Now It’s Truly Complete . . . I Think

In the past few years, I have written several posts on the importance of teaching children about biblical marriage as part of home-based sex education.  Two of those posts were embedded with images of our wedding corner to illustrate its function as the “visual aid” for the lifelong unions within our family.  (See links at the end of the post)

I didn’t initially intend to create a wedding corner.   Like most newlyweds, Bob & I selected our 70 favorite “hard copy proofs” (remember those?) from among the 200+ provided by our photographer for the creation of our wedding album.  He also gave us a surprise complementary 18″ x 22″ wedding portrait, which we prominently displayed in our living room.

For about 25 of the past 37 years, that portrait hung as the sole framed testament to our ongoing marital commitment.  Our young daughters sometimes teased us about how skinny/young we were back then in our (now outdated) 1980’s formal-wear.  This affectionate mockery gave us impromptu opportunities to point out how God kept our love growing deeper even as our bodies grew, um . . . thicker.  🙂

While our girls filtered through the college years, I discovered wedding photos from my mother and Bob’s father.  One of those images needed significant restoration before it could become a copied/resized print.  The cost and effort were well worth it to preserve a precious family memory.  I framed and placed our parents’ bridal photos on the wall 90 degrees to the right of our portrait and designated the space for “those who came before us.”  The left hand wall represented the present (Bob & me) and future generations who would someday continue the legacy of faithful marriages.  Thus “the wedding corner” was born, and we wondered when we could begin adding our daughters’ nuptial portraits to the collection.

The transition from college to marriage began with our oldest daughter in 2005.  Our second married in 2015.   With the wedding of our youngest in June of 2016,  I thought our “wedding corner” was finally complete with 3 generations of lovely couples now on display. . . but I was wrong.  Back in January of this year my mom found the sepia-toned wedding portrait of my maternal grandparents–Sophie & Arcade Doucette–who married in 1926!  Here they are:

Once again I got the image resized, printed and framed.  I also rearranged the older portraits to reflect the timeline that now flows through FOUR generations and 144 years of marriage.  Now the corner is complete . . . unless I live long enough to see my grandchildren marry.  In that case, we’re going to need a bigger corner.  😉

The Top Ten Reasons to Do Sex-Ed at Home . . . #10

A New Addition to the “Wedding Corner”

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Well? Where is it?

bc-book-writing-pressureAs most of you know I set up this blog in 2010 to go along with the authorship of my first book, a parents’ guide to conducting sex-education in the home.  The blog was supposed to be a monthly writing exercise to keep me motivated, up-to-date on related current events and open to feedback from readers.  Six years have now transpired, and you might be wondering “Well? Where’s the book?”  You also might be wondering why the monthly postings have become less frequent. . . . every two months . . . or less.

So far, I have completed only 4 chapters and prepared outlines/overviews of 5 others.  I continue to gather information and citations knowing that I’ll have to include a footnotes/sources section, a bibliography, and probably an index.  Did I mention how much of a struggle it was for me to write my first term paper in high school . . .  with an Underwood manual typewriter in the pre-computer/internet era . . .  and I couldn’t type?

I have identified several excuses obstacles to my book’s completion:

  • In terms of TIME the “empty nest years” have not been empty!  When the last of my daughters moved away, I naively thought I’d be able to dedicate 2-4 hours daily to writing and be finished with the project within two years, tops.  Then one of my part-time teaching jobs suddenly enlarged to encompass much more of every week . . . the pay increase was a blessing, but the hours varied wildly from week to week, undermining the establishment of a “writing routine.”  It’s still that way today.
  • Along with working crazy hours, some joyous (and expensive) family milestones kicked in: college and law school graduations, weddings, and grandbabies  . . . and all the preparations, showers/parties and TRAVEL these entail . . . you know, LIFE 🙂  Did I mention my adult daughters live in three different states? The travel continues  . . . and that’s not a complaint!  This is the fun part of the empty nest years.
  • The publishing industry changed!  I had planned my manuscript’s creation & submission process according to a 2008 author’s seminar I attended during my masters degree program.  That information is now woefully out-of-date as the popularity of e-books and self-publishing prompted most print publishers to alter their requirements for new authors . . . we must have an agent now (which involves $$ and a formal process to persuade one to represent me) . . . or I can self-publish. . . another learning curve that takes up more time.
  • Meanwhile, as you know, U.S. laws about sexuality and family relationships have drastically changed in rebellion against God’s laws, especially in the past 3 years (and I’ve written about some of this in previous blog posts.)  Which means 2 of my 4 completed chapters need extensive revision . . . preceded by more research.  Three steps forward and 2 steps back . . . sigh.

