guiding.

If you’re at forty-eight hours into your marriage, or forty-eight days, weeks, or months, keep going! Stick like glue to the spouse God’s given you and work like crazy to make your marriage last.

It’s worth the effort!

And then, give God the glory!

“What God has joined together, let not man put asunder.” Mark 10:9

Not Now

Sitting by the pool on this sunny, cloudless day, I heard her speak to me,

even though she’d passed on to her heavenly reward years ago.

Her voice still resonated in my ears and I was transported back 30 some years. She sat beside me in the wide open yellow playroom listening to music as my two-year-old danced at our feet.

“Mommy, dance with me!”

My reply,

“Not now.”

Again she pleaded and again,

“Not now.”

And then it happened.

The whisper thin frame of the 80 year old lady, with her long silver hair wrapped around her head in a braid like a crown, got to her feet. Holding hands with my youngest, she danced a little jig and said,

“She won’t ALWAYS ask you to dance.”

In a matter of moments, the three year old was on to other adventures – but she had danced and laughed.

So today, when my eight year old grand asked me to swim, I remembered,

“She won’t ALWAYS ask you to swim.”

B-r-r-r-r-r! The water was frigid, but the smiles were warm.

IMG_4148Making memories…………collecting them in a “Memory Scrapbook” in my head.

Thank you, Mimi!

 

 

Let Kids Be Kids

8231_1247302228518_1408308927_691556_4171920_nMy daughter, Sarah-Joy noticed a puddle with beautiful colors of blue, green, red and yellow swirled in it, as we strolled through a parking lot on our way back to the car.  She thought it was a rainbow caught right there on the pavement. I corrected her so she would know it was just an oil leak from a car.

Her response:

“Oh mommy, I wish you hadn’t told me that.”

So did I – as soon as I said it!

Later, driving home on a crystal clear evening, Sarah and I were the only ones awake. As we drove, I spotted a falling star cascading across a cloudless ink-black sky.  It was a rare and dazzling sight. Cresting the last hill on the highway close to our home, Sarah looked out at the landscape dotted with lights.

She excitedly told me:

“Look, Mommy, that must be where that falling star landed!”

House lights/ star lights – I wasn’t going to disillusion her.

I’d already made that mistake once!

 Sometimes we just need to leave well enough alone.

When they’re 15, 18, 21, they won’t believe their stuffed animals talk anymore, they will understand that daddy can’t actually “smell” McDonald’s french fries when he’s driving down the road, and they won’t think that stars land, or rainbows live in puddles.

Let kids be kids!

They grow up soon enough and so much of the fantasy of imagination is replaced by cold hard facts.

THE END OF AN ERA OR IS IT THE BEGINNING?

Today is a special day for me.

It’s the beginning of the end of an era. The 60’s, not the1960’s of course (although they were good) but the other 60’s. The chronological ones. The ones that turned my hair to silver.

Today I’m 69. And believe me, that sounds old! I remember when 30 sounded old, and then I got there! Suddenly, almost overnight, 50 was old. And just about that fast, I got there too. 60 years have gone by in about that many seconds.

My middle daughter just reminded me of a saying I used to tell her when her babies were small, “The days are long, but the years are short.” God confirms that when He says says our lives are as a vapor.

But there are still so many things I want to do!

For instance:

I want to sure to grow to know my Saviour even better. To take the time to study the Bible like when I would read Chafer’s Systematic Theology – for FUN!

II Timothy 2:15 says, “Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed.” I certainly don’t want to be ashamed when I stand before my heavenly Father.

It’s time to reread good books about real people, people who allowed God to use them in mighty ways.

Joni – by Joni Eareckson Tada

There’s a Snake in My Garden – by Jill Briscoe

The Hiding Place – by Corrie ten Boom

His Stubborn Love – by Joyce Landorf

Queen of the Dark Chamber – by Christiana Tsai

Beth Moore

Chuck Swindoll

Max Lucado

And that’s just the beginning of the list. Then there are new authors to explore as well.

I want my family and friends to know how much I care because I show up. Show up to help and to encourage and to lighten their load.

Some dear friends have gotten terribly ill this year, life threateningly ill. Dear friends who are much younger than I am. Friends whose consistency, and faith, and integrity have been evident to all those around them. I praise God that He’s spared them and granted more days than the doctors once believed possible, but if they had entered heaven’s gates I’m sure they would have heard, “Well done my good and faithful servant.”

It’s sobering, but that’s what I want to hear, “Well done…..”

IMG_2599 So here’s to a New Era!

Invisible Me

I ALWAYS, almost, get a shower in the morning.

I ALWAYS, almost, do my hair and spray it for the day.

I ALWAYS, almost, put on make up.

I NEVER, almost, wear gardening shorts to the store.

Did you ever just want to run out quickly – fast like a bunny – and pick up something at the store? Not a social event, not a meeting, just a quick jaunt out and back – INVISIBLY!

