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Seeing in the Dark

I will admit that I used to be afraid of the dark. I wasn’t afraid in my room under the covers with the lights out but I was often spooked in a dark hall or walking home from a babysitting job late; it was really a combination of the eerie quiet, reading too many Nancy Drew mysteries and shadows.

Eyes need light to see and yet, there is an ability to see in almost complete darkness. This is because our eyes are an amazing gift of God. The pupils work like a camera in letting in more light or blocking light as an aperture opening. We also have rods and cones in our eyes. The cones show fine details and color, while the rods see black and white and are sensitive even in low light. Rods are the reason we can see better at night as they adapt to the darkness and help the eyes adjust to night vision. It takes longer to see in the dark and only seconds to disturb its preservation but it is an amazing feature of human sight. Once we are accustomed to the dark we can see pretty good, but certainly not as well as in broad daylight!

1 Cor. 13:12 says, “For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face; now I know in part, but then I will know fully, just as I also have been fully known.” Similarly, to see “through a glass” — a mirror — “darkly” is to have an obscure or imperfect vision of reality. The expression comes from Paul where he explains that though we do not now see clearly, at the end of time we will.

Often we think we see the whole picture but we really don’t – we are “in the dark”! We see things imperfectly, a blurred reflection of reality. In other words, life is a mystery! Who is to say how a thing will ultimately turn out, and what effect, through the grace of God, even terrible events can have upon the future? We don’t know how things will turn out and yet we are to take life as it comes and we won’t understand everything about it. It is a waste of time and energy to try to find answers to every question or problem life throws at us.

So, today is Jim’s 65th birthday. I don’t see the reasons that God called him home when he did. There is no way I will ever understand why he got cancer or why my kids have to live everyday without their dad. Sometimes I wish I had answers, explanations, reasons. I want to know ‘why”. And one day I will see it all clearly.

Imagine what would have happened if Joseph had been pulled from the pit or from prison? Or, what if Esther had not been made queen? I probably would have questioned God’s hand in these issues if I had been alive then. And yet, God’s plan is so much bigger than my perspective. I see it all through the fog darkly. I know I’m unable to explain with any degree of certainty why things happen when they happen or why they happen at all.

The jobs lost. The life cut short by cancer. The brilliant mind reduced to dementia. The friends who were fair weather. Life takes a different set of turns from what we plan or expect. But who is to say that the life I did not live would have been better than the life I am living? What I am learning is that God is at work in my life providentially for my good and His glory. This means I can relax and enjoy the journey. I can let go of those things over which I have no control (which is pretty much everything). God is not the author of evil, illness, or misfortune; rather, out of bad things good can come. Even the darkness of death is part of God’s grace and redemption. Just look at the death and resurrection of Jesus!

Instead of short sighted decisions that I would choose… I will trust that God’s decision to move Jim to the light of His glory is the best one. And as I sit trying to see through a glass darkly I will trust . I will keep hoping. I will let God lead me and I will let my eyes grow accustomed to the dark until I see Him clearly face to face.

Read the words that were found on a piece of paper in the pocket of a Confederate soldier at the end of the Civil War:

I asked God for strength, that I might achieve; I was made weak, that I might learn humbly to obey. I asked for health, that I might do greater things; I was given infirmity, that I might do better things. I asked for riches, that I might be happy; I was given poverty, that I might be wise. I asked for power, that I might have praise; I was given weakness, that I might feel the need of God. I asked for all things, that I might enjoy life; I was given life that I might enjoy all things. I got nothing that I asked for — but everything that I had hoped for.”

What an amazing thing: the things I do not know.

And Happy Birthday to my “old man”. Can you say medicare?!

10 years ago (3,653 days)

It was early in the morning and I had gotten up off the sofa next to the hospital bed to get ready for work. Steve Shepherd was coming over to be with Jim and the kids were getting ready for school. Jim’s breathing was labored, waking me up several times that night. At the time, I didn’t know it was the death rattle, and that it was to be his last day on earth. Steve showed up and when I tried to rouse Jim, he refused to open his eyes. Instead he winced. So, I called out at work and called my mom. Steve stayed for awhile and prayed over Jim. From there the day is a bit fuzzy and foggy.

