Sunday, October 28, 2007

Happy Together!

October 2nd we celebrated our 31st anniversary. I can't believe that we've been married that long. Some days it feels like it's been forever - in a good way - and then yet, can it be that 31 years have passed by since we said, "I Do"? The hopes and dreams of a young couple started with the total remodeling of an old home in Sheboygan Falls. That presented us with our first of many challenges. We were both working full time and putting in long hours working at the house while living in a nearby apartment. So my day started before 6 a.m.. I headed to work making sure that Dale was up before I left. I'd return mid-afternoon, make supper so that it was ready for Dale when he got home at 5 so that we could go right to the house to work some more - often till 10 or 11. Depending on what they were doing that night, I didn't always go to help, I'm not too handy with a hammer. So that meant that I'd see Dale maybe 15 minutes a day. That went on for 3 1/2 months. Not what I had pictured for myself as a new bride and not what I would recommend for anyone starting out.

Well, many years and projects later, I can still say that I'd marry that man all over again. We have both learned so much about each other, life, family and the part that God wants to play in all of it. As Dale and I were talking the other day, he said that our life has sort of gone in 5 year spans.

Years 1-5: life without kids - time to get to know each other, ski vacations, fun

6-10: Josh, our first born, boy, did we have a lot to learn - poor kid!

11-14: Zach enters the family - more activity & friends, start of homeschooling

15-20: Life on the farm - rabbits, chickens, eggs, horse

21- ? No animals - except the mice in the farm house and the cows that stayed
in our barn and who we at times helped chase at all hours of the day
and night to get back where they belonged. Dale awoke one morning to
find several sleeping on our lawn. What a way to get the lawn aerated -
and fertilized!

Now it's the new house, even though it's almost 3 years since we've been in, no kids except when Zach's home from college and back to working full time for me. Would I change anything if I had the choice to do it? Having hopefully matured over the years, the one thing that I would want to change would be "me". I would want to be more patient, more selfless, more giving... just more of who I now know that I could have been, should have been.
In Genesis 2:18 God created woman because He didn't want Adam to be alone. "I will make him a helper suitable for him." I think that the King James version called us a "help meet". What in the world is that? In a book that I am presently reading,"Captivated", the author points out that a better word would be "ezer" - "a sustainer beside him". You see I'm not to be just a helper in our worlds' way of seeing it, but it translates better as a "lifesaver". Now to me that has a much bigger sounding job description attached to it. Have I been someone that Dale has needed like that? Have I been there to encourage, praise and come along side to help him live life? I'm still working on that one.

SO, we celebrated at Lola's in Elkhart Lake. Love the place!

A great Bruscetta

Wonderful desserts: a chocolate sampler tray and a pumpkin cheesecake with a ginger crust.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

When Cancer Pays a Visit

I could tell from her voice in the message which she left me on my cell phone that the test results were positive. She tried to sound upbeat, but there was something different... something that let me know that all was not well. I find it ironic that in October - which is breast cancer awareness month - my Mom gets diagnosed with it. It is in its very early stage, so the prognosis is good. She'll find out more on Mon. after she meets with her dr. and they schedule the surgery.

On the morning of the biopsy I was reading Ps. 116. Verse 7 states, "Be at rest once more, O my soul, for the Lord has been good to you." I sent that verse to Mom. You see she is not new to the word cancer. Ten years ago she was diagnosed with a different type of cancer and went through surgery at that time.
Just hearing the word, "cancer", has an affect on me - and my family. With it comes varying amounts of fear, change, physical pain & uncertainty. But, it also brings the reminder that "the Lord has been good".

I find that it's easy to live life when all is well. But, I know that it's through the difficult times that we grow closer to God. Just because I am a Christ follower, it doesn't mean that I'm spared the hardships of life. James 1:2 says, "Count it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds...". He said "Whenever" not "if" we face trials.
I love the song by Mercy Me called "Bring The Rain". Here are some of the words.

"Bring me joy, bring me peace
Bring the chance to be free
Bring me anything that brings you glory.
And I know there'll be days
When this life brings me pain
But if that's what it takes to praise you
Jesus, bring the rain.

I am yours regardless of
the clouds that may loom above
because You are much greater than my pain.
You have made a way for me
by suffering Your destiny
So tell me, what's a little rain
So I pray,

Bring me joy, bring me peace
Bring the chance to be free
Bring me anything that brings You glory.
And I know there'll be days
When this life brings me pain
But if that's what it takes to praise You
Jesus, bring the rain."

God, help Mom, help me, not to fear the rain.