Monday, February 28, 2011

You Call This a Choice?

Yesterday my sixteen year old son asked me a hypothetical question: "Which would you rather I had, a motorcycle or a gun?" Here was my first response:

Me: "Is the gun locked up?"

Son: "What do you mean locked up?"

Me: "Is it in a lock box, something that only you can unlock?"

Son: "No mom. I'd be carrying it."

Me: "It's not loaded, right?"

Son: "Mom, what good would that do? Of course it would be loaded."

I share this with you because I can't believe that I'm trying so hard to choose the gun option. Until this conversation, I didn't realize how really nervous I am about him getting a motorcycle.
Let me explain. I used to ride motorcycles. Not by myself, just as a passenger, but still I wasn't afraid them.

Maybe it's the fact that he's just sixteen and he doesn't even have his driver's license.(He's getting it on Friday!)
Maybe it's that I know of a guy who lost both his legs and an arm in a motorcycle accident just last year.
Or maybe it's genetic. My mom hated motorcyles.

I don't know. but I do know that I'm not too happy about the gun option either. Good thing it was a hypothetical question...

Thank you

The last US World War I veteran, Frank Buckles, died yesterday at 110 years old. He was 16 when he enlisted, lying about his age to four different recruiting agents until finally one of them accepted him. He wanted to fight for his country, to fight with honor, to be a part of history. Finding this out this morning reminded me of something that happened about a week ago.

I was witness to a very touching scene at my doctor's office. An old man was sitting in the waiting room waiting for his appointment. Another elderly gentleman came up and starting talking to him.
"They tell me you were in World War II", he said.
"yes, I was" the man replied.
"I missed it by two years" the first added, reaching out to shake his hand.
They spoke for just a few minutes, finding out that both had been in the Korean War and the Vietnam War. They only spoke for a few minutes.

As they chatted, my eyes filled with tears. I was watching them bond in a way that only those who have shared the same dedication, the same trauma, the same sacrifices, can bond. I watched and I wished that there was some tangible way that I could let them know that I appreciated their willingness to leave home and safety to help right wrongs and to keep us safe.

In the end, I didn't say or do anything. I don't know that it mattered to the two of them. I think they left that office with a little warm glow from the meeting and sharing of memories. But in the end, even though I'm sure they are not among my eighteen blogging friends, I wanted to share this with you... and thank them in writing for their service to our country.

Thank you Frank Buckles and all who have served.


Saturday, February 19, 2011

Our Engagement story(ies)

     This year, Valentine's Day messages on facebook were all about when you met your spouses, when you were engaged and the date you were married.  My status was rather long that day... because we were engaged and unengaged a number of times. Many of my facebook friends asked me about it. It's all part of a fun story and a romance that stumbled at first, but when it finally got its' feet on solid ground, has survived and become the adventure of my lifetime.

     If you go back a a few days in my blog, you'll find my Valentine's entry. It is about the day my hubby and I met. We began dating in May of 1984. We went on a horseride together for that first date. I put him on a half-arabian named Al. (he had a fancy name, but I'm not sure how to spell it.) My sweetie tells me that Al helped set the tone for falling in love that day. He was smitten. (Gregg, not Al.) I had fallen for Gregg months before, so as far as I was concerned, it was about time.

     I think the first engagement happened sometime after Christmas and before spring. (I'm embarrassed to say that I really don't know the date.) There was a big boulder near a creek at my parents' house. It was a place I would go to think and pray. My sweetie took me there asked me to marry him. I agreed even though deep down I remember thinking that I could always change my mind later. (Not too good of a sign, eh?) By the time we got up to the house I was so unsure that when my dad asked me what was new, I couldn't even tell him I was engaged!

     The second engagement came just a few months later, exactly one year after our first date. I was working three hours away and he came and surprised me with a visit. We went for a walk and he asked me again, standing in the middle of a beautiful field. This time I said "yes" and meant it. Unfortunately, this time, he  had a few doubts. We stayed engaged for about a month, and then decided to keep dating, but drop the word "engaged" from the equation.

     We broke up totally in October and didn't start dating again until about 2 1/2 years later. (That would be August of 1988 for those of you that are keeping track.)

     The third engagement was very romantic. He took me up on the Blue Ridge Parkway. We explored some old buildings and enjoyed the scenery. At one point he handed me a present. It was a little white teddy bear with a gift box in its hands. I opened the box and there was a ring inside. Sweetie again said those words that most women only get to hear once, "Would you marry me?" this time I was sure and said "yes". A few hours later, my new Fiance' was acting strange and looking a bit depressed.

     We sat and chatted for a while. Realizing that he wasn't as sure about all of this as I was, I told him to take the ring back and just give it to me when he was ready. He responded by saying "keep the ring, just don't wear it." So, I put the ring back in the box that the teddy bear was holding, and took him (and it) back home to Pennsylvania.

     In June, Sweetie was planning a trip back to his hometown in Wisconsin. He really wanted me to go with him. One night as we were talking on the phone, he was trying to convince me that I should go with him. I had met his family 5 years before but had not renewed the relationship with them when we started dating again. I shared with him that I didn't think I wanted to start these relationships again if ours wasn't going anywhere.

