Happy 45th Anniversary!

David and Linda, December 31, 1975. They married under the “tent” with Christ is the Answer Ministry.

What a glorious anniversary it is! I just have to shout out to our Lord and Savior for this wonderful couple, Bill’s brother, David, and his lovely wife, Linda. Linda is actually more than a sister-in-law to me. I need a blog post just on what a positive influence she’s had on my walk with the Lord. But for today, I need to share how much their marriage has helped us and SO MANY others!

I’ve talked about them several times in past blog posts. Particularly when Bill was facing heart disease as written about here. Click to read the whole blog, or at least, read this paragraph:

Thankfully, Bill’s brother and his wife are both in the health care field and are very experienced with this issue. They knew about the test, so they wanted the results. They live states away, but thankfully, only a phone call away. They began to mentor us. First, they are strong Christians and helped us in our divorce and remarriage by their prayers and counsel. So everything was bathed in prayer. They gave us some great tips and suggestions while Bill had to make a decision.” AND as in every bit of advice they have given us over these 45 years, it was rock solid. Bill today is enjoying excellent health! We also married 45 years ago, so they have been in my life for 45 years from today forward.

Or when we spent one of the most meaningful Memorial Day weekends with them, written about here. Best part of that blog post, which I would HIGHLY recommend reading, is their picture at the event:

David and Linda, Memorial Day 2015

They not only probably helped saved Bill’s life – or at least helped him enjoy a longer and healthier life – they helped restore our marriage. You can read about it here or read the most important except below. Had it not been for Linda’s fervent prayers, I’m pretty sure I would not be writing this post about my dear brother-in-law and his wife! Our lives would have been a mess and no telling where we’d be spiritually. This paragraph was after we were well into the divorce process:

I dove into God’s Word and also into a book recommended by my sister-in-lawLove Life for EVERY Married Couple: How to fall in love, stay in love, rekindle your love by Ed Wheat, MD and Gloria Perkins.  (This is the Biblical marriage manual and is the BEST book ever written for marriages, taken straight from the Bible!  In my next post, I will share the five types of love needed in every marriage!)  Linda pleaded with us to read it before our divorce was final.  Bill did and he tried to get me to read it.  But I was not ready, until we finally lived apart.”

But today, I just want to share a little about them and their marriage. Or maybe you are getting the “picture” of this happily ever after couple! I am imagining Linda cringe as she would read this. She would say, “but OH WE HAD TOUGH TIMES!” Yes, they did and they are open to share – how they got through them by God’s Grace! And how they made their marriage better and better and better! But of course, there was pain in suffering along the way. In fact, what marriage hasn’t had tough times? The secret is what do you do to get through the tough times? Not only is their pathway to the Lord but that became our pathway after we remarried!

David and Linda have been dedicated Christians, parents and health care professionals. They have enjoyed many great hobbies, have traveled to many wonderful places and have now entered into their “golden” years as retirees.

There is only one little twist to this ideal couple. And I am sharing this for you to join us in prayer! On June 2, 2020, just two months shy of their official retirement, a CT scan revealed David had stage 4, Peritoneal Carcinomatosis (PC) which originated in the appendix. This is an extremely rare form of cancer. (Actually the scan showed the doctor more testing was needed.)

PC is a late stage manifestation of several gastrointestinal malignancies including appendiceal, colorectal, and gastric cancer. In PC, tumors metastasize to and deposit on the peritoneal surface and often leave patients with only palliative treatment options.

by JRW McMullen Mar 22, 2017

David was in essence told to get his affairs in order, he only had a few months to live. WE ALL WERE DEVASTATED!!! But as people of faith, we all bowed to the Lord and prayed for His divine intervention. And to make a long story short, HE HAS DELIVERED!!! It was a miraculous surgical option and he is thriving. It had been our prayer he would live until we could see him again. It was VERY hard to travel to see them, with all the concerns over COVID and the fact we had our two grandsons living with us, to make the trip to Missouri to be with them. But here we are on Christmas Day, 2020!

Christmas Day 2020. David and Linda Lees with us.