Is there such a thing as “post parenting depression?”  I admit to being overwhelmed more by the social changes than anything else.  But I know Christian parents are begging for help in what to tell their children now that “the birds and the bees” seem like vultures and hornets!  I still feel called to assist.  Perhaps God has another means for me to share the work I’ve done to date . . . if so, He’ll let me know.   Meanwhile I’ll keep praying and plugging along word-by-word.

 

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“As you wish” . . . . My 4 Westleys

Last month, our youngest daughter got married on Rowe’s wharf in Boston.  During the unique ceremony—which featured a symbolic Celtic knot-tying tradition—the minister wove in some humorous lines from The Princess Bride, an iconic favorite movie of Hannah, her husband and virtually all the guests.

Vows on Rowe's Wharf, with Reverend Hagopian

Vows on Rowe’s Wharf, with Reverend Hagopian

 

Recently I’ve been musing about main character Westley’s unswerving devotion to Buttercup (the Princess Bride herself) as expressed by his cheerfully responding to her every demand—no matter how petty or selfish—with “As you wish.”  At first, his love was not reciprocated.  Buttercup treated him as a common servant, failing to notice his noble character.  But his loyalty, patience and numerous self-sacrificing actions on her behalf won the lady’s heart by the movie’s end:

That day, she was amazed to discover that when he was saying “As you wish”, what he meant was, “I love you.” And even more amazing was the day she realized she truly loved him back.        (The Princess Bride 1987)

I’ve always viewed the fictional Westley as a Christ-like figure, a swashbuckling symbol of unconditional love, willing to serve and even die for someone who doesn’t love him. (Romans 5:6-8).

In 1980 I married a real-life Westley named Bob Libert, a servant-hearted engineer possessing a broad range of handyman skills with which he was eager to grant my every need or request.  Now, 36 years later, he still says “Just tell me what you need/want and I’ll fix/build it for you.”  Yes, that’s a bit wordier than “as you wish,” but it still means “I love you.”  My husband just completed his latest act of love: a 3-stage composting system made of shipping pallets (see below) . . . a simple, inexpensive “green” idea I found online to replace our old rotted compost bin.  As always, Bob creatively improved on the design for my benefit.

New compost system, with option cat to provide sense of scale.

Compost system, with cat to give sense of scale

The title of this post alludes to FOUR real-life Westleys.  So who are the other three?  If you are a regular reader of this blog, then you know my view of sex education at home is not limited to “one big talk” with our children about reproductive biology.  It also involves continuously communicating and role-modeling the elements of a strong, happy, albeit imperfect marital relationship throughout our kids’ formative years so they will more likely choose worthy spouses and enjoy lifelong marriages.  There are no absolute guarantees, but Bob and I are grateful that God has guided our daughters’ decision-making . . . the other three Westleys are our sons-in-law, Erick, Nick and Scott.  They cherish our daughters, and it is a joy to observe each husband expressing “as you wish” in his own unique way.

Loving congratulations to Scott & Hannah . . . our newest Westley and his princess bride!

