Monday, May 25, 2015


Today is "D-day".
Three years ago today,
I was worried.
I had lunch with my closest girl friend
and shared with her that I didn't know what was wrong,
but something was.
I told her "He's dying!"
That afternoon, he asked to be taken to the ER.
Just a few hours later,
the diagnosis was made.

The following eight months passed too quickly.
They were hard, hard months
as I watched my Beloved husband pass slowly from this life
to the next.
They were filled with pain and suffering
and when his healing finally happened,
it was a relief to know he was well at last.

And when his ended,
my suffering began.
In the 27 months since he went home,
my life has been filled with turmoil and sorrow.
And I could not have gotten through it without God!
He has carried me, comforted me, pushed me to survive.
He gave me wonderful daughters to ensure that I ate,
He gave me amazing grandchildren to nurture my will to live,
He gave me a marvelous best friend to ensure I got out of the house,
He gave me mighty prayer warriors in my sister and brother-in-law,
and many others,
to pray for my broken heart.
And in those darkest hours when nothing,
no person could help,
when the anguish consumed me,
He held me in His strong arms and whispered
"I am here! You can do all things through Me!
Hang on, I have a plan to prosper you, a hope for you, a future!
Don't give up, My child!"
And He has healed!
The scar is there.
It will always be tender,
will sometimes be downright painful when the "weather" is right.
But the wound,
the open, bleeding, gash,
has healed.

Thank You, Daddy God, for Your presence!
Thank You for your healing!
I think back three years and the terror that was coming,
the sorrow and loss,
and I wonder that I am here!
Only through You!
Only You have gotten me through!
Without you carrying me,
without You encouraging me,
without You holding me close,
I would surely have died of grief!
Thank You for all you have done!
Thank You for bringing joy in You back to my heart!
Thank you for bringing happiness back to my life!
Thank you for the people you have placed in my life!
Thank you for Al,
for the years we had together,
the love we shared.

Thank You that he is well at last and safe in your presence!

The Lord is my strength and my shield;
my heart trusts in Him,
and He helps me.
My heart leaps for joy,
and with my song I praise Him.

                                                                 ~~ Psalm28:7 NIV ~~

Sunday, May 17, 2015

His name was Steffen

I am going to share a story.
It is a deeply personal story,
one that very, very few people know in its entirety.
Until now.
I'm not exactly sure why I'm sharing it.
I just feel strongly led to do so.
So here goes.

Forty-one years ago today,
my first child was still-born.
I was the only one who grieved.

At barely 17 and 18 1/2,
only Al and I knew I was pregnant.
And on May 17, 1974,
just ten days before he was to graduate from high school,
Al was not unhappy that he was not going to have to give up
his football scholarship to become a husband and father.
I didn't understand.
And he didn't understand why I wasn't relieved,
didn't understand my intense grief.
We were so young!

I was in my fifth month of pregnancy when it happened.
We had planned to elope right after graduation.
We had told no one,
but at nearly five and a half months,
it was becoming very difficult to hide my secret.
My father had commented that I was getting fat
and my best friend had noticed my new preference
for the loose-fitting smock tops that were popular then.
But I had kept quiet.
And so, when it happened,
I had no one with whom I could share my loss.

I had not felt well and had stayed home from school that Friday
so was home alone.
It was the only short labor I ever had,
it took only a few hours,
and there he was,
a tiny, tiny little baby boy.

I held him in my hands and touched
his tiny fingers and toes,
felt his transparent skin.
looked at his tiny little face.
I remember holding him to my breast at first,
hoping against hope....
I named him Steffen Fulton.

I very carefully washed him,
wrapped him in a soft fabric,
and decorated a shoe box,
lined it with cotton balls and soft fabric,
and carefully placed him inside and put the lid on.
I wrapped the tiny casket in plastic,
and, still cramping and bleeding,
climbed on my bicycle
and rode 26 miles out into the country
where I buried my baby.

I rode my bike a few more miles to Pizza Hut where Al was working
(home from school and gone to work by the time everything was done)
and told him what had happened.
He was at work and couldn't leave,
and so, I had a wine cooler (it was a different day...)
got back on my bicycle,
and rode the 30 miles across the city back to my house
and cried myself to sleep.
He was not mentioned again for a long, long time.