Just a few more pictures to commemorate their 45 years together, including all their children and grandchildren! They have enjoyed a rich life and we all pray they have many more years to continue to serve our Lord and Savior. Amongst their hobbies, his are hunting, fishing and anything outdoors with family while hers are rug hooking, painting, crafts, daily Bible study and anything outdoors with family. Together they love to hike, camp, bike ride, be with their children and grandchildren and anything outdoors! Click for a slideshow:

Let me close with my favorite memory of their marriage. Just know that Linda and I are very close so we have no secrets. We know the good, the bad and the ugly! A few years ago, she shared how they had a couple over for dinner. They ministered and mentored SO MANY couples and individuals over their 45 years, they can’t be counted. Anyway, this was a couple that knew them and saw them in both good and bad times. The wife confessed how she wished she had a marriage like theirs! She never saw them fight or be disrespectful to each other. We know they’ve had tough times behind closed doors, but no one saw them. Well, except maybe their children-and even then, I doubt they could recall any “fighting.”

They have been GREAT examples to their three adult children. All of them became Christians and serve the Lord in some way. They are proud grandparents of seven. But it’s not been all joy and happiness as there has been serious pain along the way. But they can honestly say, they will continue to Praise and Worship our Lord and Savior all the days of their lives!

From YouVersion Bible App

“Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.” Lamentations 3:22-23 NIV

(For more information on what this verse means, here is one resource. David and Linda don’t want to waste their pain, the are praying the Lord will use his illness and their suffering for HIS Glory!)

Emotionally Drained….

(I wrote this July 1, 2019 and forgot to publish it. I just noticed it in my drafts. I was drained then and now I find myself emotionally drained again. I’m so grateful for my faith and Paul’s testimony gives me what I need to remember: “…That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”)

It’s been tough to blog since our lifestyle change – which has been very good (transition from full-time RVing to a house), but yet, it has left me emotionally drained. I can’t explain everything, but suffice it to say, buying and selling a home in a months time by itself can take a huge emotional toll on anyone. Then add to it a death in the family and numerous other family situations, and you may start to get the picture. I’m not at liberty to share all as they are not mine to share – but I will toss in three situations that are mine:

  1. Bill’s amazing mom has been declining these past few years. Each time we visited her in Mount Vernon, Illinois, we thought it was the last time we would see her. She has not recognized him (although once she said she knew who he was – for a fleeting minute) let alone, has not been able to talk to him. For 9 years (2004-2013), we lived near her. We were her main lifeline to the outside world as she had given up driving. Bill took care of her home and yard while I took her to her appointments and we took her to church. She and Bill talked for hours each week – in person. About everything! Her mind was still sharp although physically, this once very active and independent woman was in declining health. She needed us to do most everything for her. Thankfully, five years ago, we were able to move her near Bill’s brother and his wife – both are Registered Nurses (RN).  His brother is a Certified Register Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA) and his wife is currently working in a Surgery Center where she does everything an RN is needed in the operating room environment. All this is VERY important as her health and mental capabilities continued to decline. She just passed away on June 20, 2019 at the age of 98. I will write a separate blog post about this WWII 2nd Lt. Army Nurse (RN)! She was a nursing supervisor at the local hospital until she decided to get pregnant. She returned to work as a Private Duty Nurse after they started school. She was at the bedside of many patients in their last weeks, days and hours. She knew how she wanted to die – or not die! Sadly, she was in hospice care her last month – and died how she didn’t want to go -but thankfully, she was at peace and in no pain. But it pained us to not be able to be with her – we had the responsibility of caring for our two grandsons this summer….which is next.
  2. The main reason we moved to Myrtle Beach and decided to settle down was because of our grandsons. There is much more to this, but in a nutshell, Bill wanted the boys to spend summers with us. For one, it was his childhood fantasy! His family spent a week at the Jersey Shore when he and his brother were young. They stayed at the same cottage each year. The grandmother owned it and her grandson stayed all summer. Bill was so envious. So now he finally has his dream, a cottage at the beach (ok, our house is a house and we are three miles from the beach but it’s close enough) – and grandsons! Our daughter and son-in-law reluctantly agreed. After all, it meant the boys out of day care so a huge financial savings to them (and to use the time and money for remodeling). We have had to push ourselves to get our home ready for their first visit with us – over Spring Break for 9 days! And then after they left, we had a month to finish getting ready for their summer long stay. Their parents brought them over a long Memorial Day weekend. It started off with a bang! So far, they are both fish – loving both our community swimming pool and the beach; they are mastering their bike riding; have enjoyed putt putt golf; bowling; events at the Nature Center (ok, so their attention span wasn’t the best, but they got to pet a snake); unlimited bounce house fun (I highly recommend Fun Warehouse in Myrtle Beach for 10 years and under); lots of Arcade games; hiking (Colin says since not in the mountains, it’s not really hiking); movies, popcorn, ice cream….I can’t remember all we have done with them (I am making them a photo book to capture the great times). But it has all been with a toll on our aging bodies….thankfully, they sleep between 10 – 12 hours a night! We  get to recharge our batteries but are still pretty exhausted. They both have upcoming birthdays. The oldest turns 6 and the youngest in 4 in August. And in August, we will return them to their parents after a week there.
  3. Finally, a little about my mom. If you know us, you know we relocated my mom, now 95, from Florida to Virginia last July. She is now two hours from our daughter’s home in Virginia. While I can’t get there enough to see her, I am helping my one sister –  her caregiver, by taking care of anything I can remotely….While mom is in assisted living, mentally she is very sharp, physically, she has limitations. She is legally blind and has to take medicine to control her erratic blood pressure which is precarious. However, the place we had her in had not been ideal – so this weekend she moved into a newer and better facility. It’s all a big task for my sister who has a few other family obligations to also manage. Thankfully our daughter and son-in-law plus my two nephews helped my sister.