As the day rolled on in semi slow motion, we let family know that if they wanted to see Jim they should come by – and they did. My parents. Jim’s dad and Linda. John and Mary Ellen. Laurie and Ron. The Lundes. John Coulombe. Barry Corey. The kids got home from school and several of their leaders and friends came by. We prayed. We sang songs of praise. We talked to him. Kissed him. Patted and held him.

At about 7 in the evening he opened his eyes and looked around. He had tears in his eyes as he looked at his kids. He probably would have been irritated to have so many people there making such a fuss, but at that point it was too late. It was about 30 minutes later when Steve and Janis, our best friends, showed up. It was as though Jim was waiting for them. Steve leaned over him, touched his chest and told him that he was there and would keep his promise to watch out for our family. I whispered in his ear that I loved him. I whispered that he should go the minute he saw Jesus and that we would miss him but we would be okay. I whispered over again and again promises as I tried to make our last minutes together on earth private .and ours alone.

“Stay with us” we all collectively pleaded. I held my best friend. He was getting ready to go where I could not follow. It was a holy moment. Jesus came into the room with us and held us each before picking Jim up and carrying Him home! It was collectively the hardest day of my life and the holiest moment I have ever experienced.

Since then, I hate how far away Jim feels. I hate how much I miss him. I hate cancer. I hate death. But I am content to know that our story is not over. It is one of joy and happily ever after. I have only had 3,653 days without Jim but when we’ve been there 10,000 years, we have no less days to sing God’s praise than when we first begun!

Identifying with the Lamb

Election 2020. As with most everyone I am over 2020. Putting it mildly, It has been a weird year. I am so glad that the social media rants and angry political emails will soon “end”. I voted. I have been praying that God’s Will will be done and that our nation will not be torn further apart. I admit that I am anxious that every American will “lose” no matter who is declared the winner and that we may find ourselves in a nightmare worse than the current “twilight zone” in which we find ourselves. I stocked up on “supplies” and plan to distance physically and emotionally today. I hope my candidate wins!

I know that some of my friends voted for Trump. Some voted for Biden. Some didn’t vote. At the end of the day, most will hopefully still be my friends, no matter for whom they cast their ballot. No matter who is voted in as President, it all boils down to how one honors the King!

Since 2016, have decided that I no longer align with a political party. I do not want my views to be shaped by the elephant or the donkey; I simply do not want to be defined by any political event. Instead, I want all my thoughts and actions to be a reflection of the Lamb, to follow Kingdom values, to live respectfully as a citizen of both America and of Heaven. There are views in both US political parties that align with scripture and positions that do not. That is not meant to sound pious but I just want to to be clear (to myself mostly) that only ONE person is qualified to rule my life. He is not running on either ticket.

People can argue, and do, that their candidate is the “biblical” choice. People can defend their position based on their political bias as the way that Jesus would vote and some of them make a strong case. Perhaps some can even justify their vote for president on issues and values they hold dear while ignoring or downplaying the impact that other policies or personal character play in determining the overall perspective and outcome. May we as Christ followers never force our views and morality on others. May we never persuade others to think just like we do, or else be condemned for the choices they make. May we learn to get along with everyone for the sake of the gospel. May we never find ourselves compromising our values to gain access to influence and power. May we only ever find ourselves at the mercy of God’s grace and favor for ourselves as well as everyone else.

It all comes down to loving God and loving others in all that I do and say. My hope is built on Jesus’ blood and righteousness. My vote should make the best difference for others, especially the poor, the marginalized, the common good and even for my “enemies”. My desire is to love well. Pray often. Keep the faith. Live with hope. Follow faithfully.

DODGERS WIN!

I have been a baseball fan and a Dodger fan as long as I can remember! I know there are people who think it is too slow to watch, which is probably because they are all ADD. Like many other people I have tons of memories. I won’t bore anyone with them all now. I love that they finally won the World Series 2020. Is it the same as a full season without Covid? No, of course not. Is is still amazing? Absolutely.

Celebrating the boys in blue! Go dodgers!

Jack

This is a silly thought I had – why are carved pumpkins called “jack-o-lanterns”? So, I looked it up with the magic of the internet. It seems that it comes from the 1500s when all those stories, fairy tales, nursery rhymes and fables were being told and nearly every little boy was named Jack! Jack and the beanstalk. Jack and Jill. Jack be Nimble. Jack of all trades. Little Jack Horner. Jack-in-the-Box. The House that Jack built. Jack Sprat. Jack Frost. et al. It turns out that Jack is a general term for a boy.

