Friday, June 30, 2017

The truth about long marriages

This post could also be entitled

"How to stay married when you are both sinners saved by grace"

We have been married for 34 years.  We have known each other for 39 years.

It's a long time!

We just passed our anniversary a week ago.  On social media I posted a picture of us with the title
"neither one has gone missing yet"   My husband shared the picture and wrote "another happy year of marriage".

.......neither one of these comments were portraying the truth about our marriage.   That bothers me.  I read too many blogs, and too many social media posts that set the bar far too high.  If only you follow these 5 easy steps, then you too can have the marriage of your dreams!  Ha!

So many marriages don't make it.  I think they don't make it for a variety of reasons.  I will address at least two here.

1.  God is not the center.  Now I'm not even going to pretend that I'm speaking to the entire population here.  As a Christian, I'm going to speak as a Christian.  If you don't acknowledge the fact that God owns your marriage, that what He wants and desires from us is supreme over what we want, then you are doomed to fail.

2.  Selfishness.  If one or the other has a selfish streak, then there is bound to be trouble.  If both have one, then you are doomed to fail.

I can only speak for myself.  I want to be honest because I think that there are a ton and a half of people that need to hear this message.  Marriage is hard.  Marriage is not all fun and games.  Marriage has a purpose.  My opinion is that if you are in a marriage that is over the top happy, happy, joy, joy, all of the time........then you are hiding something.  yes!  You are!  You have settled and you don't feel passionately about your life.

I love my husband and he loves me.  We struggle, a lot!  We are both sinners, saved by grace.  We are trying to live out our lives according to God's will, not our own.  We have a good life and if we had to weigh it out on a set of scales, the happy would win.  But there would still be an abundance of sad.
We will be learning how to make this work until the day we die.  We know that and we accept the challenge.

Having the love of Jesus in our hearts does not shield us from marriage troubles.  But it does help keep us centered when all around us it's storming.  I heard a song this morning; Let it Rain and the words said "just because it's pouring down doesn't mean we're gonna drown...let it rain"  Sometimes you have to fight and cry and pray your way through the stormy stuff.  Wait it out.  Another song line I heard says "a bitter heart turns the love we made to ashes"

We aren't perfect and our marriage is not perfect (far from it)  But God is perfect and God trusted us with the relationship, this family, this life.  God knows best and we won't question Him.

Each day is a new chance to try harder.  Yeah, I used to believe that.

It's better to believe that each moment is a new chance to try harder.

Put God first and your spouse second.  That's the only advice I can give.



Monday, June 26, 2017

Honeysuckle

For thirteen years we lived in semi-rural western New Jersey.  I say "semi-rural" because we lived in a town of about 18,000 in a neighborhood of 1950's tract houses on tiny lots.  Not as tiny as the lot I grew up on right outside of NYC, but small nonetheless.

We were surrounded by fields.  Soybean fields and corn fields.  When you drove along those country roads this time of year the air was sweet with the scent of the wild honeysuckle.  It is one of my favorite scent memories.  The honeysuckle just grew wild all along the road sides.  I haven't yet seen it here in Maine, but I live in the woods, not near any fields.

Here is a photo I found online of wild honeysuckle







When we moved to Maine and bought this house, there was a trellis on the front of the house with a honeysuckle planted in front of it.  That first summer it really didn't do much, and it had no scent.  And since I didn't like the idea of a trellis on the front of the house, we took the honeysuckle out and I walked a ways into the woods and just threw it!  

Fast forward thirteen years.  We have done a lot of tree clearing to build a yard, a garage, and a garden.  Just a few years ago we cut down more trees to give the garden more sun.  And bam!!!

This grew

Right where I threw it.  It must have grown a bit each year in the shade, but once the full sun came along it just took off.  This year it is even beginning to cling to the big rock.  I'm not sure if I will at some point regret leaving this here, but it is pretty although it is scentless.



I think I will add REAL honeysuckle to my list of plants to get for my yard.  I wonder if it will grown here?

Friday, June 23, 2017

The rainbow

Genesis chapter 9.....

.....there is so much in this chapter!
but I wanted to concentrate on v 12-17.....the rainbow passage.

For believers, the rainbow has always been a sign of God's covenant--God's promise to us.
He would never destroy us for our sins.  He would send a savior.

And in this chapter, in Genesis, He points us to Christ.  The shedding of blood.  Jesus' blood was shed for us. To save us.

It's all connected. From the first line of Genesis to the last line of Revelation.

It's a story.  A story that was in the making for thousands of years.

God promises and we wait on those promises.

.......so, the rainbow.

It is a reminder to us that we must wait on God's promises.

No matter who uses the rainbow image or for what cause, there is no need to worry......

God's got this.....that is the message of the rainbow.