Selfie in SUV

 

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Barbie Redux

Do toys, especially dolls, have a positive roll to play in home-based sex education?   There has been plenty of research revealing a negative correlation between certain fashion dolls and early sexualization of little girls.¹  And in a past blog post, I’ve expressed a rather dim view of Mattel’s iconic Barbie doll ( http://www.hearttohearttalks.com/Blog/?p=49 ).  However, my view of her has recently begun to brighten.  Becoming a grandma hasn’t been a factor . . . all of my current grandchildren are boys.  No, Barbie herself has undergone changes that are slightly softening my cynical heart. My Barbie - circa 1960s

Mattel has finally redesigned Barbie’s much mocked, wildly unrealistic figure to reflect that women’s bodies come in various shapes and sizes: petite, tall and “curvy.”  Perhaps 9-year-old me would have appreciated and played with my doll if these options had been available in the 1960s.  The image to the right is similar to the Barbie I had.  I just couldn’t relate to her haughty adult facial expression, heavy make-up and puffy bubble hair that defied further styling.  It was frustrating trying to force her non-bendable limbs and disproportionately large bust into the ugly outfits that came with her.   If Barbie’s creators had hoped to influence preteen girls’ attitudes toward sexualized beauty standards and fashion materialism they utterly failed with me.

Barbie - new petite bodytype The new “petite” Barbie option pictured to the left would have been my childhood choice had she been available in 1961 because she most resembled me: short stature, straight mousey hair, and casual, modest clothing.  Dodgeball-friendly jeans and sneakers would have quickly replaced her skirt and boots.

The more realistically-proportioned Barbie line shown below, debuted in January featuring diverse hair styles, eye & skin colors, body types and (mostly) dignified outfits.  It’s a positive change I suppose.  But must dolls resemble every human body type lest our preadolescents suffer irreparable harm to their self-image?   Some researchers believe so.  However, to paraphrase an exasperated Woody in Toy Story: “Barbie…is…a…TOY!”  Attentive parents, not toys, truly shape a child’s self-esteem and moral character.   

Barbie diverse body types group

Since her introduction in 1959 Barbie has role-modeled success in over 120 glamorous careers primarily associated with wealth, fame and power.  She has even run for President several times and apparently was elected to one term beginning in 2000 🙂  If  multiple authentic body types are so important for dolls, then will Mattel eventually roll out a realistic variety of humbler vocations to complement Barbie’s new physiques?  I doubt we’ll see Barbie singing in a church choir robe, sorting clothing donations for Salvation Army thrift stores, shucking clams in a seafood processing plant, earning her trade school certification as a plumber, or mining coal . . . her wardrobes would be limited, drab and probably less marketable.  And Mattel would go broke trying to portray Barbie in every pursuit great & small. 

Children have God-given healthy imaginations capable of combining fashion dolls, plastic soldiers and stuffed animals in whimsical scenarios outside of the manufacturer’s design.  The original 1995 Toy Story’s opening scene demonstrates this wholesome creativity so well:  Young Andy stages an elaborate  “cops & robbers” fantasy with diverse toy characters.  I observed and encouraged my daughters’ similar fanciful enactments throughout their formative years.

So back to my opening question: Do toys, especially dolls, have a positive roll to play in home-based sex education?  If parents are dedicated to teaching discernment and  integrating biblical values throughout daily life, then even their children’s playthings can be a means of acting out and reinforcing virtuous behavior. . . to my knowledge my daughters’ blue & pink My Little Pony™ couple is still married and probably celebrating their 25th wedding anniversary 🙂

Did you know Barbie is now 57 years old?  I confess to fiendish delight in “authentic portrayals” of her aging process that are circulating online. . . it’s been good for my middle-aged self-esteem. 😀

Middle aged Barbie

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Footnotes:                                                                                                                                                ¹ http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/07/17/6-year-old-girls-sexy_n_1679088.html

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I Couldn’t Have Said It Better . . .

A blessed New Year to my readers!

My first post of 2016 features something I’ve never offered before:  a guest essay.  Although I have occasionally included quotes or excerpts from others’ work (with proper citations of course), I have firmly avoided posting another writer’s commentary in its entirety, lest I be perceived as lazy.  However, when I came across the essay below, the clever title drew me in, and the article’s substance deepened my thinking about clothing’s multiple–and holy–purposes in our lives.  I couldn’t have said it better . . .

