One of God’s Great Mercies

mj wedding photo.jpg
(You may not recognize these people; but this is really us)

I’ve been thinking about my wedding over the last week or so. I guess because our anniversary is coming up, my wedding has been on my mind. What were Mark and I thinking 15 years ago at this time when our wedding was looming 3 weeks away? I remember being very busy. Apart from the planning the wedding, Mark and I worked together for a ministry where we published the organization’s magazine and newsletters. We were trying to get everything done for those publications so that we wouldn’t have to worry about anything on our lengthy 2-week honeymoon. I remember running all over South Florida looking for little things to make the wedding just right. The day of the wedding was “cold.” It was in the 60s and windy. We were married on a Friday night, 5 days before Christmas. We chose this day because it was the only day we could get the church during the busy Christmas season. I wanted to get married then because the church was so beautifully decorated that I didn’t have to worry about the expense or the selection of decorative flowers. I will never regret getting married at Christmas time. The church was beautiful, and the overall feeling of the holidays added to the celebratory atmosphere of our wedding.

A couple of days ago, while I was doing things in my little dungeon office in our basement, I came across the audio tape of our wedding ceremony. I listened to it while I did some work at my desk. Our boss at the ministry at that time, George Grant, performed our ceremony. He preached a very “covenental” ceremony. Mark’s parents and brother were not “reformed” at the time, so we heard a few comments about that. The music was really beautiful, too. Hearing to the soloist now is sad because she was a friend and co-worker who became apostate about 5 years after we were married.

The sermon George gave made it sound like our wedding was a pivotal part of the history of Christendom. Now, I know, in reality, not many people over the course of time will know anything about us or what our role has been in the world or in the church for that matter. But in the same way that there are things about God we can’t truly understand like the Trinity or how we’re truly impacted by baptism or taking the Lord’s supper, I do believe that there is something mysterious and awesome about marriage–especially when it works well. Does our marriage always work well? No. But for what I will call “the first part of the long haul,” I think it is working well. I am thankful for that day nearly 15 years ago when Mark agreed to be my husband. I am thankful for the history we share and the children we now have together. I would do several things differently if I were given the chance. But the important things would stay the same. I would still marry Mark. I would still follow him across the country despite the stress this sometimes entailed. I would still move furniture in and out of domiciles with him, even though these experiences often tested the strength of our marriage more than some little moment in time should. When I look back over the past 15 years, I am happy with who we were and who we are becoming. Even when I feel uncertain about so many things, I feel sure God led me to the right person to be my partner in life. This is a good feeling when the hard things in life come. It is one of God’s great mercies in life to put strong and godly people around us to help us endure all that comes our way.

Back Pain, cute Kids, and Thanksgiving

(I wrote this on Tuesday, and didn’t get a chance to post it. Since then, Mark and I didn’t much sleep from Tuesday night to Wed morning. Then my Wed trip to the chiropractor was the most helpful ever. Tonight, Thanksgiving night, I am feeling better than I thought possible. All the pain is not gone, but I can move without wincing; I can walk up the stairs. Praise God!)

Back Pain

This Thanksgiving season began with me heading out to help the my two boys and their cub scout/webelos troops collect food for the scouting for food service project last Saturday. Before heading out, I was helping Nevin finish a last minute acheivement requirement. We were working at my desk in the basement. I stood up, and I felt a twinge of pain in my back. I proceeded up the stairs to leave. I thought I would just push through the pain and get a therma-care patch at the drug store on the way to meet up with their troops. When I got in the van, the pain was worse. Then I got out to straighten out my seat belt, and I couldn’t get back in. The pain was too much.

Mark came out and helped me into the house. We didn’t go scouting for food. I called my friend whose a physical therapist. She recommended movement and a few exercises. On Sunday, I missed church. My PT friend came by to work on some exercises with me. A church friend sent some ice packs and a 6-pack of beer home (more for Mark than for me). Another friend called saying she would send a meal for Monday evening. Monday, I headed to the chiropractor. It helped, it couldn’t take away all the inflamed muscle tissue around my vertebrae. I followed the chiros advice and iced my back as much as possible all day and nignt on Monday. I discovered a less painful way to sleep on Monday night, so this morning, I wasn’t as stiff when I woke up.