The message is not to condone, accept, participate, or even ignore.

The message of the rainbow is to take comfort and wait.........

He promised.

Monday, June 19, 2017

A letter to my mom

I feel like I've let too much time pass without writing this.  I have heard that your eyesight is bad, so I know someone else will read this to you.

I've thought about calling you, but I can't put myself through all of that emotional upheaval again.  When we tried to work this out a few years ago, I came to see that it was all one sided.  When I stopped calling you--that was it.  I heard God's voice telling me to just let it be.

I just wanted to let you know that I think about you every day.  I pray for you every day too.  I'm sorry that Judy is gone.  I'm sorry that she hated me so much.  I'm sorry that no one ever understood why I moved away and I'm sorry that it felt like abandonment to you.

God called us here.  I'm sure of it.  Our future was waiting for us here.  Our future and our children's futures.  They are all happily married now to good Christian people; which is an answer to a lifetime of prayers.  And now we are in the midst of welcoming and helping to raise our grandchildren.  This summer we will have eight!  Seven grandsons and one granddaughter.  Each one is a blessing and I am honored to be a part of their lives.

It makes me sad that you are not part of this.  I know that my world is so foreign to you.  That's okay.

I am here if you ever decide to call and truly want to be a part of this.  If not, that is also okay.

God is guiding me and seeing me through.  I will always pray for you to find Him and the peace and joy that only He can give.

With love,

Your daughter,

Karen

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

The Cinnamon Sugar Cow


This cow was originally a creamer.  There is a spout in the front and a hole behind the cow head.  It belonged to my mother.  When my oldest son was about two years old, he decided that he could put a straw in the hole and drink the milk.  Ever since that day, the cow no longer belonged to my mother!

My son adopted this cow creamer as his "special cup"  He took it home and used it for quite a long time.  Eventually he found another "special cup" and we found another use for the cow creamer.

One day I was looking for something to mix up cinnamon sugar in and also dispense it onto my son's toast.  Perfect!  The cow creamer has been used for that purpose ever since.

I can't possibly put the cinnamon sugar in anything else because then no one will be able to find it.
After all it's been in the cow creamer since 1986!

And this morning I used it to make cinnamon rolls for my husband.  It's kind of special that the grandchildren will now grow up with the Cinnamon Sugar Cow!

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

The clothesline

I have used a clothesline (aka solar dryer)  for my entire 57 years.  Well, my mom used it early on and then when I married and lived in a few places, I've always had access to a clothesline.


Using a clothesline is a lot more work than throwing the clothes into the dryer.  It also fades the clothes a bit (the dryer makes them loose fibers), not to mention the rough towels.

But the clothesline saves us LOTS of money every year.  In the winter I use it sometimes but mostly I use a drying rack and a wood stove.

It also satisfies my inner OCD.  I like to organize the clothes and hang them "just so"

Since I live in the country, the clothes just smell like fresh air.  Sometimes they may harbor an insect or two if I don't give them a good shake when I take them down.

There is just something about seeing a clothesline full of clean laundry swaying in the breeze.



Monday, June 12, 2017

Anniversary of our escape

Thirteen years ago we did what so many people wish they could do.

We ran away.

From everyone and everything we knew.

My husband quit his job with UPS.

We sold our house.

And we left.

Well, it wasn't that simple!  It was five years in the planning and dreaming and scheming.

Once we decided that we wanted to change our life, we had to decide where we would go.

We decided that we wanted to stay in the northeast, preferably by the sea, so we decided

on the state of Maine.

After spending a few years exploring Maine, we settled on a small town downeast near the

coast.

On our trip up to work with a realtor in 2004 we found our home!

Our little house (dbl wide ranch) in the BIG woods!

The day we moved in I had a brief moment of "of my, what did we do?"  but it quickly passed.

Our house was all alone on a dirt road surrounded by hundreds of acres of woods.  Coming from

our 1/5 acre lot in a subdivision was quite the shock.

Thirteen years later the portion of road in front of our house is paved (my car is happy!)  and we have

a few neighbors (i feel much safer)

But the hundreds of acres of woods is still right outside my door to explore.  It's quiet.  It's calming.

And I can do what I want without the "audience"

We moved here without jobs and with teenagers.  We knew no one.

Thirteen years later our family is grown and married and we have almost 8 grandchildren!  Our

children LOVE Maine and live nearby.  Everyone is successful.  God is GREAT!

We obviously came here with resources ($ to buy our home from the sale of our home)  so we didn't

have to work as hard.  My husband and I have mostly worked part time for the years we have been

here.  Our wants and needs are simple so we keep our cost of living low.

It's not an "easy" life living here in northern New England, but it's a wonderful life.

And we've never regretted escaping from the rat race!