I’ve blogged here in the past about modesty in attire, thought and deed.  But Ms. Cheaney exposits an even more holistic view of garments that needs to be shared broadly.  Parents who are conducting sex-education at home will benefit from her insights.  Ms. Cheaney and her publisher have graciously given me permission to reproduce the essay here.  Enjoy . . . and do share your thoughts.

| The Gift of Garb | Janie B. Cheaney | Jan. 9, 2016, WORLD magazine.

For every species except ours, fashion is scales, fur, and feathers, typically in one size and color.  It’s what all the marmosets are wearing this eon, and the latest in bicolor chameleon scales—all the rage forever.  Chihuahua-wear is Chihuahua-wear, and I suppose the little doggies are perfectly comfortable with that.

But humans have a choice, and for us clothing is both glory and shame.  Nudity is IMG_0391theoretical, ideological, and (strangely) not natural. Even the most primitive bushman wears something, if only a rag about the middle or a collar of shells.  Even in the technical absence of clothes, such as at a strip club or a porn shoot, the human mind is cutting and tailoring an attitude to wear.  In only three situations is nakedness perfectly natural: birth and early childhood, sex (sometimes), and judgment.

People wear clothes because they have to, but also because they want to.  Clothes are not just for covering, but also for projecting, interpreting, expressing, communicating, and sometimes for hiding.

Like most everyday phenomena, wearing clothes turns out to be weirder and more perplexing than we think.  It was first an act of desperation, as Adam and Eve frantically grabbed leaves off the trees to cover themselves.  The leaves were laughably temporary, so the Lord provided animal skins—a gracious concession, as many astute commentators have pointed out: borrowed righteousness owed to the sacrifice of an innocent creature.

Japanese girl in kimonoBut soon enough, clothes became much more than covering.  In the Bible they serve as booty (Achan hid them in his tent), reward (Naaman offered them to Elisha), symbol (Hezekiah and the king of Nineveh exchanged their finery for sackcloth), and moral obligation (don’t take the poor man’s cloak, says the Law).  The labor that went into producing a garment made it valuable: Jesus’ executioners considered even his unremarkable tunic worth gambling for.

Throughout almost all of history clothes have signaled status and position.  Color was dictated by necessity (dyes were expensive) and even by law: During Shakespeare’s time, for example, the poor were restricted to “sad colors,” while tradesmen could indulge in a little more variety, but not much—the full spectrum was reserved for the rich.  In the early 19th century, though, something remarkable happened: Textile manufacturing became the first triumph of the Industrial Revolution, and clothing gradually transitioned from a valuable commodity to a very cheap one.

Today clothes pile up on garage sale tables, clearance racks, the collection bin behind Goodwill, and our closets, where we spend the day after New Year’s wondering what to get rid of.  As we take abundant food for granted, so we do abundant garb—the only consumer item, to my knowledge, whose value depends chiefly on the trendiness of the retailer.

We’ll never go back to the garden; clothes are here to stay.  They are a necessity, but also Bob snow suit(as in the beginning) a gift.  The age of abundant clothing allows us the luxury of telling the world who we are by how we dress.  But Christians also have the obligation—and privilege—to tell the world whose we are.  Most discussions about “modesty” concern what not to wear, but what to wear deserves thought as well.  The heart of modesty is consideration for others (and incidentally, the male of the species should be aware that excessive sloppiness can be as inconsiderate as suggestiveness).  Color, style, appropriateness, and flattering lines complement the wearer, but might they also praise our Maker?

Near the end of That Hideous Strength, the conclusion of C.S. Lewis’ Space Trilogy, some of the female characters are trying on gowns for a special occasion.  Each finds the perfect dress—for the others.  No one chooses her own, and the wardrobe contains no mirrors for self-admiration.  Each woman’s pleasure comes from pleasing the rest, and He who shaped each woman is also pleased.

That’s how it will be someday: Our bridegroom has chosen the perfect outfit for us to wear to our wedding.  It’s a robe of righteousness—no longer borrowed, but our very own.