For many years,
I would go to that spot in the country and sit and cry.
As the city grew,
the country-side where my baby was buried
became urbanized
and eventually a shopping center was built at the site.
I was crushed, heartbroken.
And we finally talked about it.
I learned that Al had grieved too.
He learned I had been angry with him for all those years.
That shopping center was a healing thing.
After that, a May 17th never passed
that Al did not send me flowers or a koala bear
in remembrance.

Al and I talked about a memorial,
but never could come up with anything that felt right.
But when Al went to Heaven,
I added our first-born to the back of his memorial bench.
It felt right.
I think Al would be pleased.

Happy birthday, Steffen!

The Lord is my strength and my shield;
my heart trusts in Him,
and He helps me.
My heart leaps for joy,
and with my song I praise Him.

                                                                 ~~ Psalm28:7 NIV ~~

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Something I wanted to do

I did not get to do something this week.
It was something I really wanted to do,
was very excited about.
But at the semi-last minute,
something more important came up
and I didn't get to do it.
I am not likely to have the opportunity again.

And I am perfectly content with that.

The "something more important"
was not something I did per se,
and to be quite honest,
it was scary and stressful for me!
But it was soooooo worth the price
of what I gave up!

Sometimes that thing we want
isn't so important after all!!!

The Lord is my strength and my shield;
my heart trusts in Him,
and He helps me.
My heart leaps for joy,
and with my song I praise Him.

                                                                 ~~ Psalm28:7 NIV ~~

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Walking into the wind

I listen to Pastor Allan Stanglin, Central Church of Christ,
after my time with the Lord
and while I am getting ready for work in the mornings.
This morning's edition talks about spiritual growth
in times of not only hardship, but ease.
04.12.12 - Transition times. Crisis moments. Life change. Our God uses these times to shape us more into his holy image. He’ll use the four zones to do it --- that’s the “how.” But these transition times are usually a big part of God’s “when.”
This evening, I debated whether or not to walk outside.
It was chilly.
Rain coming.
Maybe just the elliptical.
I decided to walk.

So, adorned in a sweatshirt and leggings
rather than my normal shorts and tank top,
off I went.
As I said, it was chilly - 62 degrees when I started out.
It was windy - sustained at 16 MPH with gusts.
Nonetheless, I worked up a sweat.

My route goes all directions.
It winds, twists, and turns.
So I may be headed west for a couple blocks,
then south for a half mile,
then east for a quarter mile,
and so forth.
Tonight, all told, I had a cross-wind for about three miles,
I had the wind at my back for about a mile,
and walked into the wind for about a mile.

One of the things I like about walking outdoors
in my area - mostly countryside -
is that it gives me time to think and pray.
It suddenly hit me.
"This is like Pastor Allan's sermon!"
Each direction presented it's own challenges and benefits.

While the back-wind was infinitely easier
and gave me the opportunity to quicken my pace,
it also whipped hair into my face,
which, to be honest,
I rather enjoy.
It is the easiest part of my walk!
I enjoy the scenery,
feel good about myself for being out there.

The cross-wind didn't push me forward,
but it also didn't push against me.
It took more concentration to keep my balance,
improving my core strength.
I still enjoyed the scenery on these sections,
but I also worked up a sweat here.

The head-wind slowed me down.
I had to lean into it.
And, especially when going up hill, 
it was difficult walking!
But it lifted my hair,
cooled my face,
worked my muscles harder.
It's not the easiest part of my walk,
no, it's the hardest part,
the part where I am most tempted to quit,
but it's the most beneficial.

Walking presents choices.
First, I have to choose to go.
Then, I have to choose to keep going.
I have to choose to turn that corner that will add a hill
and another half mile.
Every single day I have to make that choice.
And it's hard.
But I do it to strengthen my heart, my muscles, my endurance.
I do it for the sunshine and endorphines which help me keep depression at bay.
I do it because it makes me a little proud of myself -
in a good way.

And you know,
it's the same with serving Christ,
following Him no matter what!

Sometimes, the path is easy,
allows us to rest a minute,
pick up our pace,
enjoy the scenery.
It's easy to feel joy in the journey.

Sometimes, it's moderate,
allowing us to keep going pretty easily,
while still strengthening our core spiritually.
It's not as easy,
but neither is it terribly difficult,
and we still enjoy the scenery,
the benefits of the journey. 

Sometimes, it's flat hard,
working those faith muscles.
We have to lean in,
concentrate on moving forward,
focus hard on God,
decide to keep on going.
But choosing to do it strengthens my spirit, my patience, my endurance.
Choosing to do it will strengthen yours!