Even earlier, the name Jack was originally used as a generic name for peasants. Over time, Jack worked his way into words such as lumberjack and jackass, the commonly used term for a donkey. Of course, John was once used as a generic name for English commoners and peasants, (John Doe) which could be why Jack came became his nickname. But additionally the Normans added -kin when they wanted to make a diminutive. And Jen was their way of saying John. So little John became Jenkin and time turned that into ultimately Jack.

Young boys used these hollowed-out and lit-up root vegetables to spook people. Irish legend has it that this use of jack-o’-lantern was named after a fellow named Stingy Jack. Jack, thinking he could trick Satan, made a faustian bargain with him; the devil had the last laugh, condemning Jack to an eternity of wandering the planet, unable to enter either heaven or hell, with only an ember of hellfire for light. 

There is something about names that matter. In the beginning of time God named everything. It gave meaning and identity to all the things He created. God Himself is known by His name(s) and we know about who He is from His names! And, there is power in the Lord’s Name – “His name is a strong tower; the righteous run into it and they are saved” (Prov. 18:10).

People of all time, throughout history, have learned the Name of the Great I AM. It is whispered in prayer. It is weighty enough to be called on the battlefields and in prison cells. It is held onto by those who are persecuted and it is the hope of those who grieve. It is the Name that refuses to be minimized by our agendas. It is the Name that saves. It is the Name uttered daily around the world, with or without regard for its value and potency. It is the Name above all Names.

I am awestruck that God wants to be known and wants to know and love me! Even more, He knows my name! He wrote it on His heart and carried it to the cross! In Ex. 28, we learn that Aaron and his sons used to have to carry the names of the Israelites on their hearts in memory and for judgment before the Lord.  The weight of such a responsibility would have been unimaginable at times and God knew that man could not atone for their own sins. When Jesus died upon the cross He took on this responsibility, so no man is required to carry this weight any longer. Through Jesus’ death we are offered the gift of salvation and God also removed the weight of our sins and placed them upon His Son, Jesus Christ! He now carries our names and our sins upon Himself!

Additionally, God has put His name on my heart. (Jer. 31:33)! As a Christ follower, I am further struck by the fact that everyone matters and there are NO “Jacks” in God’s eyes. He sees me. He knows me. He calls me by name. I am not generic or invisible. I am loved. I am His, like Woody belongs to Andy.

So, back to the original question that led to this post, I am NOT a jack-o-lantern. I am a lightraider who carries the Light of the World, shining like a star in the universe. Let your light shine before men that they may see your good works and glorify the Name of Jesus! (Matt. 5:16).

Side note: Perhaps we could start a trend with OMJ (Oh My Jack).If Jack is a generic name for any male person, it makes more sense!

RBG

Today is Rosh Hashanah – Jewish New Year. It is said in the Jewish community that when a person dies on this Holy Day, they are considered to be a person of great righteousness Ruth Bader Ginsburg died today. A brave champion of equal rights, RGB paved the way for women everywhere, including me. I am grateful that my daughter and those that follow will have a better future because this petite giant spoke truth, loved justice and lived humbly.

I am struck by her passing the ways others are over a movie star or an athlete. I didn’t even know her, but because of her pioneering voice and her persistence, I enjoy a more equitable existence. Because RBG stood strong and forged the path she did all the way to the Supreme Court, she made a way for the next generation to speak up for marginalized people and advocate for those without a voice. She empowered women, reminding men of our dignity and worth, just as Christ Jesus offers each human without regard to gender, ethnicity, age, race, et al. She was resilient, smart, funny, kind.

I also reflect on other strong female heroes. There is another Ruth. She was a poor widow from Moab who was determined to walk into a new life and build a relationship with God. She kept moving forward, caring for her new family, gleaning in the fields and risking it all by approaching Boaz. She was brave and godly and became King David’s great grandmother.

There was Esther. She started off as an orphan immigrant who created a strategy to save an entire nation at the risk of her own life. She used every resource to thrive in a world gone sideways.

The creativity, the courage and the competence of Miriam, as a child, who approached the princess and delivered the future deliverer of God’s people, securing God’s promise and affirming the role of women in leadership. I learn persistence and intelligence from this defender of the faith.

Even Eve, who often gets a bad rap, led the way through grief, shame and estrangement without support of a mother, sister, girlfriend. She never knew the treasure of God’s Word, or the wisdom and joy of the Holy Spirit. She didn’t know the power of salvation, grace and forgiveness; yet she had strength and hope enough to carry on and pass onto many who came after her.

