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Today is a two-year anniversary for my husband and me. A very personal anniversary for us that started with an ordinary day – a much-needed phone call and participation in a wedding – and ended up with a great loss, confusion and many questions.
Time and distance has put new perspective on many things – including that day. But sadly, not even the marriage that Greg performed on that fateful day – has lasted. It’s almost like the whole day was fated to just be ‘one of those days’.
But memories linger anyway – and help us fill in the blanks where we are left to wonder – and left to fill in the empty silent spots. This can be dangerous – and not very accurate as I’ve recently found out – but sometimes – this is all we can do. It is better to take the ‘no harm – no blame’ philosophy – rather than point fingers. And there’s something about this season of the year – and the cold weather that reminds me once again.
And as the Grinch says to Cindy Lou Who in “The Grinch” – as they are speeding recklessly down the hill, ‘Even if we’re HORRIBLY mangled – there will be NO sad faces at Christmas‘.
And so that is exactly how we feel. barely escaping being ‘horribly mangled‘ – we have gone on – dealt with loss and misunderstanding – and purposed to be our own people and have our own say in things – even when it was not popular to do so. We’ve kept our unique perspective – and worked it out – our way. And we won’t apologize for that. And the way we look at it now after 2 years is this: No harm done – lesson learned – and another year to celebrate God‘s goodness, protection and provision in our lives.
And so – here’s to another year of celebration. We wave goodbye once again to the past, fear, ignorance and denial. And we warmly embrace goodness, love, forgiveness and truth.
Happy Anniversary to us. We made it. ♥
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This morning my husband and I were reflecting on some poignant and growing moments along the journey of our lives and the passage of time. Each person has events happen – unique to only them – and we are no exception to this. It is our story – our ‘rite of passage‘ – our legacy.
Many times throughout our lives – we found ourselves in strange circumstances – only to be followed up by the bizarre and ridiculous. The stretching and growing things of life – born out of difficulty and contrary circumstances have given us balance and perspective. Nothing surprises us too much anymore – and we have learned to make it through any storm that life throws at us – wait it out – and know that the sun will shine again someday. And it always does.
It begins early in our life when seeking to gain independence. And what we always find – is that freedom has a cost.
Our daughter learned this when she moved out of her childhood home and into her own apartment. Things were free at home – but they came with a cost. House rules and limitations. Independence had a price tag – a very high price tag – but she was willing to pay it. Our son will have to learn the same thing when he is weary of living by our ‘rules’ at home. And grows beyond the constraints of Mom and Dad. He will feel his itchy feet feeling the need to establish himself in the real world – and to become independent from us – and become a man.
And so it is as we mature – and we develop our own ‘voice’. We have to count the cost – ask ourselves – “is it worth the price?” and most of the time – if we want it bad enough – it is. It means stepping out – taking a leap of faith and going for it – no matter what others say. This is how we gain wisdom and experience. Sometimes good experiences – sometimes bad. Sometimes we keep our cool – sometimes we don’t. But we learn. By necessity – we learn.
It is in those experiences that we earn our ‘life’ stripes. We get to a certain age and wear them proudly – displaying them in our faces – the many laugh lines and stress lines too – and in our bodies – worn out by wear and tear – year after year. This all too – is part of what we earn. Part of the lessons of life that you can’t teach to others – it is what you have to live through – experience – and be willing to make it through to the other side. Our ‘life’ stripes have bought us our independence and ‘our story’ – but it has also come at a very high price. Loss of friendships and of ideals. A new-found awareness that people can be unkind and even cruel – leading to a resignation of how things are. And how things will continue to be. A forever loss of innocence.
But in the midst of all of this ‘life’ – I’m proud to say that God has been at the center of everything we have ever gone through as a family – or as a married couple. We’ve made plenty of mistakes – and will continue to make them – because we are not perfect – in fact hopelessly flawed and in need of a Savior every day to save us from our selfish ways. I’m thankful that because of His great love and patience for us – we are able to do as well as we do – all with a sense of humor and kindness. He gives us our ‘life’ stripes and we proudly display them – day after day – year after year. And in this new ‘season’ of life that we have found ourselves in – we have found life to be very sweet – and God has replaced the bad with good – and given us way more than we deserve – a wonderful family and friends that are daily in our lives – supporting us and making us thankful every day. And when life seems hard and not fair – I find myself coming back to what I know. That He is good.
Thank you Lord for your faithfulness – even when I am not faithful.