Did I mention that while I was walking tonight,
I added an additional quarter mile to my walk
and increased my pace by seven seconds over Sunday,
and by three seconds over yesterday.
That doesn't sound like much.
But it's growth!
Measurable growth!
So I'll keep going!

Yes, Jesus, I'll keep going!

The Lord is my strength and my shield;
my heart trusts in Him,
and He helps me.
My heart leaps for joy,
and with my song I praise Him.

                                                                 ~~ Psalm28:7 NIV ~~


Sunday, May 10, 2015

Desires of the flesh

Yes I am!
I'm gonna go there.
I'm gonna talk about sex.

I walk every day.
I had reached a distance that I was pretty satisfied with,
but I push myself to pick up my pace each day.
Faster! Faster! Faster!
Then recently, I discovered that
I would likely be doing a lot of mountain hiking in the future.
(Ahhh, the joys of loving an active man!)
So I decided more distance was needed!
So I rerouted,
adding several more hills to my walk.
And I expected to be able to keep up my pace.
What I discovered was that attempting to pace five miles
the same as three miles
was foolhardy!
And so, difficult as it has been,
I have dropped my pace by three minutes per mile.
I still push to increase,
but for now,
the pace is slower in favor of distance.
So what does this have to do with sex?
Well, I'll tell you!

Sex is a wonderful, glorious gift from God.
But it has caveats.
It is a gift reserved for marriage.
The Bible is very clear on that.
Nowhere does it say, "try it out, see if you're compatible"
or "it's okay as long as you're in love"
or "it's only a physical act and doesn't really matter"
or "a person has needs that must be met and if you're single you still have those needs".
No, it says,

"But because of the temptation to sexual immorality, 
each man should have his own wife and each woman her own husband. 
                                                              ~~ I Corinthians 7:2 ESV ~~

"Drink water from your own well - 
- share your love only with your wife [or husband].
Why spill the water of your springs in public,
having sex with just anyone?
You should reserve it for yourselves.
Don't share it with strangers.
Let your wife [or husband] be a fountain of blessing for you."
~~ Proverbs 5:15-18 NLT ~~

These verses specifically state that sex is intended to be
between husband and wife to avoid sexual immorality. 
That indicates that sex outside of marriage is immoral.
And there are multitudes of Scriptures that talk about avoiding sexual immorality!

"You may say,
'I am allowed to do anything.'
But I reply,
'Not everything is good for you.'...
But our bodies were not made for sexual immorality.
They were made for the Lord,
and the Lord cares about our bodies...
And don't you know that if a man joins himself to a [woman],
he becomes one body with her?
For the Scriptures say,
'The two are united into one.'
But the person who is joined to the Lord becomes one spirit with him.
Run away from sexual sin!
No other sin so clearly affect the body as this one does.
For sexual immorality is a sin against your own body.
Or don't you know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit,
who lives in you and was given to you by God?
You do not belong to yourself,
for God bought you with a high price.
So you must honor God with your body."
~~ I Corinthians 6:18-20 NLT ~~ 

"Let there be no sexual immorality, impurty or greed amony you.
Such sins have no place among God's people...
You can be sure that no immoral, impure, or greedy person
will inherit the Kingdom of Christ and of God...
Don't be fooled by those who try to excuse these sins,
for the terrible anger of God comes upon all those who disobey Him."
~~ Ephesians 5:3-6 NLT ~~ 

Now, lest you think that I think sex is bad,
let me assure you that the Bible is also full of Scripture
that sex is God's gift to married people.
The entire book of Song of Songs (Solomon)
is a love story about the desire and fulfillment of the marriage bed!

"Let your wife [or husband] be a fountain of blessing for you...
She [he] is a loving doe, a graceful deer.
 Let her [his] breasts satisfy you always.
May you always be captivated by her [his] love."
~~ Proverbs 5:18-19 NLT ~~ 

Sex is a generous and private gift to married people!
We often look at a man's sexual desire as a weak link or an Achilles' heel. 
The promise of fleeting pleasure has the power to strip us of all that we value in life.
Outside of the marriage bed,
sex can fatally harm the relationship of a Christian couple.
Guilt and regret set it.
Determination not to let it happen again.
Looking into the face of one's own shame
after making love is not the image I want to have
or to leave.
But given into the hands of God,
anticipation and eventual fulfillment are wondrous!
Desire for your beloved is a natural and healthy thing!
Sexual desire is only an Achilles' heal when acted upon outside of marriage.