These are just a few of my heroes who spent their lives making life better for others. They used their gifts, talents and energy for something bigger than themselves. Like RGB they were faithful, courageous and strong and chose to participate without knowing what was ahead. We all face fear and loneliness, grief and confusion, and yet we can look to those around us and those who have gone ahead of us to learn how to live better, stronger and meaningful lives in spite of our situation or circumstances.

I pray that my kids will see me as a feminist too. I want to be a person who does not see liabilities in my gender, age, race, nationality, etc. Rather, I want to be remembered as one who stood up to injustice, one who used her gifts and life for something (and someone) bigger than herself, one who was notoriously grateful to be the Lord’s image bearer and ambassador, and one who loved others fiercely and with kindness.

Thank you Ruth. You are Notorious!

KAW – A Grateful Heart

Katherine, Janet, Nancy

My mom has 2 sisters – one older and one younger. Yesterday (9/9/20) Katherine, the younger one, passed away in Rhode Island at the age of 81. She was a mom to my 3 beautiful cousins, a grandmother to John and Eva, a friend, an army nurse, a cancer survivor, a therapist, a shop owner, a world traveler, a button collector, a macrobiotic cook and more; but to me she was my Aunt Kitty.

Some extended families are close. We are blessed to be one of those families. In spite of always living on opposite sides of the country, we spent time together on the phone and in person, not just when we were kids, but all the days of adulthood too! In recent years we played Words with Friends and regularly had several games going at once. In spite of how smart my aunt was, she cheated. I am sure of it! There are words she played that NOBODY knows what they mean and how are they even in the Words with Friends dictionary?! It didn’t matter – I loved playing with her and trying to beat her, which was only on occasion!!

One time while the Wheelers were on a trip to California to visit us, we decided to drive down to Tijuana, Mexico. Aunt Kitty wanted to get some paper flowers like my mom had (we never found them, but that is a side note!) By “we”, I am referring to Aunt Kitty and 14 year old me (The oldest of the Wheeler grandkids), my 3 siblings and my 3 cousins. Aunt Kitty drove my parents’ station wagon and on the way home, on I-5 somewhere in San Diego area, we had a flat tire in the fast lane. So Katherine and I got out and went around the back to get the spare tire and tire jack. I was so convinced that I knew how to change a tire because of an episode of I Love Lucy, in which she tries to change one, without succeeding, of course. Katherine had not ever changed a tire either, so we started in – nevermind reading directions (which Jennifer and others in the car were doing and trying to get us to listen) and nevermind that we were on the shoulder of the fast lane of the freeway with 6 young kids all wanting to “participate”. Calm and encouraging, my aunt trusted me with a task I was really not able to complete, although Jennifer and Martha probably would have done it in Indy 500 pitstop speed. Eventually a kind, yet nonplussed highway patrol car pulled up and asked us all to get back in the car while He changed the tire for us. The point is that, besides being a lifelong humorous memory, I was valued, my opinion trusted and I felt respected by an adult whose view of me was extremely important.

Katherine is one of the most generous people I have ever known. She never withheld her time, her knowledge, her home, her laughter, or her love but instead shared gratefully. When I think of the practice of kindness I immediately think of Aunt Kitty. I learned to be grateful and think the best of others simply by watching her. She always saw the best in people and taught me, by example, how to put a positive spin on situations.

Aunt Kit taught me about healing, crystals and herbs. Her own health crisis led her on a journey around the world to include methods beyond the traditional medical field and she shared what she learned with others. Her store in Wickford, RI was named The Grateful Heart. It was the oldest building in the village and her tagline was “an old house welcomes the new age”. But the name of the store was just another reflection of Katherine Ann Wheeler*. She had a grateful heart and lived with thanksgiving and happiness. I will miss her all the rest of my days.

I love you Aunt Kitty!

With a grateful heart,

Miriam

Me and Aunt Kitty

*Like me, Kitty never had to change her monogram. Additionally, she never had to change her name on her social security card because she married someone with the same last name! Dr. John P. Wheeler.

