Simple Pleasures: Celebrating Anniversaries

Aaron and CarlieHere’s some good news: Despite the hype about marriages disintegrating at breakneck speed, the happy fact is half of marriages are life-long commitments that last about 45 years and don’t end until the death of one of the partners. That’s much better than I thought! Yesterday was my oldest son’s 13th anniversary, and to celebrate, he took his wife out to dinner at the restaurant here in GR where they had their very first date. Geese with goslings Marriage really is hard, because it’s the merger of two wonderful but very different people…and as my spiritual big brother, Pastor Bill says, marriage is between “two self-centered, imperfect people.” Sadly, 40% of marriages in the U.S. end in divorce after only 8 years. Otters playing But, if you’ll just stick it out and keep working on it, the statistics are very much in favor of your learning how to get along, and most people who’ve stayed in the battle report being much happier 5 years later. Chipmunks May I encourage all of you out there to keep at it? After 42 years, Alan and I are both extremely glad we didn’t give up, even though there were definitely times when we felt like it. I think the older you get, the more you appreciate having a mate, despite all the “flights and thuds” that go with it!Geese with goslings 2

“Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder” (Matthew 19:6).

In Cold and Heat, Take Care of your Flowers!

Frozen FlowersI often use our “tea room” (3-season enclosed balcony) as a refrigerator during the winter months, because it gets very cold but doesn’t freeze (or so I thought). In particular, to extend the life of any flowers I received for Valentine’s Day or our anniversary (if I’d been good  🙂 ), I used to tuck the vase into bed each night on the tearoom table and then bring the flowers out the next morning—all bright and cheery again—to adorn our dining room table. Alas, with temperatures diving below zero and the wind chill making it insufferably colder, I woke up one morning to a shattered vase (my favorite) and completely iced flowers. I have since learned to pay closer attention to the weather forecast and have avoided any similar disasters this winter…although my favorite vase has been lost forever. 😦 Garden Room 2012 Winter copyOn the opposite side of our house (the sunny side) is our “garden room,” which is actually a year-round part of our home, and I use it to give the family (especially Alan, who always longs for sunshine) a sense of summer even in the winter. IMG_9883Unfortunately, our garden room can become extremely warm in the summer, and it requires constant attention to keep the plants healthy and blooming. IMG_9880 One hot July while I was gone for a couple of weeks tending a new grand baby, Alan forgot to water the plants in our garden room, and by the time I returned,IMG_9885            the garden room was in ruins. Most of the plants were severely damaged, IMG_9886 & some of the younger, more tender ones were totally dead & couldn’t be revived. Garden Room 10.28.11 copyI was totally devastated! I remembered the dreams we’d had when it was first built, and how hard I’d worked to make the room look just beautiful for Alan. IMG_9884And, I was terribly frustrated that he couldn’t remember to tend the flowers for just 2 weeks. Well, like my failure with the frozen flowers, some plants were never replaced, and it took a long time before our garden room became all beautiful again, but it is! Garden Room 2015 Winter copy This is how it looks this morning…all bright a cheery, despite the snow outside! Alan and Kathi 42nd Anniversary copyAlan and I just celebrated our 42nd anniversary, and in some ways we’re happier than ever, but it’s been a long, hard journey! As I was working in the garden room this morning, I couldn’t help but think about how marriages are like flowers. We can freeze them to death or burn them out just by failing to pay attention and provide the care they need. At some points, both partners will fail, and there will be irreparable loss, but it doesn’t have to be the end. As long as there’s life, there’s hope. May we keep our eyes and hearts open, learn to forgive, and keep working hard at making our marriages all they can be “for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health…(in cold and heat 🙂 ) …until death do us part!

“Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder” (Matthew 19:6).