Thank you Lord for your patience – when I am so impatient.
Thank you for the hard lessons you have brought me through – even when I was unteachable and stubborn.
Thank you that I have the ability to look back over the years and see your hand over my life – for your protection and great love and for thinking me worthy enough to handle the strict discipline of your love.
Yes – I’ve earned them. I’ve earned my ‘life’ stripes.
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Watched an episode of ‘Family Ties‘ tonight. We loved that 80’s series when we were a young married couple – and so now we own it on DVD. It’s still just as fresh and funny to us as it was 25 years ago – great writing.
Tonight the episode was more serious – dealing with a delicate subject about ‘feelings’ and mostly about ‘telling the truth’ about those feelings. It was strangely familiar and brought up much dialogue for Greg and me. It was a little like looking into a mirror. A mirror that I’m not sure I wanted to look in.
I love how in a sitcom – things can be worked out in about 23 minutes – every episode has a problem and a conclusion and all is worked out and everyone feels good about it – problem solved for another day. This episode was no exception. It took a very complicated problem and simplified it – and had the people responding correctly to the problem – at the end of the show. Wouldn’t it be great if real life was as simple – and people responded to things as nicely?
Real life has people coming and going in and out of your life – responding correctly or sometimes incorrectly to stress, hurt, disappointment and setbacks. We don’t have any control over these things – I know I sometimes wish – Okay – ALL THE TIME I wish I had control over this fact. But the truth is – that I don’t. And even years later after some of these events that have taken place in my life – I still have to remind myself of this. I have no control. Just over myself.
It’s okay to react – it’s even okay to TOTALLY LOSE it when situations and things come at us. But the tragedy is when we allow ourselves to stay there – bound up in that reaction – inflicting more pain on ourselves and those around us. Fear is the motivator behind this – and fear can drive a HUGE wedge of misunderstanding and complications.
There is freedom in truth. It means I don’t have to create so much energy reinventing my version of the truth. There is no fear in truth. It is simple and straight forward. It means freedom. Freedom from myself – freedom from the lie I am trying so desperately hard to hang onto and make others believe. It means I can once again join the human race – instead of hiding behind that lie. I am not afraid – looking over my shoulder all the time – wondering who is going to catch on to my deceit. And even though it hurts me – and even can damage my reputation – it is still better to live in truth.
I had someone tell me the truth one time when I was going through a really bad time. She told me what I had always suspected but no one else would tell me – because they were afraid. She didn’t know me – was a neutral party sent to me to help me sort some things out. She really heard me and allowed me to express what I needed. She told me that people don’t tell you the truth because they are afraid. Afraid of reaction to the truth – and afraid that in speaking the truth – it will somehow change perspective on things and even give a wrong message of permission. And even change feelings. But it didn’t – and she knew that it wouldn’t. Truth will set you free. Truth will validate. Truth will allow you your dignity and tell you that you aren’t crazy. It will open up a whole new world in your mind and bring life and closure in the heart for whatever has gone wrong.
We need to speak more ‘truth’ – to each other in love – and to ourselves. I pray that someone will speak only the truth to you today – and that you will be honest with someone else that needs to hear it. That you will live peaceably with all men and be settled in your own heart and mind – that you did everything you could to live in truth.
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Men are so funny. Especially to us women. Who else could get colors, fabrics and clothing lingo – so completely WRONG?
Greg likes to be ‘involved’ in my life – not be left out – even if it is about clothing, makeup and ‘girly things’. I had my ‘colors’ done one year – and I think Greg felt left out. For years he has insisted that he is NOT one particular ‘season’ – like so many women were holding firmly to – when the whole ‘color me beautiful’ thing was popular. He would insist – he was ‘every season’ and couldn’t be pinned down. I would tell him that I am a ‘summer’ – because those colors most complemented my skin tone. If we were in a winter month – then Greg would miraculously be a ‘winter’ too. When the season changed to ‘spring’ – then he was also a ‘spring’. I think he just wanted to feel a part of things – and being ‘one’ with nature – proved that he was – or something like that. He doesn’t want to be left out.
Now when I have an item of clothing – for example – an ’empire waisted’ shirt he doesn’t want to be left out – and insists that he IS ’empire waisted’ too. I think that secretly he is just trying to hide the fact that he has rather short stocky legs 🙂
An empire waist is very flattering – hugs the smallest part of a woman’s body and doesn’t emphasize the curvier areas. Those of us that have curves – love the empire waist 🙂 Men don’t really get that. Who can blame them?