My Beautiful Daughter

Dear Em,

This has been a weird season but the best part for me has been the few months we have been under the same roof again. I am sorry, not sorry, for the turn of events that left you jobless and homeless. I am sorry you both have gone through so much trauma and hurt, but I am grateful that you are leaning in to hear the Lord and allow Him to hold you in the midst of this squall. I hate that we all are getting so good at this grieving stuff. I am not sorry that I have gotten this window of time to be with you and Connor in meaningful and fun ways.

Today is your birthday and I am pondering the miracle that is you. 28 years ago you were born. You were so independent even then, helping to choose your name, deciding to come early (which is the only time you have been that I am aware of) and changing my life forever. I remember teaching you how to walk and to read, how to pray and how to do many things, but that was when you were a child. It was my “job” and my privilege to teach you about life, love and introduce you to God, who trusted me to care for you, His precious treasure. It was often an overwhelming responsibility. Thank you for overlooking my shortcomings and forgiving my failures. I am grateful that you love well and that you continue to see the glass as half full.

You were fierce and full of wonder from the very beginning. You had the best belly laugh, as though you contained all the joy of heaven in the core of your being. You came into this world hungry with curiosity and adventure as you took everything in. You were happy, generous with affection, and you oozed silliness. You were a force to be reckoned with. You noticed every sensitive situation and injustice with compassion. (Your enneagram 9 was there from day 1). You thought in creative and determined ways and you always wanted to please.

Your love is so deep and you keep giving it to friends and family. You show it in the way you try your best and never give up, and in the way you forgive those who bully, marginalize and think differently than you. You “get” that love covers a multitude of sins and that love is the answer to every pain, the way through every heartbreak and that it never fails! Christ in you, the hope of glory, calls you forward in a world that needs His healing power more than ever. You know the Light of the world and He shines brightly through you (Matt. 5:16). You are talented, smart and beautiful. You are brave and intuitive and you teach me many more things than I ever taught you. It has been my honor to be your mom. Today we talk and laugh as women. You are no longer just my child – You are my friend.

Enjoy your day and remember that I love you. I am thankful for you. I am proud of you. May this year, and always, be another opportunity for you to show the world what light and wonder and love really look like. And may God get all the credit.

Mom <+><

Eight Three One

So today is many things. It is National Trail Mix Day, Jeff Tuten’s birthday and the day that Princess Diana died. But it also represents a magical number. The summer that I worked as a counselor at Mount Hermon’s Redwood Camp in the Santa Cruz mountains was a special summer for me for many reasons.

One of the best parts of most weekends was that my bestie, who lived in nearby Watsonville, would come and get me to enjoy some adventure together. Most weekends we would savor one or more scoops of the best ice cream ever at Marianne’s Ice Cream, 1020 Ocean Street in Santa Cruz. There are well over 100 flavors of ice cream to taste and try. Usually we knew what we were going to have, but I would often get almost a second scoop’s worth by trying as many flavors as I could before settling back on my favorite Mandarin Chocolate, Macapuno and Strawberry Freeze.

One day that summer we walked into the shop across the sand covered floor to the chin high counter, without waiting in a line. We were greeted by the the owner, Sam Lieberman, who often waited on customers, eager to share in the happiness that a scoop on a cone would mean. He was a creative genius with flavors and on this day we noticed a new flavor called 831. We asked him to give us a description as we tasted a spoonful on the end of a popsicle stick, the traditional taster at Marianne’s. “It’s like a MudPie, so it is coffee ice cream with crushed Oreo cookie crumbs and hot fudge swirls,” Sam said. Mud Pie is a decadent ice cream dessert invented in the ’60s in San Francisco for an upscale restaurant so it enjoyed a nod to a local treat, like Alice B. Toklas Fudge Brownie and Gilroy Garlic.

We asked Sam why he didn’t name this flavor Mud Pie and what the significance of 831 was, thinking perhaps it was the number of flavors he had invented, his birthday or the address of the store. He leaned over the counter, lowered his voice to let us know this was an important secret he was sharing with us. “It means I Love You”, the owner whispered. “It stands for 8 letters, 3 Words, One feeling,” he elaborated. We gasped and looked at each other with wide eyes, knowing we had new vocabulary to add to our already abbreviated insider lingo.

Ironically, the area code of the store is now 831, but that flavor no longer exists at Marianne’s as it did that day in the late 70’s. Today there is a caramel ice cream flavor with hot fudge and crushed chocolate cookies called 1020, which is the address of the iconic ice cream shop. There is also Mud Pie, which is coffee ice cream with almonds and crushed Oreos. Even though there is not a flavor called 831, we still celebrate the love of ice cream and our friendship, not just today, but everyday! Happy 831 to my BFF. I love you!