Recently, I just needed a couple of 6X9 envelopes for mailing books. I think I can accurately say that I have gone to our local Target 45 times and NEVER seen anyone I knew.  As far as anyone was concerned, I was not there.  I went in, looked around, bought what I needed and left again – all without seeing a soul I knew.

But no, the one day this year that I went, not showered with straight as a stick hair.  (People often ask if I’m feeling sick when my hair is straight, that’s why I ALWAYS, almost, curl it.) With no make up to cover the many imperfections and scars from way too much sun poisoning all my life, and wearing less than flattering shorts with an equally unflattering top – I was recognized.

“Are you Mrs. Walls?”

Looking around to see who else was there, my first response was to say,  “NO!”

That’s what I wanted to say, but the young bearded man was so polite, I confessed.  I didn’t recognize him at all.  But lo, when he was just a teen, before he was old enough to shave, he worked in the warehouse where I was supervisor.

I just wanted to crawl under the table and look invisible.  Instead, after a pleasant but brief conversation, I went to the car and as I was putting the key in the ignition, my friend, by the same name walked right in front of my car.

Having no more sense than the man in the moon, and before I could stop myself, I honked my horn.  SHE DIDN’T RECOGNIZE ME. Great – it’s not a good sign when a little bit of spray in a bottle and makeup on the face makes that much difference. Still, we had a wonderful time catching up with each other’s lives.

However, the next time I’m tempted to walk out the door like a spring chicken, I need to rethink things!  You young chicks are beautiful when you wake up after you’ve wrestled a pillow and haven’t had a chance to wash your face.  At my age though, I need to take a minute, or even two, to get ready before I leave the house.  Call it vanity, call it wisdom, call it anything you like, but I have been reminded:

 

I AM NOT INVISIBLE!

Math: The Other Useless Subject

IMG_1384I am being totally facetious!  The older I get, the more I wish I’d paid closer attention in math class.

Seriously, my youngest daughter and I are both mathematically challenged.  Between us if we’re in a restaurant and the bill for this person is so much, and the bill for the other is different, and we want to pay for a third person’s meal and leave a tip – we’re stumped.

Stumped like, “Just give the waitress our wallets and let her pick out what she needs to cover the bill, then give us the change.”

Recently we wanted to make strawberry jam.  Directions were pretty straight forward until it came to “for 2 eight ounce containers”.  We had 12 ounce containers.  Hmm!  Then it spoke of using 2 1/3 cups.  We wanted to make 6 containers.  Six containers, a third cup, eight ounce containers – there appeared no common denominator.

Literally, it took us longer to do the math, than it did to make the jelly.  We have a chart now that’s been sealed away in a locked box so we never have to do that math again.

At least that’s what we thought, then we read the directions for another kind of fruit.  Different fruit, different combinations.

We just laughed.

It may not be perfect jam, but it was perfectly fun!

Can’t wait to make some more.

The City Mouse and the Country Mouse – Part 2

After I’d moved back to PA, my “city mouse” friends drove in to see me.  They were totally intimidated by the beautiful back country roads they had to drive to get to my house.  Though the rolling hills of PA are quite scenic in the daytime, the shroud of darkness changes everything. These poor girls trying to negotiate the unlit roads would have been hysterically funny if it hadn’t been so very dangerous riding with them.  They all but stopped at the crest of every hill because they couldn’t see down the other side.  Every twist and turn of a country lane made them panic.  The poor “country mouse” drivers behind us must have been ready to pull their hair out.

As much fun as we had together, I think they were very anxious to get back to the lights, the horns and the traffic of the city.  At least there they could see what the obstacles were.  In Chicago, even the alley ways were lit by streetlights to help decrease the crime rate. In my little hometown, not even all the streets were lit, let alone the alleys.

I found it surprising that the “city mouse” people at my bus stop could stand with the same strangers, to get the same bus, at the same time Monday through Friday and never introduce themselves to each other.  Trying hard to fit in, I observed the unspoken rule until one night as I was walking from the bus stop alone, I met up with my next door neighbor.  He was an old gentleman who, if you asked me, had too much time on his hands.  He’d retired at the young age of 55 with enough money to live the rest of his life without working.  Apparently, now being well into his late 70’s, he employed his time with lecherous thoughts of the young women who passed by his home daily.  

He and a friend were chatting about a block and a half up the tree lined street from our apartment.  As I approached he extended his hand to me.  I thought that he wanted to introduce me to another neighbor.  Foolish “country mouse” girl.  This dirty old man pulled me in and kissed me, right there in the middle of the street with his old friend right beside him.  I was speechless!!!!!  It was then I decided never to walk that street alone again. The next morning I was on a mission.  As soon as I got to the bus stop, I introduced myself to the first person who showed up.  The next day I introduced myself and my new found “city mouse” friends to each other. Ultimately, there were five of us who walked the same way every night, but now we weren’t alone.  There really was safety in numbers and great friendships developed.