Now one would think that at 58 and 66,
sexual temptations would be pretty easily resisted.
One would be wrong!
It is just as hard now -
no, harder, because we have been married, sexual,
we know what we are wanting, missing out on! -
as it was at 18!
But it is still just as wrong now
as it was then!

Walking is a daily commitment!
Each day, I am tempted to say,
"Skipping one day won't hurt anything!"
But my endurance is harmed when I do.
The same is true of committing to obedience to God.

James, a great handbook for a Godly life, says in chapter 2, verse 10:

And the person who keeps all of the laws except one 
is as guilty as the person who has broken all of God's laws."

And in chapter 4, verse 17:

"Remember, it is sin to know what you ought to do and then not do it!"

And it is also sin to know what you ought not to do and do it anyway!

So here I am.
Baring my soul.
Telling the world that I am struggling.
And why?
Because we all struggle!
Because it might help strengthen someone else!
Because it will strengthen me,
give me something of my own study and thought
to refer to when I am weak.
Because this gives me a measure of accountability!
Because it is my commitment to my Lanny Love -
as it is his to me -
to remain pure,
to protect our precious relationship with each other,
and more importantly,
with God!

When I am walking and I face a hill that is difficult to climb
and I am tempted to slow down,
or stop and rest,
I have a mantra.
"Lanny at the top! Lanny at the top!"
because that is where Lanny will stop when we are backpacking!
And the view from his arms will be worth the climb!
That is my new mantra when tempted by sexual immorality
or to push for a faster pace!
"Lanny at the top! Lanny at the top!"
Patience is not one of my virtues!
This isn't easy!
But it will be worth the wait when God's time has been fulfilled!

The Lord is my strength and my shield;
my heart trusts in Him,
and He helps me.
My heart leaps for joy,
and with my song I praise Him.

                                                                 ~~ Psalm28:7 NIV ~~

Cared For

This is a different post than I intended.
It started out to be a story about something my Lanny Love did on Friday -
several somethings in fact -
that showed me he not only cared about me,
but wanted to care for me.
It was to segue into how God cares for and about us.
But as I read it,
I realized it was really bragging on what a fine man he is
and what a lucky woman I was to have him.
And so, I want to focus on the God caring
and not muddy the waters with man.

I am coming more and more to realize that,
in our imperfection,
man cannot be central in our lives.
It just doesn't work.
We fail.
We disappoint.
We hurt one another.
We don't mean to,
but we do.
We may love deeply.
We may love passionately.
We may love as completely as is humanly possible.
But we do not love perfectly.
Only God loves perfectly.
And it is that perfect love,
that perfect being cared about and for,
that I want to focus on today.

As a mom, I love my children fiercely!
I would - have - sacrificed my own comfort,
my own wants,
my own needs,
for them.
And glad to do it!
And yet,
I have failed so often where they were concerned!

But our Heavenly Father,
our Daddy God,
He never fails!

One of my favorite paraphrases is from "The Living Bible" and says,

"For how well He understands us and knows what is best for us at all times."
                                                                                 ~~ Ephesians 1:8 ~~

In my imperfection,
I have questioned that in my life.
Most especially over the last three years.
But over and over,
God has proven that verse!
And so,
for those things I can't see how they could possibly be best for me,
I can trust that they are,
because His word says so,
and because He has proven it in the past.

Most of us balk a bit at the idea of being cared for.
We like being cared about, but for?
Like a two-year-old,
we are very likely to stomp our foot and say,
"Me do it me-self!!!"
Again, that just doesn't work!
God knows us better than we know ourselves!

"Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. 
Don't be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows."
                                                                                 ~~ Luke 12:7 NIV ~~

He knows us so intimately that he knows exactly how many hairs we each have. 
Who among us can make that claim? 
Even a bald man cannot 
for those hairs extend to our body and 
God knows how many of those there are as well!
When my Lanny Love did the two things 
that especially made me feel cared for on Friday,
I balked a bit.
Because I didn't want to be an inconvenience.
I didn't want to seem needy.
But it gave me such pleasure knowing he wanted to take care of me.
And I think it gave him pleasure too.
And it pleases God when we allow Him to take care of us
for He is a gentleman, 
never forcing Himself on us.
I had to allow my Lanny Love to take care of me.
I could have done without his acts of caring and survived.
But it would have made my life more difficult and uncomfortable.
It's that way with God.
We must allow Him to move.
Oh, we can muddle along on our own.
We may even thrive in the world's view,
but our spirits won't sing!
And what a lovely song we miss out on
when we choose that path!