All of this collided and culminated with my mother-in-laws passing. Although, all I can say is that God’s in control and HIS TIMING is perfect. Our daughter and son-in-law have physically been able to drive to help my mom and sister the past three weekends. Initially, we had hoped the boys would have a long weekend with their parents but due to mom’s move, they helped her….so we did our best to keep them fully entertained….

This blog is about my faith journey. I try to share any great new insights I may glean in this life. And I have gleaned so many things this year….

As I shared how drained I was, my precious sister-in-law who has so much more going on, ministered to me. So, in addition to helping her husband with the caregiving of my mother in law (they also just sold their home, are changing jobs, moving, etc.) she could help me! So maybe as we share how drained we both are and how we are looking to our Lord for our sustenance, perhaps it will help you!

I have to admit, I was a very lost at several points in my life. I’ve shared part of my testimony here, but there is still so much more to share. In all my sinful and lost ways, God keeps showing up and blessing me in ways I can only PRAISE and WORSHIP Him! Because of my past, which included Bill’s and my divorce and remarriage, we are now faithful church members. I started another blog to share about this. If you aren’t familiar with our story, start here.

Because of extensive Bible reading and Bible study, I pretty much “know” the Bible – but am I following what I know? Oh, no, I fall so short….However, I am trying. Bill and I are both so excited about our new church and the Biblical teaching we are under. Perfect messages each week for us to grow together and closer to how our Lord would have us live. But yet, still so weak….

And here is the GOOD NEWS!!!! When I am weak, He is strong! Do you remember that song as a child? I have been weak so many times – and He has proven His strength to me time and time again.

To keep me from becoming conceited because of these surpassingly great revelations, there was given me a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me.  Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me.  But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong. 2 CORINTHIANS 12:7-10

Heart Disease: Metabolic Syndrome

IMG_0851

April 2017. Bill has lost over 40 pounds and I’ve lost over 20. We didn’t try to do this, just changing our diet caused the weight to literally melt off! Our before picture is below.

Have you ever heard of Metabolic Syndrome? If you are like us, we never did, until December 22, 2016 when Bill was informed he had it. He was still reeling from the fact the week prior, he was told he was at risk for a massive heart attack and/or had heart disease. Like everyone who gets such a scary diagnosis, you never imagine it could happen to you.

In one way, it was a relief! It explained why Bill couldn’t lose a pound when he tried! We are a very active couple, living a lifestyle that demands activity. Or else, we chose this lifestyle because we love activity!