Another rule for fledgling “country mice” is the requirement to enter and exit public transportation promptly. No dilly dallying is permitted.  You jump on, you jump off, or you miss your chance.  Whatever you do, you must keep all pieces and parts together.  Don’t let a straggling parcel behind because it

In the country when it gets dark, it's just DARK.

In the country when it gets dark, it’s just DARK.

will be taking a ride without you if you do.  On one sunny afternoon I arrived at my stop after a rather rainy morning.  With purse and umbrella in hand I marched to the back of the bus.

Unfortunately, as I exited the bus my umbrella somehow got stuck in the door and the bus pulled away to the next stop.  Being married to a full time student didn’t leave a lot of extra money in our wallets at the end of the week and buying a new umbrella was not in the budget.  I did the only thing I could do, tightly budgeted “country mouse” that I was.  I chased the bus down the street trying to make it stop.  Once again the “city mice” looked on in stunned disbelief. Their deadpan stares followed me as I jogged down the street in my three inch heels for the sake of rescuing a nondescript umbrella.  Not a smile was broken.  When the doors opened two blocks away, I retrieved the stuck umbrella and left my dignity behind as the doors closed.

You might wonder what I could have learned from the bus chasing exercise.  It’s this: Don’t take yourself too seriously.  I learned to laugh at myself.  I may have been just a blip on the “city mouse’s” nightly ride home radar, but perhaps when they thought about it later, it gave them a smile.  That’s okay with me, a smile trumps a frown any day of the week. I don’t set myself up to be a buffoon, but it’s okay if you laugh WITH me.

 

 

 

The City Mouse and the Country Mouse – Part I

The thriving metropolis of Chicago was such a different atmosphere for a “country mouse” girl like myself.  I remember a “city mouse” co-worker returning from a trip out West saying that there were animals right by the road.  She was shocked that they were allowed to be so close to the passing cars. Since Chicago was as far west as I’d ever gone, I inquired about what kind of animals she’d seen.  In my imagination they could have been bobcats, coyotes, even bears.  But no, they were cows and horses that amazed her.  It was finally my turn to chuckle, knowing that in my “country mouse” little town, this was a common occurrence.

So, riding my new found means of public transportation to work one sunny morning, I spontaneously stood and announced to my “city mouse” neighbors on the bus, “A dog!  Look, a dog!”  The little spotted, four-legged friend was nonchalantly ambling down Irving Park Road, checking out all hydrants and parking meters as he went. He was the first dog I’d seen since arriving in the city.

It was one of those, “Did I Say That Out Loud” moments.

I got the standard deadpan stare from the other riders who wondered, I’m sure, if I was going to do something even more drastic, like – talk to them individually.  Everyone knows that you only do that on public transportation after your train has been delayed for 20 minutes because someone decided to end their time here on planet earth by jumping in front of an elevated train, going breakneck speed to its next stop.  Then it’s completely appropriate to have a minimal conversation with the person next to you.

I had a hard time learning this lesson though.  At one of the big name department stores one day they were having a sale in their basement section on purses.  I stood in total amazement as a clerk literally aimed purses toward the sale table, throwing them over the heads of shoppers.  When I finally eased my way to the side of the table, I helped an elderly woman grab a bag that was just out of her reach.  Handing it to her, I said, “Good Morning.”  Her response, “Do I know you?”

The city and I spent many interesting days together.  It was a fantastic opportunity to learn more about people in general, and myself in particular.  God sometimes puts us where we don’t feel secure and confident to show us He is in control and we can trust that His ways are perfect.  I learned so much from my “city mouse” friends about life, love and contentment. God used the city and my “city mouse” friends to change this “country mouse” for the rest of my life.

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Let Them be Kids

Driving home late one evening, my daughter Sarah-Joy and I were the only ones awake in the car.  It was a crystal clear night, and as we drove I spotted a falling star cascading across a cloudless sky.  It was a rare and dazzling sight.  Cresting the last hill on the highway close to our home, Sarah looked out at the landscape dotted with light.  She excitedly told me,

“Look, Mommy, that must be where that falling star landed!”

House light/ star light – I wasn’t going to disillusion her.  I’d already made that mistake once.

While we were strolling through a parking lot on our way back to our car, Sarah noticed a puddle with beautiful colors of blue, green, red and yellow swirled in it.  She thought it was a rainbow caught right there on the pavement. I corrected her so she would know it was just an oil leak from a car.  Her response,

“Oh mommy, I wish you hadn’t told me that.”

So did I, as soon as I said it.

Sometimes we just need to leave well enough alone.  When they’re 15, 16, 21, they won’t believe their stuffed animals talk anymore, they will understand that daddy can’t actually “smell” McDonald’s french fries when he’s driving down the road, and they won’t think that stars land, or rainbows live in puddles.

Let kids be kids!

They grow up soon enough

All grown up with her own hubby and littles to raise.

All grown up with her own hubby and littles to raise.

and so much of the fantasy of imagination is replaced by cold hard facts.