Genesis 28:15 (ESV) says,

"Behold, I am with you and will keep you wherever you go, 
and will bring you back to this land. 
For I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you.” 

He is with us and keeps us wherever we go!
Keeps us!
Cares for us!
No matter how bad it feels!
He cares!
No matter how overwhelming!
He cares!
No matter how confusing!
He cares!
No matter what!
He cares!

Thank You, Daddy God!

The Lord is my strength and my shield;
my heart trusts in Him,
and He helps me.
My heart leaps for joy,
and with my song I praise Him.

                                                                 ~~ Psalm28:7 NIV ~~

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Sorrow in the midst of joy

I've been thinking about my title phrase for a while.
We all understand the concept of joy in the midst of sorrow.
It's those times,
in the midst of great loss and sorrow,
even if only for a moment,
you find yourself smiling,
It's God in the midst of the pain.

But sorrow in the midst of joy is different.
That happens when,
despite the fact that you still miss them desperately,
despite the fact that you still wish it had been different,
despite the fact that you think about it every single day,
despite all that and much, much more,
a person really begins to live again.
Acceptance has taken denial's place.
Anguish has softened to grief and sorrow,
then to sadness,
then to the ability to smile at the memories.
Anger at the situation,
at the person,
at God,
has finally reasoned its way into peace.
Life arrives.
Joy arrives.

I thought of sorrow in the midst of joy a lot
when I first fell in love after Al's death.
My grief and sorrow was consuming me
despite my great joy at a second chance at love.
Then there was just more sorrow in the midst of sorrow.
And that's where I stayed for months.
And months.

Then something happened on Christmas Eve.
And I knew something had to change!
I knew I would die of grief if I didn't begin choosing joy!
And a change came over me both externally and internally
once I made that choice and began allowing God to work.
Many of you have followed my journey.

Don't get me wrong.
I still grieve.
But it no longer consumes me.
Most of the time.
But there are those moments.
When despite the joy of the present,
the anguish of the past,
the sorrow at the loss,
makes itself front and center.
And it will always be that way.

I think of my grandpa.
My grandma died when I was 17.
We traveled to her funeral and, of course,
stayed at grandpa's and grandma's house with the rest of the kids and grands.
It was a full house!
The day before the funeral,
I came down the stairs and when I hit the landing and turned,
in the living room,
sitting on the couch,
his head in his hands,
sat my grandpa,
I came to a dead stop.
My uncle motioned to me from another room to come to him,
to leave my grandpa alone.
I went to my uncle and cried in his arms.
For my loss.
For his loss.
For my precious, heartbroken grandpa crying in the living room.

Flash forward 20 years.
My grandpa remarried three years after my grandma's death.
He and Grandma Margie were very happy.
The family had met together once again,
this time for my grandpa's 75th birthday celebration.
We had come from all over the country,
and this time there were also great-grandchildren.
As it goes at these type of gatherings,
we were all doing different things.
Some were gathered around the table eating and talking.
Some were outside swimming or sitting in lawn chairs.
Some were watching a sporting event on TV,
cheering different teams and harassing one another.
We were everywhere,
doing everything!
And my grandpa and I were sitting together,
holding hands and talking.
As we watched the family,
he became very quiet,
and silent tears began to fall.
And I'll never forget his words to me.
"Jeanie (family name for me),
I love Grandma Margie with all my heart,
but at times like this,
I really miss your grandmother."

My mind immediately flashed back to that other day.
That sobbing over fresh loss day.
And those two events became forever fused together.
Twenty years later,
he still loved her,
still missed her.
He was happy.
His life was very full.
Sorrow in the midst of joy.

That day, my grandpa understood.

I have watched my Lanny Love struggle with this,
especially over the last couple weeks
in the days leading up to and including his son's wedding.
His Judy should have been there.
They should have been seated together,
held hands as they watched their child
commit himself to another in love.
He loves me.
And we are happily building what will most probably be
a lasting relationship.
he loves her.
And in the midst of all the joy,

Today, my Lanny Love understands.

I think of the three men I have truly loved in my life -
who knew you could deeply love three times! -
one dead,
one irrevocably out of my life,
one my present,
my future.
Love for my Lanny Love that shocks me at its intensity!
Joy at our growing relationship.
Wonder that it could happen,
for I truly did not think it could!
And yet,
those moments of intense sorrow at my losses,
fear of another,
similar loss.
Sorrow in the midst of joy.