We love the outdoors, either to take hikes, or walk through forests, or go on long beach walks. Bill was in shock and denial because of the long hikes, going up and down some pretty steep mountains and never once felt out of breath! So I guess this means, it can happen to just about anyone without any symptoms or warnings. We know of several active men who literally dropped dead from a massive heart attack that also didn’t seem to have any symptoms. Continue reading

Heart Disease: Entering a New Country

Bill often said he felt like he was in a new country when he began to eat a Heart Healthy diet. The shock has finally subsided since he learned he had heart disease and Metabolic Syndrome on December 15, 2016, details here in case you missed it. Thankfully, Bill is a strong-willed person. When he decides he is going to do something, he does it, and usually in a big way.  He learned to accept it, written about here, and decided he would do whatever he had to do to overcome any obstacles that might hinder his lifestyle. The next step he had to go through was to decide how to live with it, written here.

Now let’s fast forward to April 11, 2017. The day finally arrived for us to meet again with Dr. Jeffrey Askew. I was very positive, but Bill’s nature was to be reserved and apprehensive. It’s a family trait! Well, drum roll…. Continue reading

Heart Disease: Accept it?

We remarried 8/19/1989

While going through our divorce (which resulted in a miraculous reconciliation and remarriage), Bill tried to tell me, “Love is a choice.” I didn’t get it then, but have since learned this important lesson! God actually gives us freewill to accept or reject what life hands us. Read here for our last post on heart disease.

While Bill was shutting down mentally after the news about his heart disease, he struggled….and had to reach deep down inside himself. He can reflect back now and says, he had a choice! He decided to accept his prognosis and paid close attention to medical professionals as to what he was facing and how he could “turn the sinking ship around.” Hallelujah! We are so grateful the first two medical professionals we went to, his brother, David and his wife, Linda! Continue reading

Heart Disease

7 (1)

Aren’t we the picture of health? Photo taken August 2016

Is it just us, or has anyone else noticed something interesting about pharmaceutical commercials these days? They show a good-looking couple, middle-aged (whatever that is to the viewer) out having fun: bike riding, playing golf, playing with their child or grandchild, walking and holding hands in a romantic setting? (Maybe like this picture?) Then the commercial begins, “See your doctor about taking XYZ drug.” Then in fine print and a VERY low and fast voice, you are warned that this drug could cause paralysis, blindness, heart attack, or some other more serious cause of death? And then as soon as that is over, a law firm advertises:  “If you have ever taken such and such drug and you have cancer, it’s been determined that drug caused the cancer and we will sue for $millions for YOU!” What’s with this? Continue reading

We had a bit of a spat!

We’re living the dream and our life that should be stress free!  We all know life is not stress free, but we really don’t have much to stress over. Sure, a tire blow out while going 60 mph should cause a little stress, but we handled it!

We’ve made it a habit to start our day with a prayer before breakfast and then normally a Bible reading and devotional after we eat. We started this habit after missionary friends gave us a few wonderful devotional books. But it wasn’t always this way.

It’s no secret, our marriage fell apart after 13 years. There was trouble at 7 years, but we thought a baby would be the glue to hold us together. She became the center of our world and things were good for a while.

But after 10 years of marriage, things got rocky again. I began to job hunt. Maybe a change of scenery would help. So we made a major change to our lifestyle. But that didn’t help, either. So finally, we succumbed to that thing God detests, d-i-v-o-r-c-e (Malachi 2:16). You see, we forgot our wedding vows. We vowed to love each other in good health and bad….What happens? Why do couples who are seemingly so “in love” finally break apart?

We’ve blogged a lot about our marital trials and tribulations (click to read more), but nothing recently since we have been living the dream: traveling full time in a magnificent motor home, retired and making plenty of visits to be with our grandsons….and their parents. We should have no reason to be stressed, we should be living “happily ever after.” Right?

We’ve said often we are sorry we divorced and wasted all that money with lawyers and caused a deep wound in our relationship. BUT we are so GRATEFUL we serve a mighty God who healed our relationship and restored our family.

God is not a genie and He only works miracles in His own way. We had so many people praying for us as we went through the divorce. My very dear sister-in-law, who became my spiritual mentor, talked herself blue in the face, trying to get me to see Jesus was the only Hope we had, to get me back into the Word, to get me to really seek HIM and not the worlds way to solve a problem. I know she fasted, prayed and even had her entire church praying for us. But my heart was hard and cold. I heard nothing and I didn’t want any advice. I was determined to get out of what I thought was a bad situation. And what was my bad situation? No matter what anyone’s bad situation is, you feel you have absolutely no alternative but divorce. Or for some, it’s even worse. I know, I’ve been there.