Men. What to do with them. Can’t live with them – Can’t live without them either. So confusing. Luckily my man isn’t too complicated – he’s simple really – and I don’t mean ‘simple minded’ – that’s another completely different subject. Just simple. Not too hard to figure out – no drama or mystery. That’s MY department – and he would totally agree!
I think we confuse the men. But I think they rather like it. They seem to always have that bemused and puzzled expression on their faces. There are in a constant state of panic – wondering if they will be asked to ‘recall’ a question we have just asked them – or trying frantically to come up with the correct response to our incessant chatter.
Last night Greg and I were sitting in the ‘talking room’ – a room where we have spent many HUNDREDS of hours over the last couple of years. I was happily chatting on and on about something really important to me – and I noticed that he was starting to ‘nod off’. Oh – not blatantly – it was just a subtle flinch – eyes that blinked too many times – and a familiar twitch around his mouth. All these things that I can read so well – and others would not be able to tell. But I KNEW!! It was irritating. And I knew that instead of my conversation being really important – my voice was instead lulling him to sleep! Good grief.
He’s pretty good – but most of the time has a hard time keeping up with me – after all – I am a handful – as all my friends know 🙂
Next time you see Greg – ask him if he’s got short legs – or is he really ’empire waisted’ – you’ll get a good laugh from him – and it will make you smile – I promise ♥
I have been noticing as I’m getting older – no – let me rephrase that. I am noticing as my HUSBAND is getting older – that his driving is getting more and more creative. Yes. That’s the word. Creative.
For example: We were turning onto a street from a shopping center going at a constant rate of speed appropriate for turning into traffic. I was secure and proceeded to check my emails on my iPhone – when all of a sudden I glanced up as I noticed my husband accelerating to the upcoming RED light! I was curious, mind you – like any passenger would be (and a little concerned for my personal safety) as he was NOT slowing down – but going toward that light at an alarming speed! But just like a man (of a certain age) he had misjudged the light turning green and had to SLAM on the brakes – or so it seemed to me. He has another story – something about having to go at the rate of the traffic on the road. Hmmmm. I didn’t see any of them speeding up to the red light – only our car – leaving everyone IN THE DUST and me with a very worried and stunned expression on my face. You know the ‘look’. It’s the one where the mouth opens – but no sound comes out. Yeah – that one. When I do this ‘look’ – Greg is quick to tell me that I’m going to catch flies like that. The nerve.
Now I realize that his erratic driving may just be a perception. It IS possible that I’m starting to ‘lose it’. It wouldn’t be the first time I felt like I was. I’ve raised two teenagers for goodness sakes. And sometimes I really fear that my grasp on reality is slipping away. But I do not EVER drive this way – nor do I remember him driving that way in all the years I’ve known him. He’s always been a very safe driver – much more aggressive at the wheel than me – of course – but still very safe and reliable. I could fall asleep in the car while we were going somewhere and feel perfectly safe. Now I keep my eyes open – mostly in a wide-eyed stare – but they are still open.
Perception. My perception. It’s different from yours. I view the world through a different lens than you. The problem comes when I think that you should see things the way that I do – when you don’t. Or try to get my husband to see that he shouldn’t be speeding up to a red light – but he should allow plenty of time to put his brakes on (and make me feel more safe). But his perception of the incident is entirely different from mine.
Wouldn’t it be nice if everyone could just think like me – or do things just like me? I wouldn’t have to guess at why things happen between friends – worry about what others are thinking – and wouldn’t be concerned at the actions of others. Unfortunately life isn’t like this – it’s full of ‘give and take’ with the people in my world – making adjustments and allowances everyday with things I just can’t understand.
I have to believe that God made us this way on purpose. We don’t understand everything and we’re not suppose to. I don’t understand even the closest people to me and why they think like they do – and life is full of navigating around that. Different opinions – different preferences – different perceptions.
The older I get – the more I realize this: It’s not important that I understand everything – I know now I never will. But it is important to have an open mind for others – to accept and embrace change in my life and realize that I am not the only one in this universe. To accept that I am not the only one with an opinion or perception of fact. And to learn to navigate through all the ‘junk’ of youth and inexperience to where I finally get to a place where – that’s okay. Even if it means getting very used to speeding up to red lights. Even then. I guess. After all – this is how I perceive it.