Today I understand.

these things will be forever gone!
There will be no more joy in the midst of sorrow,
or sorrow in the midst of joy.
What a glorious day that will be!

The Lord is my strength and my shield;
my heart trusts in Him,
and He helps me.
My heart leaps for joy,
and with my song I praise Him.

                                                                 ~~ Psalm28:7 NIV ~~

Friday, May 1, 2015

Meetin' the parents

Not well written
and more than a bit gushy,
but, hey,
I'm 58 going on 18!

I am on the downward side of middle age.
some businesses already, foolishly, consider me a senior citizen.
but I don't feel middle aged!
And I certainly don't feel like a senior citizen!
I more often than not lately, feel 18!
Last night was no exception!

I met my Lanny Love's parents last night.
Now at my age, "meeting the parents" is not all that normal.
Also at my age, I am pretty comfortable with who I am.
I no longer waste a lot of energy stressing over being liked.
Until recently.

First up was my Lanny Love.
I liked him so much on paper!
And when it was time for our first date,
I really wanted to like him as much in person.
And I did!
So when it was time for our second date,
I was really nervous!
Because I really, really, really wanted him to like me a lot!
And he did!

Next up, his children.
I have only met one of the three,
the only one who lives locally.
The first meeting was by chance -
we were at the same event -
and I liked his daughter immediately!
She was warm and friendly and kind.
Our meeting was brief -
just an introduction, a handshake, and checking me out.
A few weeks later,
my Lanny Love asked if I'd like to join him and his daughter for lunch.
I liked.

Now, as I have commented before,
adult children of the widowed can make
the transition to a new relationship much easier -
or much, much more difficult!
It had been very important to me the week before
that my children like him -
and they did -
and I knew it was important to him that his like me.
So, it was very important to me that in this second meeting,
where who I am not just what I look like would be revealed,
I win her approval.
And, for the second time in recent months,
I was nervous.
And I really, really wanted to be liked!

Then, last week,
my Lanny Love said,
"My parents will be here Thursday night.
I'd like them to meet you.
Can you have dinner?"
Meeting the parents???
Of course I could have dinner!
And the butterflies began!
This was big!
And, his daughter would be there.
Our third encounter,
this one in her mother's home.
By yesterday morning,
the handful of butterflies had become legions of them
and had been joined by drummers and cymbal players
using the inside of my skull as instruments!

I had begun thinking about what to wear
the moment my Lanny Love invited me to meet them!
It had to be something that would make mama say,
"Nice girl. I approve."
and yet make daddy say,
"Hang on to that one, son!"
You know, conservative but not dowdy!
I redid my nails using a nice, conservative,
all the same color, polish.
No accent nails!
No funky designs!
I spent an inordinate amount of time on my hair - twice -
and decided up was best since down after a long work day
isn't always good.

I anticipated being the last to arrive.
I was first.
The Lord knew I needed those few minutes
to breath in my Lanny Love,
get a hug and a kiss,
and be reminded that the most important one already likes me!
A lot!

His parents and his daughter and her boyfriend arrived at the same time.
Introductions, handshakes, and hugs were exchanged.
They checked me out.
I sensed reserved, initial approval.
We all helped with the dinner preparations.
We visited.
"How was your drive up?"
"This looks delicious!"
"Are you looking forward to your grandson's wedding?"
You know, small talk.

We grilled chicken outside.
I made a salad.
His daughter made a wonderful fruit salad for desert.
After dinner, we lit the fire pit
and sat around the fire looking at stars and visiting for a couple hours.

And then I felt it.
From all of them.
As they watched My Lanny Love and I interact,
I could feel a shift.
The reserve lifted.
The "wait and see" became,
"look at them!"
His parents liked Lanny with me.
And that made me just fine with them.
And, as I turned my eyes away from my Lanny Love at one point,
I saw his daughter watching me watching him.
And she smiled.
And I knew.
It was okay.

So here I am,
58 going on 18.
Madly, passionately, completely in love.
Wildly infatuated.
And grateful to God for my Lanny Love,
for the love we share,
for the apparent blessings of our families so far,
and for bringing me out of the dark
and into the light!

The Lord is my strength and my shield;
my heart trusts in Him,
and He helps me.
My heart leaps for joy,
and with my song I praise Him.

                                                                 ~~ Psalm28:7 NIV ~~