Ours was a spiritual war. Plain and simple. We both put our own needs above the other. We certainly weren’t looking out for the best for our daughter. Did I really think breaking up our marriage was the best for her? Really? How dumb was that?

My husband didn’t abuse us, he went to work every day, he didn’t get drunk (anymore), he was faithful, but he was not the spiritual head of our household. When we divorced, our daughter was six years old and had never been to church. I met Jesus when I was seven. Something was driving me to make things right but Bill refused to turn back to God. It was crushing me spiritually. And when someone is in that situation, everything looks hopeless, everything black.

We’ve blogged about how we finally forgave each other, click here, and we began to rebuild our family. We eventually began to lead a young marrieds ministry after we worked with youth for nearly 7 years. We moved and began attending a new church. The pastor said he would like us to work with young couples. We said yes after he and his wife lead a course on marriage. It helped that they were honest and said they had their share of troubles to overcome! Heavens knows it is very stressful to be a Pastor and the wife of a Pastor. They looked so perfect to me! We knew God had given us a powerful testimony for a reason….

Remember I said earlier we really have no reason to be stressed? Well, life is full of stressors (trouble) and for some reason, we do let stress sneak in and get the best of us. After all, Jesus said,

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33

When we have a change in our daily routine, it can create a few problems. As you age, you see how your habits have a way of being a good thing (like habitually reading your Bible or as ordinary as brushing your teeth after every meal) or a bad thing (like “needing” a drink to relax, or smoking cigarettes). It’s best to practice good habits when you are young as it helps you as you age because your body does begin to wear out. And that is about the main stressor in our lives. We are becoming forgetful or we do dumb things, like have “senior moments.” We are close in age, Bill just 8 months older than me, so it has helped that once one of us begins to have a health concern, the other is right there and can emphasize. Usually!

So this past Sunday (June 12, 2016), we were visiting lots of family in Missouri. We were excited about attending one family’s new church and in fact, everyone decided to go and then, we would all go out to eat afterwards. Then we would be on our way home (at that time, Illinois). It was the Sunday of the horrific massacre in Orlando. We normally never have the news on, but we wanted to check the weather. We were in a hotel since it was too far for us to bring our motor home for a long weekend trip. Maybe that set the tone for the day. We were focusing on the bad and not thinking of how our Lord is in control in spite of evil ruling one man’s life to the point of mass murder. There were beautiful stories of survivors helping others and the outpouring of support not only the city of Orlando showed the victims, but the entire state stepped up to help as well as support from all over the US and world.

We didn’t have our prayer time or devotional. And we lost track of time and were running late. It was a 20-25 minute drive and we didn’t know the area. We had set the GPS in the car the night before so we sort of knew which way to go…or so we thought. And in setting it, I guess I was the one who forgot to turn out the “map” light. We rushed out to the car, Bill getting in first while I checked out of the hotel. The car had a hard time starting. Then I get in the car and notice the map light was still on. Bill mentioned the battery seemed to be dying….and our GPS had started acting up a few days ago. Our tempers were fragile and we had a spat. I accepted responsibility for leaving the light on, but Bill didn’t pay attention to which way to go….so off we went in the wrong decision.

After being together for over 40 years, we don’t yell at each other. We did in our younger days and before we returned to the Lord. We’ve had spats along the way, but northing serious. And we go to church no matter what else is happening. But not this day….

We both went silent and it was a long 5 hour trip back to our RV …. and the worst part was that we missed an excellent church service and more time with the family. It’ll probably be a year before we see them again. 😞

What is the moral to this story? Bill is actually very wise. While he majored in Psychology in college (he thought he’d go on for his PhD and become a marriage counselor), he minored in education. One thing he learned and taught me, Biblically, as well as from his education, was when one has thoughts (and they did to me) was to control your thoughts and to say, “Get thee behind me satan.” And you know, that has helped me control my temper!

As it turned out, our GPS (part of what they now call and Infotainment system) went bad as did our battery. Our car was in the shop for two days. Was it anyone’s fault? No, just that batteries now only last three years with all the electronics but leaving light on helps it die faster! We both make mistakes and we just need to extend grace to each other. It’s hard enough feeling the aging aches and pains….we don’t need to rub salt in each other’s wounds.