2020=40 YEARS

82380

I told myself I wasn’t going to say anything this year but I am taking it back. Today is the tenth anniversary of my last wedding anniversary! Aug. 23, 1980. 4 decades (aka 2 score) ago I married James William Mohler. It is hard to reminisce publicly because I have the sense from some comments that people think I am still grieving. Well, after 10 years without Jim I can say I think I will always mourn the loss of my other half, but I do not grieve in the same way as I once did. Many things are different now than they were 40 years ago. And yet some things are the same. “The more things change, the more they stay the same, ” is a quote by Jean-Baptiste Alphonse Karr and it rivals the statement by cynical King Solomon in Ecclesiastes, “There is nothing new under the sun.” Change and constant are 2 sides of the same coin. Life changes but it is still the the same as each life is unique while still following similar patterns.

Forty is a significant number. In the Bible it is usually associated with testing and trials we endure as we wait for the fulfillment of God’s promises. Think about it. 40 winks is the perfect nap. 40 Below is cold (same temp both Celsius and Fahrenheit). POTUS 40 is Ronald Reagan. 40 is Ruby wedding anniversary. 40 spaces on a Monopoly board. 40 players on an MLB roster. Forty is the only integer whose English name has its letters in alphabetical order. Saul, David and Solomon each reigned for 40 years. 12 spies searched Canaan for 40 days. 40 lashes is a lot of beating. 40 weeks is a full term pregnancy. Ali Baba and the 40 thieves. It rained on Noah for 40 days and 40 nights. Moses and the children of Israel wandered for 40 years. Moses, Elijah and Jesus fasted in the wilderness for 40 days. 40 Days of Lent. 40 days between the Easter and Christ’s Ascension. XL is forty in Romans numerals. WD-40 is a great product. It is perhaps debatable that there is really anything profound about the number 40 over any other number; yet it is fair to say that it is a sufficiently large number, representing an amount large enough or long enough to remove doubt, prove a point, learn a lesson, live through another generation, and confirm an established reality.

I think that summary applies to me in regard to my anniversary. I was married for half my life and it was long enough to remove all doubt that God had a plan for us as a team and I was loved by my husband. It was grand enough to create another generation or two. It was more than enough to see a glimpse into God’s eternal plan for marriage and it is still enough to bless my life for its duration. There is something that comes with age that often isn’t valued in a throwaway culture, where new is more highly valued than old. Yet there are so many things that are made better and stronger and more beautiful with years. I am one of those things – better and stronger and even more like Jesus (beautiful) because of the gift of marriage to Jim.

“My Hit Parade” (not in order) Top 40 things I loved about being married….to Jim

  1. someone to help with the chores
  2. someone to scratch my back or zip up my dress
  3. Someone to worship with
  4. Someone who knows the song of my heart and reminds me of the words when I forget
  5. someone to cook for
  6. someone to laugh at and with
  7. Someone to go places with
  8. Someone to hold my hand
  9. Someone to hold me accountable
  10. Knowing someone was praying for and with me
  11. Someone who made my tea just right
  12. Someone to go on a walk with
  13. someone with wisdom and discernment – judgment that is trustworthy
  14. someone who nurtured our kids
  15. someone who is financially responsible great provider
  16. someone to dream with and then make a plan to make those dreams become reality
  17.  someone to make memories with
  18.  someone to garden with
  19.  someone to believe in me and value me and make me a better person
  20. someone who knows me intimately
  21. someone to make music with and enjoy music together
  22. the ways you valued me and our relationship
  23. The way you loved our children
  24. The way you would wake in the night and kiss me gently
  25. The way you loved my family and friends
  26. The way you listened to me and kept my secrets
  27.  The way you reflected Jesus (PTPOG)
  28. the way you lead with integrity ALWAYS – a man of your word
  29.  family worship together
  30.  playing games together
  31. making life fun
  32.  Your gratitude – always being thankful for even the little things (clean clothes, food, ideas,etc)  so I never felt taken advantage of.
  33. Your punny humor and silly wit
  34. Your encouragement and kind words. My Barnabas
  35.  Your intelligence and creativity
  36.  Your intentionality
  37.  Your magic with its banter
  38.  My teammate
  39.  My best friend
  40.  My love

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