Used by permission | © WORLD magazine, all rights reserved, www.worldmag.com.

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Sex-ed Full Circle Double Blessings

It’s difficult to keep up with blogging when miracles are going on.  On September 29th, our oldest daughter gave birth to identical twin boys in a Philadelphia hospital.  Like most twins, Andrew and Nathan were premature… born nearly six weeks ahead of their early November due date at over 4 lbs each.

Welcome Nathan & Andrew!

Welcome Nathan & Andrew!

Despite their healthy weights, they’ve been spending considerable time in the neonatal ICU benefiting from the remarkable medical care of our day.  As of this writing they are still there and in good hands.

My husband & I arrived in Philly six hours after the birth.  Our daughter was doing well, and we praised God for multiple miracles of Mommy’s safe delivery, two beautiful little boys, and our son-in-law’s iPhone technology that kept us up-to-date with texts, photos and “Facetime” live communications until we could finally see/touch our new grandsons the next morning.

For brief stints each day, the NICU nurses took the boys out of their isolettes so my daughter & her husband could hold each tiny son.  I witnessed how quickly the babies “settled down” & contentedly snuggled against Mom’s & Dad’s warm skin in spite of being tethered to monitors and assorted equipment to assist breathing, feeding, and temperature control .  . . the miracle of bonding overcame the obstructive apparatus.  We grandparents were permitted only to touch the twins through openings in the isolettes after sterilizing our hands.  I treasured these limited, yet sacred moments.SONY DSC

In the past 3 weeks the boys have grown,  learned to breathe on their own and are working on breast feeding skills.  Once they have mastered eating they can go home.  We’re praying that homecoming will be soon. . . then we can utilize the miracle of convenient transportation to return to Philly and cuddle our precious grandsons.   We now have THREE grandchildren . . . all boys.  As I reflect back on my initial uncertainty about conducting sex education at home, I regard these magnificent grandsons as proof that our daughters learned “the right stuff” from us.   And we’re confident our daughters will teach “the right stuff” to their children too.

Twins 2 weeks old awakeAndrew—————————————>

 

 

 

Nathan—————————————>

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Help! What do I tell my child about . . . ?

Children have a way of surprising us with innocent awkward questions at equally awkward moments . . . especially in public.  While shopping with his mom, one six-year-old boy spotted a rather large woman nearby. “Mom, is that lady pregnant?” he asked loud enough for the woman to hear.  Most of us dread such impromptu cringe-worthy queries, and some of us try to have a general response ready to buy us some time for an appropriate answer.

Over the past decade a new area of curiosity has entered every youngster’s radar. . . this area consists of bold “alternatives” to God’s design for sex and marriage.   In recent months, highly publicized events have unfolded to expand our children’s awareness of these “alternatives” and prompt exceptionally difficult questions for parents to answer.

As you know, on June 26th the Supreme Court handed down its decision extending the Outdoor bridal kiss - Katie & Dandefinition of marriage to include same sex couples. Five justices overturned the laws of the remaining states that hadn’t already had this definition imposed on them primarily by state courts.

It wasn’t a surprise . . . we knew national legalization was coming.  Eleven years earlier, the push for same sex “marriage” (SSM) began picking up steam after Massachusetts–through its own supreme judicial court in 2004–became the first state to legalize this departure from God’s design (Genesis 2:21-24 & Matthew 19:4-6).  The homosexual agenda gained popularity throughout the subsequent decade, and its symbols such as the rainbow flag, seemed to appear everywhere, including in many public & private schools and numerous churches.  It became virtually impossible to shield even the youngest children from exposure to symbols, slogans and edgy behaviors that could arouse their curiosity, sow confusion, and interfere with their age-appropriate sequenced learning about God’s pattern for marriage & family relationships.