So lessons we learned while we were being prepared to work in a couples ministry, don’t ever let the sun go down on your anger, don’t sweep problems under the carpet, don’t stuff your feelings, don’t every say the “D” word, love and forgive each other daily!

If you are having your own “problems” or situation that seems unbearable, one of my favorite authors, Max Lucado, wrote this wonderful post that really says what I know is true and has helped me, at least, keep control of my anger at certain life situations.

Your Problem isn’t YOUR Problem!

We have the hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure….Hebrews 6:19

Chapter 7 – RX for the BEST marriage

Today, April 11, 2016, we celebrate 41 years since we first said, I do. This is one of my favorite blogs about our marriage break up and then restoration. And now we are sharing the ultimate JOY of two adorable grandsons!

Follow the Tumble Lees!

The last post I shared some of the things that killed our relationship.  Today I want to share one simple formula and principle which restored our relationship, our marriage and our love life – again from Love Life for Every Married Couple – how to fall in love, stay in love, rekindle your love.  I will guarantee if you incorporate the basic principle into your daily life, you will see other relationships improve as well.  I know this works because it worked for us and I am a HUGE testimony about how this simple phrase can change your life.  Anything good that has happened to me by my own will and chosing to do RIGHT thing (I have made horrible and destructive decisions and thank God I am forgiven) is based upon the Bible.  In Romans 12:2, we are told to “… not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing…

View original post 2,225 more words

What is love?

loveToday, I was prompted to write about one of my favorite subjects by a young blogger friend.  I have written about LOVE numerous times in my husband’s and my blog, which started as a marriage blog. This one post, “Chapter 4,” explains how I came to understand what love was, where it came from and how to keep it going.

During this Christmas season, it might be good to revisit the topic. As you read Chapter 4, you will see that I was on a search for the meaning of LOVE after our divorce. I became cynical about love. I also began to search the Bible for the meaning. To make a long story short, let’s look at some scriptures where I discovered it, and look at an oath I took.

First, the most famous scripture about perfect love: “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16

But what does this mean? “Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.

I served my country for 20 years. No, not in the military, but as a Special Agent with the Government. In my job, I was willing to lay down my life for my friends, family, neighbors, country when I made the following oath:

“I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter. So help me God.”

During these 20 years of service, I knew what it meant to lay down my life. But I didn’t fully comprehend how Biblical this sacrifice would have been.

I thought I knew what love was, but when we divorced, I thought I had “fallen out of love” with my husband. I had a daughter and I knew my love for her was perfect, I would die for her, I would do anything for her. My love for her was never in question. It was natural. It was deep. It was solid. But my husband, that was another thing. Or was it?

As I read the Bible, I realized I needed to reconcile with him: “But to the married I give instructions, not I, but the Lord, that the wife should not leave her husband 11(but if she does leave, she must remain unmarried, or else be reconciled to her husband), and that the husband should not divorce his wife.” 1 Corinthians 7:10-11

Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.1 John 4:7-8 

For my husband, he simply said, “Love is a choice.” He felt I had the choice to love him or not. But for me, a woman, I have to have the love in my heart, not my head. So I prayed for the Lord to GIVE me the LOVE I needed to remarry Bill. The answer, God impressed upon me to just let HIM love Bill through me. I can’t tell you how powerful that was…as I yielded to God and allowed HIM to love through me. And then I made the choice, to love him as my husband once again.

And this works as unlovely people enter your life. I have had to ask the Lord to help me love many difficult people He has put in my life. That has helped me become filled with love which is the second greatest commandment. Do you know that commandment? The first is, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.” Mark 12:30

We are in our 40th year of marriage. We remarried 26 years ago. I can testify my love for him is GREATER now than ever. Each year it grows deeper.

Imagine my surprise when I asked for Bill’s help to write a guest blog. My blogosphere friend, Arpita, is a young lawyer, also a minimalist and loves to travel. She wanted a post as a form of advice for young marrieds. She sees so many broken marriages in her practice. Bill changed his opinion a bit and describes the love a couple needs as a bit deeper than a choice. Check out our post on her blog to see what he has added to what I have said above here. You’ll find the second commandment in this post.