This morning, I went back to the chiropractor. I felt pretty good when I went in. When I came out, I was more sore than I was going in. By mid-afternoon, I started to feel better, so I have been able to take care of a few minor things at home. I am going back to the chiropractor again tomorrow. I hope my continual icing of the muscle today proves helpful, and I am closer to being pain fee tomorrow.

Cute Kids

During this whole back problem, the kids have been curious about this thing rendering Mommy helpless. Charis has been exceptionally cute. When she came down stairs this morning she asked me, “Mommy, are you all better now?” I said, “No. Not yet.” She said, “I hope you’re better soon.” Tonight she offered to rub my back for me. I let her, and she put he little hand over the painful area of my back. It didn’t really help, but it was awfully sweet. The older kids have been not as “cute,” but they have been helpful by running after things, picking things up from the floor, and waching after Charis.

I am thankful for many things. I am thankful for a considerate and helpful husband who loves me. My friend saw our wedding photo the other day when she was helping me. She didn’t recognize us. We both look a lot different–due to age and weight gain. But our nearly 15 years together are definitely something to be thankful for. I am also thankful for the cute kids. They drive us crazy a lot of the time, but I would rather be crazy than unhappy. I was so unhappy during the nearly 2 years it took for us to conceive Calvin. I can be nothing but thankful for him and the 3 that followed him. I am also Thankful for the love of Christ in my life and the life of my family. Some might think it is sort of cheesey to list the things I am thankful for, but I think it is really important to recognize God’s gracious hand in my life.

Da De Dee De, Da Da Daa Da

So I planned to put up all the kids school photos, but my scanner gave me some problems. It is actually probably the old PC that the scanner is attached to. I hate having to move things around, but I think I will have to hook up the scanner to my laptop for future scanning needs. Therefore, the photos of the kids will have to wait.

In other news, Calvin has his first band concert tonight. Yes. A bunch of 5th graders playing instruments after only 2 months of practice. It should be entertaining. However, in Calvin’s defense, when I have heard him practicing his saxaphone at home, he has done an admirable job, and we don’t feel like running away. He actually hits the right notes, and we recognize the tune.

No other big news. I finished my first training assignment for my new at-home ad copywriting job yesterday. I received a note from the co-ordinator today that I won’t get my official feedback until next week. So I guess I’ll have to take care of my own stuff tomorrow. I cleaned up about 2 weeks worth of papers that were stacked around my work space in the basement this afternoon. That always makes me feel better about life.

Stay tuned for some photos in the next couple of days. Until then . . .

Halloween & Other Treats

We were short one of our normal crew for Halloween night trick or treating. Calvin was home with the stomach flu, but this witch, little cat, and Ninja, had a great time collecting treats
on a really great crisp fall night in our new neighborhood and a few places beyond it.

This photo shows all Calvin was able to manage this Halloween. (Take note of the lovely wallpaper in the background. We like to call this space “the Laura Ashley Room.”)

Here you see our lovely Jack O Lanterns. They aren’t great works of art, but I did let the girls really help me. They looked very festive as they greeted treat seekers who came to our door.

We had a great Halloween season. The boys’ cubscout pack party gave them another opportunity to don costumes. This photo is from that night:

The last photo has nothing to do with Halloween. It was the treat I got from a “neighbor.” I joined last month, and I have tried to get a few things since joining. On Friday, I saw a trampoline listed, and it was from someone in our zipcode. It turned out they were two streets over, and I contacted them soon enough to be chosen to receive the trampoline. So the kids bounced all Saturday and Sunday afternoons. That’s why this photo is out of focus.

The End of Another Week

Wow! How does time fly by so quickly? We were busy again this week, but I won’t go into all the details like I did last Friday. Suffice it to say: 4 kids, Halloween, a birthday party, the end of the stomach flu trip through our house.

I feel pretty good about the week. I took care of lots of kid things, and I was offered a part-time at-home copywriting job that I am really excited about. I also saw one of my press releases for the children’s school get picked up in one of the local weekly papers. So work wise, I feel like the week was successful.

We are going through a major transition in our lives, though. So our emotional health is on something of a rollercoaster. I am trying to look for good things to cheer about in everyday life to keep the negative thoughts away. If you think of it, say a prayer for us. We are trusting God, but we still have to fight off doubt and despair.