Happy Anniversary

Today my husband and I celebrate 29 years of marriage.

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WOW!

Where did the time go? We blended two families together-6 kids! We are now 11 grandchildren, 3 great-grand children, and a significant number of significant others (all whom I am  glad to say we love dearly).  It was a great deal of hard work and sacrifices along the way…

but let me go back 29 years…

After dating for almost 2 years, we decided to plan a vacation with the kids. After much research we chose a houseboat on Lake Mead in Nevada. It sounded like a great idea! By this time we knew we were going to get married and in fact had matching wedding bands made. It had come down to settling on the specifics of a wedding. Lake Mead, if you don’t know, it  just outside of Las Vegas, Nevada-and as you probably do know is a hot spot for weddings. It wasn’t much of a leap at this point to decide to elope and allow the houseboat, with all of the kids to be our honeymoon.

Without saying a word to anyone, we made a plan. We didn’t even tell the kids until we were enroute for fear they would not be able to keep such a big secret.  At the time we worked in real estate so the only person who knew was the printer who in advance of the wedding printed up my new business cards. It was how we would spread the word to our co-workers. We told the kids to be sure to pack one nice outfit but due to the rush of last minute preparations I did not follow up on their chosen wardrobe. As a result, we were a bit of a rag-tag looking group for the wedding which did not matter in the slightest.  I grabbed the newest dress I had which my sister had given me for my birthday the month before.

Needless to say, most of preparations for this trip were focused on the things we would need for 7 days on the houseboat. We purchased 56-6 packs of soda (okay, a bit of overkill and math isn’t my best subject anyway),  blow up tubing and toys for the lake, sunscreen, food, games, and all of the expected things one might need in the middle of a lake in the brutal desert in mid August.

As we made our way on the just under 4 hour drive to Las Vegas we announced to the kids of our pending nuptials.  At this early stage in our relationship we were in no way the idea of a blended family but they took the news rather well we thought.  Perhaps they were just anxious to get to the vacation on the lake.  Who knows. There were no cell phones in those days so no worry of them tipping anyone off.  We would make the appropriate calls to family after the ceremony.

When we arrived in Las Vegas,  I settled the kids into our two hotel rooms at the Landmark Hotel (we almost cried years later when this hotel was imploded). Thommmee made arrangements including a limo to pick us up and take us to a cute wedding chapel-the limo ride a real treat for the kids!  Our group somehow managed to pull ourselves together and before we knew it we were standing before a minister reciting our wedding vows . There was no Elvis look-a-like or any other corny theme (well, just my cheesy fake flower bouquet).

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It was just simply a beautiful moment.

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  We were soon off then to a buffet dinner in a hotel I cannot even remember.

With a whirl of activity and before we knew it, we were honeymooning on a lake in confined quarters with a group of kids. I couldn’t have asked for more perfect honeymoon!  The kids still talk about what a great trip it was.

29 years ago already and it has been a beautiful journey. Of course that is not to say it was always easy or even fun, but it was our journey . When people see us with our family now there is not usually a mention of a blended family. We don’t consider them your kids or my kids but our kids-our family.  We believe that God has blessed us and brought us to where we are today. We are grateful, we are thankful.

At 25 years we renewed our marriage vows.

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It only gets better!

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Happy Anniversary to the most amazing husband-my husband-my Thommmee. Here is to the next 29 years!

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3 days 3 quotes challenge-day 3

The 3 day quote challenge has been so interesting for me. Many terrific quotes have been swimming through my mind. Researching quotes has allowed me to open myself to admire those who are so profound and share or have different points of view.  I have received such encouragement and insight from many of you and I am deeply touched. Thank you for indulging me these past 3 days.

It was difficult to decide what my 3rd and final quote will be. I have decided to allow the quote to speak for itself but do not know who deserves the credit. Perhaps its is a paraphrase from a Bible verse or Dr. Martin Luther King.

Either way…

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Blessings & Flaws

On my way home from the gym this morning I had a thought-I am blessed with bad knees and jiggly arms. You might think I have lost my mind as you read this but please let me explain.

As I finished my workout in the pool and headed to the locker room, I noticed a beautiful woman fixing her hair and probably soon heading to work. As she put on her finishing touches she spoke kindly to another gym member and all of a sudden I was focused on her inner beauty and not how she looked. I soon finished up  and as I headed out, said good morning to a slim and fit woman who merely scowled in return. As I was driving home I noticed an older woman briskly taking her morning walk  and I thought how nice it would be to be able to walk like that. Another walker I observed was obviously very out of shape but she was giving it her all and that is when I had an epiphany!

I have arthritic knees with one knee replacement under my belt and another looming on the horizon. For the most part these aching knees get me where I need to go (even if sometimes not quite where I want to go)! My knees remind me of the many miles they have traveled, the ropes they have jumped, the hopscotch they have hopped, the runs to a crib side,  and the bending and stooping they have endured for the past 60+ years. If they need a little relief from time to time, who am I to complain? I have abused them too. Carried too much weight, not exercised them enough,  and in general took them for granted.

My jiggly arms are part genetics but  mostly too many years of not enough dedicated attention. These arms have hugged loved ones, cuddled babies, waved goodbye, and carried just about anything I have asked of them. I am thankful for their years of service.

So what would my world look like with good knees and firm arms? Don’t get me wrong, I am not suggesting that poor exercise habits are to be commended. Not at all. In fact, I do work out fairly regularly. I am saying this is where I am in life and I have decided these flaws are a blessing after all. I spent years covering up these flabby extremities and now I wear the clothes that I want to wear. In the past few years I have decided to focus on the person I am rather than my physical self. I wonder why it took me so long to figure these things out? Would the sun still rise tomorrow if the world got a glimpse of my arms? Would I be judged by those I care about? I think not. Would I be looked at by a stranger who might snicker? Maybe. If they saw my inner self would it change their opinion? Maybe, maybe not. Does it really matter? I hope not. Can I learn humility and work as hard on being the person I feel God called me to be? Even if this does not fit the image the world might expect of me?

Will my knees still scream for mercy sometimes and will I miss that hike to the top of the mountain? Probably. Will they still carry me to my husbands waiting arms or for a walk along the sandy shore? I think so. If someday they give out all together can I sit along the shore and just enjoy the crash of the waves, sit in a forest and appreciate the song of the birds and the whoosh of the breeze in the trees? Absolutely! Many have endured much more.

Will my beloved Thommmee lean over to offer a kiss? I know that he will.

No, I am still too proud to post a picture of my flaws-so perhaps I still have much to accept. I don’t run and hide when they pull out the camera anymore. I want people to someday reflect on me in these photos…. to remember the mom that  I was, the role of grandmother I so treasured, the friend, sister, wife, and the smile and kindness I offered to those around me. That is my prayer. Let me make a difference and someday be remembered for the person and not the body.

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If we can appreciate the beauty of each flower and not the flaws of each petal, what would our world look like? What have you been blessed with?