Finally, what does love look like? You know you are loving with God’s love when you see this:

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

1 Corinthians 13:4-7, 13

Growing Old Together!

Previously used in Arpita’s Life as guest blogger.

We’ve been members of and active in three churches. In the last church, I was on the visitation team. I loved visiting our shut-ins and people who just needed a friendly visit. Most of those I visited were on the elderly side, generally, 80 and older. I relished the wisdom they shared as we talked. Several of them said things to me that I’ll never forget and some I want to model into my old age!

One very dear man was bordering on depression. He had been such an active and very giving man. Always wanting to help others. He also used to do visitation, but now, he was the one in need. As we talked about his days growing up on a farm, he said he wished he knew he would live to be so old. He would not have played so hard and jumped out of the barn as much as he did! He had bad arthritis of the knees, rendering him nearly unable to walk on his own. He was being light-hearted, but it was sage advice for younger people. And guess what? I now am suffering a bit from arthritic knees, in part from my days of running long distance in cities, where I worked. So on concrete. Not good. I’m so grateful for modern medicine that keeps me able to walk and hike!


Our first wedding in 1975.

Recently, we’ve begun to accept the fact we are growing old, and how nice to do it together! We thank God every morning He restored our broken marriage. We know not everyone is able to re-marry after a divorce and we know many who have suffered through a divorce. For them, we pray the Lord brings them healing and opportunities to grow from the experience. It saddens us when we read articles, like one recently, that claims divorce doesn’t really “harm” adults or their children. I know too many adults who have some sort of issues because their parents divorced. We both grew up in tumultuous households. I don’t know about Bill, but I prayed a few times my parents would divorce. It was really bad….so I understand. In fact, we have several relatives who are divorced. We’ve been there, we understand the heartbreak.


Our remarriage in 1989.

That’s why we like to share what is going on in our marriage. It forces us to live what we “preach!”  We are applying the very scriptures and principles we recommended when asked to serve as guest bloggers from my young friend in India, Arpita, who also has a travel blog, but also a second blog on more personal matters, It’s Arpita’s Life.

We are both blessed to have longevity in our families, as well as long-term marriages. In spite of the tumultuous nature of their marriages. Both of our mom’s are still alive, Bill’s mom is age 94 and my mom is age 92. My parents made it to 54 years of marriage before my dad’s passing and Bill’s parents to 48 years. While neither marriage was like Ward and June Cleaver, at least they stayed together through thick and thin. And in the end, it was wonderful to see both of our mom’s being there for our dads.

At the beginning of our marriage, our rocky home lives made us want to make sure we weren’t “like them.”  We were young and dumb….Now that we are old(er), we see how wonderful it was they were together in the end.

We celebrated 40 years together this year, so we have not only seen our parents growing old and old together but now we are doing it! And we HIGHLY recommend it.  Sadly, not every marriage lasts and this is our passion, to do what we can to encourage couples to make their marriages last. Not just last, but to be the BEST possible marriages.


Our 35th-anniversary celebration.

Like most couples who marry, we liked each other’s looks. In fact, I love how another fellow travel blogger, talked about their marriage, how they fell in lust love! That’s usually how it starts, the initial attraction. We recently cleaned out the remnants of our former household belongings. In doing this, we came across our photo albums, the oldest 40 years old! Looking through them, Bill asked me who was this woman sitting on his lap? He didn’t recognize me! Oh, we have changed so much. And that is the dirty ugly truth about growing old, you lose that youthful appearance, beautiful tight skin, flexibility, stamina, etc. You fill in the blanks.

But the beauty of growing old together means you don’t really notice it! Unless you look at a 40-year-old photo album! What we really appreciate is how we can both have mercy and grace on each other as we age. For example, we are both facing a few aging issues. And since we are both going through the aging process, it is so nice to be kind to one another. Case in point, Bill’s knees began to bother him for the first time ever. My knees actually need a good walk EVERY day. But since I knew he needed a day or two off, I was respectful towards him and didn’t push him to go walking with me (its more fun). And I could stay at home with him.

So the moral of this post? To take care of yourself in your younger years. And what is a good way to do this?

Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own…. 1 Corinthians 6:19