Rainbow to Field of Poppies and Lupines

So what should Christians tell their children about gender issues in general and SSM specifically?  Parents must be ready to answer inevitable questions with biblical truth geared to a child’s age/maturity level.  Even better is to initiate conversations rather than wait for questions. . . some children never ask, and they might uncritically absorb what they see and hear elsewhere.   What follows is a set of appropriate, simple “talking points” that parents can present to little ones up through age 6 or 7.   In several future posts, I’ll continue to offer discussion ideas for progressively older kids.

For the youngest it’s best to start by teaching what is right & good . . . God’s creation and His plan for marriage.  Use a children’s story-style bible or your own simple paraphrase of the bible’s account.  Cover and reinforce these points:

  • In the beginning God created only male & female people (Genesis 1:27), and created them in His image. This is the first step in building kids’ understanding that all people are intrinsically equals whose true identity and inherent value are rooted in their omnipotent, eternal Creator.  Consequently, we are commanded to love & respect even our enemies (Matthew 5:43-45) even as we disapprove of sinful behaviors, because we are co-equals of inestimable worth.
  • God loves us unconditionally in spite of our sin, but He does not love our sin. He commands and helps His people to live in obedience to His laws for our benefit & His glory in this world, and the next.
  • Marriage is the first institution God created. He designed it as the lifelong union of one man and one woman through which to reflect His love, and to bear and raise children.  Contrary to the Supreme Court decision, no other kind of coupling is marriage.  Older children will later learn that sexual relations in marriage embody the meaning of becoming one flesh and serve as a symbol of God’s perfect union with His people (Ephesians 5:31-32). God condemns all sexual activity outside of marriage between a man and a woman (Hebrews 13:4).
  • Share age-appropriate picture books with preschoolers that reinforce God’s design for male & female, marriage and birth. Two Christian publishers have picture books that tastefully introduce these topics for the preschooler/kindergartner: “The Story of Me” by Stan & Brenna Jones (Navpress), and “Why Boys & Girls are Different” by Carol Greene (Concordia Press).
  • So far, the only Christian picture book that sensitively & respectfully broaches the subject of same sex relationships is “Does God Love Michael’s Two Daddies?” by Sheila Butt (Apologetics Press); it’s best suited to children in first or second grade.
  • God made rainbows to symbolize His promise to Noah. Read/reread the story of Noah’s ark (a kid favorite) to link the rainbow to God in your child’s mind. Look for rainbows together after a storm and create indoor rainbows anytime with a prism and a sunny window to build appreciation for this beautiful phenomenon.  Children must first learn that the rainbow is God’s gift to represent an ongoing sacred covenant, not sinful “sexual diversity.”

As I’ve stressed all along on this blog, teaching our children God’s word from an early age provides a lifelong moral compass with which to evaluate all sorts of human behavior.  See especially Reason #9 http://www.hearttohearttalks.com/Blog/?p=683  of my Top Ten Reasons to Do Sex Ed at Home series.

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Spring Broken

Spring break beach

My daughter’s wedding on a Florida beach 2 months ago happened to coincide with Spring Break … that two-week sun-drenched, hiatus from academia associated with non-stop booze, bikinis, booty calls & booming bands.  Countless college students (and many who looked much younger than 18) milled around the beaches, streets, shops and restaurants of Clearwater during our 3-day-stay.  They gave this sex-ed researcher an opportunity to observe whether Spring Break’s reputation for debauched revelry was true or not.

It is one thing to hear/read about the stereotypical wild behaviors of these young adults vacationing with peers far from home . . . it’s another thing to be in the middle of it, up close and personal . . . the sights, the (loud) sounds, the smells!

March temperatures that weekend were well below normal for the area—in the low 60s flip flop photowith whipping winds.  Yet the tacky souvenir shops and restaurants we visited were populated with small groups of very scantily-clad coeds in all shapes, sizes and colors . . . their flip-flops and jewelry covered more of their bodies’ surface area than their swimsuit fabric.  These girls successfully attracted the attention of guys in board shorts, some of whom were already imbibing beer in the mid-morning.  Alcohol certainly lowered inhibitions and impaired judgment about appropriate public behavior . . . as evidenced by groping, harassment and vulgar language.