     I promise I didn't mean for this conversation to be an ultimatum. :)
     Sweetie was very sad when we hung up that night. It was about 11:15 or so when we got off the phone. About 30 minutes later, I got another phone call. "Put the ring on. We're getting married" were the words that he spoke as soon as I answered. I agreed and 4 months later we were married.  It seems that after he talked to me that night, he called his Auntie Phyliss. They talked about his fears and prayed together. After that conversation, Sweetie says he never had another doubt about us again. (I love his Auntie Phyliss!)

    So that's it. The four proposals.That's how we came to be.  Someday soon, I'll tell you about the wedding....



Monday, February 14, 2011

To The Two I Didn't Get To Hold:

Why do I think of you on Valentine's Day?

I guess it's because it's a day that I realize anew how much I love my family; my sweetie (Your Daddy) and the three lovelies that actually made it into this world.... and I miss you. 

I missed your first smile and your first tooth. I never got to hear your giggle or the high pitched squeal during a tickle battle. I couldn't answer your sweet wonderful questions that all three year olds ask.

I didn't get to give you a little valentine heart filled with candy or hang up a "first Christmas" ornament on our tree. I missed your sweet sixteens.

You would have loved being part of this family. And I would have loved having two more strapping boys here to love on, but it was not to be. Instead, you were there in heaven, meeting your Grandma when she left this earth. Somehow that brought me comfort during that sad time.

And one day, we will meet. I'm sure of it. Will you be my blue eyed children? Will you be taller than your Dad? I know I'll recognize your smile. Maybe we can sit and talk about what it was like growing up in heaven.  Until then...

I love you both. Happy Valentines Day.


Sunday, February 13, 2011

Valentine's Day Dilemma

     I was going to write one of those "I hate Valentine's Day" posts until I realized, I don't really hate it, I just struggle. Each year the week before this infamous holiday arrives, I wrestle with the same two problems. In over twenty years of marriage, I've never been able to solve them.

     I always have the hardest time finding the right Valentine's Day card and gift for my hubby. I will spend hours (okay maybe not hours, but you know what I mean.) trying to find the right card. There are sickening sweet ones, there are funny ones, There are insufferably long poems, there are girlie cards, and "Manly" cards. There are cards that describe the ultimate Superman type of guy, or the super sensitive guy that never says anything wrong.
     The cards are either too gushy, too expensive, or just don't say the right thing, the poems are too long, (did I say that already?) If you're thinking "just forget about the card" I can't do that. Hubby loves cards.

     He's not gushy, a very practical guy, he looks at the back of the card to see how much money was spent (the less the better in his opinion). He does love to get cards so I can't just say never mind and move onto the gift.
     Oh and that's another thing- a gift! What do you get a man for Valentines Day, that doesn't like you to spend money? I could cook a meal, but really, my cooking isn't that impressive. I could clean the house, (he is a total cleanie!), but he kind of expects that anyway. .

     ahhhh, I could write him a story... but it would have to be a true story, he doesn't like fiction much....

     Once upon a time, a very long time ago (1983 to be exact), there was a girl. She was twenty-two and had just graduated from college and begun teaching fifth grade at Fairview Elementary, a school just miles from where she had attended as a child.  She had one of those funky 80's hairstyles that nowadays no one can believe was actually ever in style.

     She was not dating anyone seriously. She  really had no desire to do so, after having been in a previous relationship for five years. She knew she needed a break. The "break" had already lasted about two years and she was good with that. The music teacher at the school was interested in dating her and there were a few others from a drama group that had asked her out. She went more out of politeness than anything else.

     One of the men she went "out" with was a friend of a friend of a friend of hers from college. One night he took her to a talent show that was being produced by a Singles ministry in the area.

     There were many talented people in this group. Lot's of singers, comedians, jugglers, flamethrowers.... Okay the truth is I don't remember any of the acts but one, the last man who sang.
This man was good looking, light brown hair, blue eyes, and a great beard (I'm a sucker for a great beard!) but that is not what got the girl's attention that night.
The man told a story about finding out that one of his friends had been murdered the day before, and how he was so upset that he really hadn't felt like singing that night. But on the way to the event, the Lord spoke to him and told him what song he should sing. He said he looked around his car and happened to find the accompaniment tape (yes, cassette tape! I told you it was a long time ago!) to that particular song.

     He then proceeded to sing the song "It is Well".  The girl leaned over to her friend and said "Gary, Who is that guy?" and that was the beginning of the end of her single heart.

     We did get introduced that night, but only barely. During the next month, I decided to get a little more involved in this group and joined one of their homegroups (Read caregroup, bible study, life group, whatever you want to call it.)

     When I walked into the house, who should be sitting in the corner of the room, but my beloved blue eyed singing guy! And of course, being the suave sophisticated person that I am (not!) I stopped in the doorway and said "Your the guy! You're the guy that sang!"  He chuckled and nodded and the romance of my life began.

     Now, twenty-seven years later, twenty-one years of marriage (yes, it took a long time to reel him in!), three children, four houses, two states, and lots of ministry, here we are.

     Happy Valentines Day, Sweetie. I love you.