It saddened me to observe young men and women on and off the beach openly and indiscriminately “trolling for hook-ups” that could result in future-destroying consequences.  Colleges that promote promiscuity on campus while mocking moral restraint are engaging in educational malpractice, which contributes to the unbridled risky behavior during spring break.

The young ladies I saw were operating with the notion that their value came from how sexually attractive they were.  The guys were acting as if their value was linked to how many women they could score sexually.  Both were using each other in an attempt to meet needs only Christ can fulfill.  I grieved that they were so spiritually lost, and I ended up shifting my impromptu “qualitative research” to prayer for their salvation.

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A New Addition to the “Wedding Corner”

A few posts ago I shared about our “wedding corner,” two adjacent walls which displayed an inspiring legacy: 3 generations of well-dressed brides & grooms photographed right after saying “I do.”  http://www.hearttohearttalks.com/Blog/?p=697

This past Saturday, March 28th at 2:00pm, our middle daughter, Holly, continued that legacy . . . she married Nick on a beach in Florida. About 2 dozen family members and close friends (most wearing flip flops) were in attendance, including our associate pastor who performed the ceremony and our choir director who played processional guitar music.

Under bright blue skies, 60’s temperatures–and continuous strong chilly winds–Holly & Nick entered the sacred covenant relationship established by God in Genesis 2:21-25.  As much as Bob & I love them, we rest in the knowledge that God loves them all the more and will sustain them in their marriage as He has in ours.

Holly & Nick

God bless Holly & Nick

The nuptials were followed by a joyous celebration aboard a sunset cruise boat.  The next morning, Bob & I enjoyed leftover wedding cake for breakfast while reminiscing happily about the previous day’s events.  And our thoughts turned to another source of joy that occurred a week ago . . . our youngest daughter became engaged. 🙂  It won’t be long before a picture of Hannah & Scott graces our wedding corner.

Hannah & Scott

God bless Hannah & Scott

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Love Notes

Best I love LindaAs I have asserted in various posts through the years, a home-based sex education needs to convey a clear-eyed, biblical understanding of love.  During our child-rearing years, my husband and I found that we had to work hard at nurturing our marriage relationship amidst the chaos . . . um, I mean BUSYNESS of daily life.  We believed the best gift we could give our children is parents who deeply love each other.  In order to be good role models at home to our girls, we displayed PDA often and tried to keep arguments rare and quickly resolved.  We planned a once-a-month date (whether we needed it or not 🙂 ) and struggled most with carving out a few moments together for daily prayer and communication beyond “So how was your day?”

Now that our nest is empty–sniffle–and we’re closing in on 35 years of marriage, we can still role-model to our adult daughters (from afar) how mutual Christlike love and commitment keep growing “for better, for worse” through this stage of life.  Maybe they’ll even read this post. 🙂

It’s usually the little things that contribute to and flow from lifelong devotion.   My husband is retired from his engineering job, so there are no longer “brown bag lunches” into which I can slip occasional love notes, but creative substitutes abound:  When I was backing out of the garage yesterday to go grocery shopping, I saw that my husband had etched” I *heart* Linda with a propane torch(!) in the massive snowbank beside the driveway.  This whimsical surprise made my day.   I stopped the car, jumped out and etched a similar well-chilled message for him with a small piece of styrofoam. . .a less risky writing tool.   (The pictures are a bit dark. Click on them to enlarge and see the snowy messages.)

Best I love BobWhile our 3-1/2 decades of marriage may seem impressive to some folks, it’s nothing compared to the 82 years Duranord and Jeanne Veillard have been wed.  They attribute the love and longevity of their marriage to God, and they still engage in PDA despite substantial mobility limitations.  The link below goes to their inspiring story.  It reminds me that even we role-models benefit from role-models.  Upon recognizing we’ve been married less than HALF the time of the Veillards, my husband quipped, “We still have a ‘few’ years to go . . .”

Husband, 108, wife, 105, celebrate